Dawn Nguyen courtesy rochesterhomepage.net

“I would like to express my condolences and apologize to the people that were affected by the tragedy that occurred on Christmas Eve and I would like to ask for forgiveness. I can not imagine how hard it has been for you to live in this nightmare. I take full responsibility for my actions and ignorance. My actions on June 6, 2010 turned my life upside down. I was 21-years-old and made the worst decision of my life, which will forever haunt me. I will live with this guilt everyday for the rest of my life. I have learned a lot over the past year and a half. I wish I could go back in time and fix this mistake, but I can’t. I can only apologize and I know I could never say ‘I’m sorry’ enough to make all the pain go away, but I am sorry. I am so, so sorry. I’m sorry for the people whose lives were affected and I am sorry for disappointing my family, especially my two nieces that I have spent almost every day of their lives with. I can honestly say that the things that I have said to you today I have wanted to say since the tragedy happened. Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to publically apologize to everyone. I hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.” – Dawn Nguyen in Woman convicted of buying guns used in Webster ambush sentenced to 8 years in prison [at cnycentral.com]

102 Responses to Quote of the Day: Don’t Lie for the Other Guy Edition

    • Concur. If you want to do something about straw purchases them make the purchaser face the same charges that the person who committed the crime with that gun. Life without parole is a pretty big deterrent for buying a gun for a known felon. It won’t stop everyone but it will stop many and certainly raise the price for doing the deed.

      • Suspended sentence here in MA and she would be hailed as the leading example of the war on women and probably run for office and no doubt win and introduce a whole bunch of common sense legislation.

  1. This is the best outcome UBC proponents could ever get. Crime still committed, people still dead.
    Sometimes I think the legislation/regulation lovers believe that punishing somebody makes all the bad things go away and raises the dead.

    • Well, obviously if we had UBC’s, she wouldn’t have transfered the guns to a known felon and if she did, she would have kindly asked him to go through a magical background check to complete the transfer. Why do you hate children firefighters?!?! or; This is common sense! or; (Insert some other thought-terminating political catch phrase cliche here).

      ~ProgMomDerp

    • So, she willingly and knowingly committed a straw purchase; therefore, if we legislate UBCs, then she would be compelled to complete a background check before transferring the firearms to their intended owners?

      Maybe – just maybe – someone who knowingly and willingly commits a straw purchase would be just as likely to knowingly and willingly disregard a background-check requirement for a personal transfer of the erstwhile straw-purchased firearms?

      • “Maybe – just maybe – someone who knowingly and willingly commits a straw purchase would be just as likely to knowingly and willingly disregard a background-check requirement for a personal transfer of the erstwhile straw-purchased firearms?”

        That makes sense to you and me, but it’s a little hard to fit all that into a soundbite. 🙂

  2. They are trying to make an example of this person, however, as is typical, there is always a double standard.

    This women will, if the news story account is accurate, will serve 14yrs in prison. 4 at the state level and 10 at the federal level. I get it, she made illegal straw purchases. BUT….

    If you read this story
    http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2013/09/06/new-york-police-officer-arrested-for-trafficking-illegal-guns/

    This is a story of an NYPD cop and his two brothers who were trafficking high-powered firearms out of the United States and into the Philippines. If the story is true, they did so from 2009 till 2013.

    According to the NYPost, the cops and his brother only received 4 years
    http://nypost.com/2014/06/12/nypd-cop-brother-plead-guilty-to-gun-smuggling/

    Obviously, I do not have all the details, but it would seem to me, if they were running guns for 4 years, outside of the US that you would get more than 4yrs.

    It bothers me when the law has been applied differently. And there are plenty of similar examples involving cops making straw purchases/smuggling where they receive sentences far below the average Joe citizen.

      • Leland Yee is just a small example of the corruption that has set in to Sacramento. A full 17% of legislators in the California Legislature have been either arrested, indicted, or convicted of crimes in the last term. No surprise that all of them are Democrats.

        Yee was also one of the loudest screamers for Gun Control in California, right next to Kevin DeLeon, who I predict is one of the next to fall.

  3. Though I can appreciate the honest admission of guilt, the fact remains that she used poor judgement when she purchased the weapon that killed the firefighters. For reason or reasons not reported, she purchased a firearm for a felon and I am pretty certain she knew he was a felon prior to the purchase.
    After all is said and done she is guilty and will have to live with her decision forever. That said she will most likely get a much shorter sentence after it is over. But the tragedy will remain and the cause will be unchanged. She won’t burn in hell with her friend but the people effected will probably believe they are in hell for quite some time.

  4. What gets me is nothing was solved. Say she does serve eight full years. All that tax money spent on housing, food, and clothes for someone who did something very stupid. Then when she gets out she will be a felon and highly unlikely she’ll ever get a decent job so we might as well factor in a lifetime of welfare too. She needs to be punished, but what is her punishment really doing for anyone involved besides destroying one more life?

    • Breaking the law should have consequences That way fewer people will the break the law. It won’t deter everyone but it will deter many. Her acts contributed to the deaths of several people As far as I am concerned 8 years is a good deal for her. She should get life.

      • Does your logic apply to the parents of the kid in California that ran over some people in a spree…the ones that bought him the car?

        What about the bank that approves the loan to buy a car to someone with known DUI convictions? Should they get life, too?

        At what point is personal responsibility for a heinous act personal?

        • It is not a crime to buy car for your child. It is a crime to buy a gun for a prohibited person. Understand the difference?

        • In the general case…prove the buyer knew the other was prohibited.

          So, do you support UBC?

          Well, Lott’s (and others) studies of the current BC system shows it to be a colossal failure at achieving its stated goal – keeping guns out the hands of “prohibited persons.”

          Finally…define “prohibited.” Fiat assertions of who can and cannot legally purchase a firearm are straw men from the beginning. We either assign “blame” for the heinous act to the gun or we don’t.

          The anti’s like to do that. I thought we argue for ‘blame the person.’ Stop giving fuel to the anti-gunner argument that controlling the possession chain of guns will affect crime rates. The criminal is the problem – in this case, the one that pulled the trigger and committed murder.

          All this finger pointing and blame-gaming is pointless. The GUN IS NOT THE PROBLEM, not matter HOW a given bad guy came to possess it.

        • When you commit a crime to enable a crime you are part of that crime.

          Background checks of any kind have nothing to do with it.

        • “When you commit a crime to enable a crime you are part of that crime.”

          Well, then you agree gun control is responsible gun violence preventive legislation, and you support it. That is the purpose of gun control – “crime prevention.” Lets prevent crimes by regulating objects that can possibly be used to perform a crime.

          “It is not a crime to buy car for your child. It is a crime to buy a gun for a prohibited person. Understand the difference?”

          So, pro-gun control Tdiinva, how do you know Dawn Nguyen knew her neighbor’s intent? Her selling firearms to Spengler (the shooter) has no victim. Me selling pocket knives to my neighbor has no victim. Me selling rat poison to a farmer has no victim. Me selling a car to a stranger has no victim. Do you understand the difference? Maybe you should start here:

          http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Personal_responsibility

        • “When you commit a crime to enable a crime you are part of that crime.”

          Well, then you agree gun control is responsible gun violence preventive legislation, and you support it.

          Wow, Straw Man much?

          What do laws regarding straw purchases have to do with gun control? That’s a tenuously long leap of logic you just made; care to justify it? At least give TDI that courtesy before you bludgeon him with it.

        • @anonymous:

          This is probably the most stupid response to one of my post that I have ever seen. It doesn’t even make up a decent strawman as it is entirely a non sequitor. I think it is a generally accepted principle of American and British law that if you break a law to enable a crme that makes you at least an accessory to that crime and you can be prosecuted for it.

          You also seemed to be lacking in understanding the difference between providing a legal good that is then used in a crime from the case where someone supplies an illegal good that is then used in a crime. I can’t help you with that one. You will have to figure out the differnece on your own.

        • “When you commit a crime to enable a crime you are part of that crime.”

          Well, then you agree gun control is responsible gun violence preventive legislation, and you support it.

          Wow, Straw Man much?

          What do laws regarding straw purchases have to do with gun control? That’s a tenuously long leap of logic you just made; care to justify it? At least give TDI that courtesy before you bludgeon him with it.

          Laws regarding straw purchases are gun control. You are controlling who gets guns. “Gun control” is defined as: Gun Control:efforts to regulate or control sales of guns. Laws regarding straw purchases are definitely “gun control.” Moving on.

