Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shahzad's Gun

Via the NYT we learn that bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad, back in March, had purchased a Kel-Tec 9mm Sub Rifle 2000 from a dealer in Connecticut. The gun's serial number is E7L98. After the two-week waiting period (what the?!) he came back on March 15th and purchased the gun.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in his testimony on Wednesday before the Senate committee, urged that suspects on terrorism watch lists be blocked from buying guns and explosives.

“When gun dealers run background checks, should F.B.I. agents have the authority to block sales of guns and explosives to those on the terror watch lists — and deemed too dangerous to fly?” the mayor asked. “I believe strongly that they should.”

Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office has released data showing that suspects on the terror watch lists were able to buy guns and explosives from licensed dealers in the United States more than 1,100 times from 2004 to 2010. Such a statistic seems irrelevant in Mr. Shahzad’s case, as he was on no such list in March.

It is unclear whether, in the 50 days Mr. Shahzad was a registered gun owner, he ever once pulled the trigger.
The suspect had a clean criminal and mental health history, he purchased a long gun (not a pistol, for which a permit is required in Conn.), waited the required two-week period, and may not have ever fired the thing. All fully in compliance with the Brady Center's recommendations.

He seems to have acted alone in his bomb-making, so there's no "conspiracy" charge. It looks to me like he didn't break any laws at all until he lit the fuse in Times Square. Except, of course, for the Sullivan Act! But you don't need a gun to violate the Sullivan Act: George "The Mad Bomber" Metesky was charged with violation of the Sullivan Act for carrying his little pipe bombs around NYC.

And as the Times so accurately (and uncharacteristically!) points out, Mayor Bloomberg's proposal wouldn't have stopped Shahzad from buying a gun, since he wasn't on any Federal list in March.

Any lawyers care to weigh in?

1 comment:

Charles Pergiel said...

That gun dealer should never have sold Shazam a gun: he was obviously going to build a bomb. The gun dealer should have known.

That Kel-Tec gun is weird. I don't know what to make of it. I supposed it might be more accurate than a pistol for someone who doesn't do a lot of training, but it's not exactly compact.

It's been a long time since I heard about the Sullivan Act. Will be a celebration to mark it's 100 year anniversary? I hope so. Maybe we can blow something up then.