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Steve Bailey of the Boston Globe Responds

Seems alleged law-breaker and alleged journalist Steve Bailey of the Boston Globe blames all of his ills on the evil gun lobby:

There is an epidemic of handgun violence in Boston’s poorest neighborhoods, and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating me?

Well, you implied you broke the law. Then went public with it. Why wouldn’t they?

Consider this my confession. I plead guilty to offending the loony gun lobby.

Really? That’s the best you can do? I mean, you implied you broke the law and then failed to mention the involvement of anti-gun group’s president in your, uh, journalistic (term used loosely) practice. And somehow that’s the fault of that evil gun lobby?

Twenty months ago, a lifetime in columnist time, I wrote in this space about going to a gun show in New Hampshire. The idea was to see how easy it would be to buy a handgun just across the border from Massachusetts, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. The answer: not very hard at all.

But you had to break the law to do it, right? That’s rather our point: criminals don’t obey the law.

I went with John Rosenthal, the Boston gun-control advocate the gun lobby loves to hate, a cop named Andrew Heggie, and a former prison guard, Walter Belair. I also took my kids, who got in free. The cereal makers may be cutting back on marketing to kids, but the gun industry knows it is never to early to target the next generation.

And would it have been so difficult to disclose that involvement 20 months ago? And there goes that evil gun industry, what with trying to sell their products and all.

Belair could have bought 100 guns in tax-free, no-limit New Hampshire that day, and I could have put them in my trunk and driven (illegally) home. That was exactly the point I was making. That is not what I did. Belair took the gun with him; I’m afraid of guns.

So, you didn’t actually purchase and take possession of the firearm, then? Because in both this column and on a radio show, you implied you had engaged in a straw purchase.

Were you lying then or are you lying now?


Coincidence or not, you decide, two ATF agents and a Manchester, N.H., cop visited Belair at his work the same day. They had a search warrant and a tape of the radio interview. They wanted to know about the gun, Rosenthal, and me. Belair told them the gun was at home; they went there later in the day, and confiscated it. They did give him a receipt.

The ATF investigating a possible gun crime? Shocking!!! I mean, we loony gun types often say that we should enforce existing law.

And, lastly, more on that evil, evil gun lobby (which seems to be what he devotes most of his paragraphs too) in all Bailey’s pant-shitting hysterical glory:

This is how it works. Intimidation is the stock in trade of the National Rifle Association and all the NRA knock-offs out there.

To date, the NRA has not been involved in this case. That I know of. Another little stretch of the truth there Steve?

Anyway, you keep referencing gun types as loony and such. But, you know, at least they’ve not been caught lying about alleged gun crimes.

Update: BTW, the article seems to be engaging in some major ass-covering. After all, we now know that Steve did not take possession of the gun (he’s an admitted hoplophobe, after all) and the guard retained the weapon (assuming we can believe Steve, which is hard to do. But he does claim the ATF took the weapon from the guard). However, if the dealer knowingly sold the weapon aware of the fact that the buyer was buying for someone else, then that is a violation of the law. Of course, we have to again rely on Steve’s word, which is hard to do. So, to conclude: Steve likely did not break the law. He just implied that he did. Journalistic integrity, indeed.

Update 2: Amen:

Donít get me wrong, I donít think you should go to jail, because I donít think what you did ought to be against the law. But instead of insulting us, maybe you can wake up and smell the coffee, and admit that perhaps we have a point in our opposition to these laws?

Hee hee.

Still more because it’s fun: Reporter Michael Silence on us loony gun sorts:

Geez, talk about stereotyping. And here all these years of practicing journalism I thought we tried to avoid that.

And in comments Sam reports another whopper by Steve:

BTW, Bailey is lying at some point in this episode. On his previous appearance on WRKO, he admitted he had made a straw purchase and when asked about the location of the gun, he mumbled something about a desk drawer somewhere. Now he says that he had never taken possession of the gun. Who knows which is the truth?

Some prison guard does. And if pressured with going to Club Fed, he’ll talk.

Still more: That’s why they call them stories.

More from Bruce.

38 Responses to “Steve Bailey of the Boston Globe Responds”

  1. #9 Says:

    Do laws apply to elitist?

