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.

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130 thoughts on “Gun owners beware: DC man faces jail for having empty shotgun shell

  1. Joe says:

    Does anyone remember the Nazi Gestapo, this Government
    is getting very close to Hitler’s actions

  2. USPatriotUno says:

    Well what do you expect? The Gov. is run by a bunch of Idiots.

  3. Undecider says:

    Don’t have relationships with people who are anti-gun.

    1. Risk A Devil says:

      Good for you! It is quickly becoming a defying trait. Stick by your guns or we are lost — stand strong brother!

  4. Risk A Devil says:

    Wow — I wrote a really good explanation of all of this but they censored it — They might not allow it because that was pretty long — this is short so it may fall under their rules. Something seriously wrong here question it — under 164 K>

  5. muslimmustgo says:

    obamas communist tyranny has truly infested that “city”

  6. muslimmustgo says:

    These despots don’t have the guts to go after the native savages that perpetrate all of the illegal gun crimes! So they pick on law abiding citizens to hide their cowardice!

  7. tylerkent says:

    Embarrass them. Mail empty, fired, .22 brass to every member of Congress, and to every member of the DC city council. Attach a note explaining that they are now guilty of a felony. Call the police and tip them off to the names of the criminals. If you send them return receipt requested, you will have evidence that the crime was committed.

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