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CRIMINAL PRACTICE using out-of-state agents to buy guns in their home state and ferry them to New York constitutes unlicensed trafficking in firearms, even if the applicable federal statute does not facially prohibit buying guns in one’s own state and taking them elsewhere, the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on May 12. United States v. Mitchell, No. 02-1326. Marvin T. Mitchell, an Army soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, arranged with a Brooklyn, N.Y., man named “Lotto” for Mitchell to buy guns in Texas, and bring them to New York, where Lotto would buy them from Mitchell and then give him money to purchase more guns. Mitchell bought about 40 guns before he was charged under 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) with conspiring to transport firearms into a co-conspirator’s state of residence. Appealing, Mitchell argued that the statute prohibits him from buying guns outside his home state and then transporting them into, or receiving them in, that state. It does not, he asserted, bar the buying of guns in his home state. Affirming, the 2d Circuit joined the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in ruling that the statute prohibits conduct such as Mitchell’s where he conspired with Lotto to secure guns purchased outside Lotto’s home state for delivery into New York.

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