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TTAG commentator Derrick writes:

“When police responded to a report of shots fired near San Francisco in February 2011, they wound up in a standoff with 29-year-old Joseph Camilleri and his girlfriend,” reports. “The two were barricaded inside a home with as many as 20 guns, including 12 illegal assault weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.” And where did these guns come from? “On Friday, federal and state prosecutors alleged that two of the machine-pistol type weapons were sold to Camilleri by a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy abusing an exemption in state law that lets peace officers buy weapons that are illegal for civilians to own.” The funny thing is . . .

Unless Deputies Ryan McGowan [above] and Thomas Lu were intentionally buying the guns and reselling them to ineligible buyers (a.k.a., straw purchase) they did nothing wrong under the Democratic Peoples Republic of California (DPRC) crazy gun laws. The article states that the DA charged the pair with . . .

violating federal law by acting as straw buyers to purchase the restricted handguns, which they then sold to unqualified buyers through a licensed dealer who also faces federal charges.

Not if they filed the paperwork! The Deputies would be off the hook. If everything cleared the CA DOJ, the dealer is clear. Here’s the best of the rest of the useless media fluff surrounding this tale of police profiteering:

Court documents say the men sold exotic weapons including .50 caliber handguns, semi-automatic versions of Uzi-style submachine guns, and pistols that shoot high-velocity ammunition used by the U.S. military.

The truth comes out:

Camilleri [the criminal in the case] had altered the two pistols he bought from McGowan into illegal assault weapons.

I love this part:

After the Daly City standoff, Camilleri eventually pleaded no contest to a reduced charge as part of a plea agreement, and was sentenced to three years’ probation and 90 days in jail.

So for violating federal weapons laws, california weapons laws, other violations stemming from the barricade/stand-off with police he only gets 90 days in jail? WOW!
Bottom line: this is a case of the USDOJ trying to intimidate police officers not to sell weapons legally to other citizens. Are we creating or have we created Animal Farm already?

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    • Yup it is.. normal capacity magazines are out as well.
      Anything that looks scary, well you know it is just bad.
      Our crime rate isn’t low, and it doesn’t look like any of the laws are having any affect whats so ever. The city of Oakland just had a gun buy back as well, not like that is going to fix their war zone of a city.
      If anyone has any numbers on the gun business in CA that would be great. With impending implosion of the CA government I am willing to bet lots of folks are gunning up.
      Also their extortion of the gun manufacturers is criminal. Folks need to pay the CA government $4,000 + per gun, need an exact number, they want on an approved list for sale. This means if you have a gun which by all accounts is legal in every way, but one is black and the other is silver you need to pay them twice! This goes for left or right hand models, and even same chassis but different calibers. Go to Savage count up all their models and do the math. The cost for companies to do business is staggering!!!!
      Our FFL dealers here are in business because people will pay MSRP to up hold their rights. I am sure it is a struggle for them and despite all the laws trying to make our streets safer it has done nothing but hurt legitimate businesses and make it a scary prospect to be a dealer in this state.
      As a dealer you do everything the government asks of you in a private sale and even then you can be taken away in hand cuffs, and ruining you business and lively hood.
      If they are absolved of charges I hope they sue the hell out of the government. But then again CA will probably file bankruptcy so good luck collecting.

      • The Oakland gun buyback apparently was a dismal failure. Why would any sane resident of Oakland give up their means of protection in that city?

  1. The part I can’t stand is the fact that the deputies in question as far as I can tell did nothing wrong. Yet the BATF etc want to basically make it illegal for them to do something legal according to the law.
    I know there was one charge about a magazine sale, but to be honest I don’t even know if that was illegal. It will get thrown out but at the end of the day to lives ruined and for what?
    I am sure collectors do this sort of thing all the time. If they were in accordance with the law than no harm no foul. If the law is crap or has a loop hole then so be it, that isn’t their fault.
    Essentially they will need to prove that these men bought on a shopping list for someone they knew couldn’t buy a gun which I find hard to believe. It makes you wonder about all the legitimate FFL dealers who perform private sale transfers getting scared. I don’t know if there are dealers who do back ground checks even on private sales as a CYA.
    Tyranny is alive and well in California.. Yeah me!

    • Well you know it was for some type of sting operation or something or another! But oh my this lead directly to the death of our own boarder patrol agents. hhmm show should go to jail o that one?
      Personally any member of congress or other that knew about it and let it happen. Diane Fienstine are you listening???

