Norman A. Kuehni: Enforcing federal firearms laws no simple matter

2013-05-05T04:30:00Z Norman A. Kuehni: Enforcing federal firearms laws no simple matter madison.com
May 05, 2013 4:30 am

Dear Editor: Many opponents to any common sense firearms legislation, most especially the National Rifle Association, complain about the lack of enforcement of current firearms laws. What they fail to consider is the prosecution factor in this very complex issue. Those who criticize often cite Chicago as an example.

I enforced the FFA (Federal Firearms Act), the NFA (National Firearms Act), and then the GCA (Gun Control Act of 1968) for nine years in Chicago. Many violations were referred to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by local police. In most instances the violator was charged with violations of city or state statutes, i.e., UUW (unlawful use of a weapon), CCW (carrying a concealed weapon), etc.

Although it is not “double jeopardy” to be also charged in federal court for the same incident, many federal prosecutors denied to prosecute because of the pending local case. Federal prosecutors considered these to be “adopted cases” vs. federal “original cases.” I had to fight to get a prosecution in most of these type cases I prepared. These firearms cases are to this day probably low on the prosecution priority list in most U.S. attorney jurisdictions. And then there are those who have their own political agenda in considering what cases will be prosecuted.

Before those who oppose common sense firearms legislation make uninformed criticisms directed at law enforcement officers they should understand that our entire justice system is a major factor in enforcing existing federal firearms Laws.

Congress’ failure to act? Is democracy dead?

Norman A. Kuehni

Madison

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