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ingsoc would be proud

The rule of law is dead in the District of Columbia.

Of course, this is nothing new, given that the federal government calls that not-quite-state home, but this time around I am referring to the laws specifically governing that postage stamp of a municipality.

Exhibit 1:

Exhibit 2:

District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition, Division I, Title 7, Subtitle J, Chapter 25, Unit A, Subchapter VI, § 7-2506.01, section (b):

No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “large capacity ammunition feeding device” means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The term “large capacity ammunition feeding device” shall not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

Exhibit 3:

Letter from Irvin B. Nathan, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, to Lee Levine, Esq., dated 11JAN13:

Having carefully reviewed all of the facts and circumstances of this matter, as it does in every case involving firearms-related offenses or any other potential violation of D.C. law within our criminal jurisdiction, OAG has determined to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to decline to bring criminal charges against Mr. Gregory, who has no criminal record, or any other NBC employee based on the events associated with the December 23,2012 broadcast. OAG has made this determination, despite the clarity of the violation of this important law, because under all of the circumstances here a prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust.

Exhibit 4:

United States Marshal James Brinkley:

Despite the evidence Mr. Brinkley had been legally transporting the gun, his attorney Richard Gardiner said the D.C. Office of the Attorney General “wouldn’t drop it.” This is the same office now showing apparent reluctance to charge Mr. Gregory.

As someone with a bit more legal experience than me noted, "laws for thee but not me" are the very definition of "tyranny".

However, to go a slightly different direction than wfgodbold, the DC Attorney General claims they will not prosecute David Gregory for flagrantly breaking DC’s laws because…

…the intent of the temporary possession and short display of the magazine was to promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate about firearms policy in the United States, especially while this subject was foremost in the minds of the public following the previously mentioned events in Connecticut and the President’s speech to the nation about them.

Shiny. Then with that context well and truly established for the District of Columbia, I dare say it is time for a "Normal Capacity Magazine Demonstration" in the nation’s capital – after all, demonstrations are the very definition of "the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate", and if the demonstration took the effort to attempt to educate DC residents and lawmakers as to the simple fact that limiting the ammunition feeding devices of firearms will make no difference to criminals, well, we are addressing "firearms policy in the United States" as well. Of course, if you want to have some real fun, mix it up a little – try and feature every possible demographic, gender, ethnicity, and apparent income level combination in the crowd, just to see who gets arrested and who does not… or hand out Bluegun AR-15 magazines spray-painted black.

Something tells me a large number of those demonstrators would face a significantly more… interesting… experience than the kid-glove treatment a DC socialite enjoyed.

But, then, some animals are just more equal than others, are they not?

5 comments to ingsoc would be proud

  • In addition to thanking you for the link, I would like to emphasize the “bit” part of “someone with a bit more legal experience than me.”

    I’m still merely a lowly law student.

    It also occurred to me after that post that Gregory’s really would have been a slam-dunk case. The rules of evidence allow you to use what would have been hearsay (Gregory’s statement on TV that he was holding a 30-round magazine) against in him in court, even though it is hearsay, because by making that statement he exposed himself to civil or criminal liability.

    Now, if he had been prosecuted, I would have been happy to support jury nullification of the District’s stupid law, or an attempt by the NRA or SAF to use Gregory as a sympathetic defendant for a new case to try to overturn Heller II, but thanks to this abuse of prosecutorial discretion, that wasn’t possible.

  • Matt in FL

    The DC AG’s statement was the perfect definition of a means to an end. They didn’t look at what he did, and the law, and then draw a conclusion (Action > Law > Conclusion). They reversed the last two steps, to make it “Action > Conclusion > Law.”

    “We see what he did, but we don’t want to prosecute it, now we need to rationalize that decision after the fact.”

  • MAJMike

    Hmmmm. Good thing I don’t live there or in New York. All of my firearms’ magazines are illegal except for the 5-round mags for the Ruger 10-22, AR-15 and the HK-91.

    We, apparently, now are a “Nation of Men”, not laws.

    Interesting times.

  • @ wfgodbold: Hey, anything is more than nothing.

    And you may have raised exactly the reason why the prosecutor did not want to go forward with the case – granted, the NRA/SAF would have to get Gregory to play along, but his would make a perfect case to challenge DC’s idiotic laws. Lord knows we cannot have that

    @ Matt in FL: Ayup, and then spent hours drawing up legalese they hoped/thought would convince the masses. Hell, they probably did convince the masses, unfortunately.

    @ MAJMike: I am pretty sure I am illegal in DC, NY, MA, and CA, at the very least, at this point.

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