Innocent Victims of Gun Control: The DC Businessman

Shotgun_HullGun control advocates like to describe their goals as ‘reasonable restrictions’ that would never interfere with the rights of average Americans. However, I think that DC Businessman Mark Witaschek would strongly disagree with that statement.

Award winning journalist Emily Miller recently covered Witaschek’s story in the Washington Times.  But the important legal lesson I want you take away from his ordeal is just how ‘unreasonable’ gun control actually is when applied to real people living in the real world.

So how unreasonable are we talking here?  Well … in the District of Columbia, not only are firearms regulated practically out of existence, but so is ammunition.  If you do not have a DC registered firearm then it is illegal to even possess ammunition.

But, while that is a draconian law in its own right, it is not the absurd part.  Where it really becomes ludicrous is that the definition of ammunition extends to include any components of ammunition, including spent shell casings and shotgun hulls.

That’s right.  If you have a keychain made from a shell casing, which many of us do, and you take it into DC then .. bam … you are a felon.

If you have a spent shell casing or shotgun hull in your truck from your last trip to the range and you drive into DC then … bam … you are a felon.

If you volunteer to pick up litter from a highway, park, or community and one of the pieces of trash you pick up is a spent shell casing , then … bam … you are a felon.

I can almost hear the questions from those reading this.  “Ok.  But we are talking DC here right?  They have always been a bit crazy in DC.  That’s not the case elsewhere is it?

In fact, DC  is not the only gun-control paradise to feature such ridiculous and draconian restrictions on ammunition components.  In 2011, following the holding of the Massachusetts Appeals Court in Commonwealth v. Truong (934 N.E.2d 1274), the Massachusetts Bar Association issued this warning:

The Appeals Court has held that it is a crime in Massachusetts to possess spent shell casings that are incapable of being fired or of discharging a bullet. So nature lovers, bird watchers, souvenir hunters, scrap metal collectors and curious people of all ages who pick up empty shotgun shell casings, or discharged firearm cartridges, are now subject to criminal prosecutions.

So … the next time one of your non-gun-owning friends tells you that only an extremist would oppose “common sense” gun control, remind him that he is only a simple piece of plastic away from being a felon.

© 2013, John Pierce. All rights reserved.


About John Pierce

Monachus Lex is written by Virginia attorney John Pierce. John is a life-long gun rights advocate, an NRA certified instructor and co-founder of the nationwide gun rights group OpenCarry.org.

He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems, an MBA from George Mason University and is a 2012 Honors Graduate of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, MN.

Professionally, John is a member of the American Bar Association Second Amendment Civil Rights Litigation Subcommittee and his writings have been published by the ABA Civil Rights Litigation Committee and the ABA Minority Trial Lawyer Committee.

In addition, his open carry advocacy has been featured on Nightline and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
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