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Someone who’s not David Gregory convicted of stupid DC gun law violation

Someone who’s not David Gregory convicted of stupid DC gun law violation

D.C. gun laws are for the little people.

Yesterday, a D.C. Judge found Mark Witaschek guilty of “attempted possession of unlawful ammunition” for possessing an antique replica muzzleloader bullet.

Emily Miller at the Washington Times has thoroughly chronicled Mr. Witaschek’s court proceedings, which to date have spanned nearly two years and now appear likely to continue into the appellate stage.

In brief, the case centered on a single inert piece of ammunition, which rested on Mr. Witascheck’s desk in the District, and which he did not know was illegal.

William F. Vanderpool, a retired supervisory special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, [explained] to the judge that the saboted lead balls have no powder or propellant attached, so are not “live…”

The primer on the shotgun shell had already been struck by the firing pin. Mr. Witaschek kept the misfired shell on his home office desk as a memento from a hunt.

Ultimately, Mr. Witaschek was sentenced to time served, a $50 fine, and is required to enroll with the Metropolitan Police Department’s firearm offenders’ registry within 48 hours.

Although the conviction sounds relatively benign, the guilty sentence carries its own set of personal and professional ramifications, which Mr. Witaschek will now have to work through. Moreover, this case represents a shocking display of favoritism carried out by D.C. area law enforcement.

As noted on Legal Insurrection before, NBC anchor, David Gregory, previously managed to avoid prosecution even after the anchor violated D.C. laws by procuring an empty 30-round magazine and displaying it on live television.

Unlike Mr. Witaschek’s unknowing violation of the law, the violation by Gregory and NBC was no accident. Indeed, as we’ve shown here before, an e-mail from an NBC News representative explicitly inquired into the legality of the use and possession of the empty magazine.  The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department told NBC that, “possession of high capacity magazines is a misdemeanor.”

Gregory OAG Email Dec 21 2012 NBC to MPD3

Roughly 36 hours following receipt of that unequivocal advisory e-mail from the MPD, Gregory brandished the magazine on NBC’s Sunday program, Meet The Press.

It was later determined by the Office of Attorney General, in no uncertain terms, that Gregory and NBC clearly violated D.C. laws by possessing the magazine. The MPD delivered a Warrant and supporting Affidavit to OAG, a document OAG has refused to provide to Legal Insurrection in response to our Freedom of Information Act request, and which we are now fighting in court (with the help of Judicial Watch) to obtain.

Notwithstanding this determination that Gregory and NBC News violated the law, the OAG opted not to prosecute Gregory or anyone at NBC because, among other things, “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.”

Purely coincidentally, Gregory’s wife attended a charity function with D.C Attorney General Irvin Nathan.

And so it goes in D.C.

Barely three weeks after the willful violation, the entire issue was thrown out. At least for Gregory and NBC, that is.

No such luck for the recreational hunting enthusiast, Mr. Witaschek, who endured nearly two years of vociferous prosecution from the Attorney General’s office for a substantially similar, though inadvertent, violation.


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To be blunt, the two aren’t even that similar, other than they happen to involve firearms.

Gregory’s is considerably worse. A so-called high-capacity magazine can still be loaded and fired any time somebody feels like putting rounds in it. I could load a 30 round mag in less than a minute.

An already fired or inert piece of ammunition requires CONSIDERABLE effort and knowledge to actually make fireable again.

This entire case of blatant favoritism just makes me sick.

“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.”

If this is the standard, it still doesn’t explain why Gregory was not prosecuted but Witaschek was, unless the OAG is claiming that a dummy or inert round sitting on a desk is a menace to the public.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | March 27, 2014 at 9:50 am

I wondered why the police had reason to search his home. According to one of Emily Miller’s earlier stories about this incident, this guy’s ex-wife gave authorities the information they needed to get a search warrant. 30 guys then dressed in SWAT gear raided his home. A son of the man was in the shower when the raid began, so they used a battering ram to bust down the bathroom door and yank the naked kid out of the shower. It’s unclear from the story I read if the ex-wife who instigated this is the mother of the kid. If she is, she’s probably ruined whatever relationship she ever hoped to have with her kids.

We all know Gregory and NBC were let off the hook because of who they are – privileged elites. I wonder if there is a backstory here as well. At least from what I’ve read, this case is gross overkill and an abuse of prosecutorial power. I have to wonder if the ex-wife has political connections of some kind. What could motivate the prosecutor to waste so much time and taxpayer money on a victimless “crime” in which nobody’s liberty was ever infringed? The guy claims this conviction will destroy his business. Why ruin a man’s life over something so inconsequential?

Slippery slope – if a neighbor fires a weapon and a bullet ends up in your house, you could be prosecuted in Washington DC for possession of an inert piece of lead that once was a bullet.

