full auto, ethics, and intent vs. the law


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SpentCasing
January 25, 2011, 02:52 PM
I frequent a few gun boards on my daily rounds and it seems every few weeks some new guy pops in asking about full auto conversions. Of course he is quickly shot down with a torrent of blah blah 10 years, 10k fine, jack-boot raids, and anti-gun fuel etc. Now no way to guarantee of course, but what if he really didnt have intent, purely academic purposes. 1st amendment would apply AFAIK. Not illegal to discuss things as long there is zero intent. Just as we discuss SBR, SBS, and home made suppressors without going straight to "you WILL go to jail, come back when your papers are in order and we'll discuss".

Okay so my question is this. If you were on a jury and a man was on trial for a full auto military type rifle/carbine/subgun possession and the defense proved to you reasonable doubt towards intent, would you let him walk? I think I might. To what extent does protection of "shall not be infringed" mean to you?

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mbogo
January 25, 2011, 02:59 PM
Ignoring your first paragraph completely and assuming defense counsel created reasonable doubt in my mind, I would have to vote to acquit.

On the other hand, if the prosecution showed evidence that the defendant requested or searched for instructions on full-auto conversions on one or more web sites, defense counsel's job would be more difficult.

mbogo

Justin
January 25, 2011, 03:00 PM
I'm fairly certain that actually building an unregistered fully automatic weapon clearly shows intent to violate the National Firearms Act.

Robert
January 25, 2011, 03:01 PM
Never mind. I was wrong.

Sam1911
January 25, 2011, 03:04 PM
Regarding your first paragraph: You are allowed to discuss whatever you want as per the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment does not protect you against being prosecuted for taking some ACTION that is against the law. For example, building an unregistered machine gun.

The prosecution doesn't have to argue intent. You don't build a gun by accident. The intent was there. All they have to do is prove that he broke the law. The judge's instructions to the jury will be to decide if the prosecution has proved that he broke the law -- not whether he SHOULD have broken the law or if it's o.k. just this once, or whatever.

While there is some discussion of juries refusing to convict someone of a crime he clearly committed as a protest against the justice of a law, that simply WILL NOT happen in an NFA case.

SpentCasing
January 25, 2011, 03:17 PM
Hmm, I sometimes have a hard time conveying my point in text and I think this may not be being read how i intended. Paragraph 1 was not meant in any way referring to THR censoring posts or unnecissarily closing them down. It was not meant as a slight against THR mods or community in any way. My apologies if taken that way.If a guy with 2 posts asks how to convert AKs all the usual responses are fair and right. Illegally converting firearms is illegal and stupid and not worth it. What I mean is along the lines of what Sam said

While there is some discussion of juries refusing to convict someone of a crime he clearly committed as a protest against the justice of a law

If the guy had ILLEGALLY converted a firearm but had no proof of ill intent of harm, would you "the reader" ethically send him to jail for possession as prescribed by law, or would you "protest" the law under "shall not be infringed". Hope I got it right this time.

NOLAEMT
January 25, 2011, 03:30 PM
two words: " jury nullification"

the '34 NFA is unconstitutional, sending someone to jail for violation of same is ridiculous. If he built it to shoot up a daycare or something than prosecute him for that, but sending someone to jail just for owning something and not hurting anyone with it is not acceptable.

and while the Judge can instruct the jury not to take that into consideration, they are under no obligation to do so.

Tim the student
January 25, 2011, 03:41 PM
Reasonable doubt = acquit - in theory at least.

But, in your example, I think I'm with Justin. That being said, I do think it is a stupid law.

ny32182
January 25, 2011, 04:03 PM
It is a stupid law, but the law doesn't say it is illegal to intend to kill someone with an unregistered MG; it says it is illegal to possess an unregistered MG.

Deciding to convict someone on that crime alone, and no others? I hope it is a decision I never have to make.

GRIZ22
January 25, 2011, 05:08 PM
If the guy had ILLEGALLY converted a firearm but had no proof of ill intent of harm

Whatever intent he had to do with the gun is not material to the fact he illegally coverted the gun to full auto. Using your logic you would not convict a gang member for illegally converting a gun to full auto.

General Geoff
January 25, 2011, 05:22 PM
Using your logic you would not convict a gang member for illegally converting a gun to full auto.
I personally wouldn't. I could not in good conscience send someone to prison for a victimless crime.

I'd be more than happy to convict said gang member of any actual crimes that injured others.

brickeyee
January 25, 2011, 08:30 PM
Good luck making an intent case against a possession law.

You are very likely to fail every time.

