“After two years of sheer and complete legal lunacy, businessman and recreational hunter Mark Witaschek has been found guilty in the District for attempting to possess illegal ammunition without having a gun registered in DC,” commdiginews.com reports. “The biggest problem with the verdict, aside from the fact that the trial was held at all, is that the ammunition in question is for antique replica muzzle loading weapons which are not required to be registered in the Nation’s Capital.” Emily Miller at washingtontimes.com reports that Judge Robert Morin sentenced Mr. Witaschek to time served, a $50 fine and required him to enroll with the Metropolitan Police Department’s firearm offenders’ registry within 48 hours. In other words, Witaschek’s gun rights are gone and he could lose his license to practice at his financial management company. Witaschek plans to appeal. [Click here to read more about the arrest and trial.]
Home Crime and Punishment DC Resident Mark Witaschek Found Guilty of Attempting to Possess Illegal Ammo
So, when people say that the 2nd amendment was written in a time when only muzzleloaders existed, is this what they think “shall not be infringed” was intended to mean?
This seems to me to be a good test case to appeal to the Supreme Court. I do not think there is another law in the country anywhere this stringent on ammunition as the D.C. law.
I could be a good way for the supreme court to rule that ammunition “in common use” may not be infringed.
It is not clear this ammunition is banned in DC, it may be a matter of his not having had a license to possess it, which wouldn’t be easy to argue.
And this was not even ammunition – they were nothing more than black powder rifle bullets. This is so insane. I can’t believe we have let our country come to this.
To be accurate, they were Minie balls, not musket balls. You can google the diff.
Our country did not come to this. This happened in DC – Congress’ Little Plantation on the Potomac. You know, where Marion (“the bitch set me up”) Barry is part of the ruling gentry for life.
Delbert, they were not minie-balls. They were modern copper jacketed hollow-point with sabots.
OI am not for this guys prosecution, but they were modern projectiles like this:
Massachusetts also has laws against possessing parts of ammunition without a gun ownership license, and they have successfully prosecuted them — and had the convictions upheld on appeal. (albeit, and importantly, against people who also had an illegal gun).
Seems to me that even the most narrow ‘interpretation’ of the second amendment – that it applied only to muskets – would still have to allow for people to obtain and own musket balls and powder.
Muskets are not in common use. not 2A covered any more. Too bad.
AR15? Prove they are common. Till then, Not covered by 2A.Too bad
Pistols, oh heck, they’re just too dangerous. We’ll just ignore the 2A for those, right Mr. Heller.
Can’t a judge employ Jurist (not jury) nullification when he knows the law is bug ass crazy?
DC judges. DC isn’t really the US, its sort of like Gitmo, where its apparently legal to do stuff like suspend the Constitution. Its the only explanation for Congress.
>> Can’t a judge employ Jurist (not jury) nullification when he knows the law is bug ass crazy?
Nope. That’s the whole separation of powers things for you – legislature writes laws and penalties for breaking them, judges determine when the laws are broken and which penalty applies, executive enforces those decisions.
No law was broken here. All you people are missing the point. Stop arguing musket balls, Minie balls, modern jacketed hollow point muzzle load bullet with sabot. WTFC! This is a case of tyranny! A bully prosecutor and a bully judge. This man’s life is ruined. Read the full story at the Washington Times. It all started over a dud shotgun shell. This man was deer hunting and when he pulled the trigger, the primer failed to ignite. The click sound startled the deer and it ran into a tree and died. Amazing story, so he saved the shell. The police raided his home and broke into a bathroom where his 15 year old son was showering and they dragged him out naked. Then they held Witaschek and his girlfriend at gunpoint while they ransacked his home. That is when they found the projectiles that are not regulated or subject to registration.
This is war people! It is a cold war but we are losing battles. We need to win the cold war so we don’t have to start killing the enemy. Get serious here. The only other pro 2nd amendment reader on TTAG is Paul T. McCain. He gets it. I get it. You need to get it. If you don’t, I will call you out.
