|Chief Sanchez in his junta hat|
When a Pasadena police officer becomes a gun dealer: Editorial (Pasadena Star News link): Citizens don’t give up their fundamental rights if they become police officers — including the constitutional “right to keep and bear arms.” But, outside the firearm needs that come with their jobs, neither do they suddenly gain new Second Amendment rights allowing them to become major armaments dealers without any restrictions on what guns they may sell and to whom they may sell them.
Given the scandal swirling through the Pasadena Police Department after Lt. Vasken Gourdikian was put on paid leave earlier this year when federal authorities raided his Sierra Madre home and confiscated guns that he had a large side-business selling, Chief Phillip Sanchez was certainly correct last week to put a halt, temporarily at least, to a department practice that encouraged such arms dealing.
There is every reason to believe that in the future the halt ought to become permanent.
What the department is suspending is a practice of issuing letters that help officers bypass 10-day waiting periods to purchase guns in their private lives. The move came less than a week after it was finally announced that Gourdikian, an officer very much in the public eye in recent years as deparment spokesman and a top aide to the chief, received seven such waivers over a four-year period.
|Augusto Pinochet's junta hat|
Again, peace officers have rights to legally buy and sell guns, though the public might wonder, given their line of work, how many extra firearms they want to see on the streets. And here it’s clearly a question of quantity. Gourdikian has not been charged with any crime, and the investigation has been very hush-hush. But over the last four years, he offered to sell more than 70 firearms and gun parts, including 45 pistols, 15 rifles — some of them semi-automatic ones — and three shotguns. At least 63 were later marked as sold.
The Police Department’s waiver policy deserves a thorough review, and future restrictions are in order.