On Thursday, Hunter Biden was formally charged with three felony violations related to his purchase of a firearm in 2018. Should he be found guilty on all three charges, President Joe Biden’s son faces up to $750,000 in fines and a potential 25 years in prison.

There is absolutely no doubt that Hunter Biden was using cocaine when he filled out an ATF firearms transaction record. There’s no doubt that he lied about this both when he filled out the form and when he affirmed to the dealer that the form was accurate. There’s no doubt that while owning the gun over a period of just 11 days, Hunter Biden was in violation of regulations against owning a firearm while addicted to illegal drugs. Biden admits to his 2018 addition in his memoir. The law extends back to any time in the last year. So … case closed.

Except that part of what makes a justice system a justice system is equal application of the laws to everyone. And what’s happening in this case is the opposite. Hunter Biden isn’t really being prosecuted for lying when he filled out a form five years ago. He’s being prosecuted for being Joe Biden’s son.

Just one year before Hunter Biden scribbled his name on that Form 4473, the General Accounting Office carried out a review of how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was dealing with those who lied when applying for a firearm.

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In that year, 112,090 were denied a gun during the application process for submitting “falsified information.” Of those, 12,710 were referred to the ATF for further investigation. And of those, the total number actually prosecuted was … 12.

That’s just 0.01% of those whose forms were rejected for providing false information. What’s more, the cases were referred for prosecution “when aggravating circumstances exist, such as violent felonies or multiple serious offenses over a short period of time.” None of those circumstances apply to Hunter Biden.

But it’s worse than those numbers might indicate. Hunter Biden was not caught lying on his form during his application. He wasn’t really caught at all. The only reason that prosecutors know about his addiction to cocaine during this period is that Hunter Biden wrote about his struggles with addiction in a 2021 memoir. So he’s being retroactively prosecuted for being honest about the difficulties he experienced and being forthright about his failures.

Biden wasn’t one of 112,090 who were singled out as lying on his form. He was one of 27 million who filled out that form and went on. Now the Department of Justice is backing up five years to charge Hunter Biden with something—for the purposes of charging Hunter Biden with something.

The recommendation of that GAO review in 2017 was that the ATF was spending too much time investigating falsified forms since follow-up prosecutions were so rare. Instead, the GAO recommended that the agency concentrate on keeping track of false information and making information about rejected forms available to local law enforcement. The DOJ concurred with GAO’s recommendation.

Following the recommendations of the GAO, the number of cases referred for investigation in the year Hunter Biden made his purchase was greatly reduced, from 12,710 to just 478 referrals. That’s 0.002% of those who applied for a gun that year. But wait. It gets worse.

When The Washington Post took a look at this issue last year, they did so because the ATF and DOJ were being bombarded with tweets insisting that Hunter Biden be charged.

The controversy prompted us to request statistics from the Justice Department to determine whether someone falsely filling out the form faced much of a risk of prosecution.

It took months to obtain the data. The answer, it turns out, is no.

According to the Post, most of the cases prosecuted for lying on the form “concerned obvious instances of ‘straw buyers’” where someone was sent into a store to buy a gun for someone else who couldn’t legally purchase a gun, because they had already been convicted of a violent crime. Which seems like exactly the sort of thing the law was designed to catch in the first place.

But of all the statistics that show just how selective “justice” is being in the case of Hunter Biden, the results of a Freedom of Information request sent to Delaware for the year in which the purchase was made may be the most damning.

The provided information shows that in fiscal year 2019, only three Form 4473 cases were referred for prosecution in Delaware. The U.S. attorney for Delaware—that would be David Weiss, the same U.S. attorney in charge of the investigation into Hunter Biden—opted to prosecute none of these cases. None.

Confronted with three other cases involving the exact same charge in the same state, in the same year, Weiss decided to file no charges. But Hunter Biden is getting three charges and the possibility of 25 years.

That really is some very special justice.


Kerry talks with Drew Linzer, director of the online polling company Civiqs. Drew tells us what the polls say about voters’ feelings toward President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and what the results would be if the two men were to, say … run against each other for president in 2024. Oh yeah, Drew polled to find out who thinks Donald Trump is guilty of the crimes he’s been indicted for, and whether or not he should see the inside of a jail cell.

Mark Sumner

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