      • You forgot the big O, who absolutely had to know, unless he wasn’t taking reports from the Attorney General. Oh wait, it’s right there in his meetings.

  2. This is NOT the first case. A retired FBI agent and avid gun collector was charged, tried and convicted for illegal arms sales under the contention (as here) that he was selling firearms without an FFL and for profit. (That case is up on appeal.) The main issue is not the occassional transfer, but a large volume of transfers suggesting that these officers were not mere collectors making no profit off their dealing but actually in the business of buying weapons for resale without the required license (which license, significantly, would have precluded them from making the sales to all but LEOs).

    The officers here allegedly made thousands of dollars buying weapons that LEO can legally purchase from an FFL but us regular citizens cannot (nonrostered firearms) and selling them for a profit to others. There was nothing illegal about such sales unless in fact the officers were buying weapons for the purpose of reselling them to others (straw purchases). [Although they have been accused of selling “illegal” weapons to civilians, such claims are false. Nonroster firearms are not “illegal”; rather they may be legally purchased and possessed by us mere civilians as long as certain procedures are followed–“single shot” exemption or PPT to be precise.]

    I don’t get some of the charges–they seem like fluff. If a purchaser converts a legal AR or AK type weapon into an unlawful “assault weapon”, why on earth should the seller be held liable? Especially when, under California’s arcane assault weapons ban, adding a foregrip, an unlawfully configured bullet butten, or certain stocks (bump fires and folding stocks) is enough to “convert” a legal weapon into an illegal one.

    • Well your assertion is as follows. Doing this as a business. What constitutes a business? As far as I know we are talking about one to two guns a month, maybe… An avid collector might do this normally. Then you have to follow a paper trail of where the money went, and how much was made. A few thousand over a few years does not constitute a business in my mind. If they were clearing a few thousand a month then maybe. It is a weak try at best, but then again the ATF does what it wants. Someone needs to get them under control.

  3. “pistols that shoot high-velocity ammunition used by the U.S. military.”
    huh? Last I checked the US mil for the most part used 9mm. When did the us .mil start using 5.7 or something even more exotic like 135gr 40 Super? An AR15 type pistol?

    • As far as I know there is not much in the way of hand guns which aren’t available to the public. The way the article was written it certainly sounds scary though doesn’t it?
      I am sure there are probably some specific instances where a small special forces group might be using something not on the general market, but I would think for the most part you want standard.
      Sure an exotic shell might work great but in country if you can’t get it the first thing you are going to do is dump it for something you can get ammo for.
      I didn’t know the 9mm from a military hand gun went any faster than that you buy off the shelf. Is there some special cryptonite or something they are using?
      Just chop this up to media bias, and move along now.. Nothing to see here..
      Rather than state that what they did was legal and well maybe the law is flawed with regard to private gun sales, they are hyping this up that the citizens of California are in grave danger. It is scary, and evil… So let us put some more laws into affect and don’t worry it is for your safety.
      The fact he modified legal firearms does not concern the seller or FFL. It is sad, and yeah worrisome but the seller and FFL were legally abiding by the law.
      Sure we can look at the discrepancy for LEO’s to buy things the rest of us can’t but at the end of the day these guys are being railroaded for some political agenda that has yet to be revealed.
      I don’t like to see guns in the hands of criminals. I don’t think any of us do.
      Turning around and disarming those of us who are law abiding does not help a thing. We know this..

      • I believe 9mm NATO rounds have a slightly higher muzzle velocity when compared with a standard 9mm Luger round. However, in practice, you won’t notice the difference.

        • It has a slightly higher pressure (35k vs 36.5k PSI) which does not necessarily mean higher velocity, which would be dependent on the internal ballistics, specifically powder choice, bullet sectional density and case capacity. Due to the volume the US (and foreign) .mil buys, and being price conscious, 9mm NATO could very well be lower velocity than a commercial standard pressure 9mm self defense round.

        • I forgot to include other factors such as COAL and bullet weight, and whatnot, but you get the idea. Damn you broken edit button!

  4. It’s not clear how long after the these 2 nitwits bought these guns before they decided to shoot up the neighborhood. My best guess is just a matter of days, maybe even hours? Did the officers that sold the guns know these people?

    • Not that we are aware of, the sale was facilitated by an FFL. Good chance they were on consignment to the FFL.


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