I hope he sets up a defense fund.
I’d contribute to it.
That is insanity.
I am willing to throw some money into his defense fund as well.
Never heard of this case before, but it does seem to upend the anti’s old saw about the 2A meaning muskets only. If he has a legit defense fund going, sign me up for the first c-note.
So. Much. Fail.
the ammunition in question is for antique replica muzzle loading weapons – I didn’t realize D.C. also bans nails, screws, and broken glass.
firearm offenders’ registry – Because practicing a natural, civil, and constitutionally protected right is equivalent to baby rape. Got it.
Don’t forget small rocks, marbles, ball bearings, and literally anything else that would fit down the barrel.
Thank god the cannons and CANNON BALLS in Arlington Nat Cem are across the river in Virginia.
They might arrest the grounds keeper.
I wonder how many folks in DC could be arrested for the civil war relics bought at the various historical sites in VA, MD, and PA. Are those gift shops aiding and abetting? What about stuff ordered over the internet?
This is outrageous and disgusting.
That is one s-t-r-a-n-g-e- country, Washington D.C.
Pity the wretched souls condemned to subsist in that sh!thole.
Another American sacrificed on the altar of “common sense” gun control. I’m sure that the Bradys, VPC, MDA and the rest of the citizen disarmament scumbags are thrilled that they’ve made us safe from the threat of dud shot shells and iron balls.
And the same goes double for the thugs with badges who invaded his home in the first place.
When Bloomberg says he supports the 2nd Amendment, he probably means it. He just thinks it is consistent with the whole country licensing guns the way NYC does. Common sense and all.
Bloomberg would be viewed as a Tea Bag Conservative in DC.
And the same goes double for the thugs with badges who invaded his home in the first place.
It really is remarkable that the individual police involved felt compelled to find, notice, such trivial artifacts during their search. They do have a choice. They claim they are just doing their job. Yet, when Robert Kennedy, Jr. careened his car into barricades clearly under the influence, no breathalizer was administered, though it would be usual to require such. Clearly, then, the D.C. cops feel fully empowered to lighten up on their “duty” when they see fit. Therefore they should absolutely be individually judged immoral for their over-zealous pursuit of Witaschek.
The LEOs will insist, in a desperate attempt to claim a moral nature, that they were over-zealous because Witaschek might be a danger to that wonderful ex of his, the one who set him up. Such defenders of the Fair Sex! Ha! They’ve got a rather shaky record when it comes to their own spouses and girl friends.
I get the feeling MDA is rejoicing. It will be one hell of a Bunco party tomorrow night at the Watts house.
Dirk should crash it. Pretend he is a novelist wearing posh fluffy slippers and complain about gun weirdos in the most condescending tone possible. He can then take some photos while he is there and send them to us when finished.
That is absolutely stupid. No victims, no injuries, no property damage – and still a guilty verdict. This is near the endpoint of “reasonable” restrictions that liberal progressives want. Those same politicians will look straight into the camera, adjust their expensive suits, and tell you that “We’re not coming for your guns.”
Actually, when they say that they are not coming for our guns, they are truthful. Rather, they are coming for us and guns are simply the justification.
Or just tell you to F–k off like the state senator from Rhode Island.
They’re not coming for our guns, do not be ridiculous. That could be DANGEROUS! They will be sending others for our guns. Expendable others. It will break my heart to have to shoot a few. But I will.
If the system can do this with a straight face then the hour is far later than many might believe, IMHO.
Does the collection of round lead balls, a patch, and some black powder even meet the ATF’s definition of ‘ammunition?’
It is not the ATF’s interpretation, it is the D.C. statute, which bans possession of ANY ammunition or ammunition COMPONENT that goes to a firearm that is not registered in the City. So if you’ve registered your .22, but have a 9 mil rolling around in your pocket/trunk/duffel/attic, you have committed a violent felony. Heck, if you have an empty casing–even a fired empty casing–you have violated the letter of the law as I’ve seen Ms. Miller reporting it (which is why the dismissal of the charge with respect to the inoperable shotgun shell was kind of surprising–functionality does not seem to be an issue.) Bulk bullets are illegal unless you have a firearm registered in the city in that caliber.
