Sandy Hook, gun control, mental health, and the federal government
When the US Government uses violence to solve its problems it teaches others to do the same.
“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
VIDEO – MLK: A Radical Revolution of Values – http://youtu.be/hQFE1wgx714
VIDEO – 3rd Bn 1st Marines – Fallujah 2004 music by Seether – http://youtu.be/vGWlW8uAa8k
“The entire country pledged we would do something about it and that this time would be different. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten. I haven’t forgotten those kids.” ~ US President Barack Obama
“We have no idea how many people [buying the guns] are mentally ill, or how many are felons.” ~ US Senator Charles Schumer
“This is not just a gun issue. This goes deeper – much, much, much deeper” ~ Kim Pernerewski, the president of the Waterbury, Connecticut chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness.
“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.” ~ C. S. Lewis, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment
“The question, of course, is whether subjects shall be assumed to be dependent upon rulers, as children must be dependent upon their parents, or whether they shall be assumed to be responsible and self-governing.” ~ George H. Sabine, A History of Political Theory, Third Edition, (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, Inc., 1937, 1950, 1961) pp. 72-73.
Get ready for universal mental health evaluations, classifications, and gun confiscations… as well as the end of private gun sales without background checks…
Slate.com – April 2013 – Unfit To Bear Arms: Police files from Sandy Hook and Tucson show we need more scrutiny of gun buyers’ mental health
“It isn’t just high-capacity magazines or defenseless victims. It’s a failure to link firearms access to mental health information… Disclosing mental health problems makes all of us uneasy. We don’t want to live in a country where every therapy session is public information. Many of us don’t want to live in a country where guns are confiscated over gossip. I can’t tell you how to link weapon sales to behavioral assessment in a way that avoids those scenarios. But I can tell you this: Until we do, there will be more carnage.” ~ William Saletan
Source: Unfit To Bear Arms: Police files from Sandy Hook and Tucson show we need more scrutiny of gun buyers’ mental health – http://tinyurl.com/crxsq4m
The Day – April 2013 – Bipartisan gun control bill unveiled in Hartford
“This bill proposes, immediately upon passage, that no pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun may be sold to any Connecticut resident until the buyer passes a National Criminal Background Check. This is required whether it is a private sale, a gun show sale or a sale through a dealer.”
Source: Bipartisan gun control bill unveiled in Hartford – http://www.theday.com/article/20130402/NWS12/304029912/1017
Universal mental health evaluations and mental/criminal background checks will soon become mandatory for everyone, in order to insure the safety of our children.
Those who wish to own guns will be required to pass this mental health evaluation and criminal background check and will be required to register all guns.
“Remember Sandy Hook!”
See: SANDY HOOK; TURF WAR; JEWISH COUPLE; LANZA STREET; ST ROSE OF LIMA SCHOOL; LIEBERMAN –http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2013/01/sandy-hook-turf-war-jewish-couple-lanza.html
“Former Secret Service Researcher Tells Sandy Hook Advisory Commission That Some Future Shootings Are Preventable”
“The 16-member commission has already made 42 recommendations on guns and school safety issues related to Adam Lanza’s shooting of 20 children and six female educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. While Lanza’s private medical records have not been released concerning any diagnosis, legislators believe that he was mentally disturbed.”
“Kim Pernerewski, the president of the Waterbury chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness, said that teachers need to be aware of the issues facing their students.
“Are we missing the boat on teaching our teachers?” she asked. “They have a hard job out there.”
“I don’t want Newtown to happen again,” she said. “My God, what was in that kid’s mind? What happened? That poor father. What must he be going through now? Nobody wants to be that parent. … This is not just a gun issue. This goes deeper – much, much, much deeper. And trust me, I don’t like guns.”
See: “Former Secret Service Researcher Tells Sandy Hook Advisory Commission That Some Future Shootings Are Preventable” – http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/sandy-hook-commission-studying-mental-health-following-newtown/
School gun violence, now treated by the our laws as after-the-fact crimes, will henceforward be treated proactively as a mental health issue.
Peoples who dissent (e.g., truthers) will be deemed mentally ill, detained, and cured by mental health professionals at Federal Education and Mental Healthcare facilities.
