What Passes for Legal Reasoning

Laci the Dog, I’m pretty sure, should be called Laci the Troll, because I find it difficult to believe that a lawyer could be so obtuse on matters of law. As Mike W mentioned, her blog is relatively devoid of intellectual argument. This here is the latest justifying bans on semi-autos because they can be readily restored to fully automatic fire. She should stick to whatever law she practices, because firearms law is not her forte. The closest Supreme Court case we have on this topic is Staples v. US:

We concur in the Fifth Circuit’s conclusion on this point: “It is unthinkable to us that Congress intended to subject such law abiding, well intentioned citizens to a possible ten year term of imprisonment if . . . what they genuinely and reasonably believed was a conventional semiautomatic [weapon] turns out to have worn down into or been secretly modified to be a fully automatic weapon.”

The fundamental issue in Staples is whether or not Congress intended to eliminate the mens rea requirement that’s required in most crimes. The Court ruled that the government had to prove guilty intent when it came to possessing a semiautomatic firearm that was capable of firing automatically. In none of the Courts reasoning in Staples did they indicate that possession of any semi-automatic firearm was in violation of National Firearms Act. In fact, the majority rejected the argument that possession of a semi-automatic could meet the mens rea requirement. In fact, the Court in Staples makes the assumption that Congress did not intend to make semi-automatic firearms legally risky, let alone illegal.

So no, Laci, semi-autos aren’t covered by this law, no matter how much you wish it were so.

9 thoughts on “What Passes for Legal Reasoning”

  1. Firearms law is almost no one’s forte in the legal profession. In the average law school class, I’d guess there are about 2-3 gun people, maybe half a dozen at most if you got lucky. In my class it was two people.

  2. isn’t there an internet rule that says, “Don’t Feed the Troll,”?

  3. Yes. Don’t feed the trolls. Doing so will give this person purpose, and distract us from real issues.

  4. Yes, there is that rule. But I thought it was a good opportunity to bring up Staples. If you can find anything else going on right now, I’m open to talking about that instead :)

  5. Anything else going on?

    I have an idea. It seems to me from reading the media et al., that the “gun control flavor of the day” is the so-called gun-show loophole.” It seems to me if they are going to move on anything federally, it will be that. They might limit the ban on private sales to those that happen to occur on the premeses of gun shows, but in the future, they will surely attempt to prohibit any private sale.

    So here is the deal. Would a ban on the sale of personal private property be constitutional? Or constitutionally subjected to government interference in the way of a background check? Heller stated the following:

    “The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast
    doubt on … laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

    “Commercial Sale.” What is that? Are we talking retail? Wholesale? Only sales in which earnings form one’s primary income? One could potentially argue that my selling of a shotgun to a private party is not engaging in “commercial sales.” Perhaps one could argue that.

    I think such a discussion would be relevant in light of the current trajectory of the anti-gun movement (including Bloomberg) and federal legislation.

  6. That’s interesting Carl. Though given that the courts have argued you don’t have to make money off something for it to be commerce, I’m not sure how it would go. Might be an argument worth making though.

  7. But following their logic in the commerce clause, your private sale of a shotgun affects commercial sales. If I buy from you I don’t buy from Gander Mountain.

  8. Hah! Did you catch the bit where “laci the dog” was singing the praises of Michael Bellisiles? She/he/it must be one of the very last people around who still admits agreeing with that old fraudster. Almost makes me wonder if the blog really belongs to Bellesiles himself, in a pathetic act of sock puppetry.

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