This man never should have been arrested or harassed by the Washington, D.C. police. Never. There is a serious issue for people when it comes to the lawful transportation of firearms from when traveling through different states, and it must be dealt with immediately.
You can read more in this Washington Times editorial, but here is the bullet point story…
- Army 1st Lt. Augustine Kim returns home after being injured during his second tour in Afghanistan.
- He picks up his personal weapons from his parents home in New Jersey (where he kept them for safe storage while on deployment) and heads back to his North Carolina home by car.
- The weapons – being transported per federal guidelines – were properly secured in the back of his vehicle and locked up, separate from ammunition.
- On the way, he had a doctors appointment at Walter Reed Medical Center and stopped there. Reed is within the Washington, D.C. limits.
- On the way out, he gets lost in the city and gets pulled over. Knowing he’s transporting his legally owned personal weapons properly per federal guidelines, he allows the DC police department to search his car.
It’s not clear what brought about the traffic stop or if there was any probable cause to search his vehicle, but we do know Kim was arrested and charged with four felonies.
The cops asked Lt. Kim if they could search his vehicle. The lieutenant agreed because his guns were cased and stored in full compliance with federal firearm-transport laws. “I told them I had been under the impression that as long as the guns were locked in the back, with the ammunition separate, that I was allowed to transport them,” Lt. Kim told The Washington Times. “They said, ‘That may be true, however, since you stopped at Walter Reed, that makes you in violation of the registration laws.’ ” It is illegal to possess a firearm anywhere in the District other than the home. He was handcuffed and brought back to police headquarters, and his guns were confiscated as evidence.
The tank platoon leader was booked on four felony counts of carrying outside the home, which threatened a maximum penalty of a $20,000 fine and 20 years imprisonment. “I knew if I got one felony, my military career would be over,” Lt. Kim recalled. The next day, he hired firearms attorney Richard Gardiner to represent him. After several months of negotiations, Mr. Gardiner persuaded the U.S. attorney to offer a deal in which Lt. Kim would plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of one unregistered gun which would then be dismissed if he avoided violating the law for nine months. Though all charges were dropped a year ago, Lt. Kim’s record has not yet been expunged.
The city of Washington has been dragging their feet when it comes to returning Kim’s personal property. Bastards. Thieves. Criminals all of them.
There is a huge problem here that must be resolved. I really wish Kim had the ability and backing to take this case all the way to the Supreme Court, and the NRA or some other gun organization should have backed him 100 percent. There was absolutely no intent to commit a crime here, and as a matter of fact, Kim took the steps to research the law and proceed as directed.
But he made a stop in DC and didn’t just blow through or go around. What if he needed gas? What if he got stuck in a storm? What if he got a flat tire or broke down? What if you were on a flight was re-directed to a city or state with firearm laws so restrictive they could charge you with multiple felonies as soon as you picked up your bags?
All of these things have happened to people, and there have been multiple instances where the New York Port Authority Police hassled or arrested people flying out of New York Airports.
This issue must be fixed.