  2. Snowflakes in Hell » Blog Archive » Feeling the Heat? Says:

    […] he should not actually be brought up on federal charges, but I will most definitely relish in the sweet, sweet, poetic […]

  3. Sebastian Says:

    You can still buy a gun as a gift. Of course, not for someone who lives in another state, I don’t believe. I’d be willing to accept that he didn’t take it home with him, in which case the transaction was that he gave someone 240 dollars in cash as a gift from the Boston Globe.

  4. Yosemite Sam Says:

    I heard him this morning on WRKO in Boston. He was all about blaming the NRA or the evil Gun Lobby for all his woes. But exactly what did all of this prove? That the gun laws work for those that Obey The Law. That for those that willfully ignore the law, they are worthless.

    BTW, Bailey is lying at some point in this episode. On his previous appearance on WRKO, he admitted he had made a straw purchase and when asked about the location of the gun, he mumbled something about a desk drawer somewhere. Now he says that he had never taken possession of the gun. Who knows which is the truth?

  5. SayUncle Says:

    Sebastian, I concur. He has outs and I don’t think he really broke the law. I just think he’s a liar.

  6. Dave thA Says:

    So he took the money from his employer, and gave it to someone who was legally allowed to buy a gun, which they apparently did.

    Wow – Pulitzer material…

  7. Sebastian Says:

    Yeah, definitely. I’m retracting my retractions ūüôā I don’t see any reason to worry myself about what the truth is when this bonehead can’t be bothered.

  8. Phelps Says:

    Belair took the gun with him; Iím afraid of guns.

    Isn’t that like having someone who is terrified by dogs writing an article about the new dog park in town?

  9. thirdpower Says:


    I’m not sure if it was my post or if you were already working on it when I posted it, but I got that link from the anti ‘macca’ from the Brady Bunch site. He thought it would be good fodder for how reactionary we all are.

    They really are their own worst enemy.

  10. Bruce Says:

    What he also fails to mention is that he could have done the EXACT SAME THING in Massachusetts (bought 100 guns and stuck them in the trunk, and driven home), with one small difference. The straw buyer would have had to have been a MA resident who had coughed up the $200 ($100 for a pistol class, $100 for a License to Carry) and who livesd in any of the 2A-friendly towns in MA. There are actually quite a few of those.

    And, had the buyer purchased 100 guns, the dealer would have been required to report that multiple purchase to the Feds.

    Oops, I guess he “forgot” to mention that too.

    Damn the NRA. It’s all their fault,

  11. Sebastian Says:


    The article is actually good for firing up the base of both sides. We’ll look at it and take away from it what you can see all around here, and they’ll look at it and think what a bunch of goons and thugs the “gun lobby” is.

    But it’s more toxic to the gun control movement, because what they definitely don’t want getting out to the public is that these “easy” purchases in other states are already illegal, and that even though that’s the case, that it’s easy for anyone with intent to break the law.

  12. SayUncle Says:

    They really are their own worst enemy.

    Heh. True. As to who I got it from, the emails and comments came pouring in all at once. So, multiple hat tips.

  13. That's Why They Call Them Stories at Ninth Stage Says:

    […] Via Uncle. […]

  14. NH Res Says:

    As a NH resident I will offer this deal to our neighbors to the south. You keep the murderers in Mattapan, lawrence and Dorchester and we will try just a little harder to keep the guns in NH. Search the Union Leader for murder headlines and you will be amazed how many of the killers in NH are scumbags from Mass with records. Nice going Masshole judges and pols!

    And by little harder I mean we will stop and search every out of state car leaving the state. Because that is the only way you will put a dent in the “problem”.

  15. Uncle Mikey Says:

    I encounter this kind of thing every day in my job (real estate): someone f*cks up, then they spend the next month lying, blaming others, diverting attention from their f*ckup by blathering about the f*ckups of others, and saying the game was rigged against them. It never, ever fails to go down that way, and you can always tell who’s the biggest f*ckup because they make the most noise when they get caught.

  16. DirtCrashr Says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what was the whole point of his loony “investigation” – that you can break the law, with your kids in tow? That he hates The Cereal Industry too? His hoplophobia has rendered him incoherent.

