Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Director Steve Dettelbach did not answer Wednesday whether Hunter Biden should be prosecuted after he allegedly lied on an agency form when purchasing a gun.
Hunter Biden admitted in 2021 to struggling with substance abuse and claimed to have smoked “anything that even remotely resembled crack cocaine,” but indicated on an ATF firearms transaction record Form 4473 in 2018 that he was not illegal controlled substance user or addict. Dettelbach told Republican Wisconsin Rep. Tom Tiffany at the House Judiciary Committee’s Wednesday ATF oversight hearing that lying on Form 4473 carried “serious penalties,” with Tiffany subsequently asking if Hunter Biden should be “turned over” for his alleged violation.
“I think that’s been publicly reported that that is an ongoing investigation. Again, I am not going to comment on any ongoing investigation,” Dettelbach responded. He insisted that long-standing Justice Department (DOJ) policy prevented him from commenting on the issue.
Making false statements on Form 4473 can lead to felony prosecution and up to a ten-year prison sentence, according to the DOJ, but many such cases are not prosecuted, Politico reported. Federal prosecutors have mulled charging Hunter Biden with a gun-purchase related crime, according to NBC News.
Dettelbach said the ATF refers cases to the appropriate prosecutor if it believes a violation occurred, with U.S. Attorney’s offices determining whether violators should be prosecuted.
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