Brits: Welcome to America --now go straight to jail


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Thin Black Line
December 17, 2008, 07:35 AM
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1336840.html


Britons vent scorn at U.S. after 24 days in N.C. jails


Garry Latcham thought he was carrying a harmless gift for his North Carolina host when he boarded a plane from his native England in November, planning to spend four days hunting in rural Person County.

Instead, the gifts -- two silencers intended for air guns -- landed Latcham and his traveling companion in jail for nearly a month, after customs agents mistook the men for terrorists. Federal officials now say that the men were vacationers with no criminal plot. But they were still forced to plead guilty to felonies, because they failed to declare the $55 silencers on their customs forms.

The two working-class men, both of whom have young families, ran up thousands of dollars in legal bills and spent 24 days in crowded county jails before being allowed to return home last week.


"We came for a holiday of a lifetime, and we got one," Latcham said this week from his home in England. "I will never come back to the United States, ever."

He gave only a short interview, saying he wanted a contribution to his legal fees before speaking at length.

In a news release last week, U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said the prosecution of Latcham and his friend, George Hope, "highlights the importance of the Customs Declaration Form individuals must fill out when they enter the United States and of the laws and rules governing travel between countries."

Their lawyer, Doug Kingsbery of Raleigh, said the British men's treatment was unnecessarily harsh. Even the federal judge who heard the case thought the men should be released from jail, and questioned the point of the prosecution.

"At the point they realized this was just an innocent mistake, they should have just let them go," Kingsbery said. "These guys went through a terrifying experience, being in a foreign country's jail."

Since 9/11, tighter security has caused problems for many international visitors and has depressed tourism to the United States.

Trip had been a dream

Latcham, 43, said he had hoped for years to visit his longtime friend, Peter Slivinski, who lives on 20 acres outside Roxboro. Both men repair machinery in factories, and once worked for the same company. They met on a work-related trip in England in the 1990s.

This year, Slivinski offered Latcham his frequent-flier miles, and Latcham invited his friend George Hope, 41, to join him on the trip. They planned to hunt, relax and be back home to their wives and young children in less than a week.

To show their appreciation, they bought two air gun silencers in a sporting goods shop in County Durham in Northern England, where they live. They knew that Slivinski, as they do, owns air rifles to control rats and other small animals on his property. The guns use compressed air or gas to fire BBs or pellets.

Kingsbery said silencers are commonly used on air guns in England, and are widely available without a permit. He said they are required for shooting near towns and villages.

Silencers are attached to the barrels of guns to reduce the amount of noise and light produced when they fire. In the United States, silencers are tightly regulated and are illegal in some states. They are often associated with violent crime.

The men put the silencers in Hope's suitcase, along with a bottle of whiskey and an imitation Rolex watch for Slivinski.

When they arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Nov. 13, Hope's suitcase was missing. They filed a report and headed home with Slivinski.

Back at the airport, customs agents discovered the bag and thought it was abandoned. They searched it and found the silencers, which they assumed were meant for firearms rather than air guns. It is illegal to bring firearms, including silencers, into the United States.

Barbara Kocher, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the men, said the customs agents feared they had uncovered a violent plot. "They reacted as they have been trained," she said. "And they thought, this is a bad situation."

Arrested at RDU

Customs agents soon found the missing bag report and asked Hope and Latcham to return to the airport the next day.

Latcham said they arrived expecting to take the bag and get on with their vacation. Instead, they were handcuffed and imprisoned.

Kocher said investigators researched the men's background extensively, contacting Interpol and immigration officials in England. The checks revealed no criminal histories or connections.

The men told investigators they didn't know it was against the law to carry the silencers. Still, Kocher pressed to keep them in jail. And after a judge ordered them released on bond, immigration officials stepped in with an order to keep them locked up, superceding the judge.

Latcham and Hope spent the weeks shuttling among jails in Wake, Edgecombe and Alamance counties, sleeping on mats on the floor.

"It isn't human," Latcham said of his jail stay. "My dog eats better than the food in there."

Slivinski's wife, Jan, said that during daily phone calls, the men's wives were so distraught they could hardly speak. She said they were afraid their husbands would not be home for Christmas.

Admitting to a felony

After two court hearings, one of them in New Bern, federal officials agreed to drop charges of importing firearms.