  17. Jeffersonian Says:

    I disagree with the assertion that Bailey didn’t violate federal law. He gave money to someone with the stated intent of using that person as a front for an anonymous purchase of a firearm. The front purchsed the weapon as ordered and transferred possession of it to Bailey, the anonymous purchaser. This, my friends, completed the illegal transaction and therefore should trigger a violation of the law. That Bailey then gave the firearm to Belair is of no consequence…it is entirely extrinsic to the straw purchase.

  18. Fritz Says:

    One point I find interesting is the question of did the ATF confiscate the firearm, or did they seize it as evidence? There is a big difference between the meanings of those two words and it is my impression that Bailey probably used a word inaccurately in order to try to drum up sympathy for himself.

  19. C.H. Says:

    “I could have put them in my trunk and driven (illegally) home. That was exactly the point I was making. That is not what I did. Belair took the gun with him;…”

    So the story is that a non-criminal legal resident of the state bought a firearm legally and took it home with him. Where’s the story?

    Or is it that Bailey contemplated trying to persuade a legal buyer to sell him a gun unlawfully, so he could smuggle it across a state line, but decided not to do that because the law forbids it. In other words, the law worked. is that the story?

  20. ThomasD Says:

    Count me with Jeffersonian on this one. It appears all the elements of a straw purchase were met, the guy who signed off on the 4471 was not the ‘actual purchasor’ because it was not his money, and he was buying it at the direct request of someone else for the explicit purpose of avoiding a residency restriction. That Bailey did not physically take posession of the weapon does not matter. The intent was to demonstrate that they could subvert Federal law, which they did. FFL holders have been prosecuted, or lost their licenses for alot less.

  21. PersonFromPorlock Says:

    OK, so did the ‘prison guard’ report the money/gun from the Globe as income? He was ‘hired’ to buy it, after all. Seems to me an IRS investigation is in order!

  22. Jeffersonian Says:

    An e-mail I just sent Bailey:

    Dear Mr. Bailey,

    Iíve read your original 11/30/05 column, as well as the referenced column and I have to say Iím a bit puzzled at to what the intent was here. Specifically:

    ē If you and Misters Heggie, Belair and Rosenthal agreed beforehand that Mr. Belair would take your (or rather, the Boston Globeís) money for the purposes of transacting a straw purchase for an out-of-state person, it occurs to me that you and Mr. Belair have broken existing federal firearms statutes. Under these circumstances, your call for more gun control seems a bit misplaced given that your actions are already illegal.
    ē If you and your companions simply gave Mr. Belair $240 to purchase the firearm in question with the understanding it was his to keep, youíve shown little more how easy it is to give a moderate amount of your employerís petty cash to an acquaintance, hardly fodder for yet another gun control crusade.

    Under the former scenario, you and your friends should be prosecuted (as well as the seller if he knew of your conspiracy). Indeed, it is likely that the BATFE confiscated Mr. Belairís new purchase as evidence in their investigation. Iíd be talking to a criminal attorney about now if I were you. If, of course, the understanding was the latter then I wish Mr. Belair enjoyment in shooting his new purchase.

    While you are contemplating your next column on the topic (unless advised by your attorney to shut up about the whole thing), perhaps you should ask yourself why New Hampshire, bristling with guns and the ďloonyĒ people who purchase them by the thousands, has a murder rate one-half that of gun-hating Massachusetts (1.4 vs. 2.7 per 100,000, per the FBIís 2005 UCR). Does this not seem counterintuitive?



  23. ThomasD Says:

    Question for the real leagal eagles, aside from the straw man aspect of the actual purchase, aren’t they all guilty of conspiracy to violate Federal law? And couldn’t this be extended to the corporation who financed the criminal activity?

  24. robert Says:

    If this wasn’t CONSPIRACY to break FEDERAL FIREARM LAWS between all the adults involved, then nothing is.

  25. ChrisPer Says:

    A journalist trying this stunt was one of the CAUSES of the Port Arthur massacre. Martin Bryant bought his massacre rifle in response to a TV journalist showing how, then committed the massacre in response to journalist hyping the Dunblane massacre.

    One of the global IANSA people helped create the deadly TV report.

    See my link for details.

  26. Xrlq Says:

    If Bailey never took possession of the gun, I don’t see where the violation of federal law is. It’s not illegal to give some guy a bunch of money so he can go buy a gun for himself.

