Virginia College Student Arrested for Acquiring & Shooting Rifle at Range

Virginia College Student Arrested for Acquiring & Shooting Rifle at Range
Virginia College Student Arrested for Acquiring & Shooting Rifle at Range

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- 19-year-old student, Yonsong Zhao, came to the United States from China on a student visa.  As of January, 2018, he had been in the country for seven months.

As with many people, especially young men, he likes guns. In China, it is nearly impossible to access legal guns. Zhao set about learning what was necessary for him to acquire and legally fire guns in the United States.

Given the complexity involved, I am amazed that Zhao appears to have found the various rules, and followed them rigorously.  It is well that he did. The authorities were watching him very closely.  They may have done so because of the notorious mass murder at Virginia Tech in 2007.

The warrant claims that on January 22, Zhao purchased a 30 rd magazine. It was legal for him to purchase the magazine.  At the time, he did not own a rifle. Much of the media case against Zhao seem to come from Internet searches he made. He looked up how much 5,000 rounds of ammo would cost. He looked up the availability of body armor. He looked up how much modifications to the bumpers of his car would cost. 

He legally purchased a rifle on January 25. He says it came with 30 round magazines. He says he traded the 30 round magazines for a sling, because he knew that he could not use 30 round magazines in the rifle because of a weird quirk in Virgina law. The man who processed the sale backs up Zhao's account. From roanoke.com:

An investigator could look into Zhao’s purchase of the AR-15 on Jan. 25 at Pawn Plus in Christiansburg, Wolfrey wrote. The man who processed the sale has told police that the gun came with two 30-round magazines — but that Zhao did not take them, instead trading the magazines for a sling for the rifle, Wolfrey wrote.

It is perfectly legal for Zhao to own 30 round magazines, and perfectly legal for him to own an AR15 type rifle. It is not legal for him to use the 30 round magazines in the AR15 type rifle. What a process trap for an uniformed student!  From virginia.gov:

§ 18.2-308.2:01. Possession or transportation of certain firearms by certain persons.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a citizen of the United States or who is not a person lawfully admitted for permanent residence to knowingly and intentionally possess or transport any assault firearm or to knowingly and intentionally carry about his person, hidden from common observation, an assault firearm.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a citizen of the United States and who is not lawfully present in the United States to knowingly and intentionally possess or transport any firearm or to knowingly and intentionally carry about his person, hidden from common observation, any firearm. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony.

C. For purposes of this section, “assault firearm” means any semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine which will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock.

On January 25, Zhao checked his rifle into the student gun locker at the police station. This is the same day that he purchased the rifle. Prosecutors have asked the judge to block Zhao's lawyer's access to the gunlocker's logs.

On January 26, Zhao checks the rifle out and goes to a local range. University police ask Blacksburg Police Department detectives to follow Zhao there.

One Blacksburg Police officer, Brian Wilson, claimed he saw Zhao with a 30 round magazine in the rifle. Wilson has no video or pictures of the magazine to back up his claim.

On January 29 Zhao is arrested.  The Virginia Tech police admit they had been investigating Zhao for six months prior to his arrest. That would be almost from his time of arrival.  From vt.edu: from 30 January

The arrest followed an investigation that spanned several weeks, and the suspect is now in custody.

At no time during this investigation did police believe there was any threat to our community, nor is there one now.

The Police had a warrant to search, but they found no 30 round magazine.

At the bond hearing, Zhoa's attorney shows video of Zhoa at the range, firing with 20 round magazines. From collegiatetimes.com:

Investigators have not been able to find a 30-round magazine, and Zhao has previously said on the witness stand that he knew he was not allowed to have a 30-round magazine and therefore felt the safest option was not to own one. According to Zhao, after buying the rifle from an out-of-state seller, he traded the two 30-round magazines that came with the gun at the Pawn Plus in Christiansburg for a sling, and he only owned three 20-round magazines he had purchased from local gun stores.

From collegiatetimes.com:March 5

Zhao was arrested in January and is charged with possession of an AR-15 rifle with a magazine over 20 rounds, which is not permitted for noncitizens. A police officer, who traveled to the firing range at the request of the Virginia Tech Police Department, said he saw Zhao with a AR-15 rifle and a 30-round magazine. The combination of a magazine with more than 20 rounds and an AR-15 rifle is not permitted for noncitizens, and is a felony charge that could lead to up to five years in prison.

In a preliminary hearing last week, a video of Zhao shooting a legal 20-round magazine at a firing range and wearing the same clothes as the day he had been arrested was shown. After presentation of this, Williams said the case would move to a grand jury due to the police officer’s word. However, he also stated that prosecutors would have a hard time winning the case and that Zhao would be let out on bond.

Zhao was expelled from Virginia Tech immediately upon being arrested. I am surprised at the speed of his expulsion. Such proceedings usually take months, with appeals and due process.

