Tuesday, January 19, 2021

U.S. v. Gear (9th Cir. - Jan. 19, 2021)

This is a lot of effort into investigating and prosecuting someone for owning a Lithgow .22 caliber bolt action rifle, no?

I mean, yeah, I guess the guy wasn't allowed to possess it.  Not because he's a felon or anything like that, but rather because he's -- gasp! -- Australian.   You can't own firearms if you have a non-immigrant visa, and Melvyn Gear's in the United States (for many years) on an H-1B.  But, as it turns out, when he tells his Australian wife (from Hawaii, where he works) that he wants a divorce, his respective share of the martial property gets shipped to the States, including the aforementioned weapon.  A crime.  Someone drops a tip, federal agents conduct an investigation, interview witnesses, get a search warrant, and find the gun.  Hence the prosecution.

Okay.  I guess that's the law.  Mr. Gear gets 15 months in prison.  Far from an insignificant penalty.

At least from the opinion, there's no particular dirt on Mr. Gear.  No prior offenses, no threatening anyone, no other criminal conduct, etc.  Yet the feds come down fairly hard of him, I think.

I wonder if there's a backstory here.