Potential Weapons Control Law Violations by
Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and Others
Murderers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold appear
to have violated numerous federal and state weapons control laws, as detailed
This list differs substantially from a list of
weapons law violations which was compiled by the National Rifle Association;
while the NRA list includes various crimes which were committed during the
course of the murders (e.g., discharge of a firearm on school property), this
list includes only offenses which were completed before Harris and Klebold began
their murder spree.
It appears that Harris and Klebold violated at
least 17 different state and federal weapons control laws. Mark E. Manes, the
man who allegedly sold the handgun to Harris and Klebold, may have violated at
least one federal and one state law. If Harris or Klebold's parents knew of
their juvenile's handgun possession, the parents would be in violation of one
Because Harris and Klebold killed themselves,
it is not at this point clear which of them violated the particular laws below.
But it is clearly that before Harris and Klebold committed a single violent act,
they had already violated enough state and federal weapons control laws to be
sent to prison for the rest of their lives.
Below are the state and federal laws these two
murderers and their accomplices violated:
State of Colorado Laws
Instant Check System. Unlawful Acts and
Penalties. Colorado Revised Statutes. 12-26.5-105.
"(1) It is unlawful for:..
(c) Any person to knowingly acquire a handgun for a person who is prohibited
by local, state, or federal law from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a
Terrorist Training. 18-9-120.
"(1) As used in this section, unless the
context otherwise requires:
(a) 'Civil disorder means any planned public disturbance involving acts of
violence by an assemblage of two or more persons that causes an immediate
danger of, or results in, damage or injury to property or to another person.
(b) 'Explosive or incendiary device' means:...
(II) Any explosive bomb, grenade, missile, or similar device;
(III) Any incendiary bomb or grenade, fire bomb, or similar device, including
any device which:
(A) Consists of or includes a breakable receptacle containing a flammable
liquid or compound and a wick composed of any material which, when ignited, is
capable of igniting such flammable liquid or compound; and
(B) Can be carried or thrown by one person acting alone.
(c) 'Firearm' means any weapon which is designed to expel or may readily be
converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame
or receiver of any such weapon....
(2) Any person who teaches or demonstrates to any person the use, application,
or making of any firearm, explosive or incendiary device, or technique capable
of causing injury or death to any person and who knows that the same will be
unlawfully used in furtherance of a civil disorder and any person who
assembles with one or more other persons for the purpose of training or
practicing with, or being instructed in the use of, any firearm, explosive or
incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to any
person with the intent to unlawfully use the same in furtherance of a civil
disorder commits a class 5 felony."
Possessing a Dangerous or Illegal Weapon.
"(1) As used in this section, the term
'dangerous weapons' means a...short shotgun...
(3) A person who knowingly possesses a dangerous weapon commits a class 5
Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon. C.R.S.
"(1) A person commits a class 2
misdemeanor if such person knowingly and unlawfully:
(b) Carries a firearm concealed about his or her person."
Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon--Unlawful
Possession of a Weapon--School, College, or University Grounds. C.R.S.
"(1) A person commits a class 2
misdemeanor if such person knowingly and unlawfully and without legal
authority carries, brings, or has in such person's possession a deadly
weapon...in or on the real estate and all improvements erected thereon of any
(2). Requires a sentence of 12 to 24 months, as opposed to the normal class 2
misdemeanor sentence of up 12 months.
Possession of handguns by juveniles. C.R.S.
"(1)(a) Except as provided by this
section, it is unlawful for any person who has not attained the age of 18
years knowingly to have any handgun in such person's possession."
"(c)(1). Illegal possession of a weapon by a juvenile is a class 2
Note: The May 5 issue Denver Post reports that 22 year old Mark E.
Manes sold the handgun to Harris and Klebold in Feb. 1999, when both Harris
and Klebold were 17. The Post also reports that Manes has a long
record of driving offense and underage drinking violations. According to the Post,
Manes' mother is a long-time Handgun Control, Inc., activist, who always
taught Manes about the "evilness" of handguns.
Unlawfully Providing or Permitting a Juvenile
to Possess a Handgun. C.R.S. 18-12-108.7.