There is not intent in a possession law, you either posses the restricted item or you do not.

GambJoe
January 25, 2011, 11:39 PM
I think the judges instructions have to be obeyed.

empty's
January 25, 2011, 11:57 PM
Yes it's illegal to have a MG unregistered...but would'nt you say that law is crazy!
those of us here that like guns and enjoy them and using them and don't have any intent in hurting anybody, why are we punished ?
The bad guys that go out and create problem don't care if their guns are registered and it's not going to stop them being legal or not! you can take everything and ban it but you really change nothing the bad guys can still get the stuff and always will be able too. (enough on the law part.)
So for the guy that is in court charged with the NFA case if he's and upstanding person... no he shouldn't go to prison he's not hurting anybody!
Who knows he may live next to you and see the six guys robbing you and your family and ramsacking your home and come over and help take care of business!!

pitsmile
January 26, 2011, 12:17 AM
I wouldn't want to be in the situation - with that said the circumstances would certainly weigh in, bias is unavoidable no matter what anyone says. If a citizen with no priors and proves to be an outstanding citizen is put on trial, it is hard to not have sympathy; however, the law is the law.

It would be near impossible prove their was no intent - in fact you couldn't prove their was no intent (unless it was a science experiment but that would certainly be legally performed if it were official). Converting a weapon to full auto shows some sort of intent, otherwise it would not have been done (from the law's point of view) I personally think it would be cool just to say I've done it, which I think is the OP point.

In NJ, if I were to have an ounce of marijuana on me, I would most likely be charged with intent to distribute - in Alaska (as long as I didn't purchase it :rolleyes:, it is legal). There is no intent that I meant to sell it over personal use, but the legal system has flaws.

General Geoff
January 26, 2011, 12:25 AM
I think the judges instructions have to be obeyed.
As a juror, you always have the power to acquit, regardless of the judge's instructions.

DKSuddeth
January 27, 2011, 05:38 PM
the juror is the ultimate arbitor of the law, not the judge. If you don't agree with the law, you can vote not guilty.

Kentuckiana rifleman
January 28, 2011, 02:42 AM
I would have to look long and think deep about what kind of life this man has led. If he's committed crimes in the past if he had any anger or bias issues. I like to believe that if I were in that position, I would like to believe that I'd be on a jury panel and it's a guy (or gal) that has been in the same scenarios as myself. And I would urge my fellow peers to acquit this person should they "fit the bill" of a good citizen.
One more thing I'd like to point out. If any of us here whether for or against the argument can agree on is that; If this person was a law abeiding citizen and was in court wouldn't the expirence alone scare them straight? And I ask everyone to think that if someone you knew personally was in this situation, how would you feel if they went to jail know that if the law abeiding citizen went to prison for what they did while criminals all over the world are manufacturing weapons for what they want to commit?

rajb123
January 28, 2011, 09:02 AM
The Simpson case proved jury nulification does ocurr..... if no violent crime was committed with this gun, I suppose it might be a diffucult case for procesutors to win...

...if I was a prosecutor, I would not pursue this one.

LemmyCaution
January 28, 2011, 11:09 AM
The jury should not be the party to decide who gets away with breaking the law and who doesn't. The jury merely decides whether the law has been broken.

Regardless of how one feels about the NFA, if empaneled in a jury, one is morally obligated to decide whether the law has been broken, or not. It is not your place to make a decision to acquit or convict based on considerations of what you think of the law or what you think of the character of the defendant. You are merely there to decide whether the law has been broken. If you can't do that, you don't belong on a jury.

To act otherwise is to legitimize the conviction of blacks and the acquittal of whites of the same crime, with the same evidence, merely on the basis of race. There is no moral distinction.

You either believe in our system of jurisprudence and uphold it, or you don't. If you don't, you have no business complaining when it is inevitably used against you, once you've helped destroy its credibility.

The NFA is unambiguous about what constitutes a legal FA weapon. It doesn't matter at all what extenuating circumstances there are. There are no exceptions written in the law.

To acquit because of intent or your judgement of the defendant's character is not deciding that the hypothetical defendant didn't violate the law. It's deciding that whether or not he broke the law doesn't matter. As such, the law doesn't matter. And as such, the system of laws doesn't matter. And without the system of laws, we are not a great nation, but merely a pack of tribal savages.

PS- I'm well aware that this sort of jury activity goes on every day, particularly in the case of wealthy and powerful defendants. I'm not naïve. I'm merely attempting to argue for the ideal in an appeal to the membership of this board.

henschman
January 28, 2011, 12:04 PM
The Supreme Court has held that the NFA requires a KNOWING violation.

