Colorado man avoids jail after conspiring to sell machine guns and C4

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, July 20, 2012 12:27 EDT
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A man points an AK-47 machine gun. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
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A 35-year-old Colorado man avoided a jail sentence on Wednesday even after pleading guilty to conspiring to sell more than 30 machine guns with optical sights, five pounds of C4 explosives, grenades and 14 semi-automatic pistols smuggled into the country from Iraq.

Richard Paul, of Durango, brokered a deal for five years of probation and eight months of home confinement by pleading guilty and agreeing to testify against his co-conspirator, 34-year-old former Navy SEAL Nicholas Bickle, who Paul had known for more than 18 years, according to The Durango Herald. Paul reportedly sold 12 AK-47s and five pistols in two separate transactions in 2010 to an undercover investigator that openly expressed a desire to move the weapons to Mexico.

Colorado does not prohibit the possession of assault rifles, though the state requires background checks are required for purchases made at gun shows and all sales must be completed with a detailed record of the buyer and seller. The state doesn’t limit on how many guns can be purchased at one time and nothing to stop buyers from transferring the weapons to a third party immediately after sale. Similar laws in Arizona led to investigators in the “Fast and Furious” probe to sit by and watch as Mexican drug cartels made off with U.S. firearms in plain sight.

Colorado also has what they call a “Make My Day” law — similar to “Stand Your Ground” laws in other states — where gun owners can legally use lethal force against a home intruder if they feel their life is in danger. Prosecutors said that very same law applied to a recent case where a 21-year-old college girl was shot after drunkenly invading the wrong house. Lawmakers have also, in recent months, been debating whether or not to expand “Make My Day” to places of business and personal vehicles.


Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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