Tuesday, August 4th, Capital Police arrested Marine Congressional Aide Gunnery Sergeant Peter James Boby when a .45 caliber handgun was found in the trunk of his car.
GySgt Boby is an active duty Marine working as an aide or ‘congressional defense fellow’ for California Representative Duncan Hunter (R). During a routine security screening of GySgt Boby’s vehicle the loaded .45 caliber handgun was discovered.
The Gunny is charged with carrying a pistol without a license, possessing an unregistered firearm, having unregistered ammunition and bringing a loaded firearm onto congressional property and U.S. Capital grounds.
Representative Hunter calls the event a mistake, noting no one was ever in danger. Rep. Hunter said,
“He’s a hero who’s seen combat, who’s been wounded and who’s been in good standing with the Marine Corps throughout. We are still getting the facts, but this was most likely an accident. There is no reason to suggest it was intentional.”
Congressional Fellows are individuals selected by various interest groups to work on a legislator’s staff to provide insight and consultation in their area of interest to the congressman. There are science, defense, and many other types of fellowships.
From Headquarters Marine Corps, Office of Legislative Affairs,
The Marine Corps Congressional Fellowship Program offers participants the opportunity to work in the legislative branch of the federal government for one session of Congress. Eligible candidates include Marine Officers (Active and Reserve components), SNCOs, and Civilian Marines. The program consists of three components: (1) training and education through the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University, (2) work on Capitol Hill in the personal office of a Senator or Member of Congress, and (3) a two-year utilization tour immediately upon completion of the fellowship.
According to Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Ty Balzer,
“[Boby’s] service in the Marine Corps over the past 20 years and seven months has been commendable. He was selected to be a congressional fellow based on his past performance as a Marine, and his stated desire to work as a fellow and have a positive impact on veterans’ issues. … The alleged firearms violation that occurred on Aug. 4, 2015 was a mistake on the part of Gunnery Sgt. Boby, and is in stark contrast to more than two decades of honorable, meritorious service. This is a civil matter, and Gunnery Sgt. Boby will cooperate with law enforcement officials to resolve this issue.”
A Rep. Hunter congressional staffer told reporters GySgt. Boby was returning from a Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation shooting event in Maryland.
When it comes to firearms, mistakes are unacceptable. And a 20 year Marine veteran does not make firearms mistakes. The only mistake was getting caught.
Is it coincidence the Gunny was carrying just 2 weeks after Islamic terrorist Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire at two military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing 4 Marines and a sailor? I’ve never believed in coincidence.
Right or wrong, the law is the law. Like Chicago, Washington D.C. has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. GySgt Boby was charged with carrying/possessing a pistol without a license. Should a combat Marine need a D.C. license to own a handgun?
Per Capital Police, the Gunny’s weapon was unregistered. Right or wrong, gun registration is law in many areas. But unregistered ammunition, really? D.C. has a registration for ammo? That’s gun control run amok.
But the law is the law. A 20 year Marine veteran does not ‘forget’ about his weapon. I don’t believe for a moment this was an accidental oversight.
We can all empathize with GySgt Boby. And while I personally believe the gun control laws in D.C. to be oppressive, the law is the law. The D.C. laws were properly enacted and tested for constitutionality in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. Marines take an oath to uphold and defend the constitution, and that means following the law.
I can think of many reasons why GySgt Boby might have made a conscious decision to violate the law, including personal protection and, in light of recent events in Chattanooga the need to protect others. But regardless of GySgt Boby’s reasons, no matter how noble, he must be accountable for his decisions and actions.
Marines are not above the law.