The 1993 case Staples v. US involves a defendant who was arrested and convicted for possession of a fully automatic AR-15 by the ATF. The Defendant claimed he bought the rifle at a gun show, not knowing that it had parts installed that would make it capable of fully automatic fire, and that it looked just like any semi-automatic AR-15. He requested jury instructions requiring the jury to find a knowing violation in order to convict. The judge denied these instructions, and the jury convicted him.

The Supreme Court overturned this conviction in an opinion by Justice Thomas, and interpreted the NFA to require a KNOWING state of mind.


So in your hypothetical, the jurors should be outright instructed not to convict if they have a reasonable doubt whether the violation was intentional.

Of course, if it were me on the jury, I would vote to acquit regardless. I am NOT the kind of juror that a prosecutor would want. Even if the prosecution overwhelmingly met its burden, I would vote to acquit if I believed that the law the defendant was charged with violating was an illegitimate law... which I believe just about every law to be in our modern Administrative State.

I probably will never make it on a jury, though, since I am a lawyer... lawyers are always kicked off with peremptory challenges, because they know about jury nullification. Judges generally don't give instructions on jury nullification anymore, and it is definitely something that prosecutors would rather to remain a secret.

DKSuddeth
January 28, 2011, 12:11 PM
The jury should not be the party to decide who gets away with breaking the law and who doesn't. The jury merely decides whether the law has been broken.

Regardless of how one feels about the NFA, if empaneled in a jury, one is morally obligated to decide whether the law has been broken, or not. It is not your place to make a decision to acquit or convict based on considerations of what you think of the law or what you think of the character of the defendant. You are merely there to decide whether the law has been broken. If you can't do that, you don't belong on a jury.

sorry sir, you are completely incorrect. Jury nullification has been around since the beginning of our country and beyond.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification_in_the_United_States

It is not only our right, but our duty to ensure that the law is not used to persecute individuals unfairly or unjustly.

General Geoff
January 28, 2011, 02:42 PM
To acquit because of intent or your judgement of the defendant's character is not deciding that the hypothetical defendant didn't violate the law. It's deciding that whether or not he broke the law doesn't matter. As such, the law doesn't matter. And as such, the system of laws doesn't matter. And without the system of laws, we are not a great nation, but merely a pack of tribal savages.
As DKSuddeth pointed out, Jury Nullification is nothing new, and indeed predates this nation. A juror has a duty to follow his or her conscience in rendering a verdict; this power is yet another check to balance the power of government. If the government made up of elected representatives passes a law which is reviled by all its constituents, it is the peoples' right to invalid the law by refusing to convict anyone charged with its violation.

Keep in mind that one person's sense of morality will indeed vary from the next, so there is some inherent volatility in the application of law if all jurors are actually informed of their rights and duties.

brickeyee
January 28, 2011, 05:08 PM
The Supreme Court overturned this conviction in an opinion by Justice Thomas, and interpreted the NFA to require a KNOWING state of mind.

If you converted a weapon you obviously knew, and if you har ever fired it in auto you knew.

That is a pretty slim ruling to try and expand.

GRIZ22
January 28, 2011, 09:03 PM
I would have to look long and think deep about what kind of life this man has led. If he's committed crimes in the past if he had any anger or bias issues.

As a juror you would not be allowed to have any knwledge of this. none of this is admissible in a trial and only becomes a consideration for the judge to use in sentencing.

The jury should not be the party to decide who gets away with breaking the law and who doesn't. The jury merely decides whether the law has been broken.


This is what juries do. Jury nullification does happen but not as often as many think.

The Simpson case proved jury nulification does ocurr..... if no violent crime was committed with this gun, I suppose it might be a diffucult case for procesutors to win...

...if I was a prosecutor, I would not pursue this o

If you are talking about OJ that wasn't a case of jury nullification, that was a case of sloppy police procedure and lack of preparation by the prosecutor.

It would not be a difficult case for a prosecutor, the defendant either did it or not. If not he probably wouldn't be in the courtroom.

Frank Ettin
January 28, 2011, 09:32 PM
Jury nullification is an interesting topic. Everyone knows that jurors may, in fact, choose to disregard the judge’s instructions on the law. However, the doctrine is officially recognized in only a few jurisdictions and in only a few situations. A judge would not instruct a jury that it could disregard the law, and it would be unacceptable, and perhaps even grounds for a contempt of court citation, for a lawyer to bring up the notion in front of a jury that it could ignore the judge’s instructions on the law.