According to POLITICO (March 24, 2013) the Sandy Hook (hoax) school shooting has brought about “the largest gun violence advocacy event in history and is part of the largest field campaign in U.S. history to address gun violence.”
Although it’s difficult for outsiders (like me) to know exactly what the Washington politicos have in mind for us, it appears they’re going eliminate any and all private gun sales and will soon require mental evaluations for those who wishes to purchase a gun.
I suspect the politicos will eventually demand that anyone already owning a gun submit to a mental health evaluation, a background check, and gun registration. There will be an amnesty period during which this can be done. Those who refuse, if (= when) caught, will be arrested and prosecuted for illegal possession of a gun.
The government, by playing up the mental health issue, could require everyone in America to undergo a mental health evaluation, for the safety of our children.
By framing the gun violence issue as a mental health issue the media-government could easily have everyone in the US declared by mental healthcare professionals to be suffering from one or more mental health conditions, which would effectively disarm the entire US population in the name of mental health, gun violence, and the safety of our children.
Anyone who dissented could easily be labeled a dangerous, nutcase, hater of children.
See: DSM-IV Codes – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSM-IV_Codes
See: DSM-5 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSM-5
See: DSM-5: The Future of Psychiatric Diagnosis –http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx
C. S. Lewis “continuously used Nazi Germany to exemplify how a weakening of civil society vis-à-vis a strong state could threaten the human rights of individual citizens. Lewis was concerned that the philosophical trend toward ethical subjectivism would lead Britain to follow Germany’s lead. He believed that a universal moral standard was necessary for society to distinguish between right and wrong and thus be able to protect the rights and freedoms of its members. In addition to touching on socio-political issues which concerned Britons in the early-twentieth century, this paper pays particular attention to Lewis’s opinions on such matters and how he expressed these views to the public. By examining Lewis’s definition of morality, his fear of the application of subjectivism in the use of science, and his argument for the importance of democracy as European states were capitulating to fascism.”
“Lewis noticed that scientific rhetoric was emerging in political discourse, and he warned that if left unchecked by the public sphere, such discourse could enable a technocratic authoritarian regime to gain power.”
“Battling That Hideous Strength: C.S. Lewis on Morality, State, and Civil Society in Britain During the Second World War” by Cherish Bolton
“The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”, by C. S. Lewis
“According to the Humanitarian theory, to punish a man because he deserves it, and as much as he deserves, is mere revenge, and, therefore, barbarous and immoral. It is maintained that the only legitimate motives for punishing are the desire to deter others by example or to mend the criminal. When this theory is combined, as frequently happens, with the belief that all crime is more or less pathological, the idea of mending tails off into that of healing or curing and punishment becomes therapeutic. Thus it appears at first sight that we have passed from the harsh and self-righteous notion of giving the wicked their deserts to the charitable and enlightened one of tending the psychologically sick. What could be more amiable? One little point which is taken for granted in this theory needs, however, to be made explicit. The things done to the criminal, even if they are called cures, will be just as compulsory as they were in the old days when we called them punishments. If a tendency to steal can be cured by psychotherapy, the thief will no doubt be forced to undergo the treatment. Otherwise, society cannot continue.’
‘My contention is that this doctrine, merciful though it appears, really means that each one of us, from the moment he breaks the law, is deprived of the rights of a human being.’
“If we turn from the curative to the deterrent justification of punishment we shall find the new theory even more alarming. When you punish a man in terrorem, make of him an ‘example’ to others, you are admittedly using him as a means to an end; someone else’s end. This, in itself, would be a very wicked thing to do. On the classical theory of Punishment it was of course justified on the ground that the man deserved it. That was assumed to be established before any question of ‘making him an example arose’ arose. You then, as the saying is, killed two birds with one stone; in the process of giving him what he deserved you set an example to others. But take away desert and the whole morality of the punishment disappears. Why, in Heaven’s name, am I to be sacrificed to the good of society in this way?—unless, of course, I deserve it.”
