Giving felons guns

Robb over at Sharp as a Marble has a good post up about the stupidity of, well, a significant portion of this country’s gun laws. He focuses mainly on the ban on possession by convicted felons and the reliance on point-of-sale background checks.

One key point he makes – and that I and many other gun-bloggers have been saying for quite a while – is that if you can’t trust someone to be out in society with a firearm, they shouldn’t be out of jail in the first place.

Think about that for a minute. If really think that someone is going to be violent – regardless of whether it’s with a firearm or not – why are we letting them out of jail? Do we really believe that banning a violent person from possession of one type of weapon will keep them from being violent with any of the other weapons they are allowed to have? Or that someone willing to break the law to commit assault, murder, or rape will balk at breaking the law to obtain a firearm?

What we need to do is keep violent criminals in jail. We need to give them a sentence that actually reflects the crime they committed, and make them serve all or almost all of the whole sentence, not just a token portion. That by itself will create a significant reduction in the number of violent crimes in this country.

No laws will prevent all crime. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that there are people willing to steal in countries where the punishment for theft is cutting the thieves’ hands off. Strong and consistent punishment does, however, act as a deterrent for most would-be criminals. In addition, it keeps the real criminals off the streets and in a place where they can’t hurt the innocent. Robb puts it quite eloquently:

If you truly believe in laws that benefit the safety of the populace, you’d stop trying to hassle people in the legitimate exercise of a right and demand that judges and politicians do the hard work of keeping the violent portions of our society incarcerated and away from the people that they harm. You’d abandon the constant blaming of the tool and start holding the wielder responsible for his or her actions.

Doesn’t that make sense?

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