Zhao has access to assets. He is here from China. He is not impoverished. He purchased a car and a rifle. Zhao is fighting back against the accusations.

On 26 April he filed a complaint against the police and Virginia Tech.  From wtop.com:

Yunsong Zhao filed a complaint Thursday saying police violated his rights in falsely arresting him, and school officials violated his due process rights in dismissing him.

Police claim they saw Zhao at a local range shooting a semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine. Virginia prohibits non-citizens from having guns with magazines holding more than 20 rounds.

But police never found a 30-round magazine in searching Zhao’s room and vehicles. A judge has expressed doubt about a conviction.

Zhao's attorney has alleged that police interrogated him without counsel, while he was in custody.

 From nydailynews.com:

“This case is about over-eager police trampling over a foreign student’s rights because he resembles a student who committed a mass shooting Virginia Tech’s campus in 2007,” Zhao’s lawyer wrote in the complaint filed Thursday.

Seung-Hui Cho, a South Korea native, killed 32 people on campus before fatally shooting himself in the head on April 16, 2007.

The suit names Blacksburg Police Officer Brian Wilson, who was asked by the school to follow Zhao at a shooting range where he fired an AR-15 rifle.

“He (Wilson) has no evidence, neither photos nor videos, to corroborate his account,” the suit says.

Zhao was finally granted bond on the 26th of February. He had been in custody almost a month.

The case against Zhao looks weak. His assertions of inappropriate behavior on the part of school officials, the police, and federal immigration officials all fit the evidence very well. The only assertion against him, that he inserted a legally owned 30 round magazine into his legally owned rifle, has no physical evidence to back it up. Video evidence, eyewitness accounts, and search warrant results all support his version of events.

People may not like the idea that foreign students can legally acquire guns in Virginia.  If a student follows the rules, he should not be abused by the system.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 105 thoughts on “Virginia College Student Arrested for Acquiring & Shooting Rifle at Range

    1. I am in no way expert in the law. That said, from what I have read above, and respecting my possibly incorrect understanding, this Chinese student made all reasonable efforts to be within the law. It appears that the problem or problems lie elsewhere, as with “the authorities”, who putting it politely, seem to suffer from an excess of zeal.

    2. This thing reads like all levels of government herein involved have managed to go off half cocked, putting the thing in polite terms.

    3. I sincerely hope all works out for this young man. As the article states he was honest and up front about everything. If the police am and college are proven to be wrong, the police and the university owe him an apology. And I see a law suite as well, if it’s proven this was malicious.

      1. i do also John.
        this kid obeyed all the rules, and he should be set free, and get his Rifle back.
        then SUE THE CRAP OUT OF THEM, ALL OF THEM.

      2. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” This pertains to OJ’s bloody glove as well as Zhao’s imaginary 30 round magazine.

    4. The gun org. lawyers will do the same things they did with the PHILANDO CASTILLE ….
      ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
      I GUARANTEE IF HE WAS FRENCH, ENGLISH, ITALIAN, GERMAN, GREEK, RUSSIAN, SCOTTISH, IRISH, or anyother caucasian for that matter, he woyld attract no scrutiny or attention whatsoever.
      You can call it the race card or whatever,but the facts remain, whether foreignor natural citizen, THIS ONLY HAPPENS TO NON WHITES..

      1. I’d have to say B.S. on that! If he was Muslum there would of NEVER been a problem and they are NOT white. However I don’t believe any non-citizen should be allowed to have weapons of any kind, because is a lot of places American Citizens are not allowed to have weapons….I.E. Ca, NJ, NY and the rest of the liberal scumbag states.

        1. I’d have 5o call BULLSHIT on your statement @americanpatriot …
          MUSLIM IS NOT AN ETHNIC OR RACIAL IDENTIFIER, IT IS A FAITH ADHERED TO BY MILLIONS OF WHITES WORLDWIDE, INCLUDING WHITES IN AMERICA. SERBIANS ARE WHITE AND MUSLIM, SO ARE RUSSIANS, CZECH’S, AND ALBANIANS. THEY LIVE NEAR THE CAUCUS MOUNTAINS FOR HEAVENS SAKES. YOUR STATEMENT IS 1000 ×’s MORE RACIST THAN ANYTHING I HAVE SAID …..
          EDUCATE YOURSELF TO THE TRUTH …

          1. I never said anything about Race (only liberals play that card when they have nothing else to say) I know muslums aren’t a race but religion? My A$$ …….who believe in killing all non-believers.& many other types of people…….bottom of the barrel scum & I’m guessing you’re one of them. It’s just unfortunate you don’t face the truth….as most liberals don’t.

            1. HMMMM …. SEEMS CHRISTIANITY WAS SPREAD IN THE SAME WAY. BLACK SLAVES WERE MADE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR INHUMAN OPPRESSORS BELIEFS BY HAVING A DISSENTER DRAWN, AND QUARTERED, (this was done by men that founded this country on religious freedom…hypocrites). YOU MAY HAVE MISSED THE SPANISH INQUISITION ALSO …..
              don’t follow blindly, learn the truth … not opinions.

