A fan site for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game by Margaret Weis Productions
A WHAT-IF? SCENARIO
BY JAYSON JOLIN
The provisions of the Superhuman Registration Act were on their face unconstitutional violations of the civil rights of metahumans. However, that does not mean that the regulation of those possessing superhuman abilities cannot occur without violating metahuman civil rights. If treated as a law regulating activity and use of enhanced abilities rather than as a de-facto enslavement of metahumans to the government, such a law could function well and only minimally impact the metahuman community.
THE METAHUMAN RESPONSE ACT
The Metahuman Response Act is an alternative act proposed by Matt Murdock and Jennifer Walters after the Superhuman Registration Act is proposed by Congress. It attempts to regulate reckless behavior by any citizen, metahuman or no, in activities normally pursued by law enforcement. It also indicates the legal and illegal use of metahuman powers, high-powered equipment, or other similar abilities. Finally, it indicates the penalties that violators will incur for various illegal uses of their abilities.
So basically, anyone may continue to defend themselves from aggressive action, with or without powers or super-gadgets. Anyone may stop a crime in process so long as they use non-lethal force and do not recklessly endanger innocent bystanders.
However, only those deputized or licensed by the government may actively go looking for criminals. This means that even private detectives must receive a license to engage in their trade (and actively renew it after a period set by the licensing agency).
Yes, metahumans must register their powers and receive training to use them safely in non-combat situations, in the same way that gun owners must register their weapons and receive training in their use. This passes muster because metahuman powers, by law, are considered to reside apart from “the essential nature of the human condition,” as evidenced by the fact that superhuman abilities can be jammed, transferred, or bestowed in ways that “natural” human abilities cannot.
Finally, if a citizen can prove that his life or freedom would come under significant threat if his metahuman abilities became known, he can register them under a secondary legal identity. However, if he does anything illegal (he is arrested and found guilty under one identity), all of his identities will be made public. Note that the person must be found guilty of the crime for this to occur.
The MRA achieves the goals of keeping untrained kids from endangering the public, of making vigilantism clearly illegal, and of providing a legal means for those with metahuman abilities to live their lives without civil rights violations and still being able to operate as heroes if they so choose.
NOTE: This is just one possible alternative to the Superhuman Registration Act. You or your players may come up with more detailed or varied variants. Just remember; the point is to preserve civil rights for all involved, both human and metahuman. This is the only way the heroes can hope to avert the civil war and ensure liberty and justice for all.
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