straw purchaser
Sarah T. Hopkins straw-purchased two firearms for the convicted felon who shot up a lawnmower manufacturing plant in Kansas.

The serial criminal who shot up Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas earlier this week obtained both of his firearms from his ex-girlfriend, who knew she was straw-purchasing guns for a prohibited person.

A Newton woman is facing a federal charge after authorities said she is suspected of giving C___ F___* the two weapons he used to shoot 17 people in Hesston on Thursday.

Sarah Jo Hopkins, 28, is the mother of F___’s 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, according to court records obtained by The Eagle on Friday afternoon. She was charged with one count of knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said in an e-mailed news release Friday.

An affidavit filed in the case alleges Hopkins knew of F___’s criminal history – or had reason to think he had one – including his felony convictions, which barred him from possessing firearms.

She is accused in the document of giving him the Zastava Serbia AK-47-type semi-automatic rifle and the Glock Model 22 .40-caliber handgun he was carrying when he embarked on Thursday’s shooting spree.

The firearms were straw-purchased by Hopkins and given to the felon, were returned to her with the help of local police, and then she gave the guns back to him just days before the shooting.

Straw-purchases are the number-one way criminals acquire firearms.

I’m not generally in favor of more laws, but I would very much like to see the penalties for straw-purchasing increased dramatically, and take away the federal prosecutor’s discretion to plea away or drop straw purchasing charges, as so frequently occurs.

Currently, and especially under this Presidency, the U.S. Department of Justice does not aggressively prosecute gun crimes. Even straw purchasers who have bought guns for felons that used them to kill cops have gotten away with probation.

That has to change, and if the DOJ won’t do their jobs correctly, then Congress should force them to be prosecute these crimes aggressively and without mercy.

There Ought To Be A Law…

Prosecuting attorneys should not be able to drop straw purchasing charges if the evidence shows that the person purchased a firearm with the explicit intent of giving those firearms to a prohibited person.

The straw-purchaser should be prosecuted for the full 10-year ride and the $250,000 fine. If enough of these criminals went to prison and had virtually everything they’ve ever worked in their lives seized from them, maybe the criminal-supporting class would stop looking at straw-purchasing so flippantly.

Right now, they know a Department of Justice run by a criminal-coddling, police-hating President will not aggressively prosecute them.

In addition, perhaps we could change policies and procedures to help dealers push the point that straw-purchasing is a major crime, an enhanced version of the “Don’t Lie For The Other Guy” program.

It could be as simple as requiring all purchasers watch this video…

…before they are allowed to fill out an ATF Form 4473, which is redesigned to more explicitly point out on the front page that buying a gun for a prohibited person is a felony that will put  you in prison for a decade, and which requires purchasers to sign a spot acknowledging that they know they will go to prison for ten years if they are straw purchasing.

In instances where the straw-purchased firearms are then used to commit a crime that results in injuries or deaths, there should be criminal charges for the straw-purchaser equal to that of the felon committing the crime, something similar to the felony murder rule.

I think it would be entirely fitting if Sarah Hopkins faced four murder charges and dozens of counts of assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder for her role in providing this known criminal with guns, and frankly don’t think she should ever seen thee outside of a prison cell ever again.

Straw purchasing is the top way criminals acquire firearms, but the Department of Justice refuses to prosecute these criminals to the full extent of the law.

Let’s hold both the Department of Justice and these straw purchasers more accountable, and perhaps we can cause this source of illegally-acquired firearms to dry up.

 

* Bearing Arms does not public the names of mass or spree killers.