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Twenty 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 below.

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 Colorado law.

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 handgun;"

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. 18-12-102.

"(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 felony."

Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon. C.R.S. 18-12-105.

"(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. 18-12-105.5.

"(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 public...high school."
(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. 18-12-108.5.

"(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 misdemeanor."
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 vehicle. 33-6-125.

"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."

Note: Most of the above statutes have exceptions, none of which applied to Harris and Klebold.

 

Federal Law, Gun Control Act

Possession of Firearms by Drug Users. 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3).

"(g) It shall be unlawful for any person--
(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 imprisonment.
(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 they made.

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 records.

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 separate violation.

Other Federal Laws

Explosives Law. 18 U.S.C. 842.

"(i) It shall be unlawful for any person--
(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 of 842(i).
(b) Up to one year for 842(j).

 

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