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Gannett’s flagship newspaper USA TODAY claims in a recent story that if a Delaware gun shop had “done its job” in 2018, Hunter Biden would never have been able to illegally purchase the .38 Special Colt Cobra revolver, which led to his three felony convictions.

“By law, handguns can be sold by shops only to state residents, who must provide a government-issued proof of residency, and Biden was not a legal resident of Delaware in 2018. Instead, he offered only a passport, with his name and birthdate,” USA TODAY reporter Nick Penzenstadler wrote in the story, which was titled: “Hunter Biden’s gun case was spurred by an ATF form. The shop violated federal law.”

The same allegations were first brought up in court by Hunter Biden’s defense team, but Judge Maryellen Noreika correctly pointed out that the gun shop was not on trial.

Penzenstadler never mentions that federal law requires the firearm purchaser to present valid identification and to be truthful on the ATF Form 4473, which Hunter Biden certainly was not. He concealed his drug addiction when asked “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” At the time, Hunter Biden was smoking crack cocaine nearly every 15 minutes, according to courtroom testimony presented during his trial.

ATF compliance expert John “JC” Clark, co-founder and managing director of FFL Consultants, said the ATF Form 4473 is more than clear and warns the firearm purchaser that they will be held responsible for any falsehoods or misrepresentations.

“Mr. Biden failed to recognize that, despite the ATF Form 4473 being provided to him by a non-governmental entity, it remains a government document. This form includes explicit warnings detailing potential criminal violations for providing false information. It is unusual for a government form to not only instruct the user to ‘READ THE FORM,’ but to also require certification that the form has indeed been read,” Clark told the Second Amendment Foundation Wednesday. “By signing the form, Mr. Biden acknowledged his understanding that making any false oral or written statement or presenting false or misrepresented identification in connection with the transaction, constitutes a felony offense under federal law.”

None of this was presented in Penzenstadler’s story. Instead, to bolster his nonsensical claims, he resurrected a once infamous “gun control activist,” David Chipman, the runty former ATF bureaucrat and paid anti-gun activist whom Hunter’s dad tried unsuccessfully to confirm as ATF Director. The Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked on Chipman’s nomination along party lines, and Joe Biden was forced to withdraw his name from consideration.

“We don’t give drug dealers a pass to get the possessor,” Chipman told the newspaper reporter. “It’s criminal investigation 101. How the government has bent over backward to explain away the more serious felony is shocking.”

If Penzenstadler’s name sounds familiar, it should. He was once part of Gannett’s corporate anti-gun propaganda team, which paired paid activists from the Trace, the propaganda arm of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun empire, with reporters and editors from the newspaper – a move that violated about a dozen of Gannett’s highly touted ethical principles. Penzenstadler is now part of USA TODAY’s investigative team, according to his byline.

In 2021, Penzenstadler and a Trace activist interviewed Chipman for a glowing puff-piece titled: “Biden nominated him to head gun oversight. He went down in flames – but he’s not done fighting.”

The story portrayed Chipman as heroic and claimed the “ugly and personal confirmation process hardened his resolve to focus on gun safety and push back against the industry’s outsize influence on the agency — even if he has to do so from the outside.”

In the 2021 story, Chipman lashed out at everyone for his failed nomination, including the White House and the Justice Department. He blamed everyone but himself for becoming a laughingstock and at the time the greatest meme generator since Joe Biden.

Apples to Apples

Hunter Biden has yet to be sentenced for lying about his drug use on an ATF Form 4473 and possessing a firearm while addicted to, or using, illegal drugs. He faces up to 25 years in prison, but most court-watchers and pundits say he won’t spend a minute behind bars. While it can be problematic to compare the sentence one defendant receives to another, those looking for similar cases to compare to Hunter Biden’s criminal gun charges now have two examples to consider.

Last month, Alexander Wesley Ledvina, 27, was sentenced to four years in prison and three years of supervised release after he was found guilty during a 2023 bench trial of one count of possession of a firearm by a drug user and one count of making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

According to a Justice Department press release, Ledvina claimed on an ATF Form 4473 that he was neither a user of marijuana nor addicted to marijuana or any other controlled substance. However, during his trial, “Ledvina stipulated that he knew that he was using controlled substances, including marijuana, THC, and cocaine.”

As previously reported, Miracle Star Vaughn pleaded guilty to making false statements during the purchase of firearms. Like Hunter Biden, she concealed her drug addiction on an ATF Form 4473.

“During the firearms purchases, Vaughn provided false information regarding her address and her drug use,” a Justice Department press release stated at the time.

The ATF alleged that Vaughn, then 27 and living in North Liberty, Iowa, purchased seven handguns over an 18-month period, and that two of the weapons ended up in the hands of convicted felons. Vaughn, like Hunter Biden, had no criminal history at the time of her firearm purchases.

Vaughn pleaded guilty to making false statements on the 4473. On April 26, 2023, a federal judge in Davenport, Iowa sentenced her to 366 days in a federal prison. Vaughn was released three months ago and must now complete three years of supervised release.


Not too long ago, USA TODAY was seen by thousands of people, although most of them stepped over the newspaper while leaving their hotel rooms. Still, for a daily newspaper to unfairly target a small, family-owned business solely because they were unfortunate enough to encounter a Biden is unconscionable.

If Hunter Biden lied on a 4473 and got caught that is his fault, not the gun shop’s. Hunter Biden is a grownup who should be held responsible for his own decisions, good or bad. To imply that the gun shop should have known that he was lying about his drug use and his address is unfair.

