Friday, June 3, 2011

'Unintentional' Ammo Ban

I've talked before how stupidly worded some laws are in regards to 'Assault Weapons'. Including the infamous "Shoulder Thing That Goes Up". Other laws are just as badly worded. A town near me bans all 'toy' guns.

Via Illinois Carry comes another town, Forest Park, that takes broad wording even farther, unintentionally banning not just toy guns but ammunition as well:

No person shall sell, keep, expose for sale, loan, give away, be possessed of, or discharge anywhere in the village any toy pistol, toy gun, toy cannon, blank cartridge, fireworks, firecrackers, torpedoes, bombs, squibs, rockets, spin wheels, fire balloons, Roman candles, detonating canes, ammunition, or any substance or articles of an explosive nature designed or intended to be used as fireworks; provided, however, that the council may issue a permit for consumer fireworks displays and for pyrotechnic displays, as such terms are defined in the fireworks use act5 and the pyrotechnic distributor and operator licensing act6, as further designated hereinafter.
Apparently they didn't 'mean' to do that as the mayor stated it was legal boilerplate and they don't intend to ban ammo.

Still, that's the wording and all you need is a new mayor and an overzealous prosecutor/LEO and you've got another court-case that needs to go through the pipeline.

Wording is important in law. Not just 'intention'.

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Nicholas Dixon said...

"Spirit of the Law" is only used to prosecute people, and not for legal defense(I think).

Oakenheart said...

I HATE A-holes that won't let kids (both small and of the adult variety) have fireworks anyway.

Sigivald said...

I read that as banning ammunition only if it's "designed or intended to be used as fireworks".

So, never, unless you're planning to fire it off straight up to make a flash ... which is already illegal.

(In other words that entire list, up to and including "... of an explosive nature" is qualified by "designed or intended...".

The emphasized "or" should be, I think, read as separating off the final item in the list, not starting another category - that's common usage in legal writing.

So not only was it quite plausibly not intended to ban ammunition, I don't think it does so as a matter of law - outside, again, of ammunition possessed with the intent of using it as fireworks.)

Pyrotek85 said...

Wording is everything, and I've become exasperated in the past arguing with people who insist things like 'that's not what they really mean'. Well if it says it, that's what they'll be able to enforce, the writer's intent is worthless.

It's as if they have no concept of corruption or unintended consequences.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone think this wording was an accident?