A Disturbing Case in
Guilty or not, this is too much
A family of four – Rick Reese, his wife Terri, and their two sons, Ryin - 24 and Remington - 19 – was arrested in
Shortly after they were arrested in Las Cruces, dozens of police vehicles, including four armored personnel carriers and two helicopters, full of armed officers and agents from numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies swarmed over the Reese’s home and businesses. The entire firearm and ammunition inventory was taken from Rick Reese’s store as well as his entire personal collection of firearms and all cash and valuables from his home safe. Even the 30 to 40 empty gun safes that were on display at the store were seized. US Attorney Ken Gonzales indicated that he is going to seek asset forfeiture of the Reese’s home and 25 acre property (including the shooting range on the property which he leased to various law enforcement agencies), all of the cash and valuables seized, their vehicles, and a monetary judgment of at least $36,000 from whatever assets might be left.
In a prepared statement to the press US Attorney Gonzales stated: “This case serves to put firearms dealers on notice that they will be held accountable for any failure to comply with federal firearms laws.”
I have no real problem with that statement except that I strongly disagree with many federal firearms laws, but until we can get those changed, licensed dealers are obligated to comply with them. What’s more, dealers, particularly dealers in southern
While the Reese family sits in their various jail cells accused of should have known, it should be pointed out that in Operation Fast & Furious, the ATF and DOJ, along with the US Attorney for
My question for US Attorney Gonzales is; when are those responsible for Fast & Furious going to be arrested and tried for their contributions to “the violence that has been devastating Mexico?”
Something else to consider when looking at the Reese case is that convicted straw purchasers are typically sentenced to less than one year in prison – if they are prosecuted at all. Prosecutors generally require that straw purchasers have records of purchasing high numbers of guns and that some of those guns can subsequently tied to violent crimes. Such standards make the aggressive treatment of the Reese family, all of whom have spotless records in their business and their personal lives, look even more excessive.
I don’t know the Reeses and really have no idea whether they knowingly broke the law. I do know that they had a reputation for being responsible citizens, and that they have insisted that they are innocent and will not plea bargain. I also know that they are facing well over $100,000 in just basic legal costs. If Rick and Terri and the boys are eventually exonerated, they will walk away with probably $200,000 in legal bills and damaged, depreciated inventory – if they can recover it. Courts are notoriously loath to return guns under any circumstances and even less inclined to return ammunition. Rick’s plans to close the shop at the end of the year and run for Sheriff are crushed. His son Ryin’s plans to open a new shop in
Regardless of the Reese’s guilt or innocence, this case raises serious questions about the equity of our legal system, the show-boat tactics of some federal law enforcement agencies, and the complexity of our nation’s gun laws. Crimes should be punished, but more importantly, justice should be served. That doesn’t seem to be happening in this case. I’m going to keep monitoring this one.
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