Mens Rea is a basic component of common law. It suggests that for serious offenses, the state must prove that you had a “guilty mind.” In other words, you consciously chose to commit the illegal act. There are exceptions to this, usually for crimes which are not very serious. For instance, speeding is a strict liability offense. It doesn’t matter if you tell the officer you didn’t know you were speeding. But in serious cases, like felonies and high misdemeanors, prosecutors generally have to prove mens rea in addition to actus reus. So along comes our fascist friends at CSGV and VPC, what’s their advice on this important legal matter?
However, gun control advocates told the Star that it is difficult to prove a buyer’s intent to purchase a gun for a felon. “You don’t want to make a prosecutor prove someone’s state of mind,” said Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “That’s almost impossible.”
“It’s extremely hard to prove [the straw buyer] lied about their intent when they bought the gun,” said Kristen Rand, a lobbyist for the Violence Policy Center, which seeks stricter regulation on firearm sales.
It may be a tall burden, but having to prove state of mind is a barrier prosecutors should have to climb in order to earn convictions for serious crimes. That’s part of our legal tradition when it comes to the rights of the accused. Perhaps the folks at CSGV and VPC should consider moving to a country where protections for the accused are considerably weaker, and gun laws are very strict. I’d suggest Russia, because if you believe things like this, you don’t belong in America.
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