|EX POST FACTO
Latin, “After-the-fact” laws. Laws that provide for the infliction of punishment upon a person for some prior act that, at the time it was committed, was not illegal.
Ex post facto laws retroactively change the rules of evidence in a criminal case, retroactively alter the definition of a crime, retroactively increase the punishment for a criminal act, or punish conduct that was legal when committed. They are prohibited by Article I, Section 10, Clause 1, of the U.S. Constitution. An ex post facto law is considered a hallmark of tyranny because it deprives people of a sense of what behavior will or will not be punished and allows for random punishment at the whim of those in power.
The prohibition of ex post facto laws was an imperative in colonial America. The Framers of the Constitution understood the importance of such a prohibition, considering the historical tendency of government leaders to abuse power. As Alexander Hamilton observed, “[I]t is easy for men … to be zealous advocates for the rights of the citizens when they are invaded by others, and as soon as they have it in their power, to become the invaders themselves.
In light of this constitutional protection created for all Americans, consider the following story:
Democrats in Missouri introduced startling anti-gun legislation that would require gun owners to hand over their legally purchased so-called “assault weapons” to “the appropriate law enforcement agency for destruction” within 90 days.
Under the proposed bill, “Any person who, prior to the effective date of this law, was legally in possession of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine shall have ninety days from such effective date to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution.”
Here are some additional provisions found in the gun control bill:
(1) Remove the assault weapon or large capacity magazine from the state of Missouri;
(2) Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable; or
(3) Surrender the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to the appropriate law enforcement agency for destruction, subject to specific agency regulations.
5. Unlawful manufacture, import, possession, purchase, sale, or transfer of an assault weapon or a large capacity magazine is a class C felony.
So essentially the law would turn a law-abiding gun owner today, into a felon tomorrow.
State Reps. Rory Ellinger (D-86) and Jill Schupp (D-88) reportedly introduced the anti-gun legislation, House Bill 545, this week.
Gun confiscation is being talked about more and more by lawmakers as a means to get so-called “assault weapons,” which are really semi-automatic rifles, off the streets. Democrats in California last week also proposed legislation that called for the potential confiscation of the state’s 166,000 legally purchased semi-automatic rifles.
California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) defended the massive gun control package, saying “we can save lives.”