Federal authorities dropped their pursuit of alleged homemade AR-15 maker Joseph Roh for fear a trial in his case could upend decades of gun control.
CNN reports that Roh allegedly had machines to manufacture AR-15s in a warehouse outside Los Angeles. Customers could come to the warehouse and allegedly build their own rifles “for about $1,000.”
Roh allegedly maintained his business, even after ATF officials warned him ‘in person…that he was breaking the law.”
Roh was eventually indicted, only to have federal authorities drop charges after prosecutors grew worried that a ruling in the case would be detrimental to the larger gun control system. They specifically worried the 1968 Gun Control Act could be endangered and that a trial might “seriously undermine the ATF’s ability to trace and regulate firearms nationwide.”
He sold guns to felons, abusers, and prohibited persons. The Feds let him go to avoid hurting gun control efforts.
NRA has always fought for the FULL PROSECUTION of gun criminals – no plea bargaining, no parole, and definitely not just letting someone off.https://t.co/5RBKJvOgUG
— NRA (@NRA) October 13, 2019
A trial to prosecute Roh would have brought attention to the fact that the ATF regulates AR-15s based not on the entire firearm, but on one part–the lower–which holds the trigger and hammer mechanism. The lower is like a command control center for firing bullets. Prosecutors feared the judgement in the case against Roh might somehow undermine the ATF’s regulation, thereby rendering numerous gun controls moot.
Moreover, “80 percent” lowers are available in numerous state and do not count as firearms in those states because they are unfinished and, therefore, cannot hold the trigger and hammer mechanism. These lowers are usable after the remaining 20 percent of work is done to finish them. Roh’s case would have also drawn attention to these lowers and their relationship to the Second Amendment.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.