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After several years of difficult times for A’s gun shop, A has finally turned things around. All it took was hard work, determination, and relaxing A’s stringent standards regarding background checks. He figures that even felons deserve to have guns, as they’ve served their time. Now, many of A’s customers are ex-convicts, including B, a local gang leader. B has assured A several times that his gang uses the guns it buys only for “target practice.” B always accompanies this with a wink, and occasionally refers to rival gang members as “targets.” Even so, B once helped A repair A’s truck. So, A figures that B must be a good guy.
A sells about 100 guns per month. Around 30 of these go to properly licensed customers, who state that they are purchasing the guns for self-defense and sport. The other 70 or so guns go to shadier characters, who wear gang paraphernalia and refuse to talk about why they are purchasing the guns. A never asks questions, but sells them guns at the regular prices. Repeat customers are rare, with each customer only buying one or two guns.
To further cater to customers’ needs, A has started selling bandanas and other clothing items in the colors that the gang members tend to wear. Demand for these bandanas skyrocketed recently, as a result of a violent gang war that A knows is currently underway.
A is surprised and indignant when the police show up one day to arrest him for conspiracy to commit murder. The charge stems from a violent gang confrontation, in which four people were killed by the guns A sold directly to three gang members, including B. B fired one of the fatal shots.
Assume the prosecution can prove the above facts at A’s trial.
In a common-law jurisdiction, A is charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Murder is defined as “the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought.” In this jurisdiction, an overt act is not required for a conspiracy conviction.