Prosecutors and the law

Sharp as a Marble has a link to where a prosecutor talks about the D.C. ban on firearms being a good thing because:

The statute was also a mechanism for locking up individuals perceived as violent, but against whom other cases could not be brought for whatever reason.

This sort of thing happens all the time. I know that a certain county sheriff in Idaho broke up a car theft ring and was unable to find anything on the person they thought was the leader of the group other than the unregistered machine gun they found in his home.*

It’s just another tool in their toolbox. The same thing with the income tax. The feds sent Al Capone to prison on income tax evasion rather than murder and bootlegging which were almost for certain the more appropriate charges.

I fully understand the temptation and desire for such tools. I’m sure there are many instances where law enforcement and prosecutors are completely and totally convinced the suspect is guilty but the witnesses are too scared to testify, someone messed up preserving the evidence, or some such thing. But having such tools available leads to their wrongful use. Whose perception that an individual is violent can be trusted? The potential for racism alone is reason enough to avoid giving these tools to prosecutors.

Ayn Rand nailed it:

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

And don’t forget Huffman’s rule of firearms law:

Firearms law are so complex, victimless, and nonsensical that almost every firearms owner breaks multiple laws without knowing it. A general rule to compute the earned prison time for crimes committed is to multiply the number of years of activity in the shooting sports by five.

A landlord of mine once had a girlfriend that was an interning law student at a Federal prosecutor’s office. I mentioned something about the changes in Federal law regarding explosives and how previously manufacture and use within the borders of a single state were outside the domain of the Feds but SEA claimed to change that. I thought that as a law student she would recognize the interstate commerce clause was the basis for the Feds being able to even talk about the regulation of explosives. Intrastate activity is supposedly beyond the reach of the Feds. But she was almost giddy about the changes because the new law would “invalidate tons of legal precedent”. As a future Federal prosecutor she had just been given a whole bunch of new tools and she was eager to use them. I dropped the subject.

I regard this abuse of power as one of the most obvious symptoms of a deficiency in our constitution. There is no explicit means for punishment of members of our government who pass or enforce laws that violate the constitution. There is a law that says they can’t legally do that in certain cases, 18 USC 242, but who enforces it? Federal prosecutors. But you can’t expect them to enforce it upon themselves. It just isn’t going to happen. There needs to be a much more general provision enforceable by some other means. The “Second Amendment reset” is just too drastic for the situation at hand.

* The Feds refused to prosecute. I suspect this decision may have been influenced by some previous “history” between Idaho and the Feds. This wasn’t too long after Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris were found not-guilty of nearly all the charges against them and there were some instances where several Idaho counties were threatening and/or actually were (Lon Horichi is just one example) prosecuting some Federal employees of various types.