          “When you commit a crime to enable a crime you are part of that crime.”
          “Well, then you agree gun control is responsible gun violence preventive legislation, and you support it.”

          Gun control has historically and continues to be the “efforts to regulate or control sales of guns.” Lets look at the statement: “When you commit a crime to enable a crime you are part of that crime.”

          The above statement inherently suggests that gun control works. Because Dawn “enabled” a crime by providing firearms to Spengler she is part of that crime. But that is the real straw man. Dawn is not responsible for the murder of anyone and she didn’t “enable” anything. Spengler could have stolen the firearms, he could have purchased them out of the back of a trunk, or by private sales with someone locally or in another state. By making the statement “When you commit a crime to enable a crime you are part of that crime,” and applying it to this case, you are placing the consequences of actions not performed by Dawn, on Dawn, as she had was not aware of the intent of Spengler, nor did she take part in the actions performed by Spengler. (See personal responsibility). Just because Dawn performed a so called “straw purchase” for Spengler years before the incident, doesn’t mean she condones or took part in the actions performed by Spengler. In her eyes, Spengler was a old man who committed a crime 30 years before, hadn’t committed a crime 30 years since, and was very polite and kind to her and her family. She either wasn’t aware of the straw purchase law, or was aware and didn’t merit it any respect in this circumstance.

          Now, lets talk about the “straw purchase” law. I stated:

          Well, then you agree gun control is responsible gun violence preventive legislation, and you support it. That is the purpose of gun control – “crime prevention.” Lets prevent crimes by regulating objects that can possibly be used to perform a crime.

          Straw purchasing is defined as: a criminal act in which a person who is prohibited from buying firearms uses another person to buy a gun on their behalf. This definition definitely falls under my statement: “That is the purpose of gun control – “crime prevention.” Lets prevent crimes by regulating objects that can possibly be used to perform a crime.” Because straw purchasing laws definitely fall under regulating the sale of objects.

          Now… we could go into the debate of whether released felons deserve the right of self defense, the right to defend their families, their homes, and their country after prison release – but i’m not going to.

          Ultimately, the law regarding straw purchasing, is to make a person responsible for acts another person performs, and I don’t feel that it is right.

        • Laws regarding straw purchases are gun control. You are controlling who gets guns. “Gun control” is defined as: Gun Control:efforts to regulate or control sales of guns. Laws regarding straw purchases are definitely “gun control.”

          I disagree. Laws against straw purchases do not control who may purchase or possess guns. A straw purchase could be conducted by two parties both of whom are not otherwise “prohibited” from purchasing a firearm, and the straw purchase would still be illegal.

          (Side note: I don’t have a huge inherent problem with the Form 4473 – at least, the purchaser attestation part. If anything, it is, in essence, a liability waiver for the FFL: the person signing the form has attested, under pain of felony, that he is not “prohibited” from purchasing a firearm. Though I agree 100% that the background checks are worthless.)

          So, no: laws against straw purchaes are not “gun control”; rather, they are a means to discourage circumventing detection of purchase of a firearm by someone who is lawfully prohibited from such a purchase.

          Gun control has historically and continues to be the “efforts to regulate or control sales of guns.”

          Again, I disagree. Gun control is primarily about possession, not purchase, of firearms.

          Lets look at the statement: “When you commit a crime to enable a crime you are part of that crime.”

          The above statement inherently suggests that gun control works.

          It inherently suggests no such thing.

          ecause Dawn “enabled” a crime by providing firearms to Spengler she is part of that crime. But that is the real straw man. Dawn is not responsible for the murder of anyone and she didn’t “enable” anything.

          Faulty conclusion.

          The murderer was lawfully prohibited from possessing a firearm. Unless someone committed a crime, then he would never have been in possession of a firearm. (Either he would have to steal one, or he would have to purchase one illegally, or he would need a straw purchase agent.)

          Thus, her action very much did facilitate the murderer. She was the agent that committed the crime that enabled him to be in possession of a firearm.

          She could have bought a hammer for him (after all, he could lawfully possess a hammer), and would not have been responsible for his actions with that hammer. But she bought him a firearm – something that was illegal for him to possess.

          She either wasn’t aware of the straw purchase law, or was aware and didn’t merit it any respect in this circumstance.

          Bull. She signed the Form 4473, which is unambiguous. (See quoted references elsewhere in the comment thread.) She signed her name to the form, indicating that she was not conducting a straw purchase, and indicating that she was aware that if she were lying about a straw purchase, she was committing a felony. She signed it. (See personal responsibility.)

          This definition definitely falls under my statement: “That is the purpose of gun control – “crime prevention.”

          I disagree with that statement as well. The purpose of gun control is disarmament of law-abiding citizens. Both as a goal and as a practical outcome, gun control encourages, rather than prevents, crime.

          Because straw purchasing laws definitely fall under regulating the sale of objects.

          And they are just.

          Can you legally straw-purchase cigarettes fora 17-year-old? Can you legally straw-purchase alcohol for a 20-year-old?

          (And if that 20-year-old drinks the alcohol you straw-purchased for him, then gets drunk, gets behind the wheel of a car, and commits vehicular homicide, do you seriously think that you couldn’t or wouldn’t be held partially liable?)

          Now… we could go into the debate of whether released felons deserve the right of self defense, the right to defend their families, their homes, and their country after prison release – but i’m not going to.

          As I’ve stated elsewhere, my current stance is that anyone who has completed their sentence for a conviction should have their rights restored once the sentence has been served – and if anyone committed a crime so heinous that they cannot be trusted with a gun, then their crime was so heinous that they should never have been let out of their incarceration.

          Ultimately, the law regarding straw purchasing, is to make a person responsible for acts another person performs, and I don’t feel that it is right.

          I disagree. Laws regarding straw purchasing – whether of firearms, alcohol, tobacco, or anything else – are intended to criminalize acting as an accomplice to the commission of a crime – namely, the crime of possessing something that someone is lawfully prohibited from possessing.

          That’s a key distinction: the possession itself is a crime, and therefore facilitating that possession is to be an accomplice to the crime of possession. What the person does with the unlawfully possessed thing after that is another matter.

        • @anonymous:

          This is probably the most stupid response to one of my post that I have ever seen. It doesn’t even make up a decent strawman as it is entirely a non sequitor. I think it is a generally accepted principle of American and British law that if you break a law to enable a crme that makes you at least an accessory to that crime and you can be prosecuted for it.

          You also seemed to be lacking in understanding the difference between providing a legal good that is then used in a crime from the case where someone supplies an illegal good that is then used in a crime. I can’t help you with that one. You will have to figure out the differnece on your own.

          Tdiinva,

          I still love you. I also really truly hope that you take a break, relax, drink a beer (a really good tasting expensive one) and do some deep thinking and come the conclusions that I have – Pre-crime laws are an extremely erosive element to the concept and ideals of individual rights and individual liberty. Regulation and control of “objects” rather than “actions” do nothing to benefit anyone in the quest for individual rights and liberty. Ultimately we all have to reach a conclusion – do we want to live free and allow ourselves the pursuit of happiness, knowing that anything can happen at any time, we could be burglarized, some wacko kid could shoot our kid at school, etc. Or do we want to be safer (from guns)and frustrated because we can only follow our assigned paths, knowing that our children won’t be harmed (from guns). Because ultimately, when the laws get even more ridiculous than they are now, the corruption gets even worse than it is, and the injustice becomes more prevalent, our only option will be to do what we are told. When the police come in issuing a city-wide lockdown (for safety), pulling up in their MRAPs, knee pads, woodland camo, and military issue helmets and goggles, carrying an M249 LMG, to find a thief from the bakery, our only option is to cooperate. They can come in our homes and search for the bakery thief (with no warrant at all), anything they find questionable in our homes they can arrest us for during their search of the bakery thief, and we can say yes sir, no sir, I will sir, when they yell in our faces. When the bakery thieves come in and put knives to our throats and our children’s throats, we can hand them our hard earned money and cooperate with them saying yes sir, no sir, I will sir, when they yell in our faces.

          I’m really just not seeking the “safe” life the antis are advertising. Going after the guns, the knives, the clubs, and all the many objects that “could” be used as a weapon because of “statistics” and the brainwashing, blanket-covering of every american being responsible for their neighbor’s actions, and everyone being obligated to keep everyone else safe (even when they don’t want it) – just isn’t for me.