            1. beg to differ.
              ISLAM IS A POLITICAL IDIOLOGY DRESSED AS A RELIGION.
              there is NOTHING RELIGIOUS ABOUT IT, THAT’S A PHONY. elusion.
              read their koran and see for yourself.

          2. BLACKS WERE FREED BY A REPUBLICAN. BLACKS VOTED FOR REPUBLICANS UNTIL WELFARE CAME ALONG. NOW THE DEMOCRATS HAVE THEM IN SLAVERY AGAIN.

    5. This is some racist shit. Ironic when white kids made up 99% of the mass shootings, when will we racial profiling their white asses?

      1. Trevor Clams – Talk about racist shit. Ironic that 99% of mass shooting ARE NOT done by white kids!!! Stop reading the HuffPost and watching CNN for all your fact and figures!

    6. Author: Wild Bill
      Comment:
      @F1 Jason, We understand that a change allowing nonimmigrants, like yourself to own firearms under two narrow provisions of 18 USC 922(y)(2)(A). But what does the Immigration Act and ICE say about engaging in activities outside of your student visa category? F-1s are admitted to study and some work related to study if approved in advance of the beginning of work, but buying guns, hunting and target shooting are activities other than studying.”
      But note that the law cited “§ 18.2-308.2:01. Possession or transportation of certain firearms by certain persons.”
      is STATE LAW.
      Federal law Title 922 g It shall be unlawful for any person—
      snip
      (5) who, being an alien—
      (A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; OR
      (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));

      Student was legally admitted under A

      1. @Jim M, yes he was lawfully admitted by virtue of the grant of a F-1 category visa, but has he rendered himself deportable by engaging in activities beyond those for which he was admitted to this country? F-1s are admitted to study, those things necessary for the course of study, and some work related to study, if approved in advance by CIS. So unless this particular F-1 is studying to become a firearms designer or chemical smokeless powder engineer, buying and shooting guns and shooting may not be sufficiently related to his course of study, thus rendering himself deportable.
        Well… see you all at the NRA convention, tomorrow bright and early.

    7. This is Virginia State law… [quote]
      § 18.2-308.2:01. Possession or transportation of certain firearms by certain persons.

      A. It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a citizen of the United States or who is not a person lawfully admitted for permanent residence to knowingly and intentionally possess or transport any assault firearm or to knowingly and intentionally carry about his person, hidden from common observation, an assault firearm.

      B. It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a citizen of the United States and who is not lawfully present in the United States to knowingly and intentionally possess or transport any firearm or to knowingly and intentionally carry about his person, hidden from common observation, any firearm. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony.

      C. For purposes of this section, “assault firearm” means any semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine which will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock.

      1993, c. 674; 2003, c. 976; 2004, cc. 347, 995; 2008, c. 408. end quote]

      This law is probably unconstitutional under U.S. law and Constitution in that it discriminates on people lawfully in the country.
      A student “in country” for a two week class in CAD/CAM probably knows they are temporary residents. But in college seeking a degree that will take a good fraction of that persons life will see a permanent term. I think a federal court will find the same, as well as obscure since only a lawyer would read from paragraphs a1 to z3 in four different law titles is just too much to ask.

      1. @Jim Mackin – as soon as I read Virginia State Law it all became very clear to me. Glad I do NOT reside in that Common Wealth (of idiots)!

      2. Jim:

        In paragraph A the term Assault Firearm appears. Excuse me if I miss the obvious but how or where is “assault firearm” defined?.

    8. Again, over reaction by white police officer, causes non whites to be incarcerated, and their lives destroyed. I am surprised they didn’t just shoot him like they did TAMIR RICE …

      1. The comments of ‘racism’ , are as baseless as the apparently bogus charges. Interesting how racists come out to make accusations of racism.

        1. no matter who calls it out, in this instance, institutional racism played the largest part in abusing this man’s humanity, rights, and his dignity. He should be compensated $100M by the county that did this to him, another $100M from the federal gov’t, and $50M from the officer that lied, and perpetrated this racist, vile, and un american treatement of this PERSON.
          I notice in the comments that the folks here describe him in every way except what he is …. A HUMAN.

    9. The Police State is alive and well, I see. How about bringing some of that enforcement zeal to California and helping enforce Federal Immigration law? The State government doesn’t want any enforcement!

    10. Convolutions, degrees, perceptions, interpretations, misguided paranoia, and underhanded politics: This is the gauntlet ee must now run with regards to firearms ownership and use. While I am a bit suspicious of this foreign national’s motivations IF he did indeed do the kinds of research investigators alleged, e.g. 5k rouunds of ammo, the car bumper mods (I doubt he was fixin’ to pimp his ride, but could be wrong?), he certainly has full right to due process.

