So if you cooperated with the Feds, does that give you any protection?
Great Scott, this is what I talked about before! To recap: a couple of years back, we pulled the paperwork for a sale that turned out to have been a straw purchase. While conversing with the field agents, one asked what I did if I suspected a straw purchase.
I told him that we stopped the sale and booted the offender from the premises. He suggested that we allow the sale to go through and call them with the customer's information after they'd left. I told him that seemed like a good idea, and that I'd consider it.
I was lying. It might seem like, hey, I'm helping out, but at the end of the day, I'd be breaking the law
. No matter what agreements they might have made with me, those would have been conveniently forgotten if things went sour, and I'd be left holding the bag.
I imagine Andre Howard meant to help on some level. I'd like to see what kind of leverage the ATF used, good or ill, to gain his cooperation. But at the end of the day, he did knowingly and willingly break the law.
He can claim he was cooperating with an investigation, and he might even have some documentation to that fact, but I can bet the government's attorneys are going to downplay it as much as possible. In any case, he's going to have a very hard time with this in front of a jury.