SMACKDOWN IN GOTHAM: Here’s more on Mike Bloomberg’s illegal gun purchase program:
Bloomberg sent civilian private investigators into gun stores across the country, and had the investigators pose as straw purchasers. Bloomberg never informed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives about the sting operations, and when the stings were announced, several law enforcement officials said as many as eighteen active law enforcement investigations were put in jeopardy.
For months the ATF was silent on the matter, but recently disclosed that an investigation into Bloombergâ€™s actions was taking place. Now the Battle letter, first made public by the New York Daily News, details the problems with Bloombergâ€™s attacks on firearms dealers.
According to the Daily News, none of the gun dealers Bloomberg is suing broke federal law and took part in straw purchase transactions. The letter also took Bloomberg to task for conducting these stings “without proper law enforcement authority,” though there is no indication that BATFE or the Justice Department would seek to file charges against Bloomberg or his civilian private investigators. Instead, the letter warns that Bloombergâ€™s operations could put the city at risk of legal action.
Straw purchases are illegal, and Bloomberg has no more right to violate this law than anyone else. (In fact, it’s “vigilantism” of the sort that antigun folks often complain about.) All he’s got is the political protection against prosecution that comes of being a bigshot. Which means he’s demonstrated a weakness in the firearms laws, all right, just not the one he intended to.