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This stinks:

http://www.mlive.com/news/bctimes/index.ssf?/base/news-4/110381853396950.xml

Former chief of police faces tax, gun charges


Thursday, December 23, 2004By Eric English
TIMES WRITER

ROSE CITY - Maxwell L. Garnett made a name for himself as a small-town police chief with a fondness for firearms, including machine guns.

But now a federal grand jury has handed down a 10-count indictment against the former Rose City police chief for his handling of guns and ammunition.

Garnett is charged in U.S. District Court in Bay City for allegedly making two guns without federal permission and for buying ammunition without paying taxes.

Garnett was fired in July from his job as police chief of Rose City, a town of 725 people in central Ogemaw County. Reached at his home on Wednesday, Garnett said he could not comment on the pending charges.

The Times could not reach Garnett's defense attorney, William Brisbois of Saginaw, for comment.

The grand jury's indictment comes more than three years after state police began investigating Garnett for possessing machine guns and for buying thousands of rounds of ammunition using Rose City's tax-exempt status.

Garnett maintained then that he was doing nothing wrong as a law-enforcement officer with a lifelong passion for guns and shooting.

Yet the federal charges allege that Garnett made or helped make two rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long for two different people in early 2000. Garnett's actions violated federal law, the indictment alleges.

Garnett is charged with five counts of unlawful import or manufacture of firearms related to the two weapons. He also is charged with five counts of attempting to evade taxes in connection with the purchase of ammunition from several companies.

The grand jury alleges that Garnett evaded taxes by claiming that the ammunition he purchased was for the sole use of the Rose City Police Department, when it was not. The indictment does not say who else received the ammunition.

Garnett currently is employed as a public safety officer at Kirtland Community College, near Roscommon. Irene Borak, a spokeswoman for the college, said Garnett remains on the job as one of four officers at Kirtland.

In Rose City, meanwhile, City Clerk Cindy Wiltse said word of the federal charges facing Garnett is slowing spreading through town. The City Council hasn't yet discussed the issue, she said.

"It's still up in the air, with what we are going to do and how it's going to affect us," Wiltse said.

Garnett was employed as Rose City police chief from 1999 until the summer of this year, when the council voted 4-3 to terminate him, Wiltse said.

Garnett's firing was related to his use of a city patrol vehicle, but Garnett also had a contentious relationship with Rose City Mayor Wally Scott. Wiltse said Scott was defeated in the November general election.

Garnett remains free on a $50,000 bond pending further court proceedings. At least some of the charges against him are felonies, according to court documents, but The Times could not reach anyone at the U.S. District Attorney's Office for comment on the possible penalties Garnett faces.

In a 2001 interview with The Times, Garnett said he bought a lot of ammunition due to his personal passion for firearms. He said he personally shot about 15,000 rounds a year, and has taught gun-safety classes as a certified instructor.

He also operated a business from his home making leather holsters and magazine cases for sale to police agencies.

But Garnett was the subject of a state police investigation in 2001 over his large purchases of ammunition and his role in allowing two former Ogemaw County prosecutors to keep machine guns at their homes.

The Michigan Attorney General's Office did not file any charges in the case.



- Eric English covers regional news for The Times. He can be reached at 1-800-727-7661.
 

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Well, if he did what he's said to have done, he's toast: Manufacture of two short-barrelled rifles without the requisite BATFE, and using the city's tax-exempt status to buy ammo for himself without paying taxes.

What I don't get is that, as a cop, he should have known that those are enforcement priorities for the Feds and crimes not worth the risk of committing.
 

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Gunco Irregular
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Sounds political to me. I mean how would they even know about these "crimes" unless someone had it out for him. You never know what the 2 short barreled rifle charges are about. And this illustrates a good reason you shouldn't help anyone build a firearm as you cannot control all aspects of it, and if it gets cut just a bit too short or the person doesnt high temperature solder or permanetly pin a barrel extension on to make it a legal 16" you could be in trouble. But again unless they had it out for him how would they know about these relativly minor crimes? I agree if he blatently did it he is stupid, but I will wait for more info as I don't believe thats the whole story.
 

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Grendeljaeger said:
Sounds political to me.... But again unless they had it out for him how would they know about these relativly minor crimes?...
I would contend that an unregistered SBR is a pretty serious crime, as is tax evasion through fraud. But I agree with you that this is probably political. One of the reasons I'm into scrupulous compliance with even the most absurd firearms laws is that laws are often enforced for political purposes, and you don't want to provide an opportunity for that:

"Just give me the man. I'll give you the crime."
- Lavrenty Beria
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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Smeg,

A big part of the problem is the bureaucratic government agencies and their employees. It's a real pain in the rear trying to comply with the laws even if you pay the ridiculous $200 tax.

