Aftershocks, failed shell lead to weapons conviction against ex-Washington man

Replica bullets and a failed shotgun shell have resulted in a man being convicted of weapons charges in the nation’s capital, in a case that gun rights activists show how overzealous authorities are trampling on the Second Amendment.

On Friday, just two days after his conviction for attempted possession of illegal ammunition, Mark Witaschek attended a Washington, DC police station to register with the city’s armed offender registry. The act was part of a sentence imposed after Witaschek lost his two-year legal battle that began when police searched his home and found an inert shotgun cartridge, a worn cartridge case and a box of bullets mouth-loading.

“I am completely outraged by this,” Witaschek, who moved to Virginia after being arrested in the 2012 search, told the Washington Times. “This is just the continuation of the nightmare. Just to sit there. I couldn’t believe it. “

Witaschek was also fined $ 50, punishments he fought on principle.

“This case is yet another example of DC rampaging over the constitutional rights of citizens,” the National Association for Gun Rights said in a statement. “It’s no wonder someone with option and half a brain is fleeing DC for areas where self-defense is a virtue and not criminalized.”

The search followed a complaint from his estranged ex-wife. Evidence presented against Witaschek included a 12 caliber shell that did not fire while Witaschek hunted years ago, a worn Winchester shell casing, and a box of Knight caliber muzzleloads. 45 with plastic shoes. Muzzleloading bullets were intended for use only in antique firearms or replicas.

Witaschek is an avid hunter, but says he never kept his guns in Washington DC because he knows the city’s strict gun laws.

Witaschek’s attorney, Howard X. McEachern, has vowed to appeal the verdict.

“Obviously the judge thought it was overkill – the sentence reflects what he thought about the prosecution of this case,” he said when asked for his opinion on the verdict.

The judge never ruled on the shell of the shotgun itself, which was the basis of the prosecution case.

Witaschek’s treatment was in stark contrast to that given to NBC personality David Gregory, who aired a 30-round AR-15 magazine on a Meet the Press show. Merely owning such a prop is illegal in the city, but the same prosecutor’s office that indicted Witaschek never filed a complaint against the journalist.

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