        • @Chip,

          Laws regarding straw purchases are gun control. You are controlling who gets guns. “Gun control” is defined as: Gun Control:efforts to regulate or control sales of guns. Laws regarding straw purchases are definitely “gun control.”
          I disagree. Laws against straw purchases do not control who may purchase or possess guns. A straw purchase could be conducted by two parties both of whom are not otherwise “prohibited” from purchasing a firearm, and the straw purchase would still be illegal.

          I guess our definition of gun control differs. This one sums up my definition:
          “Gun control generally refers to laws or policies that regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification, or use of firearms.”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_control
          After all – it is the definition everyone else is using.

          I would consider straw purchases definitely fall within that category.

          Gun control has historically and continues to be the “efforts to regulate or control sales of guns.”

          Again, I disagree. Gun control is primarily about possession, not purchase, of firearms.

          This falls under the above discussion as well and the definition of “gun control.”

          Lets look at the statement: “When you commit a crime to enable a crime you are part of that crime.”

          The above statement inherently suggests that gun control works.

          It inherently suggests no such thing.

          When applied to Dawn Nguyen’s case it does. I explained why – I’ll try again.
          When [Dawn] committed a crime (straw purchase) to enable a crime (murder) [Dawn] is part of that crime. Now, Gun control, see definition above, encompasses straw purchases. In this case the straw purchase involves the transfer of guns which falls under the definition of gun control (see gun control above).

          It is clear to me the statement indicates that because Dawn committed a straw purchase (gun control law) she enabled a crime. This implies that if she didn’t commit a straw purchase a crime would not have been enabled. So… 2 and 2… not committing straw purchases keep crimes not enabled. Therefore, gun control works.

          ecause Dawn “enabled” a crime by providing firearms to Spengler she is part of that crime. But that is the real straw man. Dawn is not responsible for the murder of anyone and she didn’t “enable” anything.

          Faulty conclusion.

          The murderer was lawfully prohibited from possessing a firearm. Unless someone committed a crime, then he would never have been in possession of a firearm. (Either he would have to steal one, or he would have to purchase one illegally, or he would need a straw purchase agent.)

          Thus, her action very much did facilitate the murderer. She was the agent that committed the crime that enabled him to be in possession of a firearm.

          So… let me get this straight. Just because it is against the law for her to buy a firearm for someone else (even though he can get one elsewhere or make his own) that makes her responsible for his actions that she did not foresee 2 years later? Got it. Just because some piece of paper says so – doesn’t make it right.

          She could have bought a hammer for him (after all, he could lawfully possess a hammer), and would not have been responsible for his actions with that hammer. But she bought him a firearm – something that was illegal for him to possess.

          So… she is not responsible for what he does with a hammer she bought him but she is responsible for what he does with a gun she bought him. Got it. The justification you say – a piece of paper passed by a legislature that says so. Got it. Just because some piece of paper says so – doesn’t make it right.

          She either wasn’t aware of the straw purchase law, or was aware and didn’t merit it any respect in this circumstance.

          Bull. She signed the Form 4473, which is unambiguous. (See quoted references elsewhere in the comment thread.) She signed her name to the form, indicating that she was not conducting a straw purchase, and indicating that she was aware that if she were lying about a straw purchase, she was committing a felony. She signed it. (See personal responsibility.)

          You are actually agreeing with me. We are in agreement. I said: “or was aware and didn’t merit it any respect in this circumstance.” This means she didn’t feel the law merited any respect (didn’t respect the law).

          This definition definitely falls under my statement: “That is the purpose of gun control – “crime prevention.”

          I disagree with that statement as well. The purpose of gun control is disarmament of law-abiding citizens. Both as a goal and as a practical outcome, gun control encourages, rather than prevents, crime.

          ? See my definition of gun control. The anti’s think they are preventing crime with gun control. I do agree with the rest of your statement.

          Because straw purchasing laws definitely fall under regulating the sale of objects.

          And they are just.

          Can you legally straw-purchase cigarettes fora 17-year-old? Can you legally straw-purchase alcohol for a 20-year-old?

          (And if that 20-year-old drinks the alcohol you straw-purchased for him, then gets drunk, gets behind the wheel of a car, and commits vehicular homicide, do you seriously think that you couldn’t or wouldn’t be held partially liable?)

          Maybe I could be – legally, but logically and reasonably, I am not responsible for their actions, just because a slip of paper says so.

          Now… we could go into the debate of whether released felons deserve the right of self defense, the right to defend their families, their homes, and their country after prison release – but i’m not going to.

          As I’ve stated elsewhere, my current stance is that anyone who has completed their sentence for a conviction should have their rights restored once the sentence has been served – and if anyone committed a crime so heinous that they cannot be trusted with a gun, then their crime was so heinous that they should never have been let out of their incarceration.

          I totally agree with this.

          Ultimately, the law regarding straw purchasing, is to make a person responsible for acts another person performs, and I don’t feel that it is right.

          I disagree. Laws regarding straw purchasing – whether of firearms, alcohol, tobacco, or anything else – are intended to criminalize acting as an accomplice to the commission of a crime – namely, the crime of possessing something that someone is lawfully prohibited from possessing.

          That’s a key distinction: the possession itself is a crime, and therefore facilitating that possession is to be an accomplice to the crime of possession. What the person does with the unlawfully possessed thing after that is another matter.

          This is where we primarily disagree. I think that if someone buys something for someone else or sell it to them later and are unaware of the buyers intent they should not be liable for the buyers actions. I furthermore disagree that objects (any objects) should be lawfully prohibited. Actions should be the target of regulatory function. Actions like killing, stealing, raping, etc. Not – he owned a joint, or he owned a gun, etc. Any law prohibiting the possession of something is effectively “pre-crime.”

          I am confused as you state this:
          As I’ve stated elsewhere, my current stance is that anyone who has completed their sentence for a conviction should have their rights restored once the sentence has been served.

          But then state this:

          So, yes: I think that breaking that law is and should be punishable. When the outcome of breaking that law is that the ultimate owner of the straw-purchased firearm commits murder, the straw purchaser is an accessory to that murder.

          So… they should have their rights restored so they can buy their own guns, but someone else buying guns for them – that’s wrong?

        • @Anonymous,

          Some blockquotes got hosed in there, so I’m not going to try to parse.

          I think a fundamental issue here is whether it should have been legal for the murderer to possess a firearm at the time he committed his murder. I would suggest that, as a convicted murderer, he should have been behind bars for his original murder – so yes, I do think that he should have been prohibited from possessing a firearm.

          Until we start dealing properly with violent felons, and actually keep them off the streets and away from both victims and the weapons they use to victimize, I can’t help but support the notion that convicted, violent felons should be prohibited from possessing firearms, even after serving their sentences. (I agree that non-violent felons should not have their second-amendment rights taken away post-incarceration.)

          Whatever the case, it was proper that the murderer was prohibited from possessing firearms, so most of the rest of the discussion is academic.

      • Get life for what?

        Did she know the intentions of the person she was acquiring the firearms for?
        So she gets 8 years for lying to a federal agent and lying on a form 4473.
        We don’t know the circumstances that led her to make the decision to purchase these firearms for her neighbor. Did her neighbor lie to her?

        If she knew the intent of the neighbor it would be a different story.

        I disagree with your suggestion that she deserves life in prison. Honestly, if she didn’t know the intent, didn’t know he was a prior criminal, then honestly I feel she deserved zero years in prison.

        Just because Spengler (the shooter) acquired the firearms from Dawn, doesn’t mean he couldn’t have acquired them elsewhere (even by theft).

        I think responsibility should be placed where responsibility is due – not some naive kid that had no ill intent and may not have fully understood the gravity of the situation.

        Straw purchaser laws are just more nonsensical magical gun on a pedestal meme. What if he used a bomb and he bought those chemicals from a chemical supply warehouse, or from the local farm center. Do we indict those clerks as well?

        • You know, I think that “Don’t buy a gun for somebody else” is a fairly commonsense gun law. Leave Form 4473s, FFLs, and background checks out of it: someone asking you to buy a gun for them is a pretty big, red flag.

          So, yes: I think that breaking that law is and should be punishable. When the outcome of breaking that law is that the ultimate owner of the straw-purchased firearm commits murder, the straw purchaser is an accessory to that murder.

          Why did she do it? Who freaking cares. I don’t care why criminals commit crimes. Navel-gazing is of no use to me. Crime. Conviction. Punishment. (N.B. this is also the reason I oppose so-called “hate crimes”.)

