Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Breaking the Rules in Virginia

The Washington Post has the story about one of those guys who up till now was a legitimate gun owner, the kind who take some liberties with the law.

Of course some will say he can't be expected to know who's a convicted felon when he's trying to make a private sale to the man at a gun show. He's not a mind reader. And having those restricted weapons at home, although in violation of certain overly-restrictive laws, is not really criminal.

I'll bet a lot of lawful guys would like to get their hands on a real machine gun and a 61 mm mortar.

What's your opinion? Does owning one of these restricted weapons make one a criminal? Isn't it possible to be law abiding person but break some of the rules along the way? Isn't this what is meant by the gray area?

Please leave a comment.

13 comments:

  1. "The Washington Post has the story about one of those guys who up till now was a legitimate gun owner, the kind who take some liberties with the law."

    No, he was a criminal according to U.S. Code and got caught. I never understand why you post stories about the law and LEO's working as an example of, well what exactly?

    "And having those restricted weapons at home, although in violation of certain overly-restrictive laws, is not really criminal."

    It is as criminal as can be as defined by the law but do I consider someone failing to pay a tax a real criminal like a rapist or murderer? Nope. Sorry.

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  2. There is nothing gray about this. He was intentionally doing dealer volume sales without a license. This is not your typical private seller.

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  3. If he did what the indictment says he did, then yes, he is a criminal. There is, of course, an enormous difference between criminality and immorality. Robin Hood, after all, was a "criminal," in any rational sense of the word, but supposedly a pretty good guy.

    And no--I'm not equating failure to jump through all the hoops of U.S. gun law with stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. I don't think his little undocumented firearms business makes him a hero of any sort (unless he was selling weapons to oppressed freedom fighters, which sounds kinda unlikely).

    Still, none of his alleged actions sound like anything that I think should be a crime, and I'm not ready to give up hope that someday, such actions will again no longer be crimes.

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  4. Well, my question was did he properly register the machineguns and 61mm mortar?

    If he did: well, good for him. I've got no problem with someone owning these things if they want to comply with all the laws.

    Well, other than I think they might be a bit barmy to have the real deal (but that's personal opinion).

    On the other hand, this person believed that he should sell his toys to people without getting the proper paperwork. I've got a serious problem with people passing on their toys without properly jumping through the appropriate hoops.

    Laci

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  5. I wish I could find the page for the person who had a M-19 40mm grenade launcher for sale in the US Civilian market. A unique item that I believe was selling for a mere US$250k.

    God Bless the USA!

    Laci

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  6. So, we're agreed then that a gray area exists between the squeaky clean gun owner, who does jump through all the hoops and never deviates, and the criminal.

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  7. So, we're agreed then that a gray area exists between the squeaky clean gun owner, who does jump through all the hoops and never deviates, and the criminal.

    Not legally, there isn't. As far as the law is concerned, a person who violates a law has committed a crime, and the commission of a crime makes one a criminal.

    Sure, I draw an ethical distinction, particularly with gun laws, since I believe it to be perfectly ethical to violate every gun law with which I am familiar.

    So whether or not this "gray area" exists depends on whether you're talking about the legal sense, or the ethical sense, and it's important to know the vast difference between those two senses, particularly with regard to gun laws.

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  8. MikeB: “So, we're agreed then that a gray area exists between the squeaky clean gun owner, who does jump through all the hoops and never deviates, and the criminal. “

    So long as we agree there should also be a gray scale of punishment that suits the gray level of crime. If the crime is having the wrong shaped grip on a gun, then the punishment should literally be a slap on the wrist.

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  9. Actually, Zorro, the myth is that Robin Hood "stole from the rich & gave to the poor." He stole from corrupt government officials, & gave to the poor & those oppressed by that government.

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  10. This is an ethical blog not a legal one.

    Zorro, you can't be serious about (I know you hate it when one questions your seriousness or your use of words) this:

    "I believe it to be perfectly ethical to violate every gun law with which I am familiar."

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  13. Of course I'm serious. I can't imagine how that would come as any surprise. My position has always been that all gun laws are both immoral and unconstitutional, and that there is nothing ethically wrong with violating them.

    I'll go further, if you wish, and argue that in violating an unjust law, a compelling case could be made that one has performed a noble and morally commendable act.

    I know how much you like your broad brushes, and stuffing individuals into groups (regardless of how badly they fit there), and I know that you think of gun rights advocates as "law and order guys," but that's not me. I'm a "rights guy." The only laws that are worth a damn are those that protect rights. I'm fine with people shooting burglars, muggers, would-be rapists, etc., not because the miscreants were violating the law, but because they were violating rights, and sometimes, the best way for the intended victim to defend those rights is to shoot the would-be violator.

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