“But that is not the worst. If the justification of exemplary punishment is not to be based on dessert but solely on its efficacy as a deterrent, it is not absolutely necessary that the man we punish should even have committed the crime. The deterrent effect demands that the public should draw the moral, ‘If we do such an act we shall suffer like that man.’ The punishment of a man actually guilty whom the public think innocent will not have the desired effect; the punishment of a man actually innocent will, provided the public think him guilty. But every modern State has powers which make it easy to fake a trial. When a victim is urgently needed for exemplary purposes and a guilty victim cannot be found, all the purposes of deterrence will be equally served by the punishment (call it ‘cure’ if you prefer) of an innocent victim, provided that the public can be cheated into thinking him will be so wicked. The punishment of an innocent, that is , an undeserving, man is wicked only if we grant the traditional view that righteous punishment means deserved punishment. Once we have abandoned that criterion, all punishments have to be justified, if at all, on other grounds that have nothing to do with desert. Where the punishment of the innocent can be justified on those grounds (and it could in some cases be justified as a deterrent) it will be no less moral than any other punishment. Any distaste for it on the part of the Humanitarian will be merely a hang-over from the Retributive theory.”
“The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”, by C.S. Lewis –http://www.angelfire.com/pro/lewiscs/humanitarian.html
VIDEO – FULL Reality Check Special: Gun Control HD –http://youtu.be/LDQVKIVCxwI
VIDEO – The Sandy Hook Controversy – James Tracy on GRTV – http://youtu.be/JIoiYLp6R8Y
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System –http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics
Fact Sheet – The National Instant Criminal Background Check System – http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/fact-sheet
POLITICO – March 2013 – NRA, Joe Manchin in talks on background checks
“In a statement, Manchin added his efforts are “dedicated to preventing criminals and those adjudicated mentally ill from purchasing firearms, and not criminalizing law-abiding gun owners.”
“Arulanandam said the NRA is strongly opposed “to criminalizing private transfers between two law-abiding people. That remains a non-starter with the National Rifle Association… We want to reiterate that we don’t support an expansion of the National Instant Checks System.”
“Yet the Manchin-NRA negotiations are significant because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has demanded that any gun control bill approved by his chamber “must” include a plan to make background checks tougher. Reid said the Senate would vote in April on a controversial assault weapons ban, a prohibition on high-capacity ammunition magazines, mental-health screening, as well as a bipartisan gun trafficking measure.”
POLITICO – March 24 2013 – THE JUICE
THE JUICE: How people gain, use and lose power — N.Y. Times, cols. 1-2, Mayor Michael “Bloomberg’s TV Blitz on Guns Puts Swing Senators on the Spot: $12 Million Crusade for Background Checks,” by Michael Barbaro, with Jennifer Steinhauer : “Bloomberg on Monday will begin bankrolling a $12 million national advertising campaign that focuses on senators who he believes might be persuaded to support a pending package of federal regulations to curb gun violence. The ads, in 13 states, will blanket those senators’ districts during an Easter Congressional recess that is to be followed by debate over the legislation. In a telling sign of how much the white-hot demands for gun control have been tempered by political reality, Mr. Bloomberg’s commercials make no mention of an assault weapons ban, … instead focusing on the more achievable goal of universal background checks. ‘You don’t want to lose everything in the interest of getting the perfect,’ Mr. Bloomberg said in an interview.” http://nyti.ms/Xzia8k
–SEE THE ADS, “Responsible” and “Family”http://bit.ly/X4ILzh
–MAYOR BLOOMBERG, to DAVID GREGORY on “Meet the Press”: “[W]hile I think we are going to win this [background checks], celebrating in advance isn’t the right thing to do. We’ve got to go out, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. … I don’t think we should give up on the assault weapons ban. But clearly, it is a more difficult issue for a lot of people. And I don’t know that that reflects the N.R.A.’s power. It may be just that people have different views about assault weapons than they do about background checks. … I think I have a responsibility, and I think you and all of your viewers have responsibilities, to try to make this country safer for our families and for each other. And if I can do that by spending some money and taking the NRA from being the only voice to being one of the voices, … then I think my money would be well spent … If 90% of the public want something, and their representatives vote against that, common sense says, they are going to have a price to pay for that.”
