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Shane916
11-05-2007, 10:16 AM
100% theoretical question here in which I am currently having debate about this with a fellow classmate.

Lets say one was in possession of a weapon defined by CA as an AW.
They dispose of the weapon.
They are investigated for possessing the AW after they have gotten rid of the weapon.
Since they no longer have the weapon or any components can they still be prosecuted based on the fact that they did (past tense) possess it?

bwiese
11-05-2007, 10:28 AM
The crime of having an illegal AW anytime during a certain time period after 2000 (or 1989 for Roberti-Roos guns) did not get 'erased' just because a given person no longer possesses it.

[After a certain point, there may be a general statute of time limitation for criminal matters, but I don't know what this is offhand (I don't recall any specific codified time limit in the AW laws themselves.)]

If there is evidence of illegal AW possession, it could result in charges.

However, the threshold for prosecution is elevated substantially. For such a prosecution to happen, the dude in question would have to have one or more of the following:

(1) have to be dumb and talk;
(2) not have a lawyer (see #1);
(3) have had witness(es) of post-ban possession (remember "M1A guy" in LA, his flash hider, and his 'buddy'?)
(4) or be stupid and try to sell at a dealer, esp an AW permittee;
(5) or illegally sold to someone else and he rolls on the 1st guy ("I got it from Joe Blow in March 2004 in a Denny's parking lot for $750".)

Shane916
11-05-2007, 10:30 AM
The crime of having an illegal AW anytime during a certain time period after 2000 (or 1989 for Roberti-Roos guns) did not get 'erased' just because a given person no longer possesses it.

[After a certain point, there may be a general statute of time limitation for criminal matters, but I don't know what this is offhand (I don't recall any specific codified time limit in the AW laws themselves.)]

However, the threshold for prosecution is elevated substantially. For such a prosecution to happen the dude in question would (1) have to be dumb and talk; (2) not have a lawyer (see #1); (3) have had witnesses of post-ban possession, or (4) be stupid and try to sell at a dealer, esp an AW permittee; (5) illegally sold to someone else and he rats the first guy out.

Intriguing. Thanks for the quick reply and information :)

bwiese
11-05-2007, 10:46 AM
Just remember that a 'crime' does not get "taken back" when the offending situation stops by disposal (legal or otherwise).

It's just that the threshold of proof has substantially elevated and the ball's in the court of the Offending Dude to be smart, get a lawyer and STFU.

That being said, if someone were to find himself in such a situation it would behoove him to IMMEDIATELY:

(1) if an off-list gun/receiver, disassemble completely or render into non-SB23 configuration.
Possessors of blowback pistol-caliber carbines should not rely on attempts to convert into
non-semauto form.

(2) if a listed receiver/gun, gun should be immediately stripped to the bare receiver level.

(3) Any tools used for such disassembly should be ground/polished and disposed of so any
fresh toolmarks and recent oxidation changes associated with finish wear due to such
disassembly can't be associated.

Disposal of an unreg'd AW or receiver - before any legal SHTF - can be arranged w/local LEO agency but I strongly suggest contacting a criminal attorney to intermediate.

Cpl_Peters
11-05-2007, 7:39 PM
(5) or illegally sold to someone else and he rolls on the 1st guy ("I got it from Joe Blow in March 2004 in a Denny's parking lot for $750".)

that wasn't legit? uh-oh

dondo
11-05-2007, 7:47 PM
His name was Jon DOE not BLOW and it was 500 bucks. Wait.........

bwiese
11-05-2007, 9:26 PM
Let's say that you call up the ATF tomorrow and prove to them that you constructed dozens of illegal assault weapons between 1994 and 2004. Can you still be prosecuted for breaking the law, even if the law you are breaking is no longer on the books? If so, what would you be charged with?

Interesting, because it brings up some Reno AW cases back in 2004.

As y'all know BATF popped some dudes at Reno gunshow. Year before I'd warned them about misconfigured postban guns. They told me "ATF wasn't bustin' for that." I laughed at them and they looked at me like I was stupid.

It appears several of these dudes plead out to felonies right around the time the Fed AWB sunset.

It would be interesting situation if you were popped for a Fed AWB violation in 2004 but ended up going to trial in October 2004 when it sunset. I frankly think the case would be dropped.

artherd
11-05-2007, 10:31 PM
If the violation is within SOL, in general, yes you may be prosecuted even though the actual PC is no longer on teh books. It must have been on the books at the time of violation. However it is likely a judge or prosecutor will decline the case.

Well, I guess my question is a bit more general, in the legal sense. What I'm asking is, can you be busted for having violated a law, if at the time you are arrested the law is no longer on the books? And I'm not talking about laws which were repealed and included amnesty for past violations (e.g. prohibition), but just laws which, for whatever reason, cease to be.

artherd
11-05-2007, 10:47 PM
If the violation is within SOL, in general, yes you may be prosecuted even though the actual PC is no longer on teh books. It must have been on the books at the time of violation. However it is likely a judge or prosecutor will decline the case.

Well, I guess my question is a bit more general, in the legal sense. What I'm asking is, can you be busted for having violated a law, if at the time you are arrested the law is no longer on the books? And I'm not talking about laws which were repealed and included amnesty for past violations (e.g. prohibition), but just laws which, for whatever reason, cease to be.

artherd
11-05-2007, 11:50 PM
If the violation is within SOL, in general, yes you may be prosecuted even though the actual PC is no longer on teh books. It must have been on the books at the time of violation. However it is likely a judge or prosecutor will decline the case.

Well, I guess my question is a bit more general, in the legal sense. What I'm asking is, can you be busted for having violated a law, if at the time you are arrested the law is no longer on the books? And I'm not talking about laws which were repealed and included amnesty for past violations (e.g. prohibition), but just laws which, for whatever reason, cease to be.