When David Devenny of Olympia pleaded guilty Monday to dealing firearms without a license, it served as a warning to others that willful disobedience of the law has consequences, but the press appears to be crucifying him for being associated with a crime he did not commit, nor had he been charged with.
Headlines say it all:
KOMO/Associated Press: Seller of gun in Seattle cop slaying pleads guilty
Seattle P-I.com: Illegal gun dealer who sold rifle used to kill Seattle cop pleads guilty
Seattle Times: Seller of gun used to kill Seattle officer pleads guilty
KHQ/AP: Seller of gun in Seattle cop slaying pleads guilty
However, buried in the original Associated Press text is this little tidbit:
None of the charges directly related to the slaying of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton on Oct. 31, 2009. Federal officials said that as part of the investigation into that shooting, Devenny told an undercover agent he sold the gun used in the killing.—KOMO/Associated Press
So, in addition to being an illegal gun dealer – and court documents released at the time, and discussed by this column, suggest he knew exactly what he was doing – Devenny was also a boastful moron. The press is having something of a field day with this, but reporters seem to overlook something. At the time Devenny allegedly sold the Kel-Tec semi-auto rifle to accused cop-killer Christopher Monfort, the now-paralyzed murder suspect was not wanted for anything. He would have cleared a background check. To his credit, Seattle-PI.com reporter Levi Pulkkinen, in an e-mail exchange with this column, made essentially the same observation. Here’s what the Seattle Times noted a few months after Monfort was arrested in the Brenton slaying:
When Christopher Monfort was arrested last November on suspicion of assassinating a Seattle police officer, detectives scoured his background, searching for a telltale record of violence.
Instead, they found little more than a traffic ticket. He seemed, as one put it, a “ghost.”
One other detail that seems to be omitted from this week’s coverage is that Devenny engaged in the illegal transactions primarily from his home. He sold guns to people who were not legally qualified to buy them, and as such they would not have been able to clear a background check. But as an unlicensed “dealer,” Devenny could not have conducted a background check, anyway, because the National Instant Check System is accessible to legally-licensed dealers.
David Devenny, 69, of Olympia, appeared in U.S. District Court to face one count of dealing firearms without a license and two counts of selling guns to people who weren’t allowed to have them.—KOMO/Associated Press
Devenny is the kind of guy that reputable gun show operations endeavor to keep out of their midst. Knowingly, or at least suspecting, that you are selling a firearm to someone with a criminal record that disqualifies him or her from owning a gun is not only against the law, it is world-class stupid. Self-styled renegades who think they can ignore the law because they don’t like it are begging for trouble. Devenny apparently turned that into an art form:
In a February visit, one of the confidential informants tried to explain to Devenny that he was prohibited from owning a gun because of a domestic-violence restraining order. According to the complaint, Devenny responded: “I don’t want to hear about it, I am not supposed to know about it, and I don’t ask that question. Just as long as you forget where it [the firearm] comes from.”—Seattle Times
When trouble comes knocking, they sometimes try to represent themselves as gun rights champions who are being persecuted as well as prosecuted for “standing up to the gubmint.” This is either a weak dodge, or is simply delusional. Take your pick.
Devenny was the third guy presently facing trouble over outlaw gun transactions. This column discussed a couple of other men last week.
The law about not selling firearms to criminals is widely known and understood, as is the law that one cannot engage in the business of selling and buying firearms without a federal firearms license. Devenny was around long enough to know all of this. What has happened to him is his fault and nobody else’s. That he admitted guilt in court should be enough to even convince some of his die-hard defenders that he did this to himself.
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