          Let’s compare this woman to Mike Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson: the two men committed a felony strong-arm robbery, that ultimately resulted in the death of Mike Brown. Technically, Dorian Johnson is now an accomplice to felony murder, as the result of helping to steal $50 worth of cigarillos. Should he spend life in prison “just” for such a petty crime? Yes. If the crime didn’t happen, petty or not, then the resultant altercation that resulted in Mike Brown’s death would not have happened.

          The same is true of this straw purchase: if she hadn’t illegally purchased the firearm(s) for the man, then the man would never have committed murders with said firearm(s). Yes, she should be held accountable in the part she played in enabling/facilitating his shooting spree. If she hadn’t committed that straw purchase, and someone else did, then that someone else would be equally culpable, and would be subject to being held equally responsible.

        • I recant my previous statement – Nguyen did indeed purchase the firearms “for” the neighbor:

          “On June 6, 2010, Nguyen and Spengler went to the Gander Mountain store in Henrietta, where she bought a semiautomatic rifle and shotgun for him. She lied on a federal firearms form, claiming the guns were for her.”

          To me, she is very naive, but that said, I still don’t feel she is personally responsible for the murders performed by Spengler just because there exists a “straw purchaser” law that was supported by the local majority, any more than a car dealership is responsible for victims in hit and runs, or armslist is responsible because they allowed the post of an ad for the sale of a firearm that was later used in a crime, or luckygunner for the sale of ammunition that was used in a crime.

          Let’s compare this woman to Mike Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson: the two men committed a felony strong-arm robbery, that ultimately resulted in the death of Mike Brown. Technically, Dorian Johnson is now an accomplice to felony murder, as the result of helping to steal $50 worth of cigarillos. Should he spend life in prison “just” for such a petty crime? Yes. If the crime didn’t happen, petty or not, then the resultant altercation that resulted in Mike Brown’s death would not have happened.

          I would say Dorian Johnson is certainly an accomplice to the theft of cigarillos. But thinking Dorian Johnson should get life imprisonment for the death of Mike Brown? You can’t be serious. That makes no sense at all.

        • But thinking Dorian Johnson should get life imprisonment for the death of Mike Brown? You can’t be serious. That makes no sense at all.

          I take it that you’re unfamiliar with the Felony-Murder Rule, that exists in almost every State in the US?

          (Now, whether it is provable in the case of Mike Brown/Dorian Johnson is another matter – but being in possession of the stolen goods from a felony strong-arm robbery, and assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest would more than likely attach the altercation to the felony strong-arm robbery.)

          The difference with this woman is only a matter of degree: both in the nature of her felony, and its proximity to the killing. Should she spend life in prison for being an accomplice to felony-murder? No. But IMHO, the sentence she received is not at all unreasonable.

        • But thinking Dorian Johnson should get life imprisonment for the death of Mike Brown? You can’t be serious. That makes no sense at all.

          I take it that you’re unfamiliar with the Felony-Murder Rule, that exists in almost every State in the US?

          (Now, whether it is provable in the case of Mike Brown/Dorian Johnson is another matter – but being in possession of the stolen goods from a felony strong-arm robbery, and assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest would more than likely attach the altercation to the felony strong-arm robbery.)

          The difference with this woman is only a matter of degree: both in the nature of her felony, and its proximity to the killing. Should she spend life in prison for being an accomplice to felony-murder? No. But IMHO, the sentence she received is not at all unreasonable.

          “The concept of felony murder originates in the rule of transferred intent, which is older than the limit of legal memory. In its original form, the malicious intent inherent in the commission of any crime, however trivial, was considered to apply to any consequences of that crime, however unintended.”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_murder_rule#Origin

          In other words, the perpetrators of a dangerous crime, considered how dangerous the crime was, and also likely knew that if the act did not go as planned, harm or death could occur to others – unintentionally (e.g. harm to pedestrians in a firefight with cops, hitting someone in the street during a high speed chase).

          I understand this. I don’t understand how Dorian Johnson or Mike Brown considered that their failed attempt at shoving the clerk and stealing some smokes would cause unintentional deaths or was significantly dangerous to result in the possibility of such. I certainly don’t feel that Dorian Johnson could possibly be charged with the death of Mike Brown as:

          To “qualify” for felony murder, the underlying felony must present a foreseeable danger to life, and the link between the felony and the death must not be too remote.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_murder_rule#Description

          and:

          Most states recognize the merger doctrine, which holds that a criminal assault cannot serve as the predicate felony for the felony murder rule.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_murder_rule#United_States

          I would certainly go further to suggest that Dawn Nguyen providing firearms to her so called “kind and helpful” neighbor would also fall under:
          To “qualify” for felony murder, the underlying felony must present a foreseeable danger to life, and the link between the felony and the death must not be too remote.

        • “I don’t understand how Dorian Johnson or Mike Brown considered that their failed attempt at shoving the clerk and stealing some smokes would cause unintentional deaths or was significantly dangerous to result in the possibility of such.”

          I’d love to see the lawyers jump in here, but my understand is that this comes under “presumption.”

          Strong Arm Robbery is a felony, and a violent felony at that. There is (I think) a presumption that we, as potential jurors for example, may presume the commission of a violent felony = “this might cause intentional death or serious injury.”

          Doesn’t matter what they were trying to steal. It’s that they were committing a violent felony to do it. Shoplifting, for example, would not in general ‘activate’ the felony murder rule.

      • Yeah this is one of the rare instances where I agree strongly with tdiinva.

        There was a body count, existing gun laws were broken, and she paid the price. End of story. I will also go so far as to agree again with tdiinva and say she got off easy. If it offends the sensibilities of many here, i honestly couldn’t care less. Existing laws ARE NOT being enforced generally and this is one of those instances they are.

        This is beyond the realm of the law debate between recreational marijuana use and firearms, restoring felons’ rights, and other such deeply dividing issues. This one is pretty cut and dry as far as im concerned.

        “oh you beat your grandmother to death with a hammer? yeah no thanks. Buy your own guns.” Why someone would want to associate with someone like that, ill never know

    • “highly unlikely she’ll ever get a decent job so we might as well factor in a lifetime of welfare too. “

      This is a cultural problem that lies at the heart of the often heated debate we have here on “felons should have RKBA”…here in the ‘echo chamber.’

      If the point of prison is to “punish,” then most of us (naively?) assume that the sentence has been calculated to exact said punishment. By some metric, one would logically expect, then, the person’s slate to be clean upon release.

      (Let’s throw away parole and other early release mechanisms for the sake of simplicity).

      But, that’s not what we do.

      As you point out, they are “culturally” in prison the rest of their lives. Work is hard to get. Shoot, even a decent home can be hard get – independent of the money angle. RKBA? No, sir. Never again. You are forever condemned to a life of “lost rights.”

      And then we sit back and wonder why recidivism is a problem. Now that’s a real laugh. I’d say we don’t have three socioeconomic classes, but four: upper, middle, lower and ex-con. Ex-con is like our version of “Untouchables.”

      There is very, very little chance of upward mobility from the ex-con class. And interestingly, this is true no matter what the felony conviction was for.

      Rape, murder, child molestation? Some people would say “fine, they get what they deserve.’

      How about breaking into someone’s tool shed to steal a power saw? Is that worth essentially destroying a person’s life?

      What about a TTAG favorite…possession of recreational drugs – not with intent to distribute or any of that. Simple possession. 19 year old has the misfortune of getting caught with a crack rock the very first time he bought one cuz he wanted to try it and he loses rights and social opportunity FOREVER?

      How about failing to fill out a form in Connecticut? We can go on and on on “fiat felonies.”

      Food for thought…

      • Untouchable by choice and untouchable by culture are two different things. These felons opted in for the hardships they will endure. It isn’t an accident of birth that befell them. It’s a choice they made.

        But you’re right, it’s funny to see all of the comments on this today. Any other day, in fact, EVERY other day, people are running around demanding full restoration of firearm rights to felons. “They’ve paid their debt to society!”, the self-righteous will rail in full wail. Well.

        Nevermind that NONE of these strong-lunged libertines ever volunteers to invite convicted child molesters, who’ve likewise paid their debt to society, to be teachers, coaches, or bus drivers at *their* kid’s school. That’s a hypocrisy, er, I mean, conversation, for another day, though.

        Today, we’re reading how she’ll “only” be getting so much time, or how others don’t get as much time, or how her sorrow is too little, too late. Where’s my pro-felon brigade today? Where are the ones who believe she shouldn’t get a minute in prison because she did nothing wrong, because she bought a gun for a felon whose own firearm rights should have been restored? *Chirp* *chirp* *chirp*

        It’s all fun and games, and chat room b.s., until someone loses an eye….or an aorta….or a brain stem.

