12/07 Gun Control Disarmed Sean Taylor

Gun Control Disarmed Sean Taylor
Larry Pratt

There are some lessons that we should learn from the murder of the Washington Redskins football star, Sean Taylor.

Taylor was gunned down in his Miami house. It did not have to be.

Taylor, by submitting to a bad law, brought a knife to a gun fight. To be precise, Taylor was trying to defend himself, his fiance and their child with a machete. Why would he have not had a gun?

Simple. Taylor had been disarmed by a corrupt prosecutor and federal gun laws.

In 2005, Taylor and some friends pursued some men they believed had shot up his all-terrain vehicle. After it was all over, the crooks were never sought, much less prosecuted by the authorities, but Taylor was accused of pummeling one of the suspects and possessing a gun during the episode.

Taylor was charged by Miami-Dade prosecutor, Michael Grieco, with three aggravated assault charges and a misdemeanor battery charge. Taylor faced 46 years in jail. Grieco subsequently resigned when it became apparent that the charges were not brought from the pursuit of justice, but were brought to promote Grieco’s moonlighting business as a nightclub disc jockey.

Oh, by the way, the “witnesses” in the case have criminal records.

As a result of the plea deal that was worked out — the government had to save face once it was clear that the justice system had been prostituted by Grieco — Taylor was unable to own a gun. He was subject to 18 months of probation (no jail time) which sounds like a good deal after having faced potentially 46 years in jail. As it turns out, that deal made him defenseless.

Even though his probation ended early, that did not mean that Taylor could legally own a gun. Indeed, even though the system was working to expunge his record, he still might not ever have been able to own a gun. Why?

Taylor was disarmed for life because he pleaded guilty to a crime that could have carried a jail sentence of over 365 days. That put his name into NICS (or the National Instant Criminal Background Check System). Even if Taylor had lived long enough to see his name expunged by local authorities — thus, removing the stigma that comes with having a criminal record — his name would likely have already been thrown into the federal NICS system. As a matter of course, states frequently fail to send expungements (from the local authorities) to NICS, meaning that Taylor would probably have been prevented from buying a gun, expungement or no.

So Taylor’s other option would have been to appeal directly to the feds and have the FBI clear his name under a federal statute known as the McClure-Volkmer law. However, for over a decade, this option has been put into limbo by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who got language inserted into the FBI budget preventing them from spending any money to relieve law-abiding citizens from unfair gun bans.

In other words, Sean Taylor could have been banned for life from buying a gun.

This is one of the reasons that Gun Owners of America has opposed the Instant Background Check from the very moment that the National Rifle Association thought it up and began promoting it back in the 1980s.

Gun control did not keep Taylor’s murderers from getting a gun. But it sure kept Taylor disarmed — and dead.

One good thing has emerged from this needless tragedy. Teammate Chris Samuels has made a potentially life-saving decision. Samuels told Sports Illustrated: “I was always scared of guns growing up. But this situation has told me I need one. I’d rather be prepared than to be like Sean was and not have a gun in his house when he really needed it.”