  27. Able Danger Says:

    If someone steals something from you (let’s say a gun) and then later returns it to you, can he still be charged with, prosecuted, and convicted of theft? If so, then it shouldn’t matter that the gun was given away after the strawman purchase took place. If not, then maybe the naysayers have a point.

  28. Cactus Jack Says:

    It appears that Bailey, like most journalists, beaurecrats, and politicians, considers himself to be above the law with his “how dare ATFE investigate ME!” attitude.

    Bailey needs to start off his stories with “once upon a time” like all fairey tales do.

  29. Snowflakes in Hell » Blog Archive » Strawman Purchase: The Gory Details Says:

    […] some of the comments over at SayUncle’s, I thought it would be useful to talk about the actual statute that is currently responsible for […]

  30. Rustmeister Says:

    It would be nice to see charges pressed, as this could open the way to nail Bloomberg.

    Wishful thinking, I know.

  31. #9 Says:

    It would be nice to see charges pressed, as this could open the way to nail Bloomberg.

    From your mouth to God’s ear. I would love to see Bloomberg get caught.

  32. George Says:

    This is the e-mail I sent him:

    I am confused about one something.
    You made and arranged what you called a straw purchase to show how easy it is to do and stated that what you did was illegal and what you did was a crime.
    Now you can not understand why the ATF and police would investigate someone who admitted that the committed a crime.

    If you had been doing a story on how easy it was to get OxyContin. You found someone and told them how to fake painful condition such as a back problem and gave them the money and told them to go to a doctor so that they could get prescription for OxyContin and then you went to a drug store with them to have the prescription filled and gave them the money to pay for the prescription and then you wrote an article about it and went on the radio and told everyone about it. If you were then investigated you would be surprised?

    Have you ever seen a story about a person who was upset about illegal drug activity and the lack of the police to make any arrest. The person then goes and buys drugs and goes to the police to report the sale only to be arrested for possession of illegal drugs.

    Why don’t you do a story on how easy it is to commit an armed robbery, get a knife from your kitchen, go to a local store, announce a hold up, take the money and go home and mail the money back to the store and write an article about that. (Sorry, I hope you went to a store that was owned by someone who is as anti-gun as you or you might have a small problem.)

  33. Xrlq Says:

    If someone steals something from you (letís say a gun) and then later returns it to you, can he still be charged with, prosecuted, and convicted of theft?

    Yes, because he’s already committed the crime of theft. That he later returns it to you may reduce the likelihood of him being prosecuted (since prosecutors have more important things to do), and may reduce his sentence if he is convicted, but it doesn’t make the original crime go away. AFAIK there is no general prohibition on “straw purchases” as such, only on certain transfers and/or bringing the guns across state lines following such transfers. In that case, the original crime was never committed (unless, of course, Bailey is lying, and he really did take possession of the gun first, bring it home, and then give it back).

  34. Jerry in Detroit Says:

    Since the ATF hasn’t seen fit to arrest Steve Bailey, who publicly confessed to breaking a gun law, I think every one of us should send a letter to the head of the ATF and Alberto Gonzales for administratively nullifying the strawman purchase statute. Future attempts at prosecuting strawman transfers can now be met with equal protection under the law defenses. Thank you ATF.

  35. Sebastian Says:

    That would be fine to do that if they were actually doing that. There is no actual statute on “straw man” purchases. The straw man buy is a legal construct that was created around the statute that says it’s unlawful to deceive a dealer as to the legality of the sale. Bailey giving Belair money to buy a gun for himself is not a straw purchase under the law. Belair is the actual buyer.

  36. Alphecca » Straw Buyer Gets 2+ Years Says:

    […] No word on what happened to the person he bought them for. Maybe it was Steve Bailey. […]

  37. SayUncle » Straw purchaser makes straw man argument Says:

    […] Adds: Lots of info here. And othe prior coverage of alleged journalist and alleged gun criminal Steve Bailey can be found […]

  38. SayUncle » Boston Globe Straw Purchase Update Says:

    […] straw law-breaker and alleged journalist Steve Bailey (back ground here) has hit another snag. Seems the gun dealer involved refutes his claim to have engaged in a straw […]

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