Granny Clampett used to fire rock salt and bacon rinds out of her scatter gun. After drinking large quantities of rheumatism medicine no less. Are rock salt and bacon now illegal in DC too?

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Paul. | March 27, 2014 at 11:11 am

    RE: “Are rock salt and bacon now illegal in DC too?”

    YES! Except for Obama and Michelle!

DC’s definition of ammunition:

§ 7-2501.01. Definitions
“Ammunition” means cartridge
cases, shells, projectiles (including shot), primers, bullets (including restricted pistol bullets), propellant powder, or other devices or materials designed, redesigned, or intended for use in a firearm or destructive device

I’d love to see people from every state in this nation send the prosecutor their spent cartridges and empty casings. Flood the office with old brass and plastic.

    Mike43 in reply to Sanddog. | March 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Guess rock salt is now banned in DC. (Farmers use to use it to discourage myself and my peers from picking apples, at night.)

Will Mr. Witaschek appeal or will he back down at this point, pay the fine and live with the ruling?

If he appeals, what are the 2A points that are pertinent given Heller, etc? I need to be educated on this and don’t know the law well enough.

Humphrey's Executor | March 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm

When I think back of all the times I drove through DC to and from hunting in VA, no know I was committing numerous felonies ….

    Lina Inverse in reply to Humphrey's Executor. | March 28, 2014 at 7:44 am

    If you follow certain rules, the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act provides an affirmative defense against prosecution if you’re transiting an anti-gun state or D.C.

Your Honor, I have sitting in front of me on this table a lead pellet from some #8 shot, a BB, some spherical lead balls of various caliber from .38 up to .75, and a 8 pound cannonball. Can you tell me under the law which of these objects are illegal, and why? But before you answer, I just want to remind you that your house was built in an area where the British skirmished with American forces, and that one or more of these objects are most certainly on your property.

Think twice before you bite into that Pop-tart.

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

OK. Does anyone notice the irony here?
Since Mr. Witascheck had a dead round, the round can be excluded from 2A protection?

A firearms offender’s registry? What’s the purpose of that?

    Sanddog in reply to randian. | March 27, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    The purpose is to equate “firearms offenders” with sex offenders.

    I’m just surprised we don’t have a hate crime offenders registry.

We need mental health checks, but it isn’t firearms owners that need to through the process as evidenced by this and similar cases in D.C.

Just goes to show that some citizens are more equal than others, especially if they contribute to, support, and spew that jackass Marxist ideology.

So, he was convicted of having brass/copper on his desk. We are doom, let the 20 million in and let’s go down shooting!

DINORightMarie | March 28, 2014 at 10:39 am

That this case ever went to court is a travesty to the 2nd Amendment, and the 1st Amendment. The judge in this case, as well, should be given a warning – or whatever they do to justices who make such an unjust, inane ruling (paraphr.: “I can’t hear any gunpowder – so you’re guilty!” WTH?!?!) NRA and other groups need to support this man and have such infringements repealed, and such judges publicly exposed for the hacks they are.

The estranged wife (now ex-wife?) should be forced to go to sensitivity training and anger management counseling, and perhaps have a “come to Jesus” moment herself when someone leaves a shell or round casing on her property……and the SWAT team is called on HER!!

The estranged wife (now ex-wife?) should be forced to go to sensitivity training and anger management counseling, and perhaps have a “come to Jesus” moment herself when someone leaves a shell or round casing on her property……and the SWAT team is called on HER!!

No, it is far more likely that she would get the “Gregory” treatment and not suffer any loss.

ebay always has a generous number of listings for artillery shells and trench art — spent brass shells that WWI soldiers engraved and reshaped to make lovely vases, lamp bases, and more. I guess these historic souvenirs cannot be shipped to or owned in DC. I guess I am going to add a new category for my collecting mania to focus on. Once again, the left’s determination to suppress harmless activity makes me feel kinda contrary.

liberal radio talk show host in Georgia to NRA:
Liberal talk radio host challenges NRA board member: ‘I will shoot you’

He continued his rant:

The NRA, which they’re behind this of course, they want guns everywhere. Jesus Christ! I would like to invite one of the NRA board members, and I’ll be armed, let’s just get this over with, OK? Come on down to Georgia and I’ll be packing heat and you be packing heat or whether you want to or not, I don’t give a damn, it’s up to you. And you come, meet me someplace, and all of a sudden, see, we have stand your ground here, and all of a sudden I’m going to feel real goddamned threatened by you! And I will shoot you! If I feel threatened. The law says I can!

Alfred-King of Wessex | March 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm

This is pure madness. Liberal nuts ….that hatch lunacy. How much was spent to prosecute this guy who owned this used inert shell? Is the judge this stupid, or are his hands tied by the law. Has common sense of every kind left the Beltway?
It’s time to flush our these morons…these vermin. Let’s pray for a return to sanity in this nation.