Hunter Biden Convicted of Lying to Buy Gun, Fuels Political Firestorm Ahead of Election

Hunter Biden Convicted of Lying to Buy Gun, Fuels Political Firestorm Ahead of Election - NBC News Photo Source: NBC News

President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, was convicted by a federal jury on Tuesday for lying about his drug use to illegally purchase a firearm. The conviction, which occurred in Wilmington, Delaware, makes Hunter Biden the first child of a sitting U.S. president to be convicted of a crime, a fact that is likely to reverberate across the political landscape as the country heads into a contentious election season.

The 12-member jury reached a unanimous verdict, finding Hunter Biden guilty of making false statements about his drug use on a federal background check form in October 2018 when he bought a gun. The conviction comes amidst a politically charged environment where both sides of the aisle are scrutinizing the actions and legal proceedings involving high-profile figures.

The verdict arrives shortly after former President Donald Trump's own legal troubles. Trump was convicted on May 30 of 34 felony counts related to falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal, marking him as the first former U.S. president to be found guilty of a felony. As Trump positions himself as the Republican challenger in the upcoming November election, he has consistently argued that the justice system is being weaponized against him by Democrats.

In contrast, Congressional Democrats may use Hunter Biden's conviction to counter claims of a politically motivated justice system, highlighting that President Joe Biden has not interfered in his son's legal proceedings. President Biden has publicly stated he would not pardon Hunter if convicted, emphasizing the independence of the judicial process.

The case against Hunter Biden was prosecuted by U.S. Department of Justice Special Counsel David Weiss, a Trump appointee. Weiss has also charged Hunter Biden with additional felony and misdemeanor tax offenses in California, alleging that between 2016 and 2019, Biden failed to pay $1.4 million in taxes while spending millions on drugs, escorts, exotic cars, and other high-end items. Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to these charges, with a trial scheduled to begin on September 5 in Los Angeles.

Hunter Biden's conviction for lying on a firearm purchase form is rooted in federal statutes that regulate the sale and possession of firearms in the United States. The key statute relevant to this case is 18 U.S.C. § 922, which outlines unlawful acts regarding firearms and ammunition.

18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3): This section of the U.S. Code makes it illegal for any person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance to ship, transport, possess, or receive any firearm or ammunition. The statute aims to prevent individuals who may pose a risk to public safety due to their drug use from acquiring firearms.

18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6): This section prohibits individuals from making false statements or providing false information in connection with the acquisition of a firearm. Specifically, it is unlawful for any person in connection with the acquisition or attempted acquisition of any firearm or ammunition from a licensed dealer to knowingly make any false or fictitious oral or written statement intended or likely to deceive such dealer.

Hunter Biden's conviction revolves around his violation of these statutes. When purchasing a firearm in October 2018, Biden filled out a federal background check form (ATF Form 4473), which included a question about his current drug use. By answering "no" to being a user of illegal drugs, Biden allegedly provided false information, as evidence presented in court indicated that he was, in fact, using drugs at the time.

During the Delaware trial, prosecutors presented testimonies from Hunter Biden's ex-wife, former girlfriend, and sister-in-law, who provided detailed accounts of his severe addiction issues during the period surrounding the gun purchase. Evidence, including text messages, photos, and bank records, was shown to demonstrate that Biden was indeed using drugs at the time and knowingly lied on the gun purchase form.

Hunter Biden’s defense argued that he was not using drugs when he bought the gun and that he did not intentionally deceive the authorities, as he did not consider himself a drug user at that time. His daughter, Naomi Biden, testified that her father appeared to be doing well shortly before and after the gun purchase.

The sentencing guidelines for Hunter Biden’s conviction on the gun-related charges suggest a potential imprisonment of 15 to 21 months. However, legal experts note that defendants in similar cases often receive shorter sentences and may avoid incarceration if they comply with pretrial release conditions.

Lawrence J. Tjan
Lawrence J. Tjan
Lawrence is an attorney with practical experience in corporate and general business legal matters, as well as law practice management. His litigation experience includes issues dealing with antitrust, bad faith and medical malpractice. His transactional experience includes buy-sell agreements, Reg D disclosures, investor subscription agreements, and stock option plans.
Legal Blogs (Sponsored)