“Moonshiners” reality television celebrity Steven Tickle will avoid prison, despite being convicted of being in possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

A reality television star will not receive jail time for being found in possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

Steven Tickle, from the “Moonshiners” television show, was convicted of possession of a sawed-off shotgun on Jan. 28.

He was sentenced to three years, but Pittsylvania County Circuit Judge Stacey W. Moreau suspended all of those years.

Tickle was found in possession of the sawed-off shotgun during a traffic stop on July 12. He was stopped because a headlight on his black Dodge truck was out.

Tickle, was busted for driving on a suspended license with his illegal shotgun in plain view while driving at night in a vehicle with only one functioning headlight, and was convicted in late January.

He was charged and convicted of state-level charges only; the federal government was as negligent in bringing charges against him as they have been against other people who have committed gun crimes.

I’m sure that Tickle supporters will point out that his crime was non-violent and was in violation of a gun law (the National Firearms Act of 1934) that many people feel is unconstitutional. They are correct on the first claim, and likely correct on the second if “shall not be infringed” means anything at all (despite the recalcitrance of a U.S. Supreme Court which refuses to hear cases challenging most gun laws under strict scrutiny as is constitutionally warranted).

That stated, we are supposed to be a nation of laws, not of men. When the federal government refuses to enforce laws, Bad Things happen. Tickle was non-violent, but many violent criminals who should be tried and convicted on federal gun charges routinely have their charges dropped, pleaded down, or not even brought in the first place. These same offenders then resurface with predictable regularity. They are typically later convicted in murders, or are shot dead by police or citizens, or their fellow criminals. Sadly, they aren’t taken out of the system (or out of this life) until these predators have caused a great deal of pain and suffering in their communities first.

Either the government should enforce the laws, or we should remove them from the books.