Felon accused of selling gun used in Texas synagogue hostage situation

(Amber Ross/Yakima Police Department via AP)

In his first public remarks after a British man holding four people hostage inside a Texas synagogue was shot by federal agents, Joe Biden got it half-right when he spoke about the gun obtained by Malik Faisal Akram.

In a press statement, Biden said Akram had been in the US for only a few weeks and had spent his first night in a homeless shelter.

Biden said he doesn’t have all the details yet but speculated that Akram might have “purchased it from an individual in a homeless shelter or a homeless community,” because that’s where he said he was.

“It’s hard to tell. I just don’t know,” Biden said.

While Akram alleged he had bombs, the president said there were none “that we know of.”

Biden added that while background checks are “critical” they don’t work when someone buys a gun off the street.

“But you can’t stop something like this if someone is on the street buying something from somebody else on the street.  Except that there’s too — there’s so many guns that have been sold of late; it’s just ridiculous,” Biden said. “And it’s because of the failure of us to focus as hard as we should and as consistent as we should on gun purchases, gun sales, ghost guns, and a whole range of things that I’m trying to do.”

Sleepy Joe should have just stopped after his first sentence, because as it turns out not one of his anti-gun agenda items would have prevented Akram from getting his hands on a gun. As it turns out, the British national did purchase the gun that he used “on the street,” and according to federal officials, the buyer was himself prohibited by state and federal law  from possessing a firearm.

Henry “Michael” Williams, 32, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after authorities say he sold the weapon that Malik Faisal Akram used when he entered Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, on Jan. 15 and held the synagogue’s rabbi and three others hostage for hours.

The attorney listed for Williams in court records did not immediately respond Wednesday to a phone message and email seeking comment from The Associated Press.

Prosecutors say Williams sold Akram a semi-automatic pistol on Jan. 13 — two days before the hostage-taking. The pistol was recovered from the scene.

Akram paid $150 for the gun, according to charging documents. The documents state Williams was convicted in 2005 of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance in 2013.

Williams allegedly acknowledged to investigators that he was aware he was not allowed to have a firearm and knew selling the gun to Akram was illegal.

He told FBI agents in an interview one day after the hostage crisis that he recalled meeting a man with a British accent but didn’t remember his name. During a separate interview this week, authorities said, Williams was shown a photo of Akram and this time confirmed that he sold Akram the weapon at an intersection in South Dallas.

Williams told investigators that Akram told him he intended to use the gun to intimidate someone who owed an outstanding debt, according to authorities.

If Akram paid just $150 for the pistol, there’s about a 99.9% chance that Williams or one of his associates stole it, which means that all of Biden’s bright ideas about “gun purchases, gun sales, ghost guns” (not to mention his gun bans) are absolutely worthless when it comes to this crime. And Biden himself appeared to have acknowledged this before he started complaining about all those guns that have been sold over the past couple of years; which is itself a bizarre statement for someone who’s repeatedly assured us that he has no issue with gun ownership.

On the other hand, it’s pretty on-point for someone who views the Second Amendment as a clear and present danger, which is much closer to Biden’s actual position than his half-hearted statements of support for the right to keep and bear arms, subject to “reasonable restrictions”, of course.

While Biden’s initial response was to lament the rise in legal gun ownership, I hope that the big takeaway from this incident for a lot of folks is that their safety is their responsibility and shouldn’t be outsourced solely to the State. No matter what gun control laws are in place, if individuals are willing to violate those laws then there’s not much police can do about it (at least proactively) and it’s up to us to make sure that we can protect ourselves from those who would do us harm.

Universal background checks wouldn’t have stopped this crime. If he was willing to take hostages, “may issue” carry laws wouldn’t have prevented Akram from illegally bringing a gun into the synagogue. There’s not a single gun control proposal from Biden that would have made a difference here, unlike the presence of an armed citizen. The president and his anti-gun allies were really hoping they could point to this case as justification for their anti-gun agenda, but the evidence that’s emerged make a much better case for armed self-defense than preventing we the people from exercising our Second Amendment rights.