Three states seem to have broad constitutional provisions authorizing the jury to determine the law in criminal cases. It would appear that even in those states the doctrine isn’t officially recognized in civil cases. It would be interesting to see how jury nullification has actually worked in those states. I wonder if there are jury instructions or if a defense lawyer has actually suggested in a criminal case to a jury that it could disregard the judge’s instructions, at least in recent times.

In a number of other states (including Connecticut), the constitutions provide that the jury shall be the judges of law and facts in trials of indictments or prosecutions for libel. The thing is that “indictment or prosecution” would refer only to a criminal charge. I don’t think I’ve heard of, at least in the 20th or 21st centuries, a criminal action for libel. In fact, I wonder if, at least since the end of the 19th century when portions of the Bill of Rights, including the 1st Amendment, began to be made applicable to the states through the 14th Amendment, a law criminalizing libel would survive a constitutional challenge.

In any case, it appears that in a majority of states with that provision relating to libel in their constitution, the constitution also states that the jury shall be the judge of the law and facts “under the direction of the court.”

Be that as it may, it’s still true that no one may intrude into the deliberations of a jury. If a jury is agreed that the law, as instructed by the judge, should not be applied for whatever reason, and returns a verdict obviously completely at odds with the judge’s instructions, nothing will happen to the jurors.

What happens with the verdict depends. If it’s a criminal case and the verdict is acquittal, that’s the end of it; and the defendant goes free. If it’s a criminal matter and the jury convicts, the judge could set aside the verdict if clearly erroneous; or the conviction could be appealed. In a civil case, a verdict clearly not supported by the law as instructed by the judge could be set aside by the judge or appealed.

Consider also that jury nullification can be a two edged sword. Some may look on it as a check on government by permitting a jury to acquit someone who might be considered a victim of government excess. But I suspect that during some of the "bad old days" of the post Reconstruction South and some of the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, juries regularly practiced nullification to let off various murders of Blacks, participants in lynch mobs and the like. We've certainly seen perversion of jury nullification -- at times when no White jury would convict a White man of a crime against a Black (or Native American or Asian or Hispanic) no matter what the law or the facts were.

__________________

Ian
January 29, 2011, 10:12 AM
Antone who serious thinks they are morally obligated to uphold an unjust law should take some time to think about the meaning of morality. The whole point of having juries in the first place is to have a check against unjust prosecution in the hands of the common folk. One should absolutely refuse to convict a defendant of violating an an unjust law, regardless of what a judge says.

Frank Ettin
January 29, 2011, 11:14 AM
Antone who serious thinks they are morally obligated to uphold an unjust law should take some time to think about the meaning of morality....And who decides what is an "unjust" law? Do you have the final say? With regard to a particular law is there disagreement on the question?

Ian
January 29, 2011, 11:31 AM
In the case of a trial, the jurors decide what is an unjust law. They can't make laws more strict, but they can always err on the side of acquittal.

The idea is that it's better to let 10 guilt people go free than to punish one innocent person.

Frank Ettin
January 29, 2011, 12:25 PM
In the case of a trial, the jurors decide what is an unjust law. ....Yes, that's the point. The 12 members of the jury must all agree that convicting the defendant would be such a monstrous injustice that they would be willing to ignore the judge's instructions on the law. That is something that will very seldom happen, and that's as it should be.

...The idea is that it's better to let 10 guilt people go free than to punish one innocent person. And that's not really what we're talking about when we discuss jury nullification. By hypothesis, the defendant is "guilty", i. e., he did the acts with which he was charged. But the jury, in agreeing unanimously to ignore the judges instructions on the law, have decided that no matter what the law might be, the defendant should not be punished for what he did. And so, there have been times in our history a White jury decided that there's no reason to punish a White man even when the evidence showed that he murdered a Black man.

taliv
January 29, 2011, 01:06 PM
And who decides what is an "unjust" law? Do you have the final say? With regard to a particular law is there disagreement on the question?

The People

more specifically, a jury of "your peers"

I encourage everyone to google "jury nullification" and "jurors rights" and do a little reading. If you want to retain the last vestiges of our constitutional republic, you'd better be informed

Frank Ettin
January 29, 2011, 02:17 PM
...more specifically, a jury of "your peers"...No, actually. There is nothing in the law of the United States that entitles anyone to a jury of his peers. One is entitled to an impartial jury (Constitution, Fifth Amendment); but you have no grounds upon which to insist that members of your jury be from the of the same societal group, age, status, background or education, etc., as you.

nyrifleman
January 29, 2011, 02:37 PM
No, actually. There is nothing in the law of the United States that entitles anyone to a jury of his peers. One is entitled to an impartial jury (Constitution, Fifth Amendment); but you have no grounds upon which to insist that members of your jury be from the of the same societal group, age, status, background or education, etc., as you.