I don't know if you have read my thread that I posted today about the NFA branch of the ATF, but there lies a big part of the problem. Lazy government employees that aren't afraid of losing their jobs if they don't work.
 

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Pogo said:
Smeg,

A big part of the problem is the bureaucratic government agencies and their employees. It's a real pain in the rear trying to comply with the laws even if you pay the ridiculous $200 tax.

I don't know if you have read my thread that I posted today about the NFA branch of the ATF, but there lies a big part of the problem. Lazy government employees that aren't afraid of losing their jobs if they don't work.
Yep, read your thread. But note that you're cautious enough to jump through the requisite ridiculous hoops.
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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Dzerzhinsky said:
Yep, read your thread. But note that you're cautious enough to jump through the requisite ridiculous hoops.
Yep, it's not worth the risk of having to pay the consequences if you ignore the law.
 

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FYI, you know the history of that tax? At that time it was thought that the Feds restricting full-auto weapons and sawed-off rifles and shotguns wouldn't hold up in court - but that taxing them would hold up under the Commerce Clause (Custer's favorite part of the Constitution!). And in '34, nobody had $200.
 

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Long Arm of the LAW
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The federal charges are the most serious. But failing to pay sales tax is a state crime (to the best of my knowledge) and probably a misdemeanor.
 

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Chromebolt said:
The federal charges are the most serious. But failing to pay sales tax is a state crime (to the best of my knowledge) and probably a misdemeanor.
Chromebolt, I commend you on your attention to detail! I'd missed that.

And now I'm completely confused.

He was indicted by a Federal grand jury, which means he was indicted on Federal charges. What Federal tax would he have been avoiding? I can't think of any.
 

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Gunco Irregular
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Dzerzhinsky said:
FYI, you know the history of that tax? At that time it was thought that the Feds restricting full-auto weapons and sawed-off rifles and shotguns wouldn't hold up in court - but that taxing them would hold up under the Commerce Clause (Custer's favorite part of the Constitution!). And in '34, nobody had $200.
They got the idea from drug laws and then used the same method to control machine guns. Back in the 1914 (Harrison Narcotic Act) congress felt it would be unconstitutional to just outlaw them so they licensed dealers and taxed the drugs. The Supreme Court up held it but had it's doubts about this too and commented "While the Opium Registration Act of December 17, 1914, may have a moral end, as well as revenue, in view, this court, in view of the grave doubt as to its constitutionality except as a revenue measure, construes it as such."
I saw a great show on the History Channel about all this and I was shocked how many things were not in the goverment's domain then and how we have given up many rights we once had.
 

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Long Arm of the LAW
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Well Dzer, it may have been the federal excise tax. Police departments are exempt from this tax too. But I thought the article said sales tax.
 

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Grendeljaeger said:
They got the idea from drug laws and then used the same method to control machine guns.... I was shocked how many things were not in the goverment's domain then and how we have given up many rights we once had.
Right you are. I'd forgotten about the precedent with dope.

I think that it took a Constitutional amendment to outlaw alcohol back then shows how far we've come. Congress now criminalizes various drugs without compunction, let alone Congressional amendment.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Dzerzhinsky said:
Right you are. I'd forgotten about the precedent with dope.

I think that it took a Constitutional amendment to outlaw alcohol back then shows how far we've come. Congress now criminalizes various drugs without compunction, let alone Congressional amendment.
We reap what we sow.

When we justified the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, there would thereafter be no stopping the growth of government under that power in other spheres.

Hard cases make bad law.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sounds like Benny Hill. He said, "A wise man once said...etc...etc.." And when asked who the wise man was, he answered "Me."
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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I have no idea who said it. It is an old legal bromide that I bet has existed since the old English common law days.

It has some truth to it but I think it often is misused as justification for creating bad judicial precedent.
 

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Custer said:
I have no idea who said it. It is an old legal bromide that I bet has existed since the old English common law days.

It has some truth to it but I think it often is misused as justification for creating bad judicial precedent.
What's it mean? Sounds like it means the tendency of judges to provide the law with a Procrustean Bed when the law doesn't quite fit the case at hand.
 

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Chromebolt said:
Well Dzer, it may have been the federal excise tax. Police departments are exempt from this tax too. But I thought the article said sales tax.
Probably the illegal use of a municipal tax exemption. Then if he ordered across state lines.... so forth and so on.
 
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