–RELEASE from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-chaired by Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino : “Ads airing in key states … feature a gun owner who understands that supporting background checks goes hand in hand with defending the Second Amendment – and his family. The $12 million ad buy will air spots in the following states: Arizona – Senator Jeff Flake (R) … Arkansas – Senator Mark Pryor (D) … Georgia – Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R) … Indiana – Senator Joe Donnelly (D) and Senator Dan Coats (R) … Iowa – Senator Chuck Grassley (R) … Louisiana – Senator Mary Landrieu (D) … Maine – Senator Susan Collins (R) … New Hampshire – Senator Kelly Ayotte (R) … Nevada – Senator Dean Heller (R) … North Carolina – Senator Kay Hagan (D) … North Dakota – Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D) … Ohio – Senator Rob Portman (R) … Pennsylvania – Senator Pat Toomey (R) …
“The ads … precede the coalition’s plans for more than 100 events across the country on Thursday …. as part of its National Day to Demand Action. Grassroots supporters … will organize events and petition drives and generate an unprecedented number of calls into Senate district offices … The day is expected to be the largest gun violence advocacy event in history and is part of the largest field campaign in U.S. history to address gun violence. The coalition recently announced that it is hiring organizers and opening campaign offices in ten key states.”
January 2013 – Possession of a firearm by the mentally ill is regulated by both state and federal laws.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(d), it is unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.”
Top 10 things to know about federal gun law
1. No guns for felons. Most of us are familiar with the rule that a convicted felon cannot possess a gun. The federal rule is found in one of the main firearm statutes, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). It says that anyone “who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” is barred from possessing a gun. The only felonies that are not covered by the federal gun ban are 1) those “pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices,” per 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(A); and 2) felony convictions from foreign countries, per Small v. United States, — U.S. —, 2005 WL 946620 (April 26, 2005).
Note that even the lowest level felony in North Carolina, a Class I, is punishable by imprisonment for more than twelve months. It does not matter that your client’s prior record level may be at the low end of North Carolina’s Structured Sentencing Act, yielding a maximum sentence of less than 12 months’ imprisonment in his particular case. All that matters is that at the highest end of the state sentencing chart (Level VI), it is possible for a Class I felon to receive a sentence of imprisonment in the aggravated range of punishment that is greater than twelve months.
What about misdemeanor convictions for driving while impaired, which carry a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment – are they subject to the federal gun ban? No, because a separate federal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B), says that a “crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” does not include “any State offense classified by the laws of the State as a misdemeanor and punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less.” As a result, DWI convictions do not trigger the federal gun ban. Neither do old, two-year misdemeanor convictions from North Carolina’s Fair Sentencing Act (the sentencing scheme in place prior to the Structured Sentencing Act).
There are some exceptions, however – some state misdemeanor convictions that implicate the federal gun ban. Read on.
2. No guns after misdemeanor criminal domestic violence convictions and no guns during the time that a DVPO is in effect. Under federal law, anyone who has a criminal domestic violence conviction is barred from possessing a gun. Forever. As 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9) says, “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person . . . who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence . . . to possess in or affecting commerce any firearm or ammunition.”
Under 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33), a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” is any misdemeanor that “has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.”
What does that mean? If someone has a state court conviction for simple assault, assault on a female, or any other misdemeanor assault, and if the victim is the client’s spouse, live-in partner, child, or anyone else “similarly situated,” then the client is forever barred by federal law from possessing a gun. The same applies to convictions for communicating threats, when the client threatens to use a deadly weapon against one of the victims named above. The client can never again possess a gun; if he does, he can be prosecuted in federal court and receive up to ten years in federal prison.
What if, in state court, a client is charged with misdemeanor assault but the magistrate fails to put the “domestic violence” label on the case? That makes no difference in federal court. If the client and the victim are related or connected as described above, the case will still qualify as a “crime of domestic violence” in federal court.
Domestic violence protective orders (DVPO’s) also fall within the federal firearms ban, but only for the length of time that the DVPO is in effect in state court. Anyone who “is subject” to a DVPO is barred from possessing a firearm, per 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8).
Once the DVPO expires in state court (usually after one year, but it can be extended), the federal firearms ban goes away, because the person no longer “is subject” to the DVPO.
Practice tip: if you have someone charged with a civil DVPO as well as a misdemeanor domestic violence crime in state court, try to arrange a deal in which you agree to the DVPO in exchange for a dismissal of the criminal charge. After the DVPO expires, your client will be able to get his guns back.
