I tend to scan the press releases from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives where they crow about their latest exploit as the “Violent Crime Bureau”. They usually involve felons in possession or drug dealers getting sent to prison with the occasional straw purchase thrown in for good measure. The press releases are officially from the US Attorney’s Office for the relevant local judicial district.
Today I happened to read one concerning a felon in possession. The headline for the release read “Austin Felon Sentenced for Possessing Assault Rifle.” I immediately wondered how some felon got a full-auto rifle which was an error on my part. Instead it was one of those ugly guns with the shoulder thing that goes up. In other words, a semi auto rifle which in this case probably was a Saiga or one of the many AK clones.
MINNEAPOLIS – Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 31-year-old felon from Austin was sentenced for possessing an assault rifle. United States District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle sentenced Samuel James Johnson to 180 months in prison on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Johnson, who was indicted on April 17, 2012, pleaded guilty on June 6, 2012.
In his plea agreement, Johnson admitted that on November 4, 2010, he possessed a 7.62 x .39 caliber, semi-automatic assault-style rifle.
This press release came from the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. The US Attorney there is B. Todd Jones who is also the Acting Director of BATFE.
I guess one shouldn’t expect the press to get the difference between an “assault rifle” and a so-called “assault weapon” straight if even the agency tasked with the enforcement of firearm laws or its Acting Director doesn’t.
Josh Sugarmann must be doing fist pumps.