FBI Arrests Anti-Gun California Senator on Firearm Trafficking Charges

Posted on March 28, 2014

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Being good Americans, we take the position that anyone who is arrested and charged with multiple crimes is innocent until proven guilty. That's more than California state senator Leland Yee (D) has done for gun owners in the past. In August 2012, Yee said "no one will convince me it's anything other than a joke to say that having multiple clips and semi-automatic weapons that can shoot 100 or more bullets at a time is necessary in this state or in this country, it's ridiculous."

Now, Yee has other things with which to concern himself, and none is a joking matter.

The San Jose Mercury-News reports that "Yee now is accused of consorting with notorious felons, accepting money for his cash-strapped political campaigns in exchange for favors and promising undercover FBI agents he could deliver connections to international gun runners." Additionally, he "is depicted in a startling, 137-page FBI affidavit of repeatedly offering to broker illegal firearms sales in exchange for campaign contributions," and he is "linked to a host of wrongdoing to pad his political war chest, charged with seven felonies in a case with two dozen defendants accused of everything from money laundering to murder-for-hire." 

The Sacramento Bee reports that also arrested along with Yee was one Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, a former Chinatown organized crime figure who once served time in prison for gun trafficking, and who radical gun control supporter Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) later praised as a model of reform. The paper separately reports that "The FBI affidavit attached to the corruption case of state Sen. Leland Yee details a world of armaments: bulletproof vests, revolvers, assault rifles, shoulder-fired rockets and mines."

KRON-4, a San Francisco-area station, reports that Yee "asked for campaign donations in exchange for introducing an undercover FBI agent to an arms trafficker." Court documents posted with the KRON-4 article assert that "According to Senator Yee, the arms dealer had contacts in Russia, Ukraine, Boston and Southern California. . . . Senator Yee said, 'Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money. Do I think we can get the good? I think we can get the goods.' . . .  Senator Yee said 'Because, I'm getting a little more into this, it's not just Russia; the Muslim countries have sources too'. . . Senator Yee asked [another person involved] if he wanted 'automatic weapons' as opposed to semi-automatic weapons."

Like Chow, Yee, too, is popular with gun control supporters. In 2006, the Brady Campaign rated Yee an "A+" and named him to the group's so-called "Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll." In bestowing the "honor," the Brady Campaign noted that Yee had sponsored legislation to require semi-automatic handguns to have micro-stamping features and had supported a variety of other gun control proposals.

Now, gun control advocates join Yee in having other things with which to concern themselves. The Associated Press reports "Gun-control groups (are) trying to find a new legislative leader to champion firearms restrictions after one of their most outspoken supporters was charged in a federal gun-trafficking case."

Until now, Yee had been campaigning to be elected as California's Secretary of State. He has since withdrawn from the race. SF Gate reports that Yee's lawyer sized up his client's situation by saying "The future will hold a lot of work."

No doubt it will.

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