3. Does a PJC help? No. There is an argument to be made under 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20) that for purposes of the federal gun ban, a person has been “convicted” of a state law crime only if the disposition of his case in state court qualified as a “conviction” under state law. You could use this section to argue that because a PJC is not a conviction under North Carolina law, it is not considered to be a “conviction” under federal law and thus it does not trigger the federal gun ban.
Two problems with this argument. First, the argument has a very limited scope of potential application. This portion of the federal gun statute deals only with prior felony convictions; it does not have anything do with prior convictions for misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. So you cannot make the argument for a PJC on a misdemeanor domestic violence crime; you can only make it if your client received a PJC on a felony.
Second, a recent decision from the Court of Appeals says that a PJC in a felony case still qualifies as a “felony conviction” for purposes of the North Carolina felon in possession statute. State v. Friend, — N.C. App. —, 609 S.E.2d 473 (March 15, 2005).
That means that if the federal courts look to North Carolina law, they will see that a PJC is considered to be a conviction for purposes of the state gun ban. This will almost certainly cause the federal courts to conclude that it is also a conviction for purposes of the federal gun ban.
Bottom line: a PJC is no help at all.
4. The federal gun ban includes some people who are only under indictment! Anyone who is “under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” is not allowed “to ship or transport . . . any firearm or ammunition or receive any such firearm or ammunition.” 18 U.S.C. § 922(n).
The meaning of this statute is a bit unclear. At the very least, it bars anyone under indictment from “receiving,” or acquiring, a gun that they did not own before being indicted. But what about guns that someone owned before they were indicted? Are they required to get rid of them after the indictment is handed down?
The express terms of the statute mention only shipping, transporting, and receiving a gun, not possessing one. In comparison, the federal statute that applies the gun ban to convicted felons and to those with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions expressly bans possession, as well as shipping, transporting, and receiving. You can make a strong argument based on the wording of the statute that someone under indictment is allowed to possess a gun he owned before being indicted, even if he is not allowed to ship, transport, or receive it.
But when does possession become transporting? And when does it become shipping? In my opinion, the issues are too murky, and the stakes are too high. The safer and better practice is probably to advise all clients under indictment to get rid of their guns and not to have anything to do with any guns while the indictment is pending.
5. No guns for drug users. Federal law also says that any person “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” is barred from possessing guns. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3). What does that mean? Good question. “[T]he exact reach of the statute is not easy to define,” to say the least! United States v. Jackson, 280 F.3d 403, 406 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 536 U.S. 911 (2002).
The consensus seems to be that the statute does not apply to “infrequent” drug users or to those who used drugs in the “distant past.” Instead, it is aimed at those whose drug use is “sufficiently consistent, ‘prolonged,’ and close in time to [their] gun possession to put [them] on notice that [they] qualified as an unlawful user of drugs under the statute.” United States v. Edwards, 38 Fed. Appx. 134, 138 (4th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, — U.S. —, 123 S.Ct. 1764 (2003).
The bottom line is that if you have someone with a drug problem, you should tell them to get rid of their guns. If it is a close call, tell them about the law and let them decide if they want to take the risk of owning a gun.
6. Is there an exception for guns that someone keeps in their own home or business? Never under federal law and not any more under state law. There used to be a state law that allowed a convicted felon to keep a gun “within his own home or on his lawful place of business.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.1(a). But that provision was deleted effective December 1, 2004. And even prior to the change in the law, the state exception had no effect on the federal gun ban. If someone was barred by federal law from possessing a gun (because they were a convicted felon, a drug addict, etc.), they were not allowed to possess a gun even in their own home or business as a matter of federal law. The old North Carolina law was no defense to a federal gun prosecution. As the Fourth Circuit put it, “the fact that state law permitted [the defendant] to possess a firearm in his home despite his status as a convicted felon whose civil rights had not been restored [was] not sufficient to insulate him from federal prosecution.” United States v. King, 119 F.3d 290, 293 (4th Cir. 1997).
7. What about long guns? Prior to December 1, 2004, North Carolina’s felon-in-possession statute prohibited only the possession of a “handgun or other firearm with a barrel length of less than 18 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.1(a). Effective December 1, 2004, however, the statute changed. It now says that it shall be unlawful for any convicted felon to “to purchase, own, possess, or have in his custody, care, or control any firearm or any weapon of mass death and destruction.” The statute goes on to define the term “firearm” by borrowing the federal definition found in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3): “any weapon, including a starter gun, which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.” The term “firearm” also includes the frame of a weapon and silencers. The length of the gun is now irrelevant; whether long or short, it cannot be possessed by a felon.