Kingsbery said they offered to let Latcham and Hope go home if the men admitted to failing to report the silencers on their customs forms, a felony.

He said they didn't understand the complex customs form, which serves to make sure travelers pay duty on items they bring into the country. No duty is assessed until the items reach $100, which the silencers did not, Kingsbery said.

"In my judgment, they committed no crime," Kingsbery said. "But they pleaded because they wanted to go home."

Kocher said she believes the men misunderstood the law and had no plans to commit violence, which is why she agreed to drop the more serious charges. But she said they did violate the law.

"The government's overriding concern is always a deterrent for the next guy getting on the plane," Kocher said. "As an American, it blows my mind that someone would put firearms in their luggage and think there wouldn't be a problem."

I'll let the article and some emphasis speak for itself.

One question, though, do they teach mens rea in law school anymore?

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N003k
December 17, 2008, 07:55 AM
Unbelievable...I can't blame them for not wanting to come back after that, and why the heck is the prosecuter calling a silencer a 'firearm' last I knew it didn't fire a think, ESPECIALLY not when it's designed for an airgun...

subknave
December 17, 2008, 08:01 AM
That is just rediculous. A FELONY for not filling out a form properly. I looked at the form and it didn't have any questions about firearms and the questions asking about value seem geared toward commercial business not gifts. Think they would have been charged with a felony and spent all that time in jail if it had been a bottle of wine or expensive handbag they had not put on their forms? If they had brought them for their own use and were taking them back with them (theres another nightmare scenario) they wouldn't have needed to declare them at all.

mp510
December 17, 2008, 08:07 AM
The US Attorney's Office should have allowed the unlawful importation charge to stick and should have added a posession of a non-registered NFA item charge as well as a posession of a firearm by a non-immigrant alien/prohibited posessor charge as well. The customs charge they were allowed to plead out to sounds like malarchy. If they landed in North Carolina, the local DA should have looked into posession of weapons of mass death and destruction charges against them too.

Detchable airgun silencers are considered firearm silencers and fall under the NFA, because it is possible for them to reduce the report of some gunshot, even if just for 1 shot- and they may be attached to a firearm. If they did even 5 minutes of research, they would have known that.

They did not lack mens rea, the term knowingly as it pertains to NFA violations has been defined in case law as pertaining to knowledge that the item was posessed/ what it was- something they admitted. The can't claim they did not know that registration was necessary.

The law might be wrong, but it is the law none the less.

Thin Black Line
December 17, 2008, 08:18 AM
They did not lack mens rea, the term knowingly as it pertains to NFA violations has been defined in case law as pertaining to knowledge that the item was posessed/ what it was- something they admitted. The can't claim they did not know that registration was necessary.

Given that they didn't have to register it in their home country they can
probably claim that they did not know registration was necessary here.
After all the UK is normally so much more restrictive than we are. ;)

However, I'd like to focus on the first part of your statement: so under NFA,
all that is required is possession of the undeclared untaxed item rather than
any intent to use it in a violent crime against another human being?

So is this really just about tax evasion rather than violent crime?

Clint C
December 17, 2008, 08:33 AM
quote:
Immigration officials stepped in with an order to keep them locked up, superceding the judge.

Yeah hold these two guys that are legit, but don't worry about the 500,000 illegle aliens from Mexico that are ruining our economy everyday.

I understand these guys broke some laws, and we want to be very cautious about who is bringing what into our country, but they new after 24 hours these guys made a mistake and were not terrorist.

Kocher clearly states she wanted to make examples out of these two. What a bunch of c&^p from a women that is a nobody trying to be somebody.

Probably a hunter hater also.

Mp7
December 17, 2008, 09:01 AM
confirms my feelings towards visiting the US ever again.

Of course the great nature and the chance to have fun at a range
is tempting - but i donīt wanna be under a prosecution, that
cannot differentiate between good people and gangsters.

the "LAW" always seems to be a dictatorship of regulations,
when you look at how it is handled in the US.

Old Guy
December 17, 2008, 09:08 AM
As an ex resident of England, and now a Permanent resident of the US of A, and a gun guy! I never would have made that mistake, the first thing they should have done was scream blue murder to the British Consulate, then shut up!

Like all law-abiding people from everywhere, they talk too much.

And the DA thought they were guns, silly xxx

But the law is the law!