      Being a bit more nationalistic now since the literal invasion of our country by foreign nationals, legal and especially illegal, my first loyalty is to my fellow American citizens. It is just the way it is. I paid big dues for that luxury, including some WIA time behind a combat tour, and 12 years in federal enforcement, where much of the type of crime I was involved with had foreign/illegal roots, namely illicit drug activity.

      Not saying any of this has any nexus to this case, just that these same laws used to literally entrap this Chinese student are also aimed at us, the actual citizens. For me, a two-time Oath taker, to have my country, the very country I once bled on foreign soil for, target me because I am a Constitutional supporter, is among the worst ironies I can think of. Much has changed in our nation, especially over the past decade, and a lot of it, NOT for the better. We, you, I and “the other guy” are guilty of watching this era unfold, and waiting too long to either take some action, or fail to realize the sum of the parts of all these encroachments upon our lives and rights bh a sinister and crafty movement towards anarchy mixed with abandonement to a Third World existence. NOW, we are well on our way, and this juggernaut of anyi-American totalitarianism is going to be a hell of a lot harder to stop, let alone reverse.

      I am still in, 100 percent, to that end. Whatever it takes, because I too am culpable of believing this could never happen to MY country. Well, pilgrims, guess what? The table tilts a tad more each day, as we watch ignorant, uninformed and often misled voters help tilt the balance away from our foundations by the follish choices they send to make these laws that target you and I. What are you prepared to do? It better be more than sitting on our asses, blogging our laments, while the architects of our undoing are out there, using dirty money and gutter tactics to take us down. Get smart, and get with it. This nation needs defending, from enemies within.

    11. 4th paragraph:
      “The warrant claims that on January 22, Zhao purchased a 30 rd magazine. It was legal for him to purchase the magazine. At the time, he did not own a rifle.”

      Later he bought a rifle that came with two 30 rounders and declined to accept them, and trading them for a sling.
      What ever happened to the 1st mag he bought at the beginning of the article?

    12. He’s from ROC Taiwan: not PRC. Let the kid go home, these bogus unconstitutional anti-gun laws are effing disgrace. Good on the police for investigating a potential threat. Now that there is zero threat, let the kid go home: or back to school. He didn’t break any laws. The laws that he allegedly broke are nonsensical unconstitutional BS: and a waste of American tax dollars like the rest of the Globalist legislation.

    13. I am a student under F1 visa who legally possesses firearms in US. To answer some of the questions mentioned in the comment area, can non-immigrant have guns in US? The answer, on the level of Federal law, is yes. ATF has a thorough answer towards this question:https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/may-nonimmigrant-alien-who-has-been-admitted-united-states-under-nonimmigrant-visa
      https://www.atf.gov/qa-category/nonimmigrant-aliens?page=1
      Form 4473 also make it clear, as long as the non-immigrant alien falls into one of the exemption conditions, he/she may allow transferring the firearm.
      2nd amendment protects people on the soil of US NOT JUST CITIZENS.
      another word about the case, that cop should NEVER tell if magazine if 20 or 30 rounds based on the look. Some magazine has a 30-round look but can only hold up to 10 rounds. The standard-looking low capacity magazines are very common in ban states such as california and NJ, NY…here is an example: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/01/foghorn/new-plinker-arms-10-round-magazines-look-like-standard-magazines/
      The whole incident is just unbelievably stupid.

      1. @F1 Jason, We understand that a change allowing nonimmigrants, like yourself to own firearms under two narrow provisions of 18 USC 922(y)(2)(A). But what does the Immigration Act and ICE say about engaging in activities outside of your student visa category? F-1s are admitted to study and some work related to study if approved in advance of the beginning of work, but buying guns, hunting and target shooting are activities other than studying.

        1. He is allowed to buy anything legal in the united states and do anything legal in the united states. The items it specifically mentions are those that are restricted. For the record it also does not say he is allowed to eat, buy food, or clothes or even walk across the street or go to an amusement park. Since these are legal activities they are allowed to do these. Employment and schooling are items that that require specific paperwork which is why they are mentioned.

        2. So are buying a car, hiking and going to the movies.

          Do you honestly believe that students on a F1 visa are only allowed to study and do limited amounts of work?

        3. Would participation in flag football, volleyball or basketball at the county rec center be okay on the visa? How about fishing in a local lake, pond or river? How about USPSA (assuming training doesn’t keep him from his classes)? I would say they all would be okay. Recreational activities is a common way to deal with the pressures of study. So sport shooting should fall within the same parameters. As far purchasing for self-defense goes, well, that’s a basic human right that is supposed to be protected inside US borders.

    14. If the article is correct, they have absolutely no proof or evidence – none – zero. They have an unsupported ALLEGATION that is questionable at best. The allegation is possession of a prohibited item . . . BUT CAREFUL SEARCHES DID NOT TURN UP SUCH AN ITEM!!! And the gun dealer confirmed that he never took possession of the prohibited item. So . . . this seems to be a case of malicious prosecution. For whatever reason, the police & prosecutor decided to make this guy’s life miserable . . . it almost reminds me of the Duke lacrosse case. Unless there’s some REAL evidence that isn’t appearing in this article, people in the police department and the prosecutor’s office need to lose their jobs and/or be disbarred.

    15. @Vanns, ok, here is what I have so far, in pertinent part:
      18 USC 922
      (g) It shall be unlawful for any person—

      (5) who, being an alien—
      (A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or
      (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));

      (y) Provisions Relating to Aliens Admitted Under Nonimmigrant Visas.—
      (1)Definitions.—In this subsection—
      (A) the term “alien” has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(3)); and
      (B) the term “nonimmigrant visa” has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)).
      (2)Exceptions.—Subsections (d)(5)(B), (g)(5)(B), and (s)(3)(B)(v)(II) do not apply to any alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, if that alien is—
      (A) admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes or is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States;

      Someone must have snuck this into the GCA while my back was turned, but the Immigration Act does not seem to have changed:
      A nonimmigrant is a foreign citizen present in the United States (U.S.) on a temporary basis. A non-immigrant visa is required for entry into the U.S. and authorizes a stay for a limited period of time for a specific purpose. Once a person is admitted as a nonimmigrant, they are restricted to the activity for which they were admitted. The type of visa required is defined by immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of the travel.

      Student Type:
      F-1: International students enrolling in academic programs at a university, college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory or another academic institution, including an English language program.
      M-1: International students enrolling in a technical program at vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program.

      Next, CIS, in its official materials to F-1s and M-1s, writes: ” While studying in the United States, it is important to maintain your F or M student status. Your status relates to the purpose, or reason for why you want to come to the United States. The U.S. Department of State issues you your visa based on your intended purpose. If the Department of State issues you an F or M student visa, this means that you are coming to the United States to study. You should not take any action that detracts from that purpose.”

      The student visas used to be strictly enforced because the right to remain in the US is very delicate. If the F-1 or M-1 did any other thing than study or related to study, then they were considered outside their visa category and were arrestable and deportable. So, I have a call in to a contact as to how CIS and ICE, currently, view purchasing a weapon for hunting or not hunting.

      1. Ah, come on, that means if you go play ping pong or watch a movie, under your interpretation, you’re in violation. Shooting is a sport and I don’t believe, in any stretch they meant you couldn’t engage in sports.

        1. @Vanns, Sorry brother, not my interpretation. The visa category part of at the INA is written to get rid of them when ever we need to. Most of what I posted is right out of the CIS literature. And I have sent an email to my contact at the criminal enforcement branch of the ICE. Have a good evening.

      2. No, what I’m telling you is it was stated that his purchase was deemed to be legal. Unless you have any proof to the contrary we must assume he complied with all applicable laws exactly as was stated in the story. Geez, I feel like I’m going round in a circle here.

    16. @Brick … That caught my attention also…would be nice if one had all info available . Causes me to have mixed emotions . Quite possibly something has been prevented here . If I were to plan something I would do everything so as not to attract attention before hand . BUT you would think LEO would do a more sanitary job also . Either way one side or the other needs to BOHICA !!

    17. My question is, if it is against the FEDERAL LAW for a non citizen to possess or own a firearm of this nature, why did the
      gunshop owner or employee sell him the rifle. Seems the purchaser knows more about the laws than the gun shop. I am not saying that Mr. Zhao is innocent because if he did all his homework, he would have known it was illegal for him to purchase the firearm. Both parties are responsible, but the gun shop should have known they could not legally sell him the gun. It is all about the dollars.

      1. @Craig, There are two sets of law that govern this. It used to be that only US Citizens and people lawfully admitted for permanent residence (LAPRs) could buy firearms, but there has been a change to 18 USC 922(g)et seq. That change is:
        (y) Provisions Relating to Aliens Admitted Under Nonimmigrant Visas.—
        (1)Definitions.—In this subsection—
        (A) the term “alien” has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(3)); and
        (B) the term “nonimmigrant visa” has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)).
        (2)Exceptions.—Subsections (d)(5)(B), (g)(5)(B), and (s)(3)(B)(v)(II) do not apply to any alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, if that alien is—
        (A) admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes or is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States;
        However I can not find a corresponding change in the Immigrration Act governing the very narrow list of activities in which a foreign student can engage. If he is outside those activities, he becomes deportable.

      2. Unless helied on the 4473, OR the FFL who sold him the weapon lied or failed to do their job (VERY unlikely, as they’d be out of business and in prison like this man is) the pruchase WAS legal.

        This man throughly investigated bot US and Virgina laws…

        besides, it seems the issue is not his possession of “a firearm”, it is possession of s certain demonised type of firearm. Notice the big deal made by the ossifer that he was alledgedly FIRING the rifle with the THIRTY round mag attached. At what point did that ossifer KNOW his use of the 30 rounder was a crime? IF he knew that as the tie he “witnessed” this “illegal” activity, WHY did he hot arrest him right then and there WITH THE GOODS IN HAND?

        There seems to be signficant evidence he was using the correct size magazine, and zero sustainable evidence he used the “illegal” size magazine.

    18. @ Brick
      I agree with that, Our Laws need an overhaul.
      He apparently was legally in possession of the Gun.
      Strange Laws .

    19. I find it odd myself he was looking into armor and, bumper modifications? Did they bother to check and see if his vehicle had been in an accident and the bumper modification unrelated to the gun purchases. I am a firm believer that no immigrant needs to possess firearms in a country they don’t have full citizenship to. That said, firearms are a right only to U.S citizens in the U.S and a privilege to non citizens at which foreign LEO are the only ones who can carry while on diplomatic duty or extradition of criminals. just my two cents

      1. 2A says “…the right of the PEOPLE..”

        It doesn’t say citizens. It says people. It would have been a very easy distinction to make if they had meant that.

        1. When Kansas passed concealed carry in 2006 the application required U.S. citizenship. It wasn’t long before that was ruled to be unconstitutional. Legal alien residents as well as citizens are “people” who can own arms in the USA even if some states have stupid laws and even dumber judges.
          Many 20 round AR magazines look the same or similar externally. The magazine body is blocked or the follower is different to limit the rounds. The 30 round magazine is great for off-hand target shooting because it can be used as a palm rest. 20 round magazines can be several inches shorter and are better when shooting from a bench or prone.
          5,000 rounds is just enough to lower the per shot cost and enough to actually shoot a normal amount for a training camp or just a few weekends. GRAF & SONS has barrels of 12,500 rounds of 5.56×45 green tip ammo for $5,000. [I’m about $4,950 short].
          Some books and law enforcement trainers recommend body armor because of the very slight risk of being shot on a range accidentally. I can’t afford armor either, so I shoot when I have a little money on private ranges where there are no public idiots.
          If I win the lottery I’ll probably buy a Jeep and put a steel winch bumper on the front and maybe the rear too. Will that get the police alarmed if I look on 4Wheel Parts. com .Maybe the police had a warrant to monitor his Internet browsing?
          250 years ago the Minutemen DID NOT ask for a Charter from the King to form a militia. The Second Amendment militia was intended to be independent of and to monitor government. Read the Declaration of Independence and other historical documents for reference.
          A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state ? [Yes, a good idea, therefore]
          “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

      2. The gun org. lawyers will do the same things they did with the PHILANDO CASTILLE ….
        ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
        I GUARANTEE IF HE WAS FRENCH, ENGLISH, ITALIAN, GERMAN, GREEK, RUSSIAN, SCOTTISH, IRISH, or anyother caucasian for that matter, he woyld attract no scrutiny or attention whatsoever.
        You can call it the race card or whatever,but the facts remain, whether foreignor natural citizen, THIS ONLY HAPPENS TO NON WHITES..

        1. Philando Castile had a concealed carry permit. Fact. Philando Castile did not obey the police officer’s commands to keep his hands in view. THAT is the reason he was shot. Fact. Philando Castile was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his shooting. Fact. HE voided his right to carry concealed. Fact. Everyone who refuses to “SHOW ME YOUR HANDS” may suffer the same fate as Philando Castile, irregardless of color, religion, nationality, sexual choice, parental permission, etc. The man in this case apparently followed US and VA LAW. WE should allow the process to reach completion. Hopefully the information above is correct, the court dismisses all charges, he is reinstated to VA College (or a different college/university), he receives compensation for his (apparently) illegal arrest, and he returns home to Taiwan and produces great things for his country and the US.

    20. Given the ignorance of many police officers can the ones involved be able to identify a 20 round magazine versus a 30 round magazine at a distance? Besides that law is rather idiotic since changing mags is a simple quick procedure.

      1. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to sue the police officer directly in most cases as they often have immunity.

    21. I’m just a citizen with little knowledge of these things unlike the other readers here. First of all, I want the reader to know, I’m for guns. I see good and bad about what happened to this student. I’m glad the cops were paying attention. I’m glad they (the cops) were on the ball. I know the students rights may have been trampled and I hope that the system takes care of that. It’s sad that everyone has to be on their guard but that is the state that we are in. Overzealous cops. Maybe. But when they don’t stop something terrible from happening, they live with the weight that they might have been able to save lives. I feel for cops though as there is a lot of pressure on them. So many cops commit suicide each year. It’s not an easy job. They see things that the average citizen would have trouble dealing with.

      1. The police saw what they WANTED to see. They saw a non-white purchasing a fire arm, and ammunition. Whenever I purchase a firearm, and ammo, whites give you strange, or hostile looks. The police LIED, there was no mistakes, there was no probable cause to even investigate this MAN. The ONLY reason he was watched was because of his ETHNICITY, white foreign students purchase weapons and ammo ALL THE TIME, NO INVESTIGATION FOR THEM AT ALL. All foreign terrorists that have committed acts were caucasion, or caucasoid in features, none of them were given the inhuman, and unconstitutional treatement this MAN was subjected to. This is the INSTITUTIONAL RACISM THAT IS COUCHED AS PATRIOTISM, BUT IN REALITY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. ALSO REMEMBER IF A SWORN OFFICER VIOLATES HIS OATH, IT IS TREASON ..

    22. Is it just me or does it seem that the police have two modes today – Do NOTHING or GO OFF the deep end. I hope he gets a good lawyer and they returns with a sued against the college and the police!

    23. In all cases of civil unrest whether of minor alleged violation of a local code or a State law or Federal we look to LEOs to enforce it. This is as it should be. What is not adequately taught is the appropriateness of LEO to stand down when the issue lacks standing. LEOs come from our communities, our school systems, our neighborhoods. They are us. All is lost when the power of the state infused into their position is not countered by them with CRITICAL thinking. Most regretfully this is something that is lost in our schools, our homes and with OUR LEOs with the result being that we cannot trust that they will act appropriately when challenged with a questionable circumstance. Bear this in mind when the order comes down ‘go confiscate the guns and ammo’. “….shall not be infringed” will not be considered and we will be on our own.

      1. I’m behind 95% of the law officers. But many are un-informed about their own laws. Here in VT, about 90% of the unpopulated areas are open to hunting, plinking, etc. Last summer, while out on the very end of a dirt road, I’d installed a new scope on a rifle, and wanted to make sure it was ‘on the paper’ before going to my range. Before I could even find a safe area. (no ricochets possible, sufficiently clear etc.) a sheriffs car came screaming down the dirt road, and he motioned me to the car. He asked what I was doing, and I told him. He then stated it was illegal to carry a loaded fire arm on a VT thoroughfare. I said, OK, I’ll just go down the road to the beginning of the state forest (about 80% of the land mass) at which point he said that it was illegal to fire a weapon in the state forest. I was about to ask him “what about the 1000’s of hunters that line the roads every year in hunting season?, but let it go.
        Since VT is a conceal or open carry state with no permit required (ala 2A), I decided to just let it go. Out at the end of a dirt road in the forest is not the place to attempt to educate this idiot. I got in the car and left.

      2. LEOS IN BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS ARE NOT FROM OUR COMMUNITIES,
        THEY ARE NOT US.
        IN BLACK COMMUNITIES LEOS ARE PROBABLY THOSE RACISTS WHO’S DREAM JOB IS TO ABUSE OR KILL MINORITIES WITH IMPUNITY, WITH NO CONSEQUENCS TO THEMSELVES.
        MOST ARE SHOOTING UP STEROIDS AND AMPHETAMINES FOR A PHYSICAL EDGE IN CONFRONTATIONS.
        THE SURROUNDING WHITE SUBURBAN COUNTIES OF MY CITY, THE POLICE CALL YOU BOY OR NIGGER WHEN THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT.
        THEIR FAVORITE GAME IS TO ROUND UP YOUNG BLACK YOUTH, DRIVE THEM AROUND AT HIGH SPEED, WITH MANY HARP TURNS, SO THAT YOU BANG ATOUND IN THE VAN, THEN DROP YOU OFF IN ALL WHITE MEIGHBORHOODS. THE WHITES THEN CHASE YOU, SND IF YHEY CATCH YOU, YOU WILL BE BEATEN OR KILLED …

        1. Dude , are you on Fantasy Island or what , I have seen you write so many things on here about race, you are a racist that is a fact, but to say police intentionally pick people up drive them around and bang them up on purpose is totally bogus. Another thing what is with all of the hostility to white people, just because white people commit less crimes than most races and have been the builders of industry, states and countries for centuries, and inventors of most of anything and everything and I could go on and on, is that a reason to bash whities every chance you get ? Other races are inferior to whites and you are a jealous person, am I right ? I am not trying to be an asshole just speak the truth, but most black ,mexicans and muslims are hellbent on destroying anything good the white people have built including peace.

    24. @WildBill: I have to disagree with you on this one. The law allows him to legally purchase IF he has taken a hunters safety course. When he goes to the gun store he must answer Question 11(L) and Question 12 on ATF Form 4473 as “Yes”, indicating you are a non-immigrant alien (Question 11(L)) and you do fall under one of the the exceptions for purchasing a firearm (Question 12). You will be required to produce the hunting license at that time to prove you fall into the exception category.