        • I think you missed part of my point.

          We are lumping all “felons” into one pot of soup and condemning all equally. For all of them, it’s a life sentence in practice.

          Are all felonies created equally?

          I’ve been around situational murderers (ie, ‘crime of passion’ types) that I would GLADLY hang out with – have done so – and see that very differently than ‘career thug.’ I’d rather ‘accept back into the fold’ someone that made a mistake than the type that fuels stuff like “The Knock-Out Game.”

          And, what about fiat felonies? No problem with those? Crimes against “paperwork” … that is, failing to fill out a form, or “Yassir” the bureaucracy?

          The problem is there is no distinction made between the child molester case you mentioned and the “Failed to Register his firearm” case in Connecticut. Both would be “convicted felons,” and both would, essentially, serve a cultural life sentence because of it.

        • Careful how wide you let that paintbrush get, ’cause the chances are VERY good that you committed two or three felonies just since you got out of bed TODAY.

          Felony doesn’t necessarily mean “murder”, “rape”, “armed robbery”, etc. anymore.

          Sometimes now a days it means, “accessed a mobile hotspot without permission” (IE unlawful breech of private network, AKA “hacking”, even if they broadcast without a password, it’s still a felony to access that network without explicit permission).

          Think about that when you start talking about how all felons deserve to be third class citizens for the rest of their lives.

        • Sorry, JR, I haven’t missed your point in part or in whole. Your point just falls flat. The disparities in severities of different crimes which each fall into the same category of felony is interesting, but of dubious relevance in this context. If you can’t do the time, including of lifetime of post-prison sanctions, then don’t do the crime. That’s the price you pay as a criminal for the offense you elect to commit.

          As a citizen, it’s important to align penalties with offenses in a way that optimally serves the multi-purposes of punishing, deterring, avenging these crimes, and preventing them by isolating for a period the offenders. That’s my job, your job, and our elected representatives’ job to decide. Those whose job it is not (because they’ve forfeited their right to vote, heh heh!) are felons, and it’s pointless to debate at length coulda shoulda woulda, when they themselves volunteered to pay that price. Felons’ job is just to suck it up and pay the price they knew accompanied what they chose to do. Really, that debate begins and ends with caveat emptor.

          If anyone’s point has been missed, it is mine, that people are quick to clamor for a particular proposal, without thinking through the consequences. “Nonviolent felons only!” they’ll retort, never contemplating how even a simple, little, nonviolent, transfer violation, completely innocent of someone else’s intentions, could nevertheless lead to innocent people’s very violent deaths. It happened in this case. It happened in Columbine.

          The People’s collective wisdom is that providing firearms to a prohibited possessor, or to one whom you should reasonably regard as a prohibited possessor, is inherently reckless and criminal, in a way that selling a steak knife or gallon of gasoline is not. It isn’t up to me or anyone else to foretell and describe in detail every conceivable, let alone inconceivable, permutation of potential bad outcomes. It suffices to postulate that “A bunch of bad crap is very likely to happen if you provide this person with a gun, so don’t do it!” If jack wagons want to disobey the plain law and do it anyway, then that’s on them.

          This woman should be in prison for the rest of her life as an accomplice to murder, not just on the straw purchase. And the felon rights restoration crowd should man up and defend her openly, not skulk around in the shadows and wait for a more photogenic poster girl with a more expedient story.

        • “The disparities in severities of different crimes which each fall into the same category of felony is interesting, but of dubious relevance in this context. “

          Dubious in this context?

          So, you agree with the grabbers then that someone purely legally owning an AR in CT in December 2013 should lose all rights of citizenship in January because he refused to fill out form?

          Non-compliance with what is perceived as an unconstitutional and immoral law is a form of civil disobedience. So, now we get to First Amendment issues.

          I suspect that you have not taken a recent gander at the current list of felonies. As pointed out above, you have likely committed several today without even knowing it.

          THAT is the problem with a hard line, bright line overgeneralization like “felon.” Not every felon is violent. Not every so-called “felon” is even really a felon in the classical sense of the word.

          Hope you don’t know anyone in your state that owns certain sex toys.

          http://www.dumblaws.com/law/938

          It’s a felony.

      • I am currently of the opinion that anyone who has served their sentence for a conviction should have all rights restored upon completing that sentence. If the crime committed was so heinous that the person cannot thereafter be trusted with a firearm, then the crime was so heinous that the person should never have been released from incarceration.

        (I say “currently” because it’s something I’ve been thinking about, and am very much open to argument/persuasion.)

        • “(I say “currently” because it’s something I’ve been thinking about, and am very much open to argument/persuasion.)”

          Yeah, this one is difficult for me to pin down as well. I can see both sides of the argument as having a LOT of merit.

          I think where I am at the moment is that there is likely no blanket statement that can be made. The spectrum of “felon” is too broad, too spread out. What is “right” for one felon is not going to fit the circumstance of another.

          So much for centralized, collectivist thinking…one rule to rule us all.

        • I believe all felons should have their rights restored when released.

          Why? Because ultimately they are going to do what they are going to do when they are released and they will be held liable for their actions. If a person who gets out of prison is willing to kill another person, etc. What do they care about a law that says they aren’t allowed to own a gun? They want a gun – they will get a gun regardless of any piece of paper that says so. Some felon’s actually don’t want to go back to prison. Some felons also go back to families and to homes, or live out in the country. They are prevented from protecting their livestock with a gun because they are prohibited. They are prevented from defend themselves effectively within their home against armed intruders. They are prevented from defending their family from armed intruders. They are prevented from hunting for food and all the sporting activities related to firearms. Guns are tools, machines, that can be used for the purpose of many things. Ultimately the released felon who wants to go back to a life of crime will and the released felon that doesn’t will not. The lack of firearm rights predominately affects only the felon that wants to follow the law.

    • It’s the difference between what is seen and what is not seen. We see all of the expenses associated with incarcerating her and perhaps supporting her on welfare subsequent to her release. Likewise ,we see the victims still dead in their graves, despite her years in prison.

      However, what we don’t see are those who are deterred today and tomorrow from replicating her mistakes, for wanting to avoid her same fate. We don’t see the misery that doesn’t take place because this woman serves as an example of reckless decision making.

      • I have to disagree with you on this. I fully believe in consequence for one’s actions and I realize it is very difficult to place appropriate consequences for each individuals actions. However, laws do not prevent people from breaking them. Laws do not prevent people from doing drugs, driving drunk, or bringing guns past a sign. People know the consequences and they choose to do them anyway. All I’m saying is carting everyone off to prison only adds to the overall problem without alleviating it. This is why America leads the world in incarcerations. We have an individual who clearly needs to be put back on the right path to being a productive member of society and instead we ship them off to isolation with other criminals where their only real outcome is to live in poverty for the rest of their life or continue a life of crime. That being said I may not be smart enough to solve a problem, but I believe I can recognize a problem when I see it.

        • You can disagree all you want. After all, everyone is entitled to his own opinion. However, no one is entitled to his own facts. The fact is, that laws and the consequences they provide for do indeed prevent crimes by placing a price tag on those acts.

          No one is arguing that a given law prevents EVERY commission of that crime, which is an impossible standard to expect. There are people who simply are willing to pay the price (or more specifically, the discounted price, which reflects the probabilities of being caught, convicted, and of receiving the average sentence within the range of sentences available for a given crime.) There are also people who lack the mental horsepower to estimate accurately all of those probabilities, so they miscalculate and commit a crime they thought they’d get away with. There are others, who prefer prison life to the outside and will commit crimes just to return to the joint.

          There are also many, many others, the vast majority of the population, in fact, who are deterred from committing a crime specifically because of the law against it and the costs it imposes on them. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a poll here and see how many here have tried to board commercial airplane while armed. Not so many. What stops them? Conscience? Arthritis? No-gun signs and thin air? Of course not. It’s the law and the consequences it imposes, which no one here wants to pay. A spree killer who’s willing to pay? Sure, that’s a different transaction, and a scenario requiring a different reaction.

          Nobody is proposing a one size fits all approach. For those people who fear the law and its consequences, and that’s most people, the law and its ready consequences are sufficient to keep the peace. For those in the other categories I mentioned above, then I, like everyone else in here, have countermeasures at my disposal to address them.

