Another Brazen Lie from Moms Demand Action

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Moms Demand Action is today promoting this meme:

On the outfit’s Facebook page, the image is furnished with a caption:

Dmitry Smirnov was prohibited from purchasing firearms because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. But he was able to buy a handgun from a stranger online at Armslist.com with no questions asked. Less than two weeks later, Smirnov traveled to Chicago and murdered his ex-girlfriend, who he had been stalking. He shot her a dozen times

This is astoundingly, willfully, egregiously dishonest. Every single thing that Dmitry Smirnov did was already flatly illegal. He didn’t utilize any “loopholes”; he didn’t benefit from any ambiguities or exceptions in the law; he wasn’t freed up by a lack of “common sense” prohibitions. He just broke the existing rules.

Let’s go through this methodically:

  1. The meme claims that Smirnov was “prohibited from purchasing firearms because he wasn’t a United States citizen.” This isn’t quite true. Legal permanent residents such as myself are, in fact, able to buy firearms, and are subject to exactly the same rules as are citizens. But, being neither a citizen nor an LPR, Smirnov was flatly ineligible under federal law to purchase, transfer, or possess firearms. Yes, he did it anyway. Because he broke the law. That’s what criminals do.
  2. The meme claims that “Smirnov was able to buy a .40 caliber handgun from a stranger in Federal Way, Washington that he met online on Armslist.com. Smirnov paid an extra $200 for the man to ‘look the other way.’” This is correct. Smirnov was indeed “able” to do this. But he was able to do so not because doing so was legal, but because criminals don’t care about the law. As we have already established, Smirnov was not allowed to buy, transfer, or possess a gun in any manner at all. He was not allowed to walk into a store and buy a gun. He was not allowed to buy a gun privately. He was not allowed to be given a gun as a gift. Further, the person who sold Smirnov the gun — who was “paid an extra $200″ to keep quiet — deliberately and knowingly broke federal enactments by selling to somebody that he knew was ineligible. None of the changes that Moms Demand Action would have changed this case at all. Laws rendering this illegal are already on the books.
  3. The meme claims that “Smirnov” subsequently “traveled to Chicago and murdered his ex-girlfriend Jitka Vesel, who had been stalking.” This, rather obviously is illegal already.

The Chicago Tribune also records that Smirnov “paid a homeless man in Spokane to buy bullets, since [he] could not legally purchase them.”

The bottom line: The law did not “fail Jitka Vesel.” Once again: Smirnov came into no contact with “loopholes in our law”; he just broke the existing rules. To suggest otherwise is deceitful in the extreme.

I can only imagine that Moms Demand Action has chosen to promote this latest series of lies because the powers-that-be at the organization believe that the incident strengthens its case for background checks on private sales — an issue that is currently being debated in . . . you’ve guessed it: Washington State. But, in truth, it does precisely the opposite. Why? Well, a) because whether or not Washington State had required background checks on private sales, Smirnov would have remained ineligible to purchase a firearm, and b) because this case demonstrates neatly that gun laws do not stop people who do not care about gun laws from getting hold of guns. In their excitement and their ignorance, then, Moms Demand Action has ended up making the opposite case from the one it intended to make, and, in the process, confirmed once more that the gun-control movement’s most formidable foe continues to be its own rank stupidity. Carry on.

(Hat tip to Bob Owens for alerting me to the lie.)

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