“Because we are the federal ‘gun police’ and we have the experience with the different firearms that have been manufactured and sold, we’re going to provide any assistance they need,” ATF Special Agent Helen Dunkel said. “ATF is the agency that traces crime guns. This firearm is now involved in a crime because it was stolen.” Whew! We know we feel better knowing the conscientious folks at ATF are on the job. You? The particular gun that Agent Dunkel’s bird-dogging is Salinas city councilwoman Gloria De La Rosa‘s stolen AK-47. Or SKS. Well, it was one of those. Probably. Since both are pretty much always illegal in the Golden State, does it really matter?
Well, yes it does. Particularly if you’re not a councilwoman or other member of California’s privileged class for whom the state’s onerous gun laws don’t really apply. And as monteryherald.com tells it, Dunkel’s making some progress.
An outlawed assault rifle stolen from a Salinas councilwoman’s home was bought at an Arizona gun show, police say, and investigators are now looking into its origins.
The gun was reported stolen in a recent burglary at the St. Michael Way home of City Councilwoman Gloria De La Rosa.
Following up on leads provided by De La Rosa and others interviewed, investigators say they are tracing the gun’s history in hopes of learning details about the weapon. Police believe the gun was either an AK-47 or SKS rifle, both of which are mostly outlawed in California, with rare exceptions.
The assault rifles are legal in Arizona, however, and police believe the weapon may have been legally purchased by De La Rosa’s late son-in-law at a gun show there and later brought into California.
“While they may have in good faith strongly believed that it was legal, ignorance of the law is not a (legal) defense,” Salinas Deputy Police Chief Kelly McMillin said.
But De La Rosa may skate anyway.
Police say they are convinced the weapon was an illegal assault rifle, but because the only evidence comes from a family photo and statements, McMillin said prosecutors don’t have enough to prove possession of an illegal weapon.
“Prosecutors can’t prove it based on suspect statements and a photo,” he said. “Without the gun, you can’t prove it’s an assault weapon.”
We’re sure any of De La Rosa’s constituents would be treated with just as much deference and understanding.