The world is not made up of Hunter Biden minders, whose sole duty is to keep him out of trouble. There’s only one person who has that job – a 54-year-old self-admitted cocaine addict turned presidential advisor named Robert Hunter Biden.

This story is courtesy of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to support the project.

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  1. so Hunter lied, we get that. But despite the gun store not being on trial did they request and receive proof of residency? To my knowledge a passport is not one because it doesn’t have to reflect the current address like a driver’s permit would. Considering how rabidly the ATF has been going after FFLs for simple typos/innocent mistakes I can’t imagine one overlooking the need for residency and ensuring the address is correct. Hunter should be prosecuted lawfully and treated like others that lie on these forms but if the FFL made a mistake and didn’t get the proper identification then that’s on them…unless the purchaser provided fake ID or information. So what is it?

    • what is it? hunter biden is guilty of lying and signing his name…NCIC passed hunter so be ridiculous like the newspaper and throw NCIC in the tank with the Gun Store.

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  2. Since a US passport is considered as valid ID almost anywhere why would Biden using it be the gun shop’s problem?
    How would the gun shop know Biden was a habitual drug user?
    Sorry folks, the fault lands squarely at Bidens doorstep for lying on the form.
    Of course he is the exception rather than the rule. Usually those who know they can’t pass the background check or will have to lie on the form just bypass the whole issue and acquire their firearms through other methods. Usually behind the bar or out of the trunk of someone’s car. Or get a family member or friend who can pass the BG check to purchase the firearm.
    But then as the smartest man his idiot father knows, he likely never expected to be held accountable for anything ever.

    • Every 4473 I’ve filled out has FULL name, FULL address including city, county, and state included on it that the BUYER has to fill out by HIM/ HER SELF, and attest to among other statements as being true, followed by THEIR signature… are they saying that Hunter also lied elsewhere on the form ?

      • @pb_fan59
        but why didn’t (or did they, we don’t really know do we?) the FFL get a copy of his driver’s license or proof of where he resides. In Va you can’t purchase a firearm if your address has changed in the past 30 days and I don’t believe you can purchase a gun in person from a store if you’re out of state (never tried and never had a need to look into it so I am not sure of this one). If I was an FFL/store selling a firearm I’d want something other than just the buyers good word that they reside at X address in X state. The burden is on the buyer to be honest but the FFL has a lot to lose nowadays if they don’t go above and beyond. Just my thoughts. Sounds like Hunter is the piece of trash we think he is and committed a crime but I’m only part of the peanut gallery making comments and don’t have any say in it.

    • passport is an ID but not document that indicates residence. I can have a passport valid for 10 years and move across state lines several times during that period. It shows I have legal status/who I am but doesn’t show what state I am a resident of.

  3. if they’re trying to charge everything on everyone else, how about the slutty ex widow-in-law for illegally carrying and also disposing of a handgun within a school zone – that ought to be good for twenty to life.

    • What about buying a handgun in a border state? I’ve done that several times buying in Indiana and having it transferred to ILLannoy. Of course I had legal ID and told no lies. BTW every gun shop I’ve been to won’t sell to anyone with only a passport. Then again my name ain’t Bidumb🙄

  4. When the NICS E check is called in and the system should see someone that should have a less than honorable after resigning in shame from the U.S. Navy for a crack addiction. What, oh wait, does H.B. have a less than honorable???

    • Vinny, Hunter received an administrative discharge due to his drug use. An administrative discharge seems to be synonymous an O T H(other than honorable) discharge. This type is neither honorable nor dishonorable. The DD Form 214 will have the type and class of discharge. Moreover, an administrative discharge is noting to brag about for even the V A does not recognize them and do not give benefits to those holding such a discharge. A simple search will reveal the information this comment.

      • Corrections: synonymous WITH an O T H
        Discharge is Nothing to brag about
        information IN this comment

        Hope I found all the typos

  5. Anybody know what evidence there is that only a passport was used? Has the seller admitted such? Or is it Biden sez?

  6. Well if Hunter was smoking crack every 15 minutes I doubt he recognized anything.
    Fck the F4473, it’s registration and if we had a real Supreme Court that upheld the Constitution, well they’d bang their hammers louder but nothing would change.
    Why? Because the Constitution is only as strong as the people it represents.
    Are you addicted to or user of.
    What a bunch of sht.

  7. Whoops, TTAG’s algorithm fcked up. Just as I had expected.
    Spying on us huh.
    After seeing what I saw you all can Kiss My Ass.
    Poka Poka

  8. It’s always somebody else’s fault.
    I’m surprised Hunters crew hasn’t blamed the dealer for selling him the crack.

  9. If a republican is in the same time zone as a crime, the republican is responsible. If a Democrat commits a crime in the same time zone as a republican, the republican is responsible.

    Got it!

  10. So is this article saying that if a law-abiding person uses their passport to buy a handgun at an out-of-state FFL, then it’s not the FFL’s fault if they sell it to him even though he’s not a resident of that state? That’s a Federal crime, and it seems to be letting FFL dealers off the hook too easily, if they’re not required to check residence for handgun purchases, which is a Federal law.

    Of course, all gun control laws are illegal, and I wish they didn’t exist, but as long as the laws are on the books, FFL dealers are supposed to follow those laws for out-of-state residents trying to buy handguns illegally.

  11. What does it cost (in renminbi) to light up your crack pipe/etc every 15min. Sounds expensive/lot of renminbi. After you give slowJoe his 10%.


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