Bubba613
December 17, 2008, 09:10 AM
confirms my feelings towards visiting the US ever again.
Yes, this is how we treat every visitor from Europe. That's why millions end up coming here each year.

taprackbang
December 17, 2008, 09:18 AM
The law might be wrong, but it is the law none the less.

People like YOU are the problem with America.

To venerate a law simply because it exists is nonsense.
Col. Jeff Cooper

subknave
December 17, 2008, 09:32 AM
Saying the LAW is the LAW really makes no allowance for the court system. The judicial systems entire purpose is to determine anong other things if the law is applicable in the case before it and if the law meets the requirements of the constitution. In this case the Judge basically said let them out on bond and the federal immigration service (with no justification mentioned) said detain them in jail. (Heil Homeland Security) Now lets say the shoe was on the other foot and you were going to visit a friend in england and taking a lovely stuffed and mounted pheasant (or anything else not illegal in the US and prohibited in England). When you got there you were detained and searched and arrested for importing prohibited items. What do you think our government would do? Frankly I think it was way overreacting. Confiscate the "Illegal" goods and send them on their way. It seems to be just another case of Law Enforcement getting themselves in a tizzy without the facts and then trying to justify it with extreme charges.

sendarope
December 17, 2008, 09:43 AM
Hello? Intended for "air guns" are they talking about the fake silencers for the airsoft line of guns? Air guns make almost no noise. There is no law against fake silencers...not yet anyway.

What am I missing?

Master Blaster
December 17, 2008, 09:55 AM
Silencers are attached to the barrels of guns to reduce the amount of noise and light produced when they fire. In the United States, silencers are tightly regulated and are illegal in some states. They are often associated with violent crime.


Really when was the last time a violent crime was commited with a silencer, Besides in The Movies??

Mp7
December 17, 2008, 10:01 AM
..just uneducated - donīt know it better - personal employed by govīt
and given police-rights.

They repeat "itīs the law" till they have absolutely no
wisdom, initiative or common sense left to actually evaluate
what their own senses take in.

iīd feel much safer in an arab medina amidst quran-students
than in the presence of customs or police officers in america.

The problem is: If someone ( a mass of people) follows a doctrine
beyond their own wisdom or belief - then you are like the taliban yourself.

( big part of the reason that US inner & foreign politics
are picked on in the rest of the world)

Seenterman
December 17, 2008, 10:07 AM
Just a quick question about these silencers. First off are they even made of metal or plastic? Second could they be attached to a firearm? Would they actually reduce noise on real firearm?







He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

woodybrighton
December 17, 2008, 10:08 AM
silencers for air guns are quite popular over hear and do have an effect on a rifle thats up to the limit 12feet per square inch pressure anymore and its a firearm so a fire arms certificate needed
in fact silencers or moderators are not a problem for most weapons in the UK

Art Eatman
December 17, 2008, 10:14 AM
It's the absence of rational thought in cases like this that drives me up the wall. "The law is the law" is about as weak-minded an excuse to go berzerk as anything there is.

Customs form? Under $100 value, so no red-tape crime. Legal item in source country? Okay, confiscate if illegal here; "Sorry, but you can't bring that into the U.S." Intent? Easy enough to check out their story about the purpose of travel, with a few phone calls.

Supercede a judge? That's really constitutional, isn't it? It's supposed to be that law enforcement tells a prosecutor who then explains it all to a judge who then rules and the prosecutor and law enforcement folks obey the judge.

Paranoid bureaucracy run amok. Sounds a lot like some African backwater thugocracy.

Art

mp510
December 17, 2008, 10:46 AM
People like YOU are the problem with America.


We don't have a justice system, we have a legal system. If people could go through the vasrious legal codes that govern our nation and pick and choose which laws they want to abide by we would likely end up in a state of disorder pretty quickely- even if people chose only to break laws that were universally considered Mala Prohibita.

Customs form? Under $100 value, so no red-tape crime. Legal item in source country? Okay, confiscate if illegal here; "Sorry, but you can't bring that into the U.S." Intent? Easy enough to check out their story about the purpose of travel, with a few phone calls.
I respect your sentiments Art. However, I have to wonder, would we be thinking the same if they were Columbians busted at some port of entry for brining a little bit of cocaine to give to their American friends that they were coming to visit. After all, personal use quantities of that (and most other) drugs are legal in Columbia and our drug laws just punish a victimless crime. I hope this helps you understand where I'm coming from.

