Officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were reportedly “skeptical” of bringing gun-related charges against Hunter Biden due to his having no prior criminal history.
On a form dated March 25, 2018, Hunter Biden may have lied about his history of drug use when filling out ATF Form 4473 for a gun purchase. The punishment for false answers on that form includes fines up to $250,000 and/or ten years of imprisonment.
But a source told the New York Times:
Officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responsible for reviewing Mr. Biden’s file were skeptical of bringing charges against him, especially considering that he had sought treatment and had no prior criminal history, according to another person with knowledge of the situation.
The form asks questions such as:
Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.
The form permits a “yes” or “no” answer.
ATF Form 4473 further states:
The information you provide will be used to determine whether you are prohibited by Federal or State law from receiving a firearm. Certain violations of the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. 921 et. seq., are punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or up to a $250,000 fine.
Hunter Biden’s lawyers are in the midst of crafting a defense to protect their client from potential charges.
The lawyers told the Times a recent February ruling from a Federal District Court in Oklahoma could enable their client to remain out of prison. The ruling struck down parts of a federal law prohibiting marijuana users from owning firearms, according to the Times. However, Hunter Biden was a crack addict whose firearm ended up in public trash can.
The lawyers also believe another legal strategy could benefit their client, the Times reported:
One case the Hunter Biden team has cited is a challenge to the criteria used in the federal firearms background check system, which relies on a ubiquitous application known as a 4473 form, pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which includes Delaware.
United States Attorney for the District of Delaware David Weiss, a Trump administration appointee, is the lead prosecutor in the case investigating Hunter Biden for potential gun and tax violations.
Attorney General Merrick Garland told Congress in March that Weiss has the autonomy to recommend charges, but Biden’s attorney general has also admitted he — Garland — has to sign off on the charges. Garland refuses to appoint a special counsel to put a degree of separation between the investigation and President Joe Biden.
Whistleblowers recently came forward and claimed the Justice Department politically interfered in the probe to protect Hunter Biden.