When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Who Pay Off the Cops Will Have Guns (Puerto Rico Edition)



Puerto Rico has restrictive firearms laws. Getting a concealed carry permit to legally tote a handgun is an arbitrary affair that largely comes down to a matter of knowing the right people. As with all laws that give government officials the authority to dispense favors, this creates an opportunity for a market—and Lieutenant Sergio Calderón-Marrero, head of the Puerto Rico Police Department's Bayamón Criminal Investigations Corps, is just the sort of guy to introduce supply to demand. Unfortunately, federal officials don't care for those sort of shortcuts, and the former police lieutenant has been arrested and indicted.

From the United States District Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On Thursday, December 11, 2014, a federal grand jury returned a 17-count indictment against former Lieutenant and head of Bayamón CIC, Puerto Rico Police Department Sergio Calderón-Marrero for conspiracy to commit identity fraud, unlawful production of identification documents, aggravated identity theft, attempted witness tampering and attempted obstruction of justice, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) are in charge of the investigation.

Calderón-Marrero would obtain forged firearms handling course certificates, forge signatures of his clients, and use the notary seal of a deceased Attorney and Notary Public to circumvent the appropriate legal process and obtain Concealed Carry Weapons Permits illegally for his clients.

The feds say that over the course of two years, from 2012 to early 2014, Calderón-Marrero pulled in $105,000 from his extracurricular business activities. They, rather unkindly, want to deprive him of his proceeds.

Officials like Calderón-Marrero who lubricate the wheels of restrictive regimes and intrusive laws with the grease of corruption make life more livable for many people in a multitude of jurisdictions. Admittedly they're a second best to not having restrictive regimes and intrusive laws to begin with.

But officials like Calderón-Marrero are certainly preferable to honest and sincere enforcers of authoritarianism, as C.S. Lewis noted:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Spare us the tyranny, please, but if we can't be spared that, let it be enforced by the likes of Calderón-Marrero, from whom a little breathing room can at least be purchased.