Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alabama House Bill 528 - Explosive Devices, WMD, etc...

This bill is in the Judiciary Committee and is pending committee action in the House of origin. From the ALISON Database you expand the Bills drop down, then expand the Search drop down and then select Keyword and enter HB528 (no spaces between HB and 528). From the synopsis, House Bill 528 goes as follows...

Under existing law, a person commits the crime of criminal possession of explosives if he or she possesses, manufactures, buys, sells, or transports any explosive and intends for the explosive to be used in the commission of a crime involving violence to another person or destruction of property. Criminal possession of explosives is a Class C felony.
This bill would repeal this provision.
This bill would prohibit explosives and explosive devices, bacteriological and biological weapons, and would provide for fines and penalties for the unlawful manufacturing, transporting, distributing, possessing with intent to distribute, and offering to distribute a destructive device, hoax device, or bacteriological or biological weapon; would provide for forfeiture and seizure of raw materials used in explosives and explosive devices, real property, money, negotiable instruments, books, records, research products and materials, and conveyances used in furtherance of a violation of this act; and would provide for definitions.
Under existing law, a person commits the crime of falsely reporting an incident if he or she knowingly circulates a false report or warning or an alleged occurrence or impending occurrence of a fire, explosion, crime, catastrophe, or emergency which may cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or transportation facility, or cause public inconvenience or alarm. Falsely reporting an incident is a Class C felony.
This bill would include the false reporting of an alleged release or the impending release of a hazardous or dangerous substance, including, but not limited to, chemical, biological or any type of nerve agents. This bill would also alter the penalties upon conviction if the offense involved educational facilities.

This bill has been introduced by Representative Alan C. Boothe (D) representing Dale & Pike counties. Listed as co-sponsors are Spencer Collier (R) - Mobile county, Mike Ball (R) - Madison county, Allen Treadaway (R) - Jefferson county, William E. Thigpen, Sr. (D) - Fayette, Lamar & Tuscaloosa counties, Mac McCutcheon (R) - Limestone & Madison counties.

This, on its face, is good and solid legislation... all the way until it gets to felony charges for hoax devices or replicas. That is simply idiotic. So, this means that if you have one of those "complaint department hand grenade" paper weights, you are committing a felony.

At least they are expressly stating that ammunition does not count as an explosive device meant to do harm. Oh joy, I can hardly wait until someone with a juris doctorate decides to try that one on for size.

This thing either needs to be severely modified or, better yet, just go away.

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