Ohioan faces gun-sales charges in Tennessee
Monday, January 31, 2011 10:50 AM
SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. -- An Ohio man has been indicted on charges he illegally sold more than a dozen firearms to an undercover officer in Tennessee.
According to court documents obtained by the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, 53-year-old Thomas Lee Stetler of Port Clinton, Ohio, faces a charge of illegal interstate transfer of firearms and another charge for doing so while under a restraining order in Ohio.
Bedford County Detective Lt. Brian Farris said Stetler was introduced to an undercover officer in Bedford County and then delivered the guns to the officer earlier this month. Stetler was immediately arrested.
Among the guns taken were shotguns, rifles and a number of revolvers. The newspaper reported Stetler has been released on a $20,000 bond and no court date has been set.
OK, so this guy sells weapons to an undercover BATF agent in Tennessee while a resident of Ohio. No big deal EXCEPT for the fact that he bypassed the FFL requirement AND he was under a restraining order here in Ohio (how that plays in I am not exactly sure but I am pretty certain its some type of Lautenberg rule deal). In the remarks section of the Columbus Dispatch where I found the AP article posted one comment read as follows..
"Ridiculous, how is an individual supposed to know they cant sell a gun just because they are in another state."
Well, knowledge of all applicable firearm laws in your state is a part of being a responsible gun owner, thats how. Plus if this guy was selling that many firearms chances is it wasn't his first time. If you are around that type of activity you will pick up pretty easy that its against the law to do interstate sales without a FFL involved.
I have sold my fair share of guns over the past few years (again, almost never even breaking even on the sale...mostly just to buy yet another gun to review) and I have always verified residency and preferred to deal with CCW holders, who I know have passed a background check to get the CCW ID. I have even walked away from a couple of sales because the "Spidey sense" was tingling. Most people I know operate in the same manner, yet its the few that don't that will cause us a lot of headaches...like this guy.
If this was somebody from Cincinnati selling to an agent in Northern Kentucky I could almost see where maybe some shenanigans might be suspected, such as the BATF agents possibly not fully disclosing where they were and just saying local..but this was different. For those not geographically proficient in Ohio...Port Clinton (where Camp Perry and the NRA National Rifle Matches are held) is clear up on the North Shore of Ohio on Lake Erie...and of course Tennessee is two states South of Ohio on the OPPOSITE BORDER. Maybe this guy was just ignorant of the law...hard lesson to learn this way.
I don't care if you don't think the law is correct..urge your lawmakers to change it. Its still the law and when we stop obeying the law for our own convenience we are scantly any better than those who blatantly break it that we carry to defend against in the first place.