Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: 'Author Peter Manso faces a decade in prison for nonviolent firearms violations' Examiner.com

  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, across Death's Door, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    9,193

    Post imported post

    http://www.examiner.com/x-536-Civil-Liberties-Examiner~y2008m9d2-Author-faces-decade-in-prison-for-nonviolent-firearms-violation

    Prolific writer Peter Manso, author of, among other books, biographies of Norman Mailer and Marlon Brando, has been indicted on a dozen firearms charges by a Massachusetts grand jury and faces years in prison. Did he brandish a gun in public? Threaten a neighbor with a drive-by shooting?

    No, the guns were all stored, quite securely, in his locked and alarmed home. In fact, police discovered the weapons only when they responded to a burglar alarm while the writer was away. Either the guns were in plain view -- evidence that Manso expected no legal trouble for their possession -- or else, as Manso's attorney alleges, "Truro police searched Manso's house illegally while responding to the alarm." (The Times of London reports they were "in a cupboard.")

    The mindboggling criminal charges for mere possession of inanimate objects are reported by the Boston Globe as follows:
    Manso was indicted on charges of illegally possessing a large capacity weapon (a Colt AR-15 assault rifle), four counts of illegally possessing loading devices for that weapon, three counts of illegally possessing firearms, one count of illegally possessing ammunition, and three counts of improperly storing a firearm, according to a spokeswoman for Plymouth prosecutors.
    The most serious charge, illegally possessing the assault rifle, carries a minimum sentence of 2 1/2 years in prison and a maximum of 10 years in prison. No date has been set for Manso's next court hearing.
    The main problem seems to be that Manso's Firearms Identification Card expired after the passage of new legislation in 1998 -- previously, FIDs lasted a lifetime; now they expire every six years. The new law has caused endless problems in the Bay State, since authorities have not been very effective about informing gun owners of the change. As the Globe reports, "In July 2002, a State House committee found that thousands of Massachusetts residents were probably unaware that they needed to renew fire identification cards."

    The "assault rifle" is a separate issue, since that's just outright illegal in Massachusetts. Still, Manso is in good company in its possession. In Can Gun Control Work?, James B. Jacobs, Director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University, reported that Boston's assault weapons ban has enjoyed a rousing compliance rate of about 1%. Challenged by a law that seems purely arbitrary and unnecessarily restrictive (banned assault weapons are mechanically indistinguishable from many perfectly legal firearms), large numbers of Americans simply shrug their shoulders and symbolically tell legislators to go fish.

    Of course, heavy-handed law enforcement is nothing new to Massachusetts. When I went to college there in the 1980s (Clark University in Worcester, if you must know), the string of ominous billboards along the highway as you crossed the border was a running joke: Speed Limit Strictly Enforced, Possession and Use of Radar Detectors Illegal, Gun Laws Strictly Enforced ... "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here" would have been a fitting final warning, followed by a roadblock and a vigorous strip-search.
    But a potential decade in prison for merely possessing a mechanical device is more than a joke: it's a deprivation of a man's freedom for doing nothing that caused any harm to people or property.

    Manso claims that he's been maliciously targeted by the police because of his controversial work on a new book that casts a skeptical look at the work of local authorities in investigating the murder of a writer named Christa Worthington. I don't know whether there's any truth to his claim, but the sort of technical charges he faces lend themselves to such abuse. The more intricate and technical the law becomes, the harder it is to understand, respect and abide by. It's irresistably tempting for many people to ignore the law's sillier restrictions, and all too easy to unwittingly fall behind in paperwork -- at the cost of years behind bars if a local official wants to be by-the-book about such things.

    And, of course, offending local officials then comes to carry a hefty penalty in terms of selective enforcement of arcane law.

    Strictly speaking, the recent Heller decision should have made these charges impossible. By finally recognizing that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, the Supreme Court ostensibly put the right to bear arms on the same footing as the right to free speech -- and you can't require people to get a license to speak their minds, nor can you ban high-capacity printing presses. But we're still exploring the full implications of that decision, and Heller was worded loosely enough that it may permit restrictions of the sort that we would never permit to be applied to any other individual right.

    So Peter Manso faces a potential life sentence (he's 67) for doing no harm to anybody by violating laws that few respect and even fewer understand and thereby making himself vulnerable to officials who may be out to get him.

    In a free country, that's not how the law is supposed to work.


  2. #2
    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Gone
    Posts
    3,958

    Post imported post

    Justice Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, aptly noted in 2005: "As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to 'do what the people want,' instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically."

    In the Heller case, (Constitutional opinion) Justice Scalia wrote, "Nowhere else in the Constitution does a "right" attributed to "the people" refer to anything other than an individual right. What is more, in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention "the people," the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset. ... The Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms.... The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it 'shall not be infringed'."

    This tidbit has been largely ignored in the media. All of these 'restrictions' on what types of arms go right out the window with this. MA is a socialist state... 'has been in violation of the US Constitution since... the British left prob'ly. It's a wonder they haven't replaced the rifle the Minuteman holds on the state sealwith a wiffle-bat. :X

  3. #3
    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Newport News, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    4,963

    Post imported post

    Deliver us from evil!

