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Sean Penn owning guns after domestic violence plea raises legal questions

At the request of actress girlfriend Charlize Theron, actor Sean Penn is getting rid of 65 guns, Fox 411 reported Tuesday. The guns will be melted down into a sculpture to be made by “artist” Jeff Koons, the report advises.

Is anti-gun Charlize hooking up with someone who should be a prohibited person?
Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Theron’s aversion to guns results from a terrible personal tragedy, her mother killing her father.* That’s an unimaginable horror to most of us, and it’s a natural reaction to be sympathetic. Respect for freedom requires we accept that personally living “gun free” is her choice and her right. Even so, her high profile makes it fair to point out those convictions haven’t stopped her from wielding firearms for glamor, excitement and profit in her movies, such as 2005’s “Aeon Flux” (see embedded video, above). And when the day’s filming is done, like many elites, Theron can afford to rely on the best bodyguards money can rent, something those of lesser means considering making a similar personal choice might want to keep in mind.

Penn is another story altogether. Aside from the fact that, as a zealous “progressive” he has supported outright communist tyrants (which should hardly be a surprise coming from someone who advocates conservatives being committed to mental institutions by executive order), this is a guy who obtained an almost-impossible-to-get (for “ordinary people”) concealed carry permit -- resulting in his allowing more weapons to be “put on the streets” in gun-hating in Berkeley, of all places. And while government enforcers in New Orleans were busy neutralizing the dreaded Konie menace in her own home, Penn was reportedly free to walk the streets open-carrying a shotgun.

What Penn is even doing with guns in the first place is a mystery, if the reports are true that when partnered with Madonna, he tied her to a chair and beat her up with a baseball bat.

The Lautenberg amendment prohibition on gun ownership applies to those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, and according to the New York Daily News, “Penn was also charged with felony domestic assault during his marriage to Madonna. He pleaded to a misdemeanor.”

Was that report in a major metropolitan newspaper accurate, and if so, is Penn a prohibited person, or have his legally-recognized gun rights been restored? How? Those would seem to be fair questions to explore.

It also makes it fair to ask if Piers Morgan, who bid $1.3 million for the proposed Penn gun sculpture, supports enforcing Lautenberg against all who are caught up in its net, which would demand prosecution of Penn if the law has been broken -- for each occurrence. And it removes all pretenses that winning $1.4 million bidder Anderson Cooper might make about being objective when “reporting” on the gun issue.

Knowing that California has been rated as the top state by the Brady Campaign for its gun laws, how Penn was able to pass the background checks to amass and keep a collection of 65 guns and also maintain a concealed carry permit is worth understanding, particularly to see if there’s anything that those who aren’t comparably privileged could also do to protect their rights. And how he can lawfully transfer his guns to artist Koons’ studio in New York City, with its own set of requirements and permits and prohibitions, is also something worth learning. But the logistics of that aside, how Penn is able to participate in any of this without incriminating himself is unclear.

That will be interesting to try to find out, not that any “Authorized Journalists” will, and certainly not Morgan or Cooper. But, per Penn, it’s going to happen.

“Koons will decommission [and] render inactive all of my cowardly killing machines,” he pledged.

Whether that means he thinks guns themselves are cowardly -- or just gun owners who are conservative and ought to be committed to institutions by executive order -- remains unclear. Still, it’s telling that a man who reportedly beat up a woman would inject that element into the discussion.

Not that Penn has to worry about his own safety, even without guns, when all he needs do when he wants armed protection after a night on the town is pick up the phone and order a police escort.

* Article corrected -- initially said "father killed mother." While it was ruled self-defense, the link shows not all in the family accept that version of the incident.


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When your turn to be tested comes, how will you fare? Wouldn’t it be better to stop the antis before they get that far? How can we, if most gun owners let a relative handful of activists do all the work? The latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "The Unconstitutional State."

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