Then we need to have a Million Man March where ever person has ammo in thier possession (firearms optional), have as many arrested as possible and ABSOLUTLEY choke the legal system to the point that DC has to change the law. I would gladly get arrested with 10,000 other people just to overload the courts to get this asinine law overturned.
Better yet, Every US Veteran that has a chunk of enemy bullet still in thier body needs to go to DC and protest the hell out of this ruling.
I’d donate 5k rounds to this.
Adam Kokesh tried to organize something similar a while back. It was canceled due to backlash from some factions in the gun community.
Thanks, kind of. Your response has educated and depressed me.
Just be relieved that you don’t live or pass through there. The criminal element thanks you. So do the muggers, thieves, etc.
Unbelievable! I hope he wins on appeal and moves out to the next state (Virginia).
He moved to Virginia last year I believe.
This could end up in disaster for DC and a big plus for gun owning community. This is clearly going to go up the chain and I believe this absurd law is going to result in the Court further reviewing and overturning more DC gun laws.
Maybe. They’ll just make another law and another. Each one takes time to toss and leads to plenty chilling on the 2nd Amendment. Until a court decision comes down with some teeth- basically imposing major sanctions for bad-faith bills that try and skirt previous decisions- this is the way things will go.
This is the kind of legal overreach that could lead to an Illinois-like decision. Not being a lawyer but playing one for the moment had I been his defense attorney I would told the prosecutor that I want to turn this into the Scopes Monkey trial of gun rights. To quote a famous movie character, “Do you feel lucky punk.”
just remember… Scopes lost.
On the trial level but it wasn’t it overturned on appeal?
The sentence was found to be invalid, not the actual elements or constitutionality of the case; the prosecution decided not to refile. Basically it smelled like a sneaky way to avoid letting the case really get decided by letting a technicality kill it.
Would be great if it did.
Another dangerous… uh… muzzle-loading hunter… taken off the… his home?
That’ll teach him to think about possessing ammunition someday without a registration that doesn’t exist.
The streets are DC are now no longer going to flow red with blood thanks to the tireless efforts of the MPD and prosecutor’s office.
Any student of history knows just how dangerous a muzzleloader can be… just look at the Civil War. A body count like that in modern day DC would be absolutely devastating!
The bill of rights are a lie.
I believe you’re looking for an ‘is’ there.
And no, no it isn’t. There are terrible people overlooking it and abusing their powers, but the Bill of Rights is about as good as a political document gets.
Hairy Reed wrote the Bill of Rights?
Terrible, terrible. But it all the more emphasizes that no matter how minor it may seem, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure that you are within the realm of the law with anything regarding guns in D.C. You can become a felon just for having a cartridge casing there.
Don’t forget that DC is Congress’ model for America. They have to approve everything that the imbecile DC City Council comes up with.
VOTE THE BASTARDS OUT!
Actually Indian Reservations is Congress’ model for America. DC is Congress’ model for the Capital City; wide boulevards, rampant crime, and laws that apply only to the proles. Try to start a business in an Indian reservation, you’d have more success in North Korea (a perfected socialist state).
My brother, a Viet Nam Vet, came back with a .223 bullet on a necklace chain, It was a tracer round and the hollow back had been filled in with solder for the chain ring. After serving our country he goes to DC.
No normal people should try and enter that city. Even worse than NYC.
That said, I don’t know why anyone would choose to live in that shathole………and I’m saying that as someone that worked on the Hill for 8 years.
Welcome to The Republic of Paperwork, where law is whimsical, and enforcement equally so.
He should have told the DA to shove those minie balls up his ass, but anybody who wants to live in Crazytown DC is kind of asking for it.
