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.
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