Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Guns and Butter

Asserting that the federal government had failed to curb gun trafficking, mayors from 15 cities gathered yesterday at Gracie Mansion and agreed to intensify efforts to combat illegal firearms.

How do you like this statement by Mssr. Bloomberg, who has made gun violence a signature issue of his second term, "When Congress does not take the lead on a major problem that affects the whole nation — whether it's global warming, welfare, immigration — it's up to the cities and states to do it."

This is more about limiting gun owner's rights, making them less available to all individuals, and tracking the movement of guns (and therefore individuals), than trying to limit gun-related crime (which is rather problematic in the statistics).

Here's more from the article:

They signed a six-point "statement of principles" that called for punishing gun possession "to the maximum extent of the law," prosecuting dealers who knowingly sell guns to criminals through so-called straw purchasers and opposing two bills before the House of Representatives that would restrict cities' access to gun-tracing data.

The statement also called for better technologies to detect illegal guns, coordinated legislative and litigation strategies and outreach to other cities.

The leaders pledged to meet again before the end of the year and to expand the number of mayors involved to at least 50. Several said they hoped the meetings would be the start of a national movement to draw attention to gun deaths, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, total 30,000 a year in the United States. Scholars believe that the vast majority of guns used in crimes in this country are acquired illegally.

So they are going to punish the purcasing and possession of guns, not the criminal acts of loss of life, liberty, or property. I guess this is the trend in activism -- extending the criminal spectrum.

Question: What is criminal about moving or owning guns? Why is it treated differently from other potentially dangerous goods/services. What about screwdrivers, pocket knives, and aerosol cans?

Read the whole article here.

This is touchy, especially among libertarians. If the goal of prosecution of crimes is to compensate the victim, what do we do about murder? By definition, the victim is dead, so there is no way to compensate him.

Take it to the extreme case. Should it be illegal to bring a nuclear bomb into the U.S. if you haven't hurt anyone? I get the feeling Chris would say no. But say you set it off and kill 5 million people. You can see the difficulty here, especially if it's a suicide bomber. No one left to compensate and no one to extract compensation from.

In general, what should we do when people possess (potentially) extremely harmful, yet not yet rights-violating weapons? I'm not sure.
You are right, that jerk Chris, would probably say something like that... I really hate that guy...
Yeah seriously, what a tool!
Common law didn't last long enough to teach us how to deal with "ambient" levels of risk.
However, if it is known that Chris owns an atomic bomb, and I live next door to him, the value of my property may go down. He is liable for stealing the value of my property by his actions. The more or less likely he is PERCEIVED to be willing to use the bomb further influences the value of my property. Therefore, we are all bound to behave in a manner that most acurately demonstrates the real "ambient" level of risk.
You are right though. I do say no.

If the only reason that we do not approve is because of the potentiality for criminal activity, then I object. By that standard, swords and guns should be prohibited. Knives and other projectiles should only be allowed with a license and no children should be able to use plastic utensils.

I do not like the precedent it creates. If I do not commit a crime, why am I considered a criminal?
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