Gun owners beware: DC man faces jail for having empty shotgun shell


Mark Witaschek / Photo credit:

A successful Washington, D.C. businessman with a spotless criminal record is preparing to go to trial for possessing a single, misfired and inoperable shotgun shell in his own home.

When Mark Witaschek isn’t working as a financial adviser, he enjoys hunting. Unfortunately for him, he also lives in a city with gun control laws so draconian, possessing an empty shell casing is punishable by one-year incarceration and a $1,000 fine, according to The Washington Times.

His firearms are kept at his sister’s house in Virginia. The shotgun shell he kept at home as a keepsake — something to remind him of an incident that occurred during a hunting trip.

A report made by a vindictive ex-wife that Witaschek kept firearms in his home led to two searches of his home. The first yielded live ammunition — a felony subject to the same two-year sentence as for possession of an illegal firearm. But it was conducted without a warrant and thrown out by the judge.

The Washington Metropolitan Police was smarter the second time out, and arrested him on the basis of the misfired shotgun shell and a pack of sabots — sleeves having no propellant that are wrapped over a projectile before it’s rammed into a muzzleloading gun.

Gun owners beware: Man pulled over, harassed for having permit but no gun

Several plea offers have been made by the prosecutor and rejected by Witaschek. He rightfully feels as though he’s done nothing wrong. So he and his lawyers are preparing for a costly trial — costly to him and costly to the taxpayers.

The Washington Times notes an equally outrageous set of circumstances connected to the case:

A year ago this month, the attorney general for the District of Columbia let NBC News anchor David Gregory off scot-free for possession of a “high capacity” magazine because doing so “would not promote public safety.”

Now, Irvin Nathan refuses to use that same prosecutorial discretion for an average citizen who violated a bizarre technicality that makes empty casings and shells a crime as serious as having an illegal firearm.

“Since the night my home was invaded and family terrorized by a militarized D.C. police force, I am more afraid of what government is doing than I am of any of the people I encountered when I spent the night in jail,” Witaschek told The Times. “The Second Amendment was meant to guarantee individuals the right to protect themselves against government — as much as against private bad guys and gangs.”

The problem with “gotcha” gun control laws like those in Washington, is that rather than focusing on the criminal, they’re designed to make criminals out of law abiding citizens like Witaschek. That’s not justice — it’s stupidity.


  • TheHutMaster

    Time to round up these idiots that have nothing better to do than harass citizens. This is absurd and this moron prosecutor should be fired.

    • matism

      And the “Law Enforcement” who arrested this man should be executed for their treason. And if the “Legal” system will not do it…

    • FreedomTrainUSA

      Or HUNG…

    • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

      Fired at.

  • matism

    When is it time for dead pigs? Every one of them swore an oath to the Constitution before they pinned on that badge. May they soon burn in hell for their treason.

    • FreedomTrainUSA

      Or ROT in Prison….

      • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

        Naaa rot in hell.

      • George Hilman

        In today’s political climate there is too much opportunity for clemency for the worst criminals in prison.

        • FreedomTrainUSA

          Then give them a Suspended Sentence….FROM THE END OF A ROPE…

  • J. C. Smith

    No normal American should live in DC, for any reason. Better to abandon it to the animals that live there.

    • FreedomTrainUSA

      Good descriiption of the Scum that calls the DC CESSPOOL HOME….Both the Real Residents of the Hell Hole and all the SCUMBAG POLITICIANS and other assorted part of the Federal Cesspool…

      • Ohyan2912

        I have an uncle who is a turret gunner on a beer truck, in DC but he doesn’t LIVE there.

    • MildBill

      DC is not nearly as bad as people are led to believe. . . My cousin is a tail gunner on a UPS truck there and says it’s perfectly safe !

      • allan

        He is so deep into his fantasy world
        it is a wonder that he can even breathe; Just another COMPREHENSIVE
        Even though I feel
        sad for his IGNORANE & STUPIDITY.; not much one can do for a SHEOPLE:;

      • simpleman

        my brother in law mans the swat team that escorts the ambulance.

    • dustybarton


    • James Keir Baughman

      Amen, brother!

  • Boots

    Let’s see… the government doesn’t have enough money for it’s welfare programs or to repair potholes or maybe even go after real criminals… so lets take what limited resources we have and waste them helping a vindictive ex wife get even with her ex husband. Why the businessman doesn’t move out of that hell hole is the real question. His local taxes are supporting this insanity.

    • Ohyan2912

      It the path of least resistance. Go after the law abiding, as a cop, and you’re less likely to get killed in the line of duty.

      • Boots

        I don’t believe this is a street level decision by the officers. This is political intimidation. They are too busy on calls for service and investigations (assuming of course they’re doing their jobs) to make this a priority… for a spent shell casing. This is a message sender by the management as a result of a bitter ex spouse using a compliant police force to get even with her ex. I know nothing of DC law but I hope he beats the rap because this is nothing but their way of making him ineligible to CCW in Virginia.

  • Junius Junius

    Serfs and Slaves deserve no better! A country reaps what it sows, for God will not be mocked!

  • FreedomTrainUSA

    All these laws are UnConstitutional….in violation of the Second Amendment…

    • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

      In violation of natural law.

  • Marbran

    He will most likely get off, as he should, but it is a very troubling and clear indicator of the wonton application of our laws, not only in DC but across the entire nation. Bieber has finally been arrested, for DUI and illegal drag racing, and I guarantee you he will get off with only probation and community service (maybe). If you are not rich or powerful or a celebrity, you will be targeted by our “protectors” because that’s how they earn their paychecks. Never forget that.

