Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An issue of (gun) control

One of the contributors to Red Maryland scoffed today at City Councilman Jim Kraft's attempt to bring legislative powers to the Baltimore City Council to regulate guns.

"The faith of liberals in laws, no matter how sporadically or inefficiently enforced, never ceases to amaze," writes RM's streiff.

For his part, Kraft argued at Monday's council meeting, "Our colleagues in other parts of the state don't really understand the severity of the gun problem in Baltimore. We need to be able to pass our own laws."

streiff's argument:

1. The criminals in Baltimore who use firearms -- and there are many -- wouldn't be deterred by the prospect of breaking a law.

2. It has been "fairly well documented" that Baltimore juries are reluctant to convict accused felons. (Can any attorneys speak to this?)

The situation's definitely a bleak one, but Streiff seems to be of the opinion that there's nothing we can do to curb the illegal use of firearms in the city ("assuming for the sake of argument that criminals can be deterred at all").

Would a stricter gun control law have any effect on violent crime, and should the City Council be able to pass one?

Is there anything that can be done legislatively, or are outreach programs and community centers a better approach?

-JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor

15 comments:

Lynn Hoffman said...

Strict laws that are vigorously enforced have led to lower rates of gun violence in New York City.
Opponents of gun laws like to say that the laws don't work because criminals don't obey them, but I don't hear much call for the abolition of speed limits on the roads.In fact, laws exist because there's behavior that needs to be controlled for everyone's safety.

Don't let the gun lobby put more guns on the streets: their only concern is their own bank accounts.

Lynn Hoffman, author of bang BANG

streiff said...

I think you need to read my critique more closely.

What Mr. Kraft is proposing is a regime of civil forfeiture laws like those which, in my view, have made the war of drugs profitable for a lot of localities.

I think the present laws available to Baltimore, and to any other Maryland jurisdiction, are more than sufficient to deal with the use of a firearm while committing a crime. How Kraft's proposal is going to dissuade someone from leaving two loaded pistols on a trash can in an alley escapes me.

Peter said...

The reason "everyone" violates the speed limits is that they (usually) aren't ticketed unless they are going at least 10 mph over the posted limit. If the police were to strictly enforce speed limits then I suspect the number of speeders would go down.

I feel the same is true for gun laws. New laws don't help if they are not going to be enforced. Let us try to enforce the current laws and see if that makes a difference.

I live in Baltimore - just this morning a heard the "pop pop pop" of a shooting less that two blocks from my house. If guns were banned in Baltimore (to law abiding citizens) my only option to protect myself against an armed intruder would be to use a baseball bat. A legal bat vs. an illegal handgun - I wonder who would win that battle?

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