This is why I don’t trust gun control advocates. Their proposals seem meant not to keep guns from violent criminals, but to trip up responsible gun owners and turn them into inadvertent felons. Until various “I support the 2nd amendment, but…” types are outraged by such cases and publicly and repeatedly repudiate such vicious prosecutions I will never trust them to negotiate or debate in good faith.
… in case the good citizens of Connecticut are wondering how the whole confiscation thing will go down…
All you need is a lying ex-wife and thirty or so cops on a power trip.
All you need is a lying ex-wife and thirty or so cops on a power trip.
You just happened to mention the two most common things on Earth (other than dirt and water).
For the win!
I wasnt aware the framers employed hollow point laser guided armor piercing HEAT lead balls.
Everybody knows they used depleted uranium musket balls and grape shot.
“Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned.” This poor drudge was turned in by his ex-wife, who was hoping that they would find something because she knew he had other firearms that he kept outside the city. She shoots, she scores! I wonder how she’ll feel about her petty little revenge when he loses his job and the alimony checks stop coming….
Welcome to DC where the laws are made up and your rights dont matter
The really strange thing is that the judge held the muzzle-loader ammunition not to be “musket balls” but to be “hollow-point bullets” and thus in violation. Maybe they were not ‘balls’ but rather the more bullet-shaped loads (mini balls), but in any case if the firearm doesn’t need to be registered then it is an absurdity that the ammunition for it would be illegal.
I am glad he is appealing. A lot of people wouldn’t when it is just a $50 fine and registry on the MSP firearm offenders list. I am glad this guy has principles.
His ‘musket’ might very well be a muzzle loading rifle firing Minie ball rounds, which look more like a modern bullet and are “hollow” depending on your perspective.
In his picture he is holding a Knight muzzleloader http://www.knightrifles.com/knight-muzzleloaders . A modern rifle that you load from the muzzle. Still, not legally a firearm according to the ATF, state law will vary.
I would imagine the bullet was a modern copper jacketed hollowpoint with a plastic sabot. Something like this: http://www.knightrifles.com/bloodline-bullets-M900542/
From Miller’s article:
“The 25 conical-shaped, .45 caliber bullets, made by Knight out of lead and copper, sat on the judge’s desk. They do not have primer or gunpowder so cannot be propelled. The matching .50 caliber plastic sabots were also in the box.”
Still doesn’t make the law less idiotic.
I think you have it pegged there.
Wait, Wait…Serious question here….
What is the NRAs response to this?
Ted Nugent has already called the judge a
OMG HOW IS THAT PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE
This image sums it up:
Since gun rights are actually rights… they aren’t really gone. He would be penalized for trying to exercise them -but he can still exercise them. Anyways. If Mr. Witaschek came to me… i’d sell him a gun. I’d sell him several guns and some spam cans to go with them.
Washington and the ATF can suck on that.
I would sell to him also.
If that’s your definition of a right than everything, including murder, is a right. It becomes a meaningless word.
We as a nation have just lost our sanity. The prosecution of this man has no purpose other than a handful of people looking at words to decide their meaning. The absence of logic & reason along the ENTIRE legislative, judicial and law enforcement industries shows they will harm anyone to maintain their cash flow.
One day citizens will have enough and I will not feel a thing towards what happens to these people.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants – Thomas Jefferson
Whenever you are ready to lock and load let me know.
But how can we? You’re anonymous.
I remember reading the Emily Miller’s article on the trial. The judge shook the shotgun shell and said that he couldn’t hear any powder in it. Then he looked at the minnie balls and said that they were hollow points and therefore illegal. The COMMENT MODERATED was looking at them backwards! Insanity at a three ring circus.
They weren’t Minie Balls. They were modern .452 cal 250gr hollowpoints with .50 cal plastic sabots. You could have loaded the bullets into 45LC hunting rounds with no problems at all.