The Constitutional duty of the federal executive branch (which the US Attorney's office is a part of) is to enforce the laws of the United States. That leaves them with, in my mind, an obligation to attempt to prosecute people for the offenses they have allegedly committed.

Of course, if they had decided to go to trial, and their lawyer brought up a good 'the law is bad' argument there is a chance that the jurors would have engaged in some nullification by jury. Contrary to what you may believe based on the rest of my post, I do have some belief in jury nullification, and there is a chance that I would not have voted to convict them if I was on their jury.

General Geoff
December 17, 2008, 10:56 AM
and our drug laws just punish a victimless crime.

correct. But that's somewhat off topic.


If every single law in the united states was rigourously enforced, we'd all be sitting in jail. Every last one of us.

Wheeler44
December 17, 2008, 12:03 PM
Pistols are legal in most states over here..How do you think the customs authorities would react if you were caught "importing' a pistol into the UK? IIRC silencers are considered a firearm.

Noxx
December 17, 2008, 12:45 PM
That is just rediculous.[sic] A FELONY for not filling out a form properly.

You think thats cute, try putting an SKS into a modern stock without replacing a few foreign components with identical american made components. Hellooooooo federal charges.

Isn't the law fun?

Carl N. Brown
December 17, 2008, 01:50 PM
Given the propensity of federal law enforcement to Wacoize "compounds" under Ruby Ridge Rules of Engagement over allegations of improper paperwork on gun parts (usually citing anonymous snitches with no knowledge of what's legal or illegal), those British scofflaws got off easy.


They actually sound like me: gun laws that punish people for owning 'bad' objects more severely than some people are punished for DOING bad acts, and federales who enforce those laws with no sense of porportion or justice, tick me off.

Thin Black Line
December 17, 2008, 02:11 PM
Paranoid bureaucracy run amok. Sounds a lot like some African backwater thugocracy.

All we need is the cholera outbreak.

withdrawn34
December 17, 2008, 03:21 PM
Come on guys, they were obviously terrorists, just like the five year old clutching a water bottle - watch out for those water bombs, you know? And that woman with the hair gel in her suitcase, definitely an al qaeda member!

I think we should just kill everyone who tries to board an airplane - I mean, if they're not there to blow up the plane, why else are they there!? God bless america!

Mike OTDP
December 17, 2008, 03:44 PM
This is Grade A for Absurd.

In the first place, suppressors for air guns are in a gray area as far as NFA is concerned. Now, with the new .17 caliber rimfire ammo, it's going to be pretty hard to pass an detachable suppressor as not NFA, but that is another point.

The point is, most sensible Customs officials understand that some people don't have a solid grasp of foreign laws. They might seize an item, or require that it be held in bonded storage until you take it back with you, but this is absurd.

And for the record, it is NOT illegal to bring arms into the United States. You do have to have your paperwork in order. See the ATF web site for details and conveniently downloadable forms.

UnclePete
December 17, 2008, 03:45 PM
Just my British thoughts on this.

I know that silencers/moderators are subject to controls in the US, the fact is very often mentioned on various forums. It would take a very insular and isolated UK shooter not to be aware of the fact, and I am cynical about this case.

Whatever country you live in you could visit any foreign country and get caught out by local laws. In no cases does ignorance of the law cut any ice.

I am quite sure that UK law in general is much more oppressive than US law, and if I could come around again and choose where I was to be born it would be in the US, which IMHO is still the last best hope of mankind.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
December 17, 2008, 05:27 PM
What Art said - hear, hear!

mp510, frankly I find your mindset disgusting and wrong. You can't see the forest for the trees. Just like the Nazis, you feel like the law must be followed to the letter, even if the law is wrong and unconstitutional.

mpmarty
December 17, 2008, 05:49 PM
In this case, then the federal and state LEOs should start confiscating all one liter pop bottles. They make excellent "silencers" for .22rf pistols and rifles as long as sub sonic (target type) ammo is used.

damien
December 17, 2008, 06:34 PM
"I will never come back to the United States, ever."

He is right about that. Now he is a U.S. felon. If he tries to come back, it will only result in his arrest.

Odd Job
December 17, 2008, 06:43 PM
I saw a guy use a metal air rifle sound moderator on a Ruger 10/22 and it did indeed muffle the reports of multiple shots.
As for what happened, I think the guys should have had the stuff confiscated or perhaps been fined, not thrown in jail like that. That's very harsh indeed.