And even though a felon’s possession of a long gun may have been permitted by state law prior to December 1, 2004, it has always been prohibited by federal law. So even before December 1, 2004, a felon in possession of a long gun was violating the federal ban on gun possession.
8. It’s not just a ban on guns – it also includes ammunition. The federal gun laws prohibit possession of “any firearm or ammunition.” 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). “Ammunition” is defined as “cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellant powder designed for use in any firearm.” 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(17)(A). I have heard anecdotally of a state prosecutor giving a case to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute based on the fact that the defendant possessed a single bullet. That is ammunition and therefore enough to trigger prosecution in federal court.
9. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It does not matter if someone is unaware of the federal firearms ban. In United States v. Mitchell, 209 F.3d 319, 322-23 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 849 (2000) the Fourth Circuit said that the Government is not required to show that a defendant knew that federal law prohibited him from possessing a gun. If the defendant knew that he possessed the gun and knew that he was a convicted felon (or knew that he was a person with a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, a drug addict, etc.), that is enough for him to be prosecuted in federal court. It does not matter whether he was aware that federal law prohibited him from possessing a gun. ” ‘The only knowledge the government was required to prove . . . was knowledge of the possession.’ ” Id. (citations omitted).
10. Can a felon ever regain the right to own a gun by having his civil rights restored? Theoretically yes, but practically no. 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(20) and (a)(33)(B)(ii) say that “[a]ny conviction which has been expunged, or set aside or for which a person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored shall not be considered a conviction for purposes of” the federal gun ban. To determine whether someone’s civil right to own a gun has been restored, federal courts “look to the law of the jurisdiction of conviction . . . and consider the jurisdiction’s entire body of law.” United States v. O’Neal, 180 F.3d 115, 119 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 980 (1999).
This means that if a client has a North Carolina felony conviction, the federal courts will look to North Carolina law to determine if his civil rights have been restored. If they have been restored under North Carolina law, then the federal authorities will not be able to prosecute him for being a felon in possession of a gun.
The problem is that North Carolina law does not ever restore the civil right to own a gun to a felon. As of December 1, 1995, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.1 provides that anyone convicted of a felony forever loses the right to own a firearm, and North Carolina makes no provision for restoration of a felon’s right to own a gun. With no restoration of rights under state law, our clients can never regain their right to own a gun under federal law.
What if your client was convicted of a felony in state court before December 1, 1995? Would he have different law applied to him? Unfortunately, the answer is no. It is true that prior to December 1, 1995, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.1 automatically restored the client’s right to own a gun five years after he either finished his prison time or completed his probation. It was hoped that if a client had his right to own a gun restored to him prior to December 1, 1995, under the old version of the statute, and if that same client was later prosecuted for being a felon in possession under the new version of the statute after December 1, 1995, then he could argue that application of the new law to his case was a violation of his ex post facto rights.
On April 5, 2005, however, the Court of Appeals said that there was no ex post facto violation on these facts. “[A] statute which forbids possession of a firearm by a convicted felon does not violate the ex post facto clause even when the felony for which the defendant was convicted took place before the enactment of the [felon in possession] statute.” State v. Johnson, — N.C. App., 2005 WL 756283 (2005). So the ex post facto argument is a dead letter.
Is there any other way to regain the right to own a gun? In theory, you can make application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) under 18 U.S.C. § 925(c) to request restoration of your gun rights. The application is supposedly granted if “it is established . . . that the circumstances . . . and the applicant’s record and reputation, are such that the applicant will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety and that the granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.”
The problem is that since October 1992, Congress has prohibited ATF from spending any money to handle such applications. If you submit the application, ATF will not act on it. They will simply return it with an explanation that they cannot process it, due to a lack of available funds. Someone who went through this procedure sued in federal court, arguing that the court should bypass Congress in order to make available a procedure to restore the right to own a gun. The Supreme Court rejected the argument in United States v. Bean, 537 U.S. 71 (2002).
