Hunter Biden, the president’s son, bought a .38 revolver on Oct. 12, 2018, after answering “no” on the form to a series of disqualifying questions, including a query on unlawful drug use, as reported last week by Politico and flagged Sunday by former President Trump’s son.
“The first question is, are you actually the legal buyer of this firearm? And you check yes, right?” Eric Trump said on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures. “But the second question is, have you ever been dishonorably discharged from the military? He obviously lied about that point. Then the third question is, are you under the use of any illegal banned substances, including X, Y and Z? They list a lot of drugs. He lied on that question.”
Questions about the legality of the firearms purchase come with President Biden calling for tougher gun control laws, including tightening background checks, in the aftermath of deadly mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado.
Hunter Biden appears to be in the clear on the military issue — he reportedly received a general discharge from the Navy Reserve in 2014 for cocaine use, not a dishonorable discharge — but his drug-and-rehab history has raised questions about whether he committed a crime with his answer to the narcotics query.
The form asks if the buyer is “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”
Hunter Biden has admitted to drug and alcohol abuse as well as stints in rehab. He said in a 2019 interview that he had a gun held to his head in 2016 while buying crack in Los Angeles and was pulled over by police in 2017 with a crack pipe in his car.
“And, listen, obviously, Hunter is a troubled kid, right? There’s no question about that,” Eric Trump said. “But if that was Don or I, or if that was anybody in the Trump family, and we lied on a federal form, we’d be in jail for the rest of our lives. We really would be.”
Hunter Biden’s firearms receipt and transaction record were obtained by Politico as part of a story about how the Secret Service allegedly became involved in trying to track down the gun after Hallie Biden threw it in a trash can behind a grocery store.
At the time Hunter was involved in a romantic relationship with Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter’s brother Beau Biden.
Hunter Biden is scheduled to release a memoir about his life, including his addiction struggles, on April 6 titled “Beautiful Things” by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
He confirmed in December that he is under federal investigation for his tax affairs amid criticism over his business dealings with foreign companies, and has denied any wrongdoing.
“[A]ll these things that Hunter does, right, every single day, all these things that Hunter does, no one says a single thing. It’s because they’re all in the pocket of the Democratic Party,” Eric Trump said. “And, frankly, it’s disgusting.”
Lying on a federal firearms background check — Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Form 4473 — is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The form asks if the buyer has “ever been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable condition,” but experts say that only refers to a dishonorable discharge, which involves a court-martial.
“Only a dishonorable discharge will prevent someone from being able to purchase, own or possess a firearm. ATF states that the federal law regarding dishonorable discharges does not include a BCD [bad-conduct discharge],” according to Florida Gun Lawyer website.
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