I believe the "your peers" part is from English common law, where it meant that the jury in the trial of a peasant would be made up of peasants, in the trial of a nobleman, be made up of nobility, etc. In the United States, since we do not have any formal social hierarchy, any citizen (or permanent resident) of the United States is "your peer".

Frank Ettin
January 29, 2011, 02:39 PM
And who decides what is an "unjust" law? Do you have the final say? With regard to a particular law is there disagreement on the question?
The People

more specifically, a jury of "your peers"

I encourage everyone to google "jury nullification" and "jurors rights" and do a little reading. If you want to retain the last vestiges of our constitutional republic, you'd better be informed.Let me expand a bit on my prior response.

Whether a particular person sees a law as just or unjust may be strongly influenced by his education, social standing, cultural background, values. Since the members of a jury won't necessarily share those attributes with each other, let alone the defendant (since the defendant isn't entitled to a jury of his peers), the members of a jury are likely to bring varied perspectives to the question of whether a law is or is not "just."

I think that's a good thing. It helps assure that if all the members of the jury agree to not follow the law and acquit someone who has actually committed the acts for which he is on trial, the application of the law in his case would truly produce a grossly unacceptable result. In other words, the application of the law would be unjust in the clearest possible terms when considered from a broad range of values and perspectives.

Otherwise, we risk the situation in which from a shared cultural perspective members of a jury agree that it would be plainly unjust for it to be a crime for a [insert race/political party/religion/educated/uneducated, etc.] man to murder a [insert another race/political party/religion/uneducated/educated, etc.] man.

DKSuddeth
January 29, 2011, 02:43 PM
Yes, that's the point. The 12 members of the jury must all agree that convicting the defendant would be such a monstrous injustice that they would be willing to ignore the judge's instructions on the law. That is something that will very seldom happen, and that's as it should be.

it need not be unanimous. it only takes 1 to hang the jury.

Frank Ettin
January 29, 2011, 02:50 PM
it need not be unanimous. it only takes 1 to hang the jury. That's not really jury nullification, and it doesn't really necessarily help the defendant all that much.

He can be re-tried. And when he is, he gets to pay his lawyer for doing it all over again.

Ian
January 29, 2011, 03:02 PM
I'm totally okay with the possibility of a genuine criminal going free because the jury happened to all share a prejudice in his favor. I don't think that's a good thing, but it is the necessary corollary to a system that allows the jury to find a law unjust and prevent unjust punishment.

The judicial system shouldn't be held to the standard of imprisoning the most guilty people, it should be held to the standard of never imprisoning an innocent person. As things currently stand, I believe the government is a much greater threat to my life and liberty than freelance criminals.

DenaliPark
January 29, 2011, 04:47 PM
I'm fairly certain that actually building an unregistered fully automatic weapon clearly shows intent to violate the National Firearms Act.
I agree, however the NFA itself is a crime....

Frank Ettin
January 29, 2011, 08:15 PM
...the NFA itself is a crime.... Which comment helps illustrate what I wrote earlier about whether or not someone thinks a particular law is unjust at least in part depends on attributes such as cultural background and values. Certainly no court has thus far agreed with that sentiment regarding the NFA, and there are many people who would probably not sign on to that view.

So if one is on trial for an NFA offense, he probably shouldn't be relying on jury nullification as his way out of his pickle.

Art Eatman
January 30, 2011, 12:00 AM
Well, folks keep saying that it's a shame that being stupid is not a crime. So, in this case in Bill Engvald's words, "Here's your sign!"

:D:D:D

NOLAEMT
January 30, 2011, 12:21 AM
I think the judges instructions have to be obeyed.
they definitely do not.

Frank Ettin
January 30, 2011, 12:46 AM
I think the judges instructions have to be obeyed.
they definitely do not. As a practical matter in the case of a verdict of acquittal in a criminal trial, that it true. But it's really true only because in a criminal trial a verdict of acquittal is inviolable -- it can't be touched by the judge nor can it be appealed. So a jury can effectively ignore the judge's instructions and acquit someone who is guilty under the evidence and the law.

But a jury can not necessarily effectively ignore the judge's instructions in a criminal case and return a guilty verdict clearly not supported by the law or evidence. Under some circumstances a judge can overturn a guilty verdict, and a guilty verdict can be appealed.

