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I do not think it means what you think it means.

Ryan Horsley gives the ATF a lesson in the word “willful”

One Response to “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  1. Jim W Says:

    Willful is actually a legal term of art. It is the highest level of scienter in a crime.

    It means that you knew something was illegal (this must be proven) and you have to have done it intentionally (this must also be proven).

    The other levels of scienter are
    knowingly- you did something intentionally and the government doesn’t have to prove you knew it was illegal. Example, possessing a machine gun- the govt must prove you knew it was a machine gun.

    recklessly- you knew of a risk but you disregarded it. For example, the difference between a blameless fatality accident and vehicular manslaughter in many jurisidctions.

    negligently- you should have known of a risk but you didn’t bother to find out and address the risk.

    And finally, no scienter at all, what is known as strict liability. Machine gun possession used to be strict liability until the supreme court realized that it didn’t make any sense to send people to jail for 10 years who didn’t even realize their gun was a machine gun.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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