Friday, December 30, 2005

Gun Violence

Just an idea to address the increase in gun violence in urban areas. Some have suggested stiff mandatory minimum sentences for criminals who use a weapon in the commission of a crime. In my mind this is locking the barn after the horse has escaped. I don't think a lot of criminals plan their crimes a long time in advance - so I don't think there is a tremendous deterence in stiff sentences for firearms offenses. On the other hand, jailing a farmer or hunter for failing to register a rifle or shotgun doesn't really do much to either. Our current gun control regime seems to be focused on registering registering legal guns and punishing those who use guns in crimes. To me, these policies are the book ends, but there is a big gap between legal gun owners and criminals who use a weapon for criminal purposes - i.e. those (yet to be violent criminals) who carry an illegal firearm for "protection". These are the guns that are going to be used in violent crimes and the guns we need to get off the street. What we really want to do is to discourage criminals or would be criminals from packing a gun. How about if someone is caught transporting an illegal firearm in a car, you not only seize the gun, but you seize the car. The gang bangers might think twice if they stand to lose their ride over a $250 handgun. Just to avoid the prosecution of farmers and hunters, the confiscation of vehicles should be discretionary.

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