    Yes your papers were in order and were goods for life, but that is no longer the case. You are now a felon and will spend the next 10 years in our gulag for thisgood for life, but nowexpired FIC. That will teach you to exercise your 1A right to criticize the ruling class!

    The laws of thattyrannical police statereally make me sick. The possession of an AR-15 is clearly covered by Heller.

    Live Free or Die,

    Thundar

    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come …………. PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

  4. #4
    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Free, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    3,855

    Post imported post

    Doug Huffman wrote:
    http://www.examiner.com/x-536-Civil-Liberties-Examiner~y2008m9d2-Author-faces-decade-in-prison-for-nonviolent-firearms-violation

    Prolific writer Peter Manso, author of, among other books, biographies of Norman Mailer and Marlon Brando, has been indicted on a dozen firearms charges by a Massachusetts grand jury and faces years in prison. Did he brandish a gun in public? Threaten a neighbor with a drive-by shooting?

    No, the guns were all stored, quite securely, in his locked and alarmed home. In fact, police discovered the weapons only when they responded to a burglar alarm while the writer was away. Either the guns were in plain view -- evidence that Manso expected no legal trouble for their possession -- or else, as Manso's attorney alleges, "Truro police searched Manso's house illegally while responding to the alarm." (The Times of London reports they were "in a cupboard.")

    The mindboggling criminal charges for mere possession of inanimate objects are reported by the Boston Globe as follows:
    Manso was indicted on charges of illegally possessing a large capacity weapon (a Colt AR-15 assault rifle), four counts of illegally possessing loading devices for that weapon, three counts of illegally possessing firearms, one count of illegally possessing ammunition, and three counts of improperly storing a firearm, according to a spokeswoman for Plymouth prosecutors.
    The most serious charge, illegally possessing the assault rifle, carries a minimum sentence of 2 1/2 years in prison and a maximum of 10 years in prison. No date has been set for Manso's next court hearing.
    The main problem seems to be that Manso's Firearms Identification Card expired after the passage of new legislation in 1998 -- previously, FIDs lasted a lifetime; now they expire every six years. The new law has caused endless problems in the Bay State, since authorities have not been very effective about informing gun owners of the change. As the Globe reports, "In July 2002, a State House committee found that thousands of Massachusetts residents were probably unaware that they needed to renew fire identification cards."

    The "assault rifle" is a separate issue, since that's just outright illegal in Massachusetts. Still, Manso is in good company in its possession. In Can Gun Control Work?, James B. Jacobs, Director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University, reported that Boston's assault weapons ban has enjoyed a rousing compliance rate of about 1%. Challenged by a law that seems purely arbitrary and unnecessarily restrictive (banned assault weapons are mechanically indistinguishable from many perfectly legal firearms), large numbers of Americans simply shrug their shoulders and symbolically tell legislators to go fish.

    Of course, heavy-handed law enforcement is nothing new to Massachusetts. When I went to college there in the 1980s (Clark University in Worcester, if you must know), the string of ominous billboards along the highway as you crossed the border was a running joke: Speed Limit Strictly Enforced, Possession and Use of Radar Detectors Illegal, Gun Laws Strictly Enforced ... "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here" would have been a fitting final warning, followed by a roadblock and a vigorous strip-search.
    But a potential decade in prison for merely possessing a mechanical device is more than a joke: it's a deprivation of a man's freedom for doing nothing that caused any harm to people or property.

    Manso claims that he's been maliciously targeted by the police because of his controversial work on a new book that casts a skeptical look at the work of local authorities in investigating the murder of a writer named Christa Worthington. I don't know whether there's any truth to his claim, but the sort of technical charges he faces lend themselves to such abuse. The more intricate and technical the law becomes, the harder it is to understand, respect and abide by. It's irresistably tempting for many people to ignore the law's sillier restrictions, and all too easy to unwittingly fall behind in paperwork -- at the cost of years behind bars if a local official wants to be by-the-book about such things.

    And, of course, offending local officials then comes to carry a hefty penalty in terms of selective enforcement of arcane law.

    Strictly speaking, the recent Heller decision should have made these charges impossible. By finally recognizing that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, the Supreme Court ostensibly put the right to bear arms on the same footing as the right to free speech -- and you can't require people to get a license to speak their minds, nor can you ban high-capacity printing presses. But we're still exploring the full implications of that decision, and Heller was worded loosely enough that it may permit restrictions of the sort that we would never permit to be applied to any other individual right.

    So Peter Manso faces a potential life sentence (he's 67) for doing no harm to anybody by violating laws that few respect and even fewer understand and thereby making himself vulnerable to officials who may be out to get him.

    In a free country, that's not how the law is supposed to work.
    Good post. This will be pled down significantly. One correction: radar detectors were never illegal in MA. CT until repealed, but never MA. Only the benighted state of VA now, and I believe, the People's Democratic Paradise of DC.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •