Illegal Gun Dealer Sentenced to Probation – Bearing Arms

Illegal Gun Dealer Sentenced to Probation – Bearing Arms

If you want to be a firearms dealer, you need to get an FFL. For now, at least, you can sell a few guns here and there without one, but you can’t really sell a bunch without running into trouble.

In fact, a buddy of mine once reached out because he was concerned his own sales might raise red flags for the ATF, all because the rules are fairly arbitrary.

But there has got to be a point where someone isn’t just selling the odd gun and is instead focused on selling guns without a license.

No, I don’t think anyone should need one, myself, but the law is the law, and a guy in Missouri broke the ever-loving hell out of it.

A 69-year-old St. Charles County man who pled guilty to illegally selling guns throughout Missouri was sentenced to probation yesterday — despite selling approximately 250 guns illegally and continuing to sell them even after the ATF sent him a letter telling him to cut it out.

Thirty of the firearms sold by Harry Trueblood wound up at crime scenes, prosecutors say, including homicides, suicides and other shootings. In one of Trueblood’s gun sales, a man who had recently been civilly committed was turned away from two gun stores before he connected with Trueblood, who sold him a weapon.

Court filings state that Trueblood is not licensed to sell weapons and never has been. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms got wind of Trueblood’s operation and throughout 2022 and early 2023, Trueblood sold numerous weapons to undercover agents at gun shows in St. Charles.

In February 2023, a confidential informant bought an Anderson AM-15 pistol from Trueblood at a gun show in St. Charles, and during the deal the buyer implied he was a convicted felon, which would make his having a gun illegal. (Trueblood, however, does not admit to having heard the statement.)

Trueblood says that he started selling guns after a friend passed away and left him a small collection, so he started buying and selling guns as a way to supplement his own collection and because, in his words, he was good at it.

I mean, I have to respect his honesty, at least.

Yet the truth remains that when you’re selling as many as 250 firearms, you probably have to figure you’re crossing the line somewhere, right? In other words, Trueblood had to know he was running afoul of the ATF’s rules for unlicensed gun sellers.

I guess the question then becomes whether he knew he was arming criminals or whether he even cared?

At the end of the day, though, this is an interesting case because of the scale of the operation and the fact that the sentence–a mere five years of probation–is so lenient. If we’re going to insist that gun laws be enforced before passing new gun control, then this seems like the kind of case where someone should be punished far more severely than they were.

Suppose we’re going to recognize that most gun control laws are stupid and literally no one who got a gun from Trueblood and used it criminally would have been and remained unarmed without him. In that case, the sentence is, at most, about right and possibly even too severe.

Either way, you know some anti-gunner someone is fuming over this, which just makes me giggle.

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