But...you have much less room to gripe when you are on someone else's turf.

I don't screw around with US customs / homeland security. It doesn't have to be about firearms components. You take an everyday item like beef spread freely available here in the UK, and they can whack you for a $10,000 fine for bringing that into the US undeclared. Of course if you declare it, it gets trashed.

At every border in the world, you will find at one time or another a ****** bag who just wants to make things difficult. He'll be a guy who doesn't give a damn about circumstances, he will follow the law to the letter and make maximum inconvenience for you.

I got fined 75 euros for riding a train in Paris without a ticket, because the entrance of Le Chatelier tube station that I went in had no open ticket booths and the vending machines were all broken. It was approaching 23:30.
When I got stopped at the other end, I got fined because they said that there was another entrance around the block to that station where a guy was on duty and could have sold me a ticket. I said, well, let me buy the ticket now. No way, it was a fine, the maximum they could give me. They wouldn't listen to my story about where I had come from and where I was going.

But that was the law. No ticket = fine. So I paid.
I've seen cases here in London where a foreigner has had the same problem and been allowed to buy the ticket at the destination. I mentioned that to the French official who fined me, but of course she had the perfect answer to that: "Monsieur, you are not in London now, you are in Paris!"

Probably if that happened to me in a major city in the US, it wouldn't stop me going back. As for Paris, that was just one of several unpleasant experiences that have helped me come to the conclusion that it is highly unlikely I'll ever go back there.

Bubba613
December 17, 2008, 06:43 PM
mp510, frankly I find your mindset disgusting and wrong. You can't see the forest for the trees. Just like the Nazis, you feel like the law must be followed to the letter, even if the law is wrong and unconstitutional.

Paging Mr. Godwin. Paging Mr Godwin.

gc70
December 17, 2008, 09:00 PM
a woman that is a nobody trying to be somebody

This probably improved Ms. Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Kocher's stats and increased her league standing in the U.S. Attorney's office. A bit of inconvenience to a couple of foreigners is nothing compared to advancing a legal career and future political opportunities.

akodo
December 17, 2008, 09:52 PM
but i donīt wanna be under a prosecution, that
cannot differentiate between good people and gangsters.

I disagree. The law should treat everyone equally. Just because you go to church every sunday, and then you shoplift a new pair of shoes you shouldn't be treated any different than the baggy pants highschool dropout hip-hopster who does the same thing.

the "LAW" always seems to be a dictatorship of regulations,
when you look at how it is handled in the US.

Law should be about the regulations, but the idea is the Judge or Jury will recognize mitigating circumstances, and take a larger view, and temper blind obediance of the rules with wisdom to arrive at Justice.

Clearly, these guys could have been charged more harshly using a very strict reading of the law. They should be thankful the Judge saw beyond a very stupid law. Now, lets get rid of that stupid law for the rest of us.

However, I am glad that beyond judge and jury, the RULES and REGULATIONS were followed with blind obedience.

See, the highest and mightiest here isn't a King or Queen, it is a SET OF RULES.

Now, the real problem here is the system was working rather well up until this part after a judge ordered them released on bond, immigration officials stepped in with an order to keep them locked up, superceding the judge.

The judge and or jury is supposed to be the ones who temper blind obedience to the rules with wisdom, compassion, whatever. If they are being overruled by other officials, then that is the problem.

kurtmax
December 17, 2008, 11:07 PM
Airgun silencers aren't NFA weapons. Just make sure they can't be used to suppress a firearm (good luck!).

barman
December 18, 2008, 10:21 AM
What a horror story.

I hate that "follow the letter of the law" bull****.

That's a MAJOR difference between Europe and the US:
In Europe (in general), people are concerned with the "spirit" of the law, not the letter of it.
When you go to Law school, you are taught that a judge should always condemn someone with a "trembling" hand.
Agreed, NO ONE must ignore the Law, but common sense must prevail over it.
That's the way I look at things.

I got once got fined in San Francisco by a cop riding a bike because I jaywalked in f****** Height Ashbury.
You can bet your ass I never paid that damn fine.
It happened the day prior to when I went back home (in France).

Thin Black Line
December 18, 2008, 02:21 PM
I just picked up the Jan 2009 American Rifleman and there is a two page
ad for a Gamo "Whisper" air rifle which has a "noise dampener" which
"reduces sound up to 52%".