And a jury can't effectively ignore the judges instructions in a civil case. A verdict in a civil case wildly at odds with the law and evidence can be set aside by the judge and/or can be appealed.

Of course a jury can ignore the judge's instructions any time or any way it wants. It's just that doing so isn't really going to accomplish much in the case of a guilty verdict in a criminal trial or in the case of a verdict in a civil trial.

GRIZ22
January 30, 2011, 08:24 PM
i'm not sure of all state courts but in Federal Courts can acquit the defendant after the jury has found him guilty. The defendant may or may not be be able to be brought to trial again.

Frank Ettin
January 30, 2011, 10:40 PM
i'm not sure of all state courts but in Federal Courts can acquit the defendant after the jury has found him guilty. The defendant may or may not be be able to be brought to trial again. It's the same in state courts, AFAIK. And a judge can even direct the jury before deliberations begin to acquit. But a judge overturning a guilty verdict, or directing a verdict of acquittal, is appealable by the prosecution.

rajb123
January 31, 2011, 05:51 PM
I beleive the evidence in the Simpson case was compelling, so yeah, this was a jury nulification IMO.

I live in NY and jury nulification here is common. ...this is just a fact. Prosecutors decide to not prosecute certain crimes all day long not because the evidence is bad but it would be difficult to win in a jury trial.

henschman
February 1, 2011, 12:37 PM
It is a very rare civil verdict that is overturned because it is "overwhelmingly against the weight of the evidence." It is among the highest objective standards in the law, and judges are very loathe to upset the jury's verdict.

A hung jury absolutely can help a defendant... it is usually better than a sure conviction, which is what the result would be if the individual juror did not hang the jury... unless maybe the jury was not going to convict on all charges, in which case the defendant might get convicted on more charges in the re-trial. Hung cases usually get re-tried, but they sometimes do not, and they frequently result in the defendant getting to plea bargain out for more favorable terms than what were available prior to trial. If nothing else, he gets a second shot at a trial, and the possibility, however slim, of acquittal.

I will hang every jury I am ever on unless it is a trial for an actual initiation of force or fraud against another person. There is nothing magical about the law that should compel everyone to obey it even if they find it oppressive... the law is nothing but a group of people getting together and threatening to use force. When the law itself is an unjustified initiation of force, it deserves to be resisted just like any other act of aggression.

And you're frickin A right I will be the judge of what is just and unjust. I will apply my capacity for reason and come to my own conclusion, like a rational being does.

rajb123
February 3, 2011, 06:52 AM
Unless the gun in question was used in a violent crime, I would be inclined to hang or aquit if this case was brought my way.... it is an un-just law IMO.

LemmyCaution
February 4, 2011, 02:25 PM
Unless the gun in question was used in a violent crime, I would be inclined to hang or aquit if this case was brought my way.... it is an un-just law IMO.

Is the law somehow more just if the weapon in question is used in a crime? The law is either just or it isn't. But your argument here- that the law is fluid, depending on the circumstances of the prosecution- is exactly the reason 'jury nullification' is the wrong solution to the problem of unjust laws. Jury nullification allows an unjust law to remain on the books, so that a jury can selectively choose guilt or acquittal based on their own arbitrary prejudices regarding the defendant. This is directly counter to every precept of our judicial system.

Several have argued here that 'jury nullification exists, and has historically' therefore implying that it is legitimate. Of course, the same rhetorical argument has been invoked in defense of slavery, lynching and any number of other abuses.

Owen Sparks
February 4, 2011, 08:14 PM
Who is the victim of an unregistered machine gun?

9mm+
February 4, 2011, 08:50 PM
Okay, this thread took so many turns that it made me dizzy. If you possess an unregistered MG, then you are in violation of the law. What you intend to do with the unregistered MG is immaterial to the possession violation. Of course, you can discuss MG conversions all you would like -- that unto itself is not illegal -- but the moment you start modifying sears, etc., to go full auto, you're violating the law regardless of the intent.

Black Butte
February 4, 2011, 09:07 PM
If you were on a jury and a man was on trial for a full auto military type rifle/carbine/subgun possession and the defense proved to you reasonable doubt towards intent, would you let him walk?

Intent has nothing to do with it, this is an issue of strict liability. You are either in possession or not.

Black Toe Knives
February 4, 2011, 09:13 PM
When did the Supreme Court rule NFA unconstitutional?

As I see this whole thread. I am cheapskate and I can't buy a machine gun for $20,000. But I can convert a AK for tenth of that. It has nothing to do with law because it is only a 200.00 tax on a NFA weapon.

