Yunis Isaac Mejia is now detained under federal law. Hunter Biden is not. Those Americans who openly ask why their fellow countrymen continue to be so habitually dubious toward tighter federal gun-control measures need not look any further than that to understand why their compatriots hold this view.
Yunis Isaac Mejia, a former 911 dispatcher, was given a sentence of 21 months in jail earlier this month for illegally attaching a buttstock to a pistol. Any firearm that has both a stock and a barrel that are shorter than 16 inches in total length must be classified as a “short-barreled rifle” in accordance with the provisions of the 1934 National Firearms Act. This classification requires the owner to register the firearm with the federal government and pay a tax of $200. During the course of his conversations with an FBI informant, Mejia made it abundantly clear that he understood the outlines of this law, and that he had even followed it in the past. However, he stated that he did not wish to go through the trouble of doing so with this particular firearm because he was not a “criminal” and did not want to “pay the government two hundred extra dollars just to put pieces of metal together.” As a result of this, he was detained and charged with a criminal offense.
Mejia’s offense is just as weird as it sounds, as Lee Williams explains it over at The Gun Writer:
Picture Mejia sitting at his kitchen table with his Scorpion in one hand and the after-market stock in the other. When they’re attached, he’s committing a felony. When he disassembles them, he is acting in accordance with the law. Together, they form a felony. Apart — no crime. The National Firearms Act is completely and utterly insane in this regard.
The National Firearms Act is, without a doubt, an absurd piece of legislation. However, this is not a valid reason. Whether you agree with the National Firearms Act or not, the fact is that it was deliberately violated by Mejia. This is made abundantly evident by the transcripts, as well as by his admission of guilt. And yet, it’s a question that’s very reasonable to ask: why exactly did the federal government go to such enormous pains to prosecute him? It does not happen often that the FBI collaborates with the ATF, seeks a lengthy prison sentence for a person who otherwise has no history of wrongdoing, recruits citizen-spies to befriend peaceful gun owners, commissions the surreptitious photographing of legally purchased firearms, and seeks to punish the individual with a lengthy prison sentence. Then, why did it behave in this manner here?
If the response is “because it is important to enforce federal gun-control laws,” then the federal government has some explaining to do. If the question is “why,” the answer is “because it is important to enforce federal gun-control laws.” Hunter Biden, son of the President of the United States, has provided the executive branch with sufficient evidence of wrongdoing over the course of the past five years to at least justify an investigation pertaining to his purchase of a gun; however, at each point, that executive branch has simply yawned and ignored the evidence that he has presented. According to a story in Politico from the year 2018, the following:
“On the record of the transaction, there is a question that asks, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any other depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other restricted substance?” Hunter gave a negative answer to this question. After testing positive for cocaine, he had been released from the Navy Reserve five years earlier, and he and members of his family have discussed his history of drug usage.”
During the time period in which he purchased the rifle, Hunter Biden was “smoking crack every 15 minutes,” as stated in the biography Beautiful Things that he wrote about his life. Which matters a great deal since, in large part because to Hunter Biden’s father, Joe Biden, lying on Form 4473 is now a federal felony that may carry a sentence of up to ten years in federal prison. This is because Joe Biden helped pass this law.
These regulations do not end when you enter the gun store. It is against the law to possess a firearm while under the influence of a controlled substance, according to federal law. Again, this is significant because about a week or so after he bought his gun, Hunter Biden showed up in a series of scandalous photographs in which he was shown “with one hand on the trigger of the gun and his other hand cupping his penis and pelvic area,” as well as “what appears to be crack cocaine can be seen on a plate alongside used and packeted condoms, along with drug paraphernalia and a spoon.” These photographs were published in a tabloid newspaper. According to Politico, Hallie, who was dating Biden at the time, grew so frightened by how he was acting with his new gun that she took it away from him and dumped it in a trash can across the street from a school. She did this to protect the children who attended the school.
If a person is caught using illegal narcotics while in possession of a firearm, they face a maximum sentence of five years in a federal correctional facility.
It is a fact that the federal government does not investigate or prosecute a significant portion of the federal gun offences that are committed. It is not accurate to say that this absolves the federal government of responsibility for disregarding Hunter Biden in favor of pursuing other potential criminals (though Hunter is under investigation concerning his taxes). In most cases, infractions of Form 4473 are overlooked due to a lack of evidence; hence, if a person lies to the government about their drug usage on their application, the government will most likely not find out. The same holds true for being in possession of illegal substances while also being under the effect of those substances, which typically takes place behind closed doors. Hunter Biden has provided the federal government with all of the evidence it requires to launch an investigation by writing a book in which he admits to having been a regular drug user during the same period of time that he purchased a firearm and by uploading videos to the internet that appear to show him waving a firearm around while smoking crack. The videos seem to show him waving the firearm around while smoking crack.
Why has it not done so?
It is not possible for the response to be that the claimed behavior of Hunter Biden was harmless while the actions of Yunis Mejia posed a threat. Mejia did, in fact, violate the law. However, there is no evidence to imply that he posed a threat that was significant enough to warrant the heightened caution that he was shown. Mejia did not have a criminal record, any documentation of mental illness, or a history of substance addiction when the FBI decided to set up their sting operation on him. Because he had successfully passed background checks at the state level (to obtain his concealed-carry permit) as well as the federal level, neither the purchase nor the possession of firearms was illegal for him, and he had also been cleared to carry a concealed weapon (for his suppressors). Mejia committed a criminal, but that crime was a crime simply because it is a crime; it was not a crime because it represented a glaring breach of ethical standards. In legal parlance, infractions such as Mejia’s are referred to as malum prohibitum, which is Latin for “acts that are considered immoral because they are illegal rather than because they are immoral.” Mejia was found guilty of a malum prohibitum infringement. On a contemporary sporting rifle, there is no discernible advantage to having a barrel that is either 15 or 16 inches in length. This alteration does not render the weapon more dangerous; it does not transform the user into a monstrous being; and it does not place the user in any greater danger than they were already in before. It is a crime involving papers, and nothing else than that.
This is not the case with the alleged wrongdoings perpetrated by Hunter Biden, all of which fall under the alternative classification of malum in se, which refers to offenses that are unlawful because they violate accepted standards of morality. To understand that the federal government has a clear interest in prohibiting anyone from purchasing, carrying, or brandishing firearms while smoking mind-altering substances, one does not need to be a drug warrior, and I am not one either. All one needs to do is think about it. Mejia’s claimed wrongdoing is analogous to the act of unlawfully changing his vehicle, whereas Hunter’s alleged wrongdoing is comparable to driving under the influence of alcohol. If the federal government was obligated to examine even just one of these infractions in order to make the most of the limited resources it had, then it should have investigated Hunter’s infraction without a doubt. The fact that it has not tells us a great deal about how the bureaucracy views our already established maze of gun laws. It also explains why Joe Biden and his party have been so incapable of convincing the public that their desire to “do something” will result in them doing so without fear, favor, or good old-fashioned political caprice, despite all of their frustrated emoting.