How is this different from what these guys had?

mp510
December 18, 2008, 02:42 PM
I got once got fined in San Francisco by a cop riding a bike because I jaywalked in f****** Height Ashbury.
You can bet your ass I never paid that damn fine.
It happened the day prior to when I went back home (in France).
There is a decent likliehood that there is (or will be) a warrant for your arrest in California now:) Congratulations.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just picked up the Jan 2009 American Rifleman and there is a two page
ad for a Gamo "Whisper" air rifle which has a "noise dampener" which
"reduces sound up to 52%".

How is this different from what these guys had?
That is an integral air gun suppressor that ATF approved as not usable with a firearm.

JohnBT
December 18, 2008, 03:19 PM
"Airgun silencers aren't NFA weapons."

I read some ATF rulings last night, as well as some heated discussions on airgun boards about what is or isn't a silencer.

One ruling that sticks in my mind was about a silencer, a removeable silencer, that was designed just for airguns and used fabric packing that wouldn't hold up to "real gun" usage. The ATF tested it and found that it did in fact work for one shot. Therefore, it was a silencer.

john

subknave
December 18, 2008, 03:38 PM
"The ATF tested it and found that it did in fact work for one shot. "

I can believe that but in general some of the ATFs testing methods leave a lot to be desired. In some cases it has been said that they extremely modified firearms to make them fire more than one shot and prosecuted under the "easily made to fire more than shot" and at one point classified a shoestring as a machinegun when used in a certian manner. Now I believe they have to video all their testing because of questionable methods.

But that isn't the point. Most people bringing in something prohibited would simply have it confiscated and have a good day. These poor guys never even had a chance to explain themselves. If they had been prosecuted the ATF would have had to determine if the items were silencers or not as per the NFA and as far as I know there is no definable standard as in reduces noise by xdb. I am sure if I am wrong about that someone will chime in.

Extreme Edd
December 18, 2008, 05:07 PM
I'm on the state's side.

We have a "manditory" 5 year prison sentance for possesion of a pistol. It never gets used even though it is in law as a minimum.

This law is supposed to be a deterent. If a law is there it should be used. I know that this sounds hard line, but there we go.

Also they imported a fake rolex... thats smart!!!

KBintheSLC
December 18, 2008, 05:53 PM
I have to take a different approach. I think the Brits did a common "leap before looking". I have travled to 5 of the 7 continents, and all I can say is that when you travel into a foreign country, it is your responsibility to know their laws. If I was trying to bring gun accessories of any kind into a foreign country, I would find out if they were legal before I went there. Ignorance of the law is not a legitimate defense. As much as I think the NFA regs are rediculous, they are the law and tourists need to respect the law of the lands they visit. These two just took it for granted that the laws are the same as they are in the UK... too bad for them.

gregormeister
December 19, 2008, 09:18 AM
Can't say I blame the chaps for being angry at us.....

I want to see that all pens, pencils, hair brushes, shoes, rubberbands are illegal.....actually I want all passengers to have to fly nude with straight jackets and blindfolds:cuss::banghead::fire:, then I'll feel safe flying.

husbandofaromanian
December 19, 2008, 10:54 AM
OK, now I'm confused

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just picked up the Jan 2009 American Rifleman and there is a two page
ad for a Gamo "Whisper" air rifle which has a "noise dampener" which
"reduces sound up to 52%".


About the Gamo Whisper air rifle, the silencer cannot be removed fromt the air rifle and attached to a firearm. THAT'S THE DIFFERENCE.

I own two silencers and I make it a point to talk about them as much as possible. MOST NON GUN PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE ILLEGAL.

cassandrasdaddy
December 19, 2008, 11:52 AM
OK, now I'm confused
I just picked up the Jan 2009 American Rifleman and there is a two page
ad for a Gamo "Whisper" air rifle which has a "noise dampener" which
"reduces sound up to 52%".

How is this different from what these guys had?

its nonremovable from the air rifle

Thin Black Line
December 19, 2008, 12:35 PM
So the major crux of illegal vs legal is detachable versus fixed? The magic
of threads on an AIR-gun? Amazing.

cassandrasdaddy
December 19, 2008, 12:42 PM
you are still confused its the absence of threads on the airgun. the suppressor has to remain on the airgun. the cans they brought over could be mounted on a 22 if someone wanted to

Mike OTDP
December 19, 2008, 02:08 PM
Precisely. If you were to silver-solder a supprssor to an air rifle's barrel, you would be OK.

