Guilty Plea in Unlawful User Case no Big Win for BATFE or DOJ

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Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP

A recent guilty plea at a federal court for being an “unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of firearms” raised my eyebrows a bit. The BATFE loves to toot their own horn, and this plea the prosecutors were able to coax out of the defendant just reeks with an odor we can call “Eau de Hunter Biden.” Eh? The story has holes and other dramas, but I suppose we shall let the DOJ take the “W” for the street cred on this one, as pathetic as it is.

Springfield Rapper Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearms
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield, man who was part of a local rap group pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing firearms.
Ezekiel Josiah King, 20, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to one count of being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of firearms.
Co-defendant Jardell Carlin Williams, 20, pleaded guilty on May 16, 2023, to two counts of being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of firearms.

As a reader of Bearing Arms, you probably don’t have to guess what I’m thinking on this one. If this were being dissected by Tom, Cam, Ranjit, or Ryan, you’d probably not have to guess what they’re thinking either. The DOJ alleges that “both King and Williams admitted they regularly smoked marijuana.” Isn’t this just the case of the century?

What was the fuzz really after though? There was a traffic stop. None of the particulars are really clear, other than the release noting a slew of alleged Fourth and Fifth Amendment surrenders. 

By pleading guilty today, King admitted he was in possession of a loaded Glock .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, with an extended magazine that contained 29 rounds, and an Anderson AM-15 multi-caliber rifle, loaded with 31 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition, on Feb. 15, 2022. King was driving a gold Nissan Altima that was stopped by Springfield police detectives. In addition to the firearms, detectives found another extended magazine and two factory Glock magazines under the driver’s seat.
Williams, a passenger in the vehicle, admitted he was in possession of a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol. Detectives also located two more boxes of ammunition in the front floorboard.
Williams also admitted that he was in possession of a C3 Defense 5.56-caliber semi-automatic pistol when a vehicle, in which he was a passenger, was stopped by law enforcement on Oct. 22, 2022. The C3 Defense AR-style pistol was tentatively identified as being used in three shooting incidents in the Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, areas.

After laboring through the minutiae of the traffic stop and possession list, we arrive at a firearm that’s been tentatively identified as being a gun used in commission of a crime. It’s doubtful the pair were on their way to a Boy Scout outing as adult leaders, but, we simply don’t know the details. There were admissions that they should have never made and they ended up in the fancy stainless bracelets because of it.

The bigger issue that I’m seeing with this duo and whatever other alleged crimes they may have committed or were associated with, is the charge that’s sticking. “Unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of firearms” is just garbage.

It’s 2024 and 38 out of 50 states have decriminalized the use of marijuana to one extent or another, with 24 allowing bud for fun. As our good friend, author and attorney, Evan Nappen says, “You can bang, or you can bong. You can’t do both.” Out of all the laws that are out there regulating a civil liberty, we’d think that this would be one the pinko commies could get behind the full repeal of.

I’m not going to say the rap group is getting a bad rap, but I’m also not going to say they aren’t. The “gotcha” of setting the hook with these guilty pleas is the equivalent of Al Capone getting busted for tax evasion. If there’s a legitimate problem with an alleged criminal and they can’t stop them, it shows that our police forces just need to do better.

There’s no reason why we should be charging people with this archaic law when there’s clear support for the declassification of the substance that’s brought the duo down. This is especially true when there are people suffering that can and do use cannabis for therapeutic and medical purposes. Thankfully, as Cam covered earlier today, the Second Amendment Foundation and a Pennsylvania DA have teamed up to at least challenge the federal ban on gun ownership for medical marijuana users. 

I’m not going to be the one to tip my hat to the BATFE or DOJ on this one. Not at all. Not when they could just as easily be charging a cancer patient who’s using medical marijuana to help them keep food down, who also wants to defend themselves with a firearm. How novel the whole thought of a fragile element of society possibly wanting protection. All guilty pleas and convictions of this sort do is show how sorry of a state our three branches of government really are in.

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