Washington, D.C. – This is what it looks like when a nation becomes totalitarian and begins to use its police powers to abuse its citizens.
When 30 militarized cops in ninja suits knocked on David Witaschek’s door in Georgetown, his 14-year-old daughter opened the door, and they streamed through it, assault weapons at the ready.
Outside, officers kept traffic at a standstill for many blocks surrounding the address.
An operation of the “Gun Recovery Unit,” it was not their first clam bake at the fashionable address.
The previous month, they had confiscated a box of .40 cal. handgun ammo, a cleaning kit, and an antique Colt revolver – even though D.C. law allows citizens the right to own antique weapons or replicas of them.
On July 7, 2012, at 8:20 p.m., the D.C. cops demonstrated to the world what it looks like when the state gets violent and gets stupid – the real reason that James Madison insisted on the Second Amendment in order to get the western states to ratify the Constitution.
They found the bathroom door locked. A 16-year-old son was taking a shower and refused to open the door. With a battering ram, they knocked the door off its hinges and dragged him, wet and naked, in handcuffs, where he sat crying with his sister on the townhouse’s first floor.
Upstairs, where he sat cuffed and guarded by armed officers alongside his girlfriend, Witaschek listened to his children cry, and watched helplessly while the cops “tossed” his home over the course of two hours.
Here’s what they found:
* one handgun holster
* one spent brass casing of .270 caliber ammunition
* one box of Knight bullets for muzzle-loading rifles
* one live round of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition
They charged him with illegal possession of ammunition because under the district’s strict laws, each component of a round is classified as ammunition, even though it has not yet been assembled as such – regardless of whether it was ever intended to be used as a component of firearm ammunition.
The .45 caliber copper-jacketed minie balls they classified as capable of being made into rim-fired ammunition and used in an in-line black powder muzzle-loading rifle – even though such a rifle is perfectly legal in the disrict.
When Witaschek’s day in court came last week, the judge at first claimed confusion as to how the projectiles and the sabots – small plastic skirts that help seal the bullet against the rifling of the barrel – could be fired without primers and powder.
After a lunch break, the judge returned in a different frame of mind and sentenced the financial adviser – who keeps his firearms at his sister’s home in Virginia – to pay a $50 fine and register for the District of Columbia’s “Gun Offender Program.”
Part of a new trend in which Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agents demand that merchants first make their customers submit to a firearms purchase background check, even though muzzle-loading black powder rifles and revolvers are not classified as firearms, the exacting nature of the operation spearheads a new effort to close a legal loophole through which offenders convicted of felonies and misdemeanor domestic violence offenses have been able to obtain weapons for hunting and self-defense.
Agents reason that unless a merchant can guarantee that such a weapon cannot be converted to a rimfire or center-fire firearm, it should be considered as one until it is proven that it is not capable of such a modification.