News broke today that the Santa Clara County District Attorney filed three felony counts of illegal possession of assault weapons, resulting from what was found at Aldon Smith’s home after of a 2012 party in which Smith was stabbed and two other men were shot.
District attorney Jeff Rosen said that these weapons are highly capable of producing violent outcomes beyond any use as recreational firearms. “California’s prohibition of these powerful weapons is not about hunting or target practice,” Rosen said, “It is about interrupting the long history of death, carnage and grief assault weapons have inflicted on California communities.”
Ammunition, magazines, and five rifles including an Armalite AR10-T .308 caliber rifle, a Bushmaster ACR rifle chambered for 5.56mm NATO and a Bushmaster Carbon-15 .223 caliber were found in Smith’s home by Santa Clara. Prosecutors said none of the weapons were registered with the California Department of Justice.
One of the weapons was a .45 caliber handgun that Smith and former teammate Delanie Walker reportedly fired to break up the crowd. Additionally, it was reported that one of the people at the party went into Aldon Smith’s bedroom and retrieved a riffle that he was allegedly seen carrying around the house.
There is already a civil suit filed against Smith by the two men that were shot at the party. The felony charges just make the situation even worse. Investigators have already determined that neither of the men that were shot were shot by Smith or Walker. That’s a good thing but the plaintiffs do want to hold the Smith responsible because the injured guests were shot at his home. The suit accuses Smith of firing weapons and owning illegal firearms.
Possession of these high powered riffles is not something that the state of California takes lightly. Brian Buckelew, the Deputy district attorney said Smith faces a sentence that could range from probation to a little more than four years in jail if convicted. He expects Smith to surrender later this month. He will be able to post bail and an initial court date would be scheduled at that time.
This is a case where a young man truly got caught up in the wrong thing. Why did he need to purchase illegal assault riffles the day before a game against the Cardinals in Arizona? More importantly, how did he get these riffles back to his home? Certain types of assault weapons cannot be legally bought in Arizona by California residents or possessed in California at all, according to District Attorney Jeff Rosen. Here is a picture of one of the riffles that were reportedly found in Smith’s house:
That is not exactly the kind of riffle that I can picture anyone hunting with, but I am not an outdoorsmen so take my opinion for what it’s worth.
The obvious question is what will the 49ers and the NFL do about Smith’s involvement in this nonsense? Unfortunately, Jim Harbaugh was stuck fielding questions about the charges instead of about the upcoming opponent. When questioned, Harbaugh said; “We’ve been aware of the incident, the serious nature of it. We’re all accountable for our actions, good and bad,” Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday. “There’s a process, due process, that will take place. I don’t feel any need to comment further on it.”
Harbaugh refused to comment on whether or not he thought Smith would play this season. The NFL will wait for the legal part of this situation to run it’s course before they take any action. It would be hard not to imagine them suspending Smith after this along with his DUI charges that have resulted in him placing himself in a rehabilitation center. Smith is expected to check out of the center later this month but will now have added legal issues to face.
There is a chance that Smith will avoid jail time for these transgressions. Even if he does, he has cost himself millions of dollars in guaranteed money for his next contract. The pattern of being involved in troubling situations will make any team that signs him be vary wary of how they construct his contract. They will leave no margin for error.
Prior to this sesaon, Clay Matthews signed a new contract with the Green Bay Packers valued at $69,770,000 over six years with $20,500,000 of it guaranteed. This was the kind of deal that the 49ers were going to have to get into the neighborhood of in order to retain Smith’s pass rushing services. Now, the story is much different.
That is not the major issue here though. What is important is that someone gets to the bottom of what is causing all of this. Those in his corner need to encourage him to seek psychiatric help. They need to find out how he can avoid getting involved with the wrong things.
Jed York and the 49ers have vowed to support Smith through the alcohol rehabilitation ordeal but this is a different thing. I believe that Jed York and the 49ers will do everything that they can to get help for Smith and to get him back on track. Later this month, Smith is expected to get out of the rehab center and will now have another troubling situation to deal with. I wish the young man the best and pray that he can get things in order.