“In other words, Witaschek’s gun rights are gone…”
Are you sure about that? I believe Unlawful Possession of Ammunition is only a misdemeanor at most in DC. Sometimes it only means a non-criminal administrative fine. Therefore, if this is all he was convicted of he should not lose his gun rights.
And an “attempt” is generally one grade lower than the base offense. Again, I can’t imagine how you “attempt” to possess anything in the first place. But it should be even lower on the scale than actual possession.
And to illustrate just how safe these imbeciles in the DC Courts and DC City Council have made the place:
Eric’s “Justice” Dept. would come to this man’s rescue – if Mr. Witaschek were black. Or “transgender.” This is not a racist statement, just Holder’s standard M.O.
Or an illegal alien (or whatever they’re called today).
Or a Mexican arms dealer.
From Emily Miller’s article on Mark Witaschek’s testimony:
(The prosecutor) went back to questioning the shotgun shell.
“So this cartridge is still intact?” she asked.
“With the exception of the primer,” Mr. Witaschek replied.
“So it’s intact?” she asked again.
“When you say ‘intact,’ you don’t know what is going on inside any shell,” the defendant explained.
“It’s a full cartridge with all its parts?” Ms. Trouth asked.
“It’s a cartridge which I believed was inoperable, ” Mr. Witaschek responded.
Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Curt Sloan sat in the courtroom.
Ms. Trouth asked the defendant, “But if I had Sgt. Sloan put the 12-gauge cartridge in a shotgun and point it at you, would you allow him to shoot it at you?”
Mr. Witaschek has taken numerous hunter safety classes. He knows the basic rules, which include always treating a firearm as if it is loaded and keep it pointed in a safe direction.
For the first time in the entire trial, Mr. Witaschek looked outraged. “That is a ridiculous question. I would never allow anyone to point a gun at me. I would not point a gun at anyone whether or not it had an expended shell or I knew it to be empty or not. You never point a gun at anyone. Period.”
Ignorance AND stupidity at it’s ultimate in the Prosecution side.
Now that really burns me. I was prosecuting a juvie for robbery, one of the exhibits was the revolver he used. I had the empty cylinder opened and hanging out on the crane while I handled it. At final argument, I flat told the jury, “You know, I can’t even bring myself to wave that thing around for you like that”–And a self-respecting prosecutor asks a question like she did? That is just crap.
I believe the defendant made a mistake here:
# (The prosecutor) went back to questioning the shotgun shell.
# “So this cartridge is still intact?” she asked.
# “With the exception of the primer,” Mr. Witaschek replied.
He should have said “No”. Never volunteer any information that aides your persecutors (not a typo). It is the prosecutions job to prove it is an intact cartridge; don’t do their work for them.
It is a natural human tendency in non-psychopaths to want to be helpful. Keep reminding yourself that the prosecutor wants to see you imprisoned, he doesn’t care if you are guilty or not. Behave accordingly.
It’s also a crime to knowingly lie while under oath. He answered truthfully to the best of his knowledge and with good intentions. Had everyone else done the same the debacle would have been over with post haste.
Are you sure the judge’s last name is spelled correctly? Should be “Moron?”
i’ll be honest, i’m a youngin who’s ignorant of what the “good ol’ days” were like in the u.s. of a. that having been said, something tells me that this country was probably a lot less orwellian not too long ago.
any old timers care to take a stroll down memory lane and chime in on this uncanny feeling of mine?
Orwell was writing in 1949 of a distant, dystopian future. If he wrote the same book today, it would be a travel guide.
It’s like a whole different world to me. It’s difficult to explain without a proper common frame of reference.
“Open carry” march, wearing shotgun shell bandolier. Maybe even with all empties…except one live one. Sure, I’m in. Call me when you’ve got another 5,000 ‘maybes’.
This was supposed to be directed at A-Rod’s comment on choking out the legal system in DC with absurd arrests.