"(1)(a) Any person who intentionally,
knowingly, or recklessly provides a handgun with or without remuneration to
any person under the age of 18...or any parent or legal guardian of a person
under eighteen years of age who knows of such juvenile's conduct which
violates section 18-12-108.5 and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent
such violation commits the crime of unlawfully providing or permitting a
juvenile to possess a handgun."
(b) Class 4 felony.
(2)(a) and (b). If the parent "is aware of a substantial risk that such
juvenile will use a handgun to commit a felony offense," the parent's
crime is a class 4 felony.
Possession, Use, or Removal of Explosives or
Incendiary Devices. C.R.S. 18-12-109.
"(2) Any person who knowingly possesses
or controls an explosive device commits a class 4 felony."
Possession of a loaded firearm in a motor
"It is unlawful for any person, except a
person authorized by law or by the division, to possess or have under his
control any firearm, other than a pistol or revolver, in or on any motor
vehicle unless the chamber of such firearm is unloaded."
Most of the above statutes have exceptions, none of which applied to Harris and
Federal Law, Gun Control Act
Possession of Firearms by Drug Users. 18 U.S.C.
"(g) It shall be unlawful for any
(3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance...
to...possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to
receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in
interstate or foreign commerce."
Gun Free School Zones Act. 18 U.S.C. 922(q).
"(2)(a) It shall be unlawful for any
individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual
knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone."
Sale of Handgun to a Minor. Possession of
Handgun by a Minor. 18 U.S.C. 922(x).
"(x)(1) It shall be unlawful for a
person to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer to a person who the transferor
knows or has reasonable cause to believe is a juvenile--
(A) a handgun;...
(2) It shall be unlawful for any person who
is a juvenile to knowingly possess--
(A) a handgun;..."
Penalties for above offenses. 18 U.S.C. 924.
(a)(2). Violation of 922(g) is up to 10 years
(4). Violation of 922(q) is up to 5 years imprisonment, which must be
consecutive to any other sentence.
(6). Violation of 922(x) is up to one year imprisonment. Up to 10 years if the
transferor know or had reasonable cause to know that the juvenile intended to
use the handgun in a crime of violence.
Federal Law, National Firearms Act
The federal Gun Control Act covers rifles,
shotguns, and handguns, and was enacted in 1968 (and has since been greatly
amended). The National Firearms Act (NFA) was enacted in 1934, and covers a
smaller category of weapons. For NFA purposes only, a "firearm" is
defined to include sawed-off shotguns, and "destructive devices." 26
U.S.C. 5845(a)(1) and (8). "Destructive devices" include "any
explosive...bomb...or similar device." 26 U.S.C. 5845(f)(1). With that
definition in mind, here are the NFA violations committed by Harris and Klebold:
Making Tax. 26 U.S.C. 5821.
Requires a $200 tax for the construction each
NFA "firearm." The two sawed-off shotguns were made into NFA
"firearms" when Harris or Klebold sawed off the barrel to less than
18 inches. Harris and Klebold also failed to pay the $200 tax for each bomb
Making. 26 U.S.C. 5822.
Prohibits making any NFA firearm unless the
maker has registered with the Secretary of the Treasury, and identified in
advance the firearm that will be made.
Registration. 26 U.S.C. 5841(c).
Requires manufacturers of NFA
"firearms" (the sawed-off shotguns, and the bombs) to register each
firearm with the Secretary of the Treasury.
Identification. 26 U.S.C. 5842.
Requires that every maker (Harris and Klebold)
of NFA firearms place serial numbers on them.
Record and Returns. 26 U.S.C. 5843.
Requires manufacturers to keep certain
Prohibited Acts. 26 U.S. 5861.
"It shall be unlawful for any person--
(f) to make a firearm in violation of the provisions of this chapter."
Each violation of the above laws is punishable
by up to 10 years in prison. Each sawed-off shotgun and each bomb constitutes a
Other Federal Laws
Explosives Law. 18 U.S.C. 842.
"(i) It shall be unlawful for any
(2) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance....
(4)....to...possess any explosive which has been shipped or transported in
interstate or foreign commerce."
"(j) It shall be unlawful for any person
to store any explosive material in a manner not in conformity with regulations
promulgated by the Secretary [of the Treasury]."
Explosives Law penalties. 18 U.S.C. 844.
(a) Up to ten year prison term for violation
(b) Up to one year for 842(j).