You will be acquitted on the murder charge if it is even is brought to trail.

Then The Federal Prosecutor will bring NFA charges against you for possession of a Machine Gun. Since you modified it to be fully automatic. You are going to jail.


Oh yeah, since you manufactured a machine Gun that killed someone. You will find yourself in civil court and you wont win that one either.

This is just the way I see it. I may be totally wrong. It wont be the first time.

henschman
February 4, 2011, 09:46 PM
Did you guys not read my post on Staples v. U.S.? NFA is NOT a strict liability crime. The Supreme Court has interpreted it to include the traditional common law "knowing" mens rea requirement... which means that you must knowingly commit the act specified in the law. This doesn't mean you have to know that what you're doing is against the law... you just have to know that you are possessing a fully automatic firearm, in this instance.

This is not the same as an "intentional" mens rea requirement though.

When did the Supreme Court rule NFA unconstitutional?


They haven't. But where does it say that the Supreme Court has the final word in matters of Constitutional interpretation?

Black Toe Knives
February 4, 2011, 09:58 PM
But where does it say that the Supreme Court has the final word in matters of Constitutional interpretation?


Marbury v. Madison, 1803

Frank Ettin
February 4, 2011, 10:01 PM
....where does it say that the Supreme Court has the final word in matters of Constitutional interpretation? The Constitution:

"Section 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish....

"Section 2. The Judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution,...." (Article III)

At least the Constitution gives the Supreme the effective final word in connection with cases and controversies involving application of the Constitution. In such a case or controversy, the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution will affect the lives and property of the litigants and those who may subsequently be involved in a litigation involving the same constitutional issues.

Owen Sparks
February 5, 2011, 02:00 PM
Again I ask, who is the victim of an unregistered machine gun?

Shouldn't crimes be limited to ACTIONS rather than things? Having a thing doesn't really harm anyone does it?

brickeyee
February 5, 2011, 03:48 PM
Shouldn't crimes be limited to ACTIONS rather than things? Having a thing doesn't really harm anyone does it?

You are invited to lobby for repeal.

Black Toe Knives
February 6, 2011, 02:44 AM
Again I ask, who is the victim of an unregistered machine gun?

Since you said "Unregistered Machine Gun" and not a Legal Machine Gun.


Here is the scenario. You are gone from your house and your unregistered Machine Gun is stolen. Now who does it effect? If it Kills someone. You are going to be sued. You think mister Murderer will keep his secret where he got the gun when he is face with NFA charges. BATF is going to cut him a deal they will want to know how a Machine gun got on the street. How many more are there? Maybe he doesn't Kill anyone and they find it during a routine traffic stop or drug bust of his house. See how that secret stuff is going to work here too if he is only faced with burglar charge minus the NFA charge. He is going to walk and your going to jail. BATF wants you not him.

The law is clear you going to do time and pay a fine. If someone dies at the very least a civil Suit if not a murder charge. I know it is a what if. But crap happens and when it does it will devastate your family and ruin your life. You will never be able to shoot or own a Gun. Forget about Voting. Government resource that will be used to convict, and house you. Loss of Income taxes you would have paid, now That is going to come out my pocket . The loss of contributions that you would have made to your community. How many Christmases, Birthdays and Anniversaries will you miss.

So, See how your unregistered Machine Gun is no longer victimless.

Shouldn't crimes be limited to ACTIONS rather than things? Having a thing doesn't really harm anyone does it?

Do you want your neighbor to have 100 lbs of unregistered TNT? It is just a thing it can't really harm you, can it?

mljdeckard
February 6, 2011, 04:52 AM
If there is reasonable doubt, I would acquit regardless of the nature of the charge. If the prosecution cannot overcome it, they probably shouldn't have gone to trial in the first place.

This is relevant particularly in this situation, (someone probably already referenced the case,) there was a man whose rifle malfunctioned on the range and went full-auto, and he was charged. I would certainly vote to acquit that person.

General Geoff
February 6, 2011, 06:06 AM
Since you said "Unregistered Machine Gun" and not a Legal Machine Gun.


Here is the scenario. You are gone from your house and your unregistered Machine Gun is stolen. Now who does it effect?
Stop right there. Whomever stole it is responsible wholly for their actions, not the person from whom it was stolen.

If it Kills someone.
Never seen a machine gun kill someone of its own accord. Someone pulled the trigger, and that person is, again, wholly responsible for his or her actions, regardless of the tool they used.