      1. @Vanns, Oh, he had a hunter safety course and hunting license, I must have missed that. I am checking the Immigration Act for changes to the non-LAPRs rules. If you are correct, then I will change my pleading.

      2. It didn’t say one way or the other BUT it did say that he had abided by all laws and purchased the rifle lawfully.

        1. @Vanns, Oh, I thought that you were telling me that he did have a hunter safety course and hunting license, and that I had missed it in my reading. So Zhao did have a HSC and license, right?

    25. I hope the police and the school and the lying police officer realize they are going to have to come up with an awful lot of money for this blatant mistreatment of that young man.
      The young man should be invited to the White House like that clock boy was. Talk about a joke. This is all ridiculous.

    26. Wow, just wow!! I am a cop and this bothers the heck out of me. This is exactly why I hold the 2A in high esteem. It is for protection against a tyranical government. As a cop its ok to say “hey boss I didnt see anything illegal”. I would rather be straight up and let a person walk vesus wrapping someone up in a weak case just to satisfy administrators. I mean new age policing 101….if your going to surveil a person have the ability to video, photo etc etc!! Otherwise dont make a case!! I understand not wanting to be the cop that lets a bad guy go loose and catching the front page over being that guy. But there are ways to mitigate that and it either makes your case or protects you when something happens. Meaning video or photo shows the illegal act or the lack there of so if they came after you as the cop you could say with pride “whoa hold on check out this documentation….no law being broke here when I was assigned to check it out”. Pride because you didnt crap on a citizen and file a craptacular case or provide shoddy evidence for said craptacular case.

    27. More time should be spent on a person that has been reported or observed to need watching then this guy.Latest shootings should prove that.

    28. While our government is spending billions of dollars overseas on the so called “war on terrorism” the only terrorists the US citizens encounter is lying law enforcement. We citizens need to make our own rules about how our employees interact with us and have stiff penalties for any of them breaking their oath. Unfortunately nowadays they seem seem to be able to even murder us with impunity.

    29. Virginia used to be the “gold” standard for obedience to the second amendment. Now it is just commifornia east. These people are STUPID TRAITORS. They deserve a traitor’s fate.

    30. Can someone explain to me how a 30 rd. magazine is more dangerous than a 20 rd.?? BS charges, a little Asian Profiling, and a little racism all wrapped up in an officer’s testimony that doesn’t know the difference in mag sizes. I hope he sues the crap out of all of them.

    31. What bull crap. Based on the evidence in this article, he did everything legally. But the police and the school are trying to railroad him. The BS school kicked him out without due process. What ever happened to due process? What is the country coming to?

    32. This guy appears to have done extensive research into the laws and taken great care not to violate any of them. IF all of this is true I hope he and his attorney take not only the police dept to the cleaners but also Va Tech. Talk about racial profiling.

    33. Yet, there are many people that say we should trust the government, in the form of the military and the police to be the only ones to have guns. This seems to be a clear case of why we should NOT trust the government.

    34. Sounds like he is getting railroaded. People wonder why they shouldn’t trust the system… here is why. He is clearly being unjustly prosecuted.

      1. Most crimes require intent to commit the crime. Seems like this young man tried very hard to comply with all the laws and the people he must have asked about the laws lied to him to set a Catch 22 trap.
        Maybe somebody thought he was from Russia and was involved with the 2016 election?

    35. Agreed. You don’t want a non-citizen owning this or that, make it illegal for him to do so. Not cool throwing some guy under the proverbial bus when he clearly took care to comply with the law.

      1. @David, Setting aside, for a moment § 18.2-308.2:01, federal law does prohibit temporary residents and visa holders from owning firearms. To put it another way, only citizens and permanent residents of the US can own firearms, a student visa holder can not own firearms in the US pursuant to the Immigration Act.
        It is surprising that local police were willing to spend all that detective time to produce such a weak case. Why didn’t they just hand the lead over to the BATFE to stop the sale or to ICE to deport the young man?
        The immigration case is thus, and I leave it to you all to judge the strength of the case: Zhao was granted permission by the US government to come to the US to study (student visa). Zhao bought a firearm. Buying firearms was not with in the activities of the visa that was granted. Zhao has violated his visa and is now deportable. Ok judges, it is decision time.

      2. wild bill missed the part that he followed
        the rules. Though complex laws and rules
        where in place, He followed them to get,
        the rifle legally .

        1. @Marc DV, I am not so sure that he did follow all the rules. He did not have a hunting license. And as to the strict immigration rules governing foreign students, that are in place to protect Americans, he may have broken those, too.

    36. Sounds Like the Cop ( wilson) Needs Glasses ,
      or can’t tell the Difference between 20rd. & 30rd.
      Magazines. He May Have a little Barney Fife in him !

      1. The cop should be arrested and fired for false information and lying under oath. Then tried on a felony for abuse of power.

    37. Talking about state gun laws being FUBAR and the poor soul caught up in it. The gun org lawyers should be all over this one.

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