Former police chief gets probation in machine gun trafficking scheme

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

One of the frustrating things about the current debate over new gun laws is a complete lack of interest on the part of the media and gun control supporters when it comes to how their new proposals would actually be enforced. I’ve read dozens of stories over the past few days about Senate negotiations on background check and “red flag” bills, yet none of them have bothered to include what the proposed penalty for violating those laws would be.

You’d think that would be an important factor in any discussions about new laws, but anti-gun Democrats and their allies present these measures as if simply putting them on the books is all that really matters. Many gun owners, meanwhile, talk about the need to better enforce the existing laws that we have in place, but again, it’s rare for the media to ever actually dig in to what enforcement of these laws looks like in practice.

I wrote a piece the other day about the light sentences being handed down to straw buyers in federal courts, where the possibility of a 10-year federal prison sentence is routinely discarded in favor of a few months behind bars or simply probation, and now we’ve got another example of the Biden administration and federal judges going soft on what are supposed to be serious violations of federal law. On Wednesday, 66-year old Dorian LaCourse, who is the former police chief in Addyson, Ohio, was sentenced to three years probation and six months of home confinement for his role in a scheme to illegally sell about 200 fully-automatic rifles purchased in the name of the Addyson police.

Prosecutors say LaCourse bought the guns that were only available to the military and law enforcement.

Then he went through two gun dealers in Indiana to sell them at as much as six times the price.

The two firearms dealers, Johnathan Marcum, 34, of Laurel, Indiana, and Christopher Petty, 58, of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, previously pleaded guilty in separate cases for their role in the plan. Both will be sentenced later this year.

Over the course of their plan, LaCourse received over $11,500 from the gun dealers.

You’d think officials with the ATF, which investigated the scheme, would be furious to see one of the ringleaders walk away with probation, but nope. They’re not only fine with it, they and the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case are praising the decision.

“Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect our communities and uphold the law, and the public has a right to expect police powers are used for the public good,” Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana said in a statement. “Instead, the defendant sold his badge to facilitate a criminal machine gun trafficking conspiracy. With heartbreaking regularity, we see the carnage that criminals can inflict on our communities with weapons of war. Today’s sentence demonstrates that officers who violate the public’s trust with utter disregard for the public’s safety will be held accountable.

“LaCourse committed an egregious betrayal of the public’s trust by engaging in this machine gun trafficking scheme,” Travis S. Riddle, Acting Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Columbus Field Division said in a statement. “I hope that this sentence serves as an example to anyone else out there who might be tempted to betray their oath of office and their responsibility to their community.”

Really guys? LaCourse could have been slapped with more than five years in federal prison for his scheme, but is walking away with probation and a six-month grounding by Uncle Sam and you think this is going to serve as an example for others? I certainly hope not, because the impression I get after seeing what happened to the former police chief is that the Biden administration isn’t much more interested in restricting the rights of legal gun owners rather than making sure that there are significant consequences for serious crimes like illegally trafficking firearms, which is only going to embolden those who are willing to make some quick cash on the black market.