Carl N. Brown
December 19, 2008, 07:22 PM
Brits seem to think America has no gun laws, anything goes. Reality check. We have crazy gun laws arbitrarily enforced without rhyme or reason. Mindlessly strict law enforcement breeds contempt for the rule of law, when it ought to be tempered by some sort of a sense of justice and proportionality.

Sommerled
December 19, 2008, 07:45 PM
Maybe this US Attorney was a classmate of Blago. With 200 law schools in the USA now they have to fill the seats. "They sure are cranking out some stupid attorneys". (the previous comment is from a respected judge who is one of my patients). I agree that she was trying to pad her record. Unfortunately, altruism is getting to be a foriegn concept amongst too many US lawyers and it gives the good ones a bad rep. It is sad that there are too many people who just don't care about anyone else but themselves and their own agenda and will trample all over a fellow human being for personal gain.

As an aside, while on a trip to the UK (my favourite foreign country) this past summer, I bought an antique woodworking handplane to take home to add to my collection. It is made of steel and wood and weighs about 5 lbs. I removed the blade and put it in my checked baggage, and put the heavy body of the handplane in my carry-on bag because my suitcase was already at max weight.

The handplane sure set off alarms at Heathrow while going through security and I was pulled aside. The security people felt that this item could be used as a bludgeon of sorts. They were going to confiscate it. Well, the plane, made by Norris of London, is worth $1200, and I was not about to leave it with them. The security staff remained cordial as I went through a couple layers of supervisors pleading my case. Finally, one of their top(?) supervisors came to the scene. He took a quick glance at me, my wife, and the woodworking plane. He asked a few questions then said, "bloody hell, why would anyone buy an expensive antique to use as a weapon? We know what our enemies look like". Then he let me go on the airplane. The whole episode took about a half hour and we made our flight. There is reason in some parts of the world.

subknave
December 19, 2008, 09:15 PM
"Precisely. If you were to silver-solder a supprssor to an air rifle's barrel, you would be OK."


Yes but where would you get it from? Wouldn't you be in violation of the law by simply having the suppressor unattached to a gun and who would go through all the paperwork and taxes for a suppressor to fit a airgun?

Thats my biggest beef with laws that punish possession. If I have an anti-tank rifle in my possession who is that harming. If I use it to shoot someones car then throw me in jail.

I think a criminal law should be about a action against someones person or property.
Traffic laws are a bit different as their purpose is to maintain a orderly flow of traffic as tax laws are for the purpose of collecting revenue. Everytime I read about somebody being thrown in jail because they had the materials to do something illegal it makes my blood boil. In my home I probably have the materials to make meth or a silencer and you can make a silencer out of parts from your car or a soda bottle so should we throw everyone in jail because they MIGHT make something against the law. I heard of a case where a man was arrested because he had some smoke grenades, some inert grenades, and some gunpowder at his home. The ATF said he could have made a hand grenade from the inert grenades, gunpowder and fuses from the smoke grenades. I'll try to find that story but it appears I have gone off on a tangent. Sorry about that.

Thin Black Line
December 20, 2008, 07:44 AM
The whole episode took about a half hour and we made our flight.

This is the most amazing part of your story. Of course, in the USA it would
have taken a bit longer because of bending over, latex gloves, and other
fondling.

Thats my biggest beef with laws that punish possession.

Bingo. And that's my biggest problem with how "mens rea" has been grossly
distorted in this country over the past 4 generations. This has been especially
true with anything firearm related.

If you have an unregistered suppressor/silencer, you must be an assassin.
If you have an unregistered machine gun, you must be a danger to civil order.
If you have >X0 round capacity mag, you must be preparing for mass murder.
If you have a bullet with a core of something other than lead, you must be a cop killer.

The next round of mental midgetry will apply to semi-auto rifles, >5 rd mags,
and any kind of bullet capable of piercing a wet paper bag.

I understand that the attitude of "parens patriae" comes into play with judges,
lawyers, and the State in general, but I find it interesting how they will push
PP all the way to the hilt on public order & safety when it comes to the 2nd
Amendment, yet none have been anywhere to be seen when it came to the
financial looting of this entire country over the past year.