      • If we believe your line, we have to assume she *knew* he was a felon, and that he planned his crime two years in advance. How many psycho-murder-felons plan their crimes for two years? How many can we “deter” by putting their 20-something, college-student *neighbors* in prison?

        • We don’t have to assume any such thing. The law provides that you may not lie for the other guy and you may not provide a firearm to someone whom you know to be a prohibited possessor, or whom you have reason to believe is a prohibited possessor. She did that. Anyone who’s asking you to buy a firearm for them, which entails you signing your name to the commission of a felony of your own on their behalf, kinda sorta raises some red flags about why they’re not buying it themselves, don’t you find?

          Sorry, she can’t play the babe in the woods card and blushingly declare “Why, I didn’t KNOW he was a felon, with a prior conviction for fatally beating his own grandmother with a hammer!” (Were you aware of THAT part of the story?) The simple fact of being asked to buy a firearm for someone else presupposes that they’re likely a prohibited possessor, which includes felons, druggies, mental defectives, among others. She didn’t have to know explicitly, when the very act itself was practically a neon sign telling her so. Nevertheless, even her own lawyer conceded that the shooter was “a quirky, weird, crazy neighbor that she knew”, which in my book is also sufficient to raise some suspicions about them. This woman is a convicted, confessed liar, but expects us to believe she didn’t know this crazy killer’s past? Liar.

          Besides, the very act of providing a firearm to someone whom you should reasonably suspect is a prohibited possessor is intrinsically reckless. That the foreseeable harm came two and a half years later is irrelevant. Are you any less culpable because the firearms you leave loaded and lying around for years on end aren’t picked up by your kid until he’s five or six before he blows his head off? Nope. You’re guilty no matter the timeline because what you did is defined by the law as intrinsically dangerous, regardless whether or when the inevitable tragedy occurs.

          As to how many can be deterred by tossing this accomplice to murder in prison? I don’t know, and it’s perhaps unknowable. That was my point precisely: there’s the seen (known) and the unseen (unknown). The latter of which is difficult to assess, but is by no means to be ignored.

    • Many more people will continue to be straw purchasers. It all comes down to money. She was hard up for money, and he paid her to buy the rifles. Anywhere there are people willing to risk the payment vs the punishment it will continue.

      • For some it may as well be. I lived near a federal prison and the families of those visiting would stay in the hotel I worked at. They described it as a very white collared place. I have a friend who is a guard in one prison that houses some very unsavory lot. That place is most often a dead end for first timers. The system sucks people in and never let’s them go. If it is all a person knows for half their life many find it easier to stay in than they do out. Compared to what some people go through prison seems quite safe. It’s nice to think we’re going to teach all those nasty criminals a lesson, but in reality we’re just pushing them out of sight out of mind.

    • I have a problem with your mindset here.

      There needs to be consequences for straw buyers, period, especially if body counts were created. I have no problem with existing laws being enforced and this is one case where they are. Im actually surprised believe it or not.

      She was utterly fvcking stupid for doing it, knew it was wrong/illegal as hell, did it anyway. Mistake indeed.

  5. Sorry, but I think she was just a naieve pawn in this.. she sold/obtained the guns two years before they were used in a crime. There is no way for a private citizen to check the criminal history of another, and the only way to get convicted of a “crime” like hers is to “talk yourself into jail”.

    You’ll never get a “real” street arms dealer / gang banger in jail for a crime like hers, cause bad guys know to stfu.

    This was a community bent on “revenge” taking things out on an easy target, not “justice”.

    • The only difference between justice and revenge is majority opinion. In the end it’s all just frightened people lashing out. Every trial is a witch trial.

    • Being asked to buy a gun for someone else is its own red flag, even if you don’t know someone’s specific criminal history.

      “Pssst, buddy, will you take this $20 and go inside and buy me a case of beer, please?”, asks the fresh-faced lad outside the liqour store. Do you know his exact age? See his I.D.? No, but the circumstances strongly suggest that he’s not someone who may legally purchase alcohol on his own.

      People need to start using their heads in advance to avoid making poor decisions, rather than use it after the fact to fabricate justifications.

  6. I’d like to read the details on this case but the news reports don’t say anything about what evidence was used to show it was truly a straw purchase. She originally pled not guilty but this statement looks like something from a plea bargain.

    Anyone know where I can find a copy of the filings?

    • If you dig into the “previous history” of the case, you’ll see the feebs traced the guns & it seems pretty obvious that (two years later) she was questioned (prolly without an attorney) & prolly talked herself into jail.

      She was a 20-something college student & the murderer here was convicted in the 1980’s (before she was even born). Plenty of time for someone like him to establish himself as a neighborly grandfather type.

      And.. to add fuel to the hindsight-meter, this case was used by the Bradys in a civil suit against Gander Mountain.. somehow, they “could have reasonably forseen” that two years after the sale, these guns would be used in a murder.

      This is a true miscarriage of justice if there ever was one..

      • This is a true miscarriage of justice if there ever was one..

        How do you figure? You can’t completely Form 4473 for a straw purchase without knowing and attesting that you are committing a felony:

        11(a) Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.

        Signature:

        I certify that my answers to Section A are true, correct, and complete… I understand that answering “yes” to question 11.a if I am not the actual buyer is a crime punishable as a felony under Federal Law, and may also violate State and/or local law.

        • Which kind of shows the efficacy of bureaucratic solutions to real world problems, don’t you think?

          Does anyone actively converting O2 to CO2 actually think filling out a form will magically stop people from lying? Or, simply not reading the form’s contents and just signing the thing?

          I’ve always thought .gov forms with “I certify this is correct” on them was a joke. The only purpose it serves is to create prosecutorial hooks and paper trail…not actually prevent anything. This case shows a separate crime had to be committed before this “I certify” thing even came into play, even thought THAT infraction occurred years before.

          The fundamental take-home here is a bad guy wanted a gun, and he found a way to get one. The more they tighten their grasp, the more will slip through their fingers (or so I heard once…). NICS, forms, UBC’s, law, laws, laws … if the bad guy wants a gun, he will find a way to get one. Or make one.

        • Does anyone actively converting O2 to CO2 actually think filling out a form will magically stop people from lying? Or, simply not reading the form’s contents and just signing the thing?

          Oh, certainly not. Laws don’t compel the lawless, nor does bureaucracy hinder them. I was merely pointing out that she did not act out of ignorance. She signed her name to a form, attesting that either she was actually purchasing the firearm(s) for herself, or else she was lying and thereby committing a felony.

          We are each responsible for our own actions. We are each responsible for the things we attest using our signature. Whether she knew the man’s history or not, I have no sympathy for her fraudulently completing the Form 4473.

        • There’s no magic to it at all, JR. It’s the reality of legal consequences. I’ll concede that there are people who don’t care what the legal price to pay is, just as there are people who can’t quite calculate what the legal price is, because they’re stupid. So such people may well engage in the criminal activity, regardless.

          However, most people are well aware of what the price to pay for the potential illegal actions would be and rationally decide not to engage in them. Regular people do this every single day, whether it’s what speed limits to obey, all the way up to how to deal someone who’s wronged them in some manner. Forms, signs, announcement and such have no force to compel on their own, of course; but they are symbols of very real, legal, and potentially deadly force that is out there, which can be called upon to enforce the underlying law.

        • “It’s the reality of legal consequences.”

          What reality is that? Deterrence?

          This murder was not stopped by filling out a form. This murder was not stopped by the NICS check. This murder was not stopped by the absence of UBC on private “sales” or transfers. This murder was not stopped by magazine limits. This murder was not stopped by NFA. This murder was not stopped by any gun control measure whatsoever.

          That several years after the fact the FBI can gain a conviction on an accomplice for a paperwork violation is hollow compensation for the lives that were lost…especially in light of all the promises that have been made about “these laws are needed for safety and to lower crime” in order to get them passed.

          Did making straw purchase illegal prevent this crime or not?

          If the answer is “no” then the premise upon which that law was based is shown false. The fact is, the law has demonstrably questionable deterrent effect. To hang one’s hat on such deterrence is exactly what the grabbers what everyone to think…that the issue is the gun, not the murderer.

        • What reality is that? Deterrence?

          Laws don’t deter criminals, though there is ample evidence that sentences for violating laws do act to deter crime.

          I’ve asked elsewhere: since no law will deter a criminal, does it follow that we should not enact laws?

        • Chip, I’ve commented on this in the past at great length and sometimes see myself as sounding like a broken record.

