Just Say “No” to Bad, Immoral, and Unjust Laws by Saying “Yes” to Jury Duty

Protest against gun control in Colorado

On Monday the Colorado Senate passed five of the seven proposed gun bills and its expected that Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign them. Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) said in reference to HB 1224, the bill that would limit magazines to 15 rounds: “I will willfully and purposefully and civilly disobey this law.” I think it is safe to say that Sen. Brophy is not alone even though the penalties for breaking some of these laws include jail time and possibly losing any legal right to ever own a firearm again.

What to do now? Its over, right?

Well, obviously the people of Colorado can vote the tyrants out next time around. There’s also the ballot initiative process; there’s already a petition movement in place to undo HB 1224 by putting it to a vote in the next election if enough signatures can be collected in time (which I don’t think will be a problem). Beyond traditional legal remedies, so far 136 companies that sell and/or manufacture firearms, components, ammunition, or accessories have pledged that they will not sell their products to the police or any government entity that will enforce gun laws which, in their judgement, violates 2nd Amendment rights of the people.

All these efforts should be joined, applauded, and encouraged. Next time you want to buy a gun or accessory, you should buy from a company that is on the list and admonish those who haven’t made the pledge to close the “police loophole” to do so (and also, write a short letter of encouragement to those which have already taken this brave step).

Nullification by the states against overreach by the federal government is starting to gain some traction as some states are starting to pass laws that run contrary to federal law (i.e legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State as well as a few other state laws stating any new federal gun laws will not be enforced by state authorities). I’ve become a very big fan of this approach, but what can be done whenever the state in which one lives passes such laws?

Jury Nullification

There is one last line of defense, something each and everyone of us can do to stop these laws as individuals: jury nullification.

Jury duty is something that most people dread but for those who want to in some small way make a difference for the cause of liberty, serving on a jury can make a significant difference. There’s a little secret about jury service that more often than not is not included in jury “instructions” by the presiding judge: the ability as a juror to make a judgement about the very law itself.

Here’s a short video (below) from the Fully Informed Jury Association that explains this concept in greater detail.

Now that we have been informed about the concept of jury nullification, if someone like Sen. Brophy is hauled into court for violating one or more of these ridiculous laws and if one of us happens to be on the jury, you or I can vote “not guilty” and there isn’t a damn thing the court can do about it! Sen. Brophy will not spend 18 months in jail for having too many rounds in a clip because your verdict was that Sen. Brophy didn’t violate the law but the law violated Sen. Brophy’s natural right to bear arms.

Of course, gun control laws are but one subject we lovers of liberty can nullify. Here are just a few examples of laws in which I would nullify if any court was foolish enough to put me on the jury:

Charge: The defendant lied to the police during questioning but s/he was not under oath (in many, if not all jurisdictions this is a crime).

My Verdict: Not guilty!

Reasoning: The police and the prosecutor can lie to the accused with impunity; I would nullify this charge on general principle.

Charge: The defendant solicited sex from an undercover cop posing as a prostitute.

My Verdict: Not guilty!

Reasoning: This is a victimless crime and the police have better things to do than entice men to break unreasonable laws against prostitution. There should not be any laws against sex between consenting adults regardless of if money changed hands.

Charge: The police found a dimebag in the defendant’s car; the defendant was not driving under the influence.

My Verdict: Not guilty!

Reasoning: Its not the place of the government to tell an adult what s/he can put into his or her body.

These are just a few examples but to put this even more simply, if there is no victim, there is no crime.

Chances are, I would never survive the voir dire phase because a quick Google search would betray my true beliefs on this subject. There is a chance, however; that you might. I would like to encourage all of those who are upset with the recent gun legislation and all who are of like mind to do more to inform yourself about jury nullification and discuss this with your friends. And if you happen to get one of those dreaded jury summons in the mail, don’t try to find a way to get out of serving. Though this might be an inconvenience in your daily life, remember that this could be your best opportunity to make a difference for liberty. You are the last line of defense.

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