As Press Democrat reports, depressed Iraq war veteran Corporal Matthew Jensen called 911 for help. The police arrived and eventually took him to the Veteran’s Administration for treatment. However, the officers discovered a deactivated 1940’s-era SKS rifle on floor, which Matthew had taken from a dead Iraqi sniper and brought back as a gift for his father. The rifle’s firing pin and mechanism had been removed, rending it inoperable, however the California state prosecutor decided to charge Matthew with a felony violation of California’s “assault weapon” ban law:
This is an example of poor prosecutorial discretion. A veteran of the Iraq war may have his career in the Army, as well as any prospect of a civilian career, destroyed – for possessing a non-functional rifle which he captured in combat. Given the non functional nature of the weapon, the fact that Matthew intentionally made the weapon non-functional in an attempt to comply with the law, and the fact that he committed no crime, I find it unreasonable that he was charged with a felony. I say this as someone who has taken criminal law and criminal procedure in law school, and has worked with prosecutors who properly exercised their discretion to charge or not charge citizens with felonies. Hopefully these charges will be dropped, before Matthew becomes another victim of over zealous gun laws.