          In the current era, there exist at least two types of laws. Maybe three, but two that apply to your statement.

          The first kind of law is one that is passed on the basis of punishing violation of a social value. The legal system in a society sits upon, not parallel to, the value system. The classic example I give is the law against murder.

          That law is not intended to deter murder. The deterrence to murder arises from our (presumably) collective value of human life. So, this law’s purpose is to punish those that violate that social value. Similarly for laws against robbery, rape, etc. We as a society have values that say those behaviors are “wrong.” The law is the punishment mechanism.

          The other kind of law that I think is relevant to your comment is the type that is passed in order to influence behavior. These are VERY different from the laws against things like murder or rape…those things are considered wrong whether the law exists or not; wrongness preceded the law.

          Bloomberg’s attempt to outlaw big gulp is a good example of this second type of law. There are many, and gun control laws in general fit this category. There is no social consensus (or value system) determining the behavior; the law seeks to.

          So, where is the straw purchase law on this one dimensional spectrum?

          I would argue that it is somewhere in between at best, but definitely has elements of the latter case. The clue, as I read it, lies in how the law was “sold” for public acceptance. “We need to stop these straw purchases…let’s make it a felony to do so.”

          That may be an oversimplification, but it’s the gist.

          So, to answer your question directly…yes, we need laws in a society, but we need to understand what they are and what they are not. They are a means to punish violations of behavior that would be considered wrong even without the law; they are not a means to influence behavior, especially when that influence runs afoul of the larger value system.

          Further, the straw purchase is arguable “wrong” only by fiat…by declaring it so in law. Its wrongness is not (or once was not, anyway…people used to buy guns for others all the time with no nefarious purpose or result) universally held independent of the law.

          It only because “sellable” as a desirable law when the additional caveat of “straw purpose for a felon” is made the issue. So, ‘buy a gun for someone else’s ultimate end ownership” is not behavior deemed “wrong” based on social values, but solely by writing a law declaring it so.

          I could say a few things about the relative efficacies of these two types of laws, but I’ll stop there for now. But, food for thought: think about the number of people trying to get ‘gun control laws’ repealed (the second type of law) compared to the number of people trying to get laws against murder (the first type) repealed.

        • there ya go.

          Naive or stupid or whatever else, by acknowledging and signing that, she already committed a crime and a illiterate moron would not have known otherwise.

          Its amazing how people try to rationalize this. There are plenty miscarriages of justice, but this isn’t one of them

  7. Federal time is, at a minimum, 85% of the sentence given, usually 90-95%. No parole, five years of supervised probation. Federal felonies usually disqualify for public assistance (for her, not for any children she has), public housing and a host of other social service “benefits”.

    Not knowing the nuances of the case, her straw purchase might have been well enough prior to the shooting, that the intervening period could have made the AUSA unable to connect the two for an accomplice to murder conviction.

    With Federal cases, as in state cases, a plea is a negotiation between defense and the US Attorney’s Office. The US Attorney got what they asked for, 10 years. Many factors enter into this offer; strength of the United States’ case, prior criminal history (she would have had a pre-trial services report done – the defense is allowed to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of it), and US Probation-no-longer-parole would have also suggested the amount of time to be served. I have the honor of working as a defense investigator in cases prosecuted by the local AUSA, who can be tough-as-nails, but is a pragmatic individual.

    Sentencing not only punishes the individual for committing the crime, but, as previously stated, should serve as a detriment to others considering the same acts. I don’t know if the latter was a primary goal in this case.

    If there is an argument to be made, it would be the concurrent, rather than a consecutive, sentence.

  8. Yeah I remember when this went down. I have been approached by people(at the gym) about selling them guns. And he claimed his prison term was unjust persecution( he was an ex-cop). It can be mighty tempting if you are broke. How was ms. Nguyen to know her neighbors history? Do her own background check? On the nice man next door? Heck you need to use a FFL for almost every sale in Illinois. Did she get what she deserved? Yep-but I’m sure EVERYONE reading this has committed some kind of felony. 3 felonies a day…

  9. Let’s see grew up a mile for the killing site ,know one of the FF shot and my daughters knew one of the FF’s killed,my Dad used to stop by the killers house to see his father when I was a kid.

    Everyone knew the killer of the FF ,killed his Grandmother with a hammer . He lived on a narrow strip of land between the bay and the lake,it’s an area of self named ” bay rats”. The locals all know each other,many houses passed down to family members .

    She lived Nextdoor to the killer,they knew each other,it would be a bit of a stretch for anyone to believe she did not know his past.

    • Larry, thanks. Figured there was more to the story, and nothing found in other news reports, (other than she lied at first, about buying the guns), as to “what was she thinking!!!???”. The shooter was a proven nutjob, who killed his own sister in the fire he set to draw in the firefighters and cops he sniped from ambush.

      I’m sure there is more to this, but without the details its pointless to speculate, or argue.

      Sorry, not feeling sorry for the “college student”. She will pay for this mistake, yes, and hopefully some good will come of the example of the penalty she is paying, to deter others thinking of doing same.

      P.S. Straw gun purchase is not same as UBC.

      • Straw gun purchase != UBC, but they are close cousins.

        Both commit the sin of sleight of hand…”look over here, where / how the gun was purchased” rather than putting responsibility for a murder onto the murderer.

        She committed a crime: she lied on a form and signed it, acknowledging she knew lying on the form was a crime.

        She did a stupid (and illegal) thing: she bought a gun for someone else.

        But neither of these things suggest that gun control of any type would have or even could have prevented this murder. The key problem we face is that is exactly the political message and narrative that the grabbers use.

        We have to acknowledge this ‘case’ for the consequence it has for us: an increase in the vocal narrative that “more / better gun control will prevent crimes like this from happening.”

        The case stands on its own to show that neither NICS nor 4473’s nor any amount of “control” will prevent someone from getting a gun. How, where or why the gun came into a murderer’s possession is a red herring.

        • Straw gun purchase != UBC, but they are close cousins.

          Both commit the sin of sleight of hand…”look over here, where / how the gun was purchased” rather than putting responsibility for a murder onto the murderer.

          Not quite. The mere possession of a firearm was itself a crime. By purchasing the firearms for him, she became an accomplice to his crime of possession of those firearms.

        • Fair enough, but she was not even there at the time of the murders. The purchase was also temporally separated by a significant amount.

          So the question becomes admittedly hypothetical, but fundamentally important to the issue of gun control efficacy and the “do we need more laws” question. Or, for that matter, are the current laws useful at all?

          That is, the question becomes:

          If she had NOT purchased for him, would that have prevented this crime?

        • Fair enough, but she was not even there at the time of the murders. The purchase was also temporally separated by a significant amount.

          I believe that she does bear some criminal and civil liability in the crimes committed with the firearms that he illegally possessed, that she illegally purchased for him. I do not believe that she is an accomplice to murder, in the sense of criminal liability; but as I have said, I don’t think her sentence is unreasonable.

          So the question becomes admittedly hypothetical, but fundamentally important to the issue of gun control efficacy and the “do we need more laws” question. Or, for that matter, are the current laws useful at all?

          That is a highly theoretical question. No laws will ever stop criminals. Does that mean that we should have no laws?

          If she had NOT purchased for him, would that have prevented the crime?

          It would have prevented the crime as-committed with the firearms she illegally purchased, yes. Could the crime have been committed with other, different, illegally purchased firearms? Of course – in which case, the parties involved in such illegal purchase would have been similarly culpable.

        • “If she had NOT purchased for him, would that have prevented this crime?”

          Probably not honestly, BUT to touch on the subject of rational self interest, she wouldn’t be going to prison for 8 years and THAT is worth something, no?

        • “Probably not honestly, BUT to touch on the subject of rational self interest, she wouldn’t be going to prison for 8 years and THAT is worth something, no?”

          Sure it is. But I’m not commenting on her crime at all.

          I’m commenting on the efficacy of gun control laws, of which “straw purchase” is one, in terms of preventing crime.

          The purpose of making it a felony with an 8 year prison sentence to buy a firearm for someone else was to prevent crime. It did not prevent this one. It continues to not prevent many prohibited persons from getting guns by a number of mechanisms and committing crimes with them.

          By making this a “straw purchase” issue, we are accepting the premise that the gun is the problem. That is, the hypothesis that is accepted is that “gun availability leads to crime.” Test: lower the availability. Result: crime still happens.

          As Chip pointed out above, the only people these kinds of laws prevent are those unwilling to break the law or unwilling to risk getting caught breaking the law. Which is akin to the argument we make all the time…the gun is not the problem.

