Don’t talk to me about passing a single new gun law if you aren’t fighting to make sure criminals are being prosecuted to the fullest extent of our existing laws. Criminals who commit crimes involving firearms are routinely allowed to cut plea deals on every level, even after people are killed with stolen or straw-purchased weapons.
A gun thief in Minnesota who is receiving probation after stealing more than 85 guns is just the latest example of our nation’s continued failure to put those committing gun crimes behind bars.
One of three area men charged with breaking into a Pleasant Valley Township home to cut open a safe with a blowtorch and steal more than $100,000 worth of guns, was sentenced to probation last week.
Brian Reicks, 19, of Riceville, Iowa, pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft of a firearm and one count of felony theft for taking a motor vehicle without consent as part of the agreement Oct. 15, 2015. He was originally charged with an additional count of felony theft and an additional count of felony first-degree burglary and possession of a dangerous weapon.
Reicks was sentenced to 20 years of supervised probation.
Reicks, Jacob Mogren, 18, and Isaac Morse, 20, also allegedly stole several motorcycles and other equipment from the property.
According to court complaints, the men allegedly broke into a home on April 8, 2015, where they tipped over a gun safe, cut open the bottom of it, and stole more than 85 guns, then allegedly stored the guns at Morse’s home in Riceville.
Two 1975 Norton Commando 850cc motorcycles were also stolen, and were later recovered from a La Crescent, Minnesota, man who paid about $1,600 for the motorcycles from a man pretending to be the victim.
Most of the guns were sold, and police recovered at least 82 of them.
In other words, there are at least four stolen firearms still in criminal hands because of Reicks’s burglary, and the prosecutor let him off with a slap on the wrist and released him back into society where he can cause more crimes. He should instead be in court facing more than 85 felony counts and the possibility of rotting in prison for decades.
Unfortunately, neither district attorneys nor federal prosecutors seem to have any interest in treating firearms theft, straw-purchasing, or firearms trafficking with any degree of seriousness.
Until prosecutors start treating these crimes as a serious matter, we should not accept any cries from politicians to pass more firearms-related laws.