You are going to be sued. You think mister Murderer will keep his secret where he got the gun when he is face with NFA charges. BATF is going to cut him a deal they will want to know how a Machine gun got on the street. How many more are there? Maybe he doesn't Kill anyone and they find it during a routine traffic stop or drug bust of his house. See how that secret stuff is going to work here too if he is only faced with burglar charge minus the NFA charge. He is going to walk and your going to jail. BATF wants you not him.
Again, not a product of the machine gun; a product of frivolous laws and people enforcing said frivolous laws.

The law is clear you going to do time and pay a fine. If someone dies at the very least a civil Suit if not a murder charge. I know it is a what if. But crap happens and when it does it will devastate your family and ruin your life. You will never be able to shoot or own a Gun. Forget about Voting. Government resource that will be used to convict, and house you. Loss of Income taxes you would have paid, now That is going to come out my pocket . The loss of contributions that you would have made to your community. How many Christmases, Birthdays and Anniversaries will you miss.
Sounds like the ATF and the justice system is creating that victim, not the unregistered machine gun.

So, See how your unregistered Machine Gun is no longer victimless.
Absolutely not, the unregistered machine gun is still completely victimless.

Do you want your neighbor to have 100 lbs of unregistered TNT? It is just a thing it can't really harm you, can it?
I wouldn't have a problem with it. My neighbor already has many gallons of explosive stored in a 4,000lb projectile known as a "car," I don't really see what's so much more dangerous about 100lbs of TNT.

Black Toe Knives
February 6, 2011, 09:52 AM
Stop right there. Whomever stole it is responsible wholly for their actions, not the person from whom it was stolen.


Build a illegal machine gun and see how that works for you.

Black Butte
February 6, 2011, 12:10 PM
The Supreme Court has interpreted it to include the traditional common law "knowing" mens rea requirement... which means that you must knowingly commit the act specified in the law. This doesn't mean you have to know that what you're doing is against the law... you just have to know that you are possessing a fully automatic firearm, in this instance.

Not knowing your rifle is is fully automatic is like not knowing your girlfriend is a guy.

Owen Sparks
February 6, 2011, 10:57 PM
Black Toe Knives said:

Here is the scenario. You are gone from your house and your unregistered Machine Gun is stolen. Now who does it effect?

If someone stole an unregistered machine gun from you, would you report it to the police? Of course not. How then could they prove that you once had it? It would be his word against yours with no evidence to back the thief's claim.

If it Kills someone...

My uncle once had an oak tree in his front yard that "killed someone" who ran into it.
Things don't kill people.

henschman
February 7, 2011, 04:01 PM
Marbury v. Madison, 1803

Ding ding ding! The Supreme Court says that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter in matters of Constitutional interpretation.

There is no question that the Judicial power of the U.S. is vested in the Supreme Court, but that in no way means that the Constitution makes it the only body with the authority to interpret the Constitution.

James Madison, who is the principal author of the Virginia Plan, which is the draft that set out the Constitutional structure that was adopted in the final document, believed that states had the power to interpret the Constitution, and would be justified in nullifying unconstitutional laws and interposing themselves to protect their citizens if the national government attempted to do something the state believed to be unconstitutional. Thomas Jefferson believed the same thing. Nullification and Interposition are mentioned several times in the Federalist Papers, as well.

Black Toe Knives
February 7, 2011, 07:33 PM
If someone stole an unregistered machine gun from you, would you report it to the police? Of course not. How then could they prove that you once had it? It would be his word against yours with no evidence to back the thief's claim.



My uncle once had an oak tree in his front yard that "killed someone" who ran into it.
Things don't kill people.

LMAO

scrood?
February 9, 2011, 12:35 AM
http://www.ketv.com/news/14883904/detail.html

probation

CapnMac
February 9, 2011, 01:08 AM
Not knowing your rifle is is fully automatic is like not knowing your girlfriend is a guy

Except, as practiced, any part from an FA FCG in your semi makes it an "illegal MG" even if that part does not cause FA fire.

henschman
February 9, 2011, 10:51 AM
I could easily see someone buying a used firearm without knowing that it is select fire. If someone had taken a semi-auto AK and drilled the extra hole for the auto sear, and installed a FA trigger group and dremelled the carrier rails for proper clearance, and then decided they wanted to get rid of it and sold it to someone at a gun show, it may not be obvious to the buyer, especially if he is not especially familiar with the rifle's design. It may be that the buyer just never tried to set the selector for the middle position, since he would have no reason to believe it would do anything, especially if the middle position is not marked or notched.

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