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Old September 18, 2020, 11:57 AM   #55
Aguila Blanca
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 14,837
Originally Posted by Gary L. Griffeths
Regarding whether it was legal for Rittenhouse to possess or carry a rifle in WI, the statute that appears to prohibit this, upon closer inspection, appears to apply only in the case of a short-barreled rifle or shotgun. Dean Weingarten makes a pretty cogent argument here:
What a novel idea -- read the law before acting on it or pontificating about it.

A few decades ago there was a perfect example of this in my state. Not firearms related, but it illustrates the point well, IMHO.

Seems there was a woman -- an executive for a large corporation in the state's capitol city -- who had fun going to parties to be the resident fortune teller/psychic. She used a pseudonym for these gigs, and she never advertised -- it was all word of mouth.

Back then, the state had an anti-fortunetelling law on the books. It had been there for 80 years and, in 80 years, nobody had ever been convicted under it. Nobody, in fact, could even remember if/when anyone had ever been arrested under it. Until one fine day when the police department in the town where she lived got wind of her nefarious sideline and set up a sting. They sent two young officers -- a male and a female -- posing as a couple, to get a private reading from "Marushka." She did the reading, they paid her -- and then they slapped the cuffs on her. She was charged under this 80-year old anti-fortunetelling law.

The case went to trial. The prosecution had both officers testify. They thought they had a slam dunk case. When the prosecution rested, the defense attorney didn't call any witnesses, he immediately moved to dismiss. Both the judge and the prosecutor looked at him in amazement. "On what grounds?"

So the defense attorney read them the law. The law said two things: (1) it was illegal to advertise to foretell the future. [The defendant didn't advertise.] (2) it was illegal to accept money for fraudulently foretelling the future. [The prosecution had entered no evidence or testimony alleging or suggesting fraud.]

That's all the law said. The judge thought about it for a minute, then dismissed the case. A few months later, the legislature quietly repealed the statute.

As we frequently mention when people have questions about carry laws or use of force laws, there is no substitute for reading and understanding the laws in effect in the particular state or jurisdiction. Words have meaning, and in laws those words are usually fairly specific and precise. (If they aren't, the law may be tossed out as "unconstitutionally vague.") So here's another example. Everyone jumped on that law without reading the fine print and concluded that the kid was breaking the law by having that rifle.

And then someone actually read the law ...
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