          A straw purchaser is a fiat felon. This is conceptually no different than the CT semi auto owners being felons for not registering their rifles in January when their rifles were perfectly legal unregistered in December. It’s no different than it being a crime for me to have a one 400 mg ibuprofen in my pocket without a prescription, but two 200 mg tablets are legal. Think about that for a moment.

          All three of these examples have same efficacy as laws. None stop, or even materially reduce, the behavior they sought to prevent. Prohibited persons still obtain guns, CT gun owners still own semi auto rifles and people still take net 400 mg ibuprofen without a prescription.

          The reason is because laws CANNOT materially change behaviors. That’s not the role laws play in social systems. Acceptable behaviors are determined by social values; laws only punish offenses. Cf: Prohibition, War on Drugs, Drunk Driving, tax evasion, underage drinking, felon in possession of firearm, etc. How much changing (or preventing) behavior has there been?

          The punitive component only works if the law is based on social consensus that the behavior was wrong. That’s why I give murder as an example. The Drug Laws, for example, don’t work because there is no such consensus.

        • A straw purchaser is a fiat felon. This is conceptually no different than the CT semi auto owners being felons for not registering their rifles in January when their rifles were perfectly legal unregistered in December.

          I disagree. the CT laws are unjust, immoral, and unconstitutional. They retroactively redefine a lawful activity as felonious.

          On the other hand, straw purchasing something for someone who is legally prohibited from possessing that item (firearms, alcohol, tobacco, others?) makes one an accomplice in an illegal activity. That illegal activity is the illegal possession of an item that someone is legally prohibited from possessing.

          I don’t think it ks logical to conflate lawful possession of a certain class of firearm by law-abiding citizens with unlawful possession of any firearm by a legally prohibited person. One is unjust, the other is, at best, misguided (because prohibited persons, if not kept incarcerated, will obtain firearms regardless of the legal prohibition) – but certainly not unjust.

        • To accept your premise, we have to also accept “prohibited persons.”

          In the case of FORMER felons possessing firearms, we have both stated on this very page that this is quite a tricky question.

          To accept the straw purchase argument in the general case, for all currently defined prohibited persons, is to accept the definition of prohibited person.

          Many here are happy with the current definition. Those that are are internally consistent.

          So, I guess the issue becomes not the straw person but the definition of prohibited. I concede there is the fundamental difference you mention between straw purchase and CT semi auto owners. The contention is not “straw purchase” but “who for.”

          That basically means “Straw purchase always bad” but the focus is back on “what is just prohibition of ownership / possession” and “what is just suspension of rights for life.”

          Which is kinda where we started. I think.

        • “Sure it is. But I’m not commenting on her crime at all.”

          Well thats kind of the fvcking subject at hand, no? her crime?

          Lets keep on subject here.

          “I’m commenting on the efficacy of gun control laws, of which “straw purchase” is one, in terms of preventing crime.”

          I would probably be in some agreement with you in some regards. straw purchases, by no means, prevent all crimes that are inevitably committed with firearms. No law is 100% effective anyways. That doesn’t mean that straw purchasing should be legal either, especially in this particular case.

          (and that argument doesn’t apply here anyways. she signed a government form acknowledging that she understood the consequences. This is most damning of everything.)

          “The purpose of making it a felony with an 8 year prison sentence to buy a firearm for someone else was to prevent crime.”

          No.

          The purpose is to deter people from being talked into straw purchasing for a otherwise prohibited person by putting teeth behind a law. Whether they work or not is another subject for another time.

          “It did not prevent this one. It continues to not prevent many prohibited persons from getting guns by a number of mechanisms and committing crimes with them.”

          Thats an assumption on your part. There is no data about how many crimes are prevented by straw purchasing laws, especially since existing firearms laws are not being enforced largely, although im skeptical of the conclusion that they dont generally work. I think they are hit or miss as far as that goes.

          This whole debate about the effectiveness of straw purchasing is a needless distraction in this case

        • “Lets keep on subject here. “

          Who the hell are you to tell anyone what they can and cannot comment on?

          This story is part of a larger issue that has to with gun laws and gun control; discussion of the larger issue is, therefore, on subject. If you don’t like that, I don’t give a rat’s backside.

          I really don’t know what your problem is; So, Chip and I are batting something back and forth and having a good, respectful debate. Out of nowhere, your panties get twisted up so you butt in with essentially, “I don’t like what you are saying, so you should not say it.”

          How about you grow up a bit. If you don’t want to participate in this thread of discussion…don’t participate. Really…it’s that easy.

        • “Who the hell are you to tell anyone what they can and cannot comment on?”

          Oh trust me, I haven’t even begun. Ill tell you whatever I want, bucko. Unless you want to make yourself look like a idiot rambling about stuff that is not on subject and completely misses the point.

          “This story is part of a larger issue that has to with gun laws and gun control;”

          LOL no it isn’t. There is no ambiguity here. No social injustice. This is a well established fact on what happens when you buy for someone and they use the gun to committ a crime such as this one. Pretty simple stuff.

          Whether or not the strawbuying law is “just” or not is an entirely different subject matter. Write your representative.

          “If you don’t like that, I don’t give a rat’s backside.”

          It seems you dont like facing the facts of the case.

          I dont like your assumptions and the fact that your are incorrect. Your utter ignorance of the facts is very telling.

          “How about you grow up a bit. If you don’t want to participate in this thread of discussion…don’t participate. Really…it’s that easy.”

          and there you go…you whine and cry about me “telling you what to do” then you do the same to me?

          oh the irony. Can you do me a favor? can you fill a 5 gallon bucket up with bleach and stick your head in it?

        • “Can you do me a favor? can you fill a 5 gallon bucket up with bleach and stick your head in it?”

          Nice. You have earned zero respect. Complete ignore.

          When you can grow up and have a rational, logical conversation with other adults, maybe someone will pay attention to you again.

          Let the insults fly…don’t care. Won’t read anything you post anyway. Way to drag the conversation down to the childish level we expect from motherjones and democraticunderground and their ilk.

          (Didn’t read the rest of your rant either…so if you made a point – I don’t care).

          Meanwhile…Chip, we’ll pick it up again under some other article, I’m sure. Carry on, brother. It was cool while it lasted.

    • I have NO idea of my neighbors criminal history. And I stated she deserves her sentence. If the shooter was so evil and dangerous why did so many people live in such close proximity to him? They didn’t hound him out of the neighborhood like some child molester? A little more information Larry…

  10. Hey wait a minute. I thought there was a faction here at TTAG who have issue with background checks as ineffective at reducing crime while infringing upon the RKBA. At least to this group, isn’t this woman’s guilt the result of this illegitimate doctrine? What the hell, makes me wonder about your conviction in this matter.

    I’m inclined to find that whole idea of “straw purchasers” reeks of a society that has lost its moral footing. A society that is so self-loathing it punishes wildly with a kind of blind self-flagellation anyone remotely contributing to a crime–the more heinous, the wider spread the thrashing.

    Severe punishment of “straw purchasers” is a strong indication that whole background check edifice is top-heavy and rotten. It strikes me that the strong punishment is borne more of propping up the law for its own sake–slapping down those who would stumble across such a puny and gossamer barrier–than deterring any substantial propensity for 20 year old college girls to conspire in mayhem.

    Why not vigorously endeavor to bring swift justice to trigger puller, and leave it at that. Leave the store which sold the hardware, the girl who bought the hardware, the cabbie who transported the perpetrator to the scene, and the pizza boy who fed him out of it.

  11. So am I to infer from all the comments bashing this woman as an accessory to a crime that we all here agree with NICS and background check? I thought a good number of gun guys objected to the background-check system.

    • So am I to infer from all the comments bashing this woman as an accessory to a crime that we all here agree with NICS and background check? I thought a good number of gun guys objected to the background-check system.

      This non sequitur argument seems to be coming up quite a bit here. A straw purchase and a background check are two entirely different things. Not committing a straw purchase has absolutely nothing to do with conducting (or not) a background check. Straw purchases can be illegal (or not) whether or not background checks take place (or are required, or not).

      It wasn’t her responsibility to conduct a background check on the killer. It was her responsibility not to commit a straw purchase of a firearm, and not to lie on a Form 4473.

  12. She provided weapons to a violent felon which he used to commit murders. If she provided Spengler with machetes instead of guns, I’d feel the same way. She should go to prison for felony stupid.

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