Which was the greater danger to public order and national economic security?
Hmm?

mp510
December 21, 2008, 11:00 PM
Thats my biggest beef with laws that punish possession. If I have an anti-tank rifle in my possession who is that harming. If I use it to shoot someones car then throw me in jail.

This is one of my biggest qualms with radical libertarian thought- it totally disregards the definition of a crime. Even though we have crime victims, the entire purpose of the criminal justice system is to punish people for what they have done to society, or the people as a whole. That is why in most states, the state's attorney is representing the people, and cases are titled to reflect that-- The people of the state of ________v. (accused offender). Criminal preceedings are intended to bring justice to society, even though (in crimes where there is a definite victim) we punish people on the pretense of the harm they did to a particular person. The civil court system is intended to bring justice for the actions against the individual victim- hence why its critics dismiss it as a form of state sanctioned retribution.

Erik
December 23, 2008, 03:00 PM
"And after a judge ordered them released on bond, immigration officials stepped in with an order to keep them locked up, superceding the judge."

A judge's ruling to release someone on bond pending criminal proceedings has nothing to do with ICE's decision to administrative detain someone pending removal proceedings. There is no, and can be no, supercession; criminal vs. administrative law.

And... As usual, where one incorrect characterization by the media may be found, others often times and usually may be found.

30mag
December 24, 2008, 12:49 AM
Water bottles...

"...are considered firearm silencers and fall under the NFA, because it is possible for them to reduce the report of some gunshot, even if just for 1 shot- and they may be attached to a firearm. If they did even 5 minutes of research, they would have known that."

lol
:)

Sinixstar
December 24, 2008, 02:10 AM
Water bottles aren't designed to silence a weapon, and unless they're modified to fit and stay in place somehow - they really wouldn't do much good.

Now - if you take that water bottle, and use it to build something you could attach to the end of your gun - a case could, and probably would be made that you've made an illegal silencer. In such a case - the law would be correct, as you went out of your way to take an average every day product and turn it into something it was not designed to be.

Carl N. Brown
December 26, 2008, 03:08 PM
the "LAW" always seems to be a dictatorship of regulations, when you look at how it is handled in the US.
Law should be about the regulations, but the idea is the Judge or Jury will recognize mitigating circumstances, and take a larger view, and temper blind obediance of the rules with wisdom to arrive at Justice.

The problem I have is that by the time a working class joe has his day in court, the legal expenses and all the negativity of being accused or arrested in the first place, will have cost him his house, his car and his job.

I do know that cops and district attorneys usually exercise some discretion on who deserves arrest or prosecution, or who deserves a warning and mercy.

It is obvious to me that that the two Brit tourists thought that if Air Rifle Noise Dampeners were legal in UK they ought to be legal in USA with "laxer" gun laws. They should have been allowed to mail the offending parts back to their home address, and sent on their way with a Sorry, but that's the law.

The issues of "justification of necessity" and "jury nullification" were explained to me like this: the intent of the law is supposed to be justice and when blind obedience to the letter of the law violates the principle of justice, it is the law, not justice, that should bend.

Cops decide who to arrest and who not to, and prosecutors decide who to charge and who not to, every day, exercising discretion in keeping the peace and pursuing justice. It is the martinets who follow the letter of the law to absurdity, especially in cases like this, that undermine respect for law and order.

owlhoot
December 26, 2008, 09:56 PM
Carl, I like the way you think.

Macmac
December 27, 2008, 06:14 PM
The Law is the Law, my butt. The Law is what ever any enforcer wants it to be, and the ATF is just about ready to tell us a shoe lace is a machine gun, and a feather pillow is a silencer.

And for those who think the system is on board it isn't. It too will delay on purpose a summons to the day you first recieve it, the hearing it mentioned happening the day before. I had that happen twice.

Once maybe it was a error, but not twice.

With newer law made by fools what good is 'The LAW' in my best Judge Dred voice.

We have come to where a fool can open a match book and the next is is a lawyer.

What we need is a little common sence and to hell with the LAW!

solareclipse
December 28, 2008, 10:01 PM
What is the problem again? Silencer/suppressor is any device that reduces the DB of a shot.

Doesnt matter if its for an airgun or a 155mm tank turret........

Besides, these were functional silencers. Yep, jail sounds about right. Ignorance is not an excise.

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