So let’s see, is my belt with the case head from a 12ga shot gun shell on the buckle illegal in DC. Perhaps if everyone started calling the DC PD demanding to know whether belt buckles, fishing weights, still embedded bullets, ball bearings (steel shot) etc were illegal or not and refusing to get off the phone until they got an answer…
We should post a a petition on whitehouse.gov that the president and his justice department intervene. If we can get the signatures, he’ll be forced to say or do something about it if he pretends to not be the gun grabber he makes himself out to be. The American people can see this doesn’t even begin to fit the criteria of common sense gun control.
I’m so furious right now. This is wrong, and no one inthe media is talking about it. Right now I think Texas needs to form a militia and declare was on DC. I mean this is just insane, our founders never would have allowed this to continue.
Attempting to possess ammo? How does that work?
I’m guessing that he looked at it sideways.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around “attempt to possess” too. Was he reaching for it?
A lead ball isn’t much different from a fishing sinker. And if they prosecuted him for trying to buy flints… wow.
What I don’t understand is if DC has such strict gun laws why does the White House have snipers on the roof? Should be the safest city in the country.
Not only that… Why can government have in DC that which the People cannot?
(You might have already intended that implication in your comment.)
As I was reading this, I could not help but be reminded of those other guys that the government went after for having illegal firearms and ammunition, the guys in Lexington and Concord, many years ago.
+1. That’s a good correlation. 🙁
Sometimes I just wish the zombie apoclypse would just happen so stuff like this would go away. I mean, the world would be a better place right?
I think this is the most outrageous story like this to come along on TTAG in quite some time. I read more about the trial and the whole incident and it has made me absolutely livid.
This is in the same “state” where David Gregory openly flaunted the law by possessing an illegal high-capacity magazine on TV and not even an investigation or forced surrender of the magazine was made.
Well yeah, because he was determined not to be a threat. I don’t understand that…the way the anti-gunners act, a 30 round magazine for an ASSAULT RIFLE (I like to think they always capitalize the phrase, whether in print or in their own heads…I’d highlight it too if there were that capability) is like a modern day Jack the Ripper,except instead of prostitutes it’s disadvantaged youth, nuns, and people in wheelchairs.
You’d think some common sense would apply when a 30 round mag, in their minds, the source of death and distruction, is not as big of a threat as reloading components. The fact of course is that they’re exactly as dangerous as each other…which is to say, neither is dangerous at all, and DC should be embarrassed ashamed of itself and laughed at by the entire nation & world as a whole.
The jury is substantially to blame. They should have nullified and found him unconditionally not guilty.
I’m not sure there was a jury…not all cases (such as small fines/misdemeanors) warrant one. Or sometimes the defendant is prompted by their legal counsel to take a bench trial.
There was no jury. The prosecution reduced charges to get a bench trial, knowing that even in DC it would be difficult to find 6 jurors who would swallow such a line of crap. They did find a judge.
When Dark Country (DC) even THINKS about a law, its about beating-up whitey.
The inferior monkey people have taken-over and Whitey just stands and watches his world come to an end.
This FINE WHITE gentleman’s life has been destroyed over something that a Dark One would never have even seen a misdemeanor citation for. Its disgraceful and Whitey not only allowed it to happen, but we encourage our own demise.
Wake up White Man, White Women and smell the reality! We are being aggressively targeted for extinction. You going to just let these cases happen so long as its not YOU?
In DC, the selective enforcement is ALL about race and classification.
It’s real tough to be taken seriously about accusations of racism against the majority when you’re so incredibly racist yourself.
Wow… so this is the first time I’d actually like to see a ‘comment moderated.’
Not sure what kind of response you were expecting with your ridiculous statement, but unless it was boundless ridicule, I assume you’ll be dissapointed.
Your statement is so ludicrious it’s not even worth debate or mention. It’s just plain laughable. Please get help.
Didn’t he also have an inert shotgun shell and some (like less than 10) brass casings? I thought that was part of the original issue.
If the jackbooted thugs are taking away the sabots, just remember the order of : Powder, patch, ball. You would be surprised by what results from a hit of .54 cal. roundball.