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NCJ Number: 156896 Find in a Library
Title: 26 U.S.C. Sec. 5861 (d) Requires Mens Rea as to the Physical Characteristics of the Weapon
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:85  Issue:4  Dated:(Spring 1995)  Pages:1136-1160
Author(s): M T Lefevour
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 25
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In Staples v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that 26 U.S.C. Sec. 5861 (d) requires mens rea, i.e., the government was required to prove that the petitioner was aware of the physical characteristics of the gun he carried.
Abstract: This author argues that the Court should have held that the petitioner was guilty of violating Sec. 5861 (d) because he was reckless as to the fact that his weapon was a statutory firearm. While the Court concluded that Sec. 5861 (d) requires only one mens rea, in fact, the section requires three separate and distinct mens rea, one for each objective element of Sec. 5861 (d). The required mens rea as to the physical characteristics of a weapon that make it a statutory firearm is actually lower than the mens rea established by the Court. While the author agrees with the Court's definition of what items should alert a gun owner to the possibility of strict regulation, he disagrees with how the Court applied its definition to this particular case, since the weapon had been visibly altered and visibly altered weapons have not enjoyed a tradition of legality in the U.S. 246 notes
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Criminal intent; Criminology; Firearms; US Supreme Court decisions
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