When you purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, you have to fill out a Form 4473. That form, as most of our usual readers are quite aware, asks a series of questions. They need to be answered accurately under penalty of perjury. One wrong answer, though, and you don’t get to buy your firearm.
Of course, people like on the 4473s all the time. It’s how some people get guns despite not being allowed to have them, after all.
The one person you expect to appreciate these facts, though, is someone who served as a police officer. That doesn’t mean, though, that they don’t do bad things from time to time which can allow the wrong people to get guns, though.
A former law enforcement officer in Texas will now spend four years behind bars for falsifying 4473s and selling guns to shady characters in Mexico.
Jose Cruz, 49, was sentenced this week to 48 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, reports The Monitor.
According to the criminal complaint, Cruz, while working as the manager of The Gun Rack in McAllen, Texas, sent as many as 80 weapons and at least 500 rounds of ammo south of the border.
Judge Crane said that “After a gunfight where there were multiple people killed,” agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were able to trace the recovered guns at the crime scene back to Cruz’s store.
After interviewing Cruz, ATF agents discovered he was padding honest customer’s 4473s with firearms they didn’t purchase. Then, he would sell those extra guns out the back door to individuals to “protect himself,” according to his statement during the sentencing hearing on Monday.
Allegedly, there were parties threatening Cruz if he didn’t sell the guns. Why Cruz didn’t reach out to law enforcement, though, is a question that remains unanswered.
Not that it matters. He did the act, now he does the time.
Of course, these are guns that are blamed for fueling the violence in Mexico, yet it would be wise to remember that these guns were not legally obtained. These were criminal acts that ran afoul of United States law in the first place. While Mexico can stomp their feet and throw a temper tantrum about these guys, I’d love to hear them tell us how they’d curb these kinds of acts within the constraints of the Constitution.
The truth is, criminals will get guns no matter how much you try to stop them. They could obtain them legally, so they got them illegally. Whether Cruz was willingly selling them or not doesn’t matter. What matters is they were sold regardless of what the law said.
That’s something the Mexican government needs to come to understand. While guns may be crossing the border, they’re breaking not just Mexican law to do so, but American law as well.
Now, Cruz is facing four years in prison and being stripped of his right to keep and bear arms for a lifetime. I wonder if whatever he gained for doing so was worth it or not.