    • FreedomTrainUSA

      And look at all the Crimes that are commited by the ELETIST POLITICAN CLASS LAW BREAKERS…Starting with the BOY DICTATOR and his THUG REGIME…and Congress….Who SHOULD BE ARRESTED….that get off COMPLETELY….

  • RE Hafner

    Washington DC, the enclave of idiots with badges, inept politicians and home of the food stamp gang. Just take a look or listen to that moron DC has as a police chief and the problem will be obvious.

  • flatland

    What is really insane is that the people perpetuating this farce are the ones who ask us to believe “background checks” and “common sense” controls will not lead to a registry that will be used soon after it goes into effect to confiscate all firearms. i.e. NY and CA. Get them registered then start banning certain firearms and magazines. Use registrations and background checks to see who has what, then go get them. One new “ban” at a time. I believe ALL firearm records should go to a single repository in each state and only accessible by firearm serial number when that firearm is used in a crime. The records are SEALED against any other access. There should also be a federal law to prevent Federal, State and Local governments from suppressing 2nd Amendment rights by imposing draconian taxes and fees on the purchase of firearms and ammunition. Proposals have been floated to tax ammo in excess of several dollars a round. These are almost always promoted as the funds going to firearm education, law enforcement, victims funds etc. If you want education, then send a grant to the NRA. They are the pros in firearm education. Of course THAT will NEVER happen.

    • James Andrews

      Good post. I am constantly defending the NRA. I am amazed at hw uninformed the anti-gun zealots are when it comes the the NRA, and history in general!

      • Chkurpower

        James, as a fan of history, here is a little history for you to consider…
        Brief History of the NRA:
        The NRA was founded in 1871 by two Yankee Civil War veterans, including an ex-New York Times reporter, who felt that the Civil War dragged on because more urban northerners could not shoot as well as rural southerners. Its focus was not asserting individual gun rights as today, but a ready citizenry prepared by target shooting. For decades, the U.S. military gave surplus firarms to the NRA and sponsored shooting contests.
        In the 1920’s and 1930’s, the NRA’s leaders helped write and lobby FOR the first federal gun control laws.
        In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt, made gun control part of his ‘New Deal.’ The NRA helped him draft the first federal gun control laws: 1934’s National Firearms Act and 1938’s Gun Control Act.
        The Gun Control Act of 1968 (Legislation that had the approval from the NRA) reauthorized and deepened the FDR-era gun control laws. It added a minimum age for gun buyers, required guns to have serial numbers and expanded people barred from owning guns from felons to include the mentally ill and drug addicts.
        In 1975, the NRA created a new lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, under Harlon B. Carter, a former chief of the U.S. Border Patrol who shared the libertarian goal of expanding gun owners’ rights.
        In November 1976, the NRA’s Board of Directors FIRED Carter and 80 other employees associated with the libertarian view of the Second Amendment and those who had an implicit distrust for any government firearm regulation…
        The NRA was committed to gun-control laws for most of the 20th century—helping to WRITE most of the federal laws restricting gun use through the late 1970’s.
        My point here is to be distrustful of anyone claiming to represent your best interests, because only YOU know what your best interests are.
        ex scientia vera – from knowledge, truth

        • James Andrews

          Chkupower; good post. I know they are far from perfect. Believe me. And they are not the only pro-gun rights group out there. But they have also done some good, and I think we need them. I have nothing against common sense gun laws, but I feel that we already have them. Many are not properly enflrced whatsoever, and prosecution rates, at least in some states, have been utterly abysmal. Until the laws we have now, or more properly enforced, and the prosecutors get better at doing their jobs, then I cannoat give in to the idea of passing even more laws, especially when in reality they do almost nothing when it comes to keeping firearms out of the wrong hands.

    • MildBill

      Better NO registration of ANY gu-ns. . . I’ll take my chances with the criminal element as opposed to a 30:1 confrontation with “armored up” government thugs at 3 A.M. in the morning ! . . . . ANY / ALL registration can and will be used to locate and confiscate your fi-rear-ms. . . . . The criminals will not register theirs, so there is ONLY ONE REAL PURPOSE for registration and there IS NO OTHER REASON !

      • FreedomTrainUSA

        Just where in the Constituton and the Second Amendment….Does it give the Government the Right to Restrict Citizens Gun Rights…

      • flatland

        I don’t disagree but it is peeing in the wind to try to get the current laws lessened. I’d rather focus energy and $ where I have a chance to win.

    • Bandofotters

      I live in a state with no registry. I’m bragging.

  • teaman

    Here is an invitation to all you criminals out there, move to a communistic gun free state where you will be able to operate freely. You see, the cops in these states only go after law abiding citizens to harass them! Not to worry victims, your diligent police force has your back in about 30 minutes or much, much later! Of course, if you could freely poses your own gun, your state crime rate would drop significantly and you just might live a lot longer! But hay, what’s wrong with me, you idiots voted for your anti 2nd Amendment, anti constitutional freaks and gave those you put in charge unconditional power over you. So you love being a police state, enjoy while you can.
    Allow me to remind you what happens in a police state. Let’s look at Russia, the perfect example of a police state! When there is a hostage situation, let’s say, in a theater the elite Russian police force will just induce poison gas into the theater killing everyone…..including the hostages…..problem solved! Police force gets a pat on the back and families go to funerals! But as I say, hang with your perverted liberal dummycratic leaders and all will be well!

    • FreedomTrainUSA

      They can join all the ELETIST CRIMINALS who make up the Govenment…

    • ron thomasson

      I might add…In states that respect the 2nd Amendment, help is milliseconds away. In states that don’t, the coroner’s on duty around the clock…

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