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Fifth Amendment and Gun Registration

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Randall53, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. Randall53

    Randall53 New Member

    Mar 12, 2005
  2. Jim K

    Jim K Elder

    Dec 31, 2002
    That is true - a felon cannot be prosecuted for violation of a gun registration law (in this case the NFA) because he would incriminate himself. But he can only incriminate himself because, as a convicted felon, his POSSESSION of the firearm is illegal. He cannot be prosecuted for failure to register the gun, but he can be prosecuted for POSSESSING it in the first place, which is why that decision really meant little in terms of jailing felons for gun possession. It meant only that the government brought the wrong charge.

    Someone with no criminal record can be required to register his guns, since his possession of the gun is not illegal and he cannot incriminate himself.

    The use of that decision to make registration proposals seem absurd is fine, but no judge would consider that it makes gun registration void or unconstitutional.

  3. jlbraun

    jlbraun Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2005
    Interesting to think how this could apply to someone possessing a post-86 machinegun as a civilian.
    1. If you try and register it, the ATF comes after you.
    2. If you don't register it, the ATF comes after you.
  4. ctdonath

    ctdonath Senior Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    Cumming GA
    Don't remember the specifics, but this has been addressed in high court (SCOTUS?). Briefly the courts applied the 5th Amendment as such (felons were not required to register on grounds of self-incrimination) but they couldn't stand to have such a freedom in place so it was reversed.

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