In sum, the federal gun laws are tough, and they are being aggressively prosecuted by the United States Attorneys. Keep them in mind when you advise your clients in state court.
FEDERAL FIREARMS REGULATIONS REFERENCE GUIDE (.pdf) – http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5300-4.pdf
“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.” ~ C. S. Lewis
“The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”, by C.S. Lewis –http://www.angelfire.com/pro/lewiscs/humanitarian.html
VIDEO – The Sandy Hook Controversy – James Tracy on GRTV – http://youtu.be/JIoiYLp6R8Y
See: In Search of the Last Liberal Intellectual –http://memoryholeblog.com/2013/03/27/in-search-of-the-last-liberal-intellectual/
The Nexus of Tyranny: The Strategy Behind Tucson, Aurora and Sandy Hook – http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/01/30/the-nexus-of-tyranny-the-strategy-behind-tucson-aurora-and-sandy-hook/
ADAM LANZA AND CIA PEDOPHILE RINGS –http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2012/12/adam-lanza-and-cia-pedophile-rings.html
SANDY HOOK; LAND OF OZ SEX SHOP; NARCOTICS; MONSIGNOR WALLIN –http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2013/01/sandy-hook-land-of-oz-sex-shop.html
Cross-Dressing, Show-Tunes-Loving Connecticut Priest Busted for Selling Meth and Laundering Money Through His Sex Shop – http://gawker.com/5977011/cross+dressing-connecticut-priest-busted-for-selling-meth-and-laundering-money-through-his-sex-shop
See: SANDY HOOK; TURF WAR; JEWISH COUPLE; LANZA STREET; ST ROSE OF LIMA SCHOOL; LIEBERMAN –http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2013/01/sandy-hook-turf-war-jewish-couple-lanza.html
See: MK-ULTRA Links To The Sandy Hook Assault –http://rense.com/general95/mkultra.html
See: Mop-Up…Newton And Webster As Inter-Agency War – Pt 3 – http://rense.com/general95/mopup.html
VIDEO – Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Massacre, Government Run Pedophilia, and Satanism –http://archive.org/details/AdamLanzaTheSandyHookMassacreGovernmentRunPedophiliaAndSatanism
See: Sandy Hook, Meth and the Knights of Malta-http://visupview.blogspot.com/2013/02/sandy-hook-meth-and-knights-of-malta.html
See: Jonestown, 9/11, Sandy Hook, and True Believers –http://wp.me/pPnn7-26c
“Simplistic conspiracy researchers will nod their heads in recognition of the duplicity involved here, while missing the point about the one-two punch repeatedly conveyed in these highly symbolical murders, which transmit alchemical cant language command phrases and trigger-words over the airwaves and into the news racks.
One: the ritual murders are successfully accomplished. The principals get-away, the scapegoat conveniently takes the blame.
Two: later we learn the truth but no one is prosecuted. We are mocked, disoriented and demoralized. Occult prestige and potency is heightened.
This is what simplistic researchers miss: the function of macabre arrogance thumbing its nose at us while we do nothing except spread the tale of their immunity and invincibility further. That is the game plan operant here.
To the belief system of the modern man it sounds too crazy. Why would the perpetrators want their secrets revealed after the fact—even if it is years later? This question can only be definitively answered if one has an understanding of the Zeitgeist which overseers in the cryptocracy have partly manufactured and partly tailored their own operations to coincide with.
As I’ve pointed out, secrets like this were rarely revealed in the past because traditional people had not yet completed the alchemical processing. To make such perverse, modern revelations to an unprocessed, healthy and vigorous population possessed of will, memory, adherence to their deepest inner intuition and intense interest in their own salvation, would not have been a good thing for the cryptocracy. It would have proved fatal to them.
But to reveal these after-the-act secrets in our modern time, to a people who have no memory, no will-power and no interest in their own fate except in so far as it may serve as momentary titillation and entertainment actually strengthens the enslavement of such a people.”
See: Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare: http://www.amazon.com/Societies-Psychological-Warfare-Michael-Hoffman/dp/0970378416
AUDIO – Hoffman – Mind control and the revelation of the method: http://www.checktheevidence.com/audio/The%20Occult%20Philosophy%20-%20Michael%20Hoffman%20-%201987%20-%20Anaheim%20Speech.mp3