Law Observance: Shall the People of the United States Uphold the Constitution?

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

BACK COMPETENT AGENTS

A. W. McDaniel, Prohibition Agent Laurel, Mississippi

PRIOR to the addition of the 18th Amendment we had to deal with illicit distilling, transporting, selling and failing to pay government taxes as required.

To take care of this situation the internal revenue statutes were made the law and practically all violations of these were made a felony.

Under these it was a felony to manufacture illicit liquor, to transport liquor on which taxes had not been paid, to possess liquor on which taxes had not been paid and to sell liquor on which taxes had not been paid. On appeal cases since the passage of the 18th Amendment the Supreme Court has held the internal revenue statutes are still in force.

When the Constitution of the United States, the highest and supreme law of the land, was amended to prohibit liquor, and the law must needs be strengthened rather than weakened, what happened?


Volstead Act Helps Bootleggers

The Volstead Act was passed, undoubtedly an act fostered by the wets to protect the moonshiner, rum-runner and bootlegger. Laws already needing to be strengthened were weakened. Felonies were made misdemeanors.

Under this Acta moonshiner can make one quart or 1000 gallons of liquor and receive only a fine and jail sentence. He can transport any quantity of liquor without affecting the penalty. He can sell in any quantity without affecting the penalty.

Under the internal revenue statutes all vehicles used in the transportation of liquor were to be confiscated. The Volstead Act fixed it so that they could be released. This was done apparently to protect the innocent lien holder, but

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