Thursday, April 10, 2003

"I'd rather err on the side of civil rights," Werner said.

You'd think that was a prelude to a good story, but you'd be wrong.

"The councilman proposed an amendment that would of struck the following misdemeanors from the list, but it did not pass: obstructing government operations; resisting arrest; obstructing a peace officer; and interfering with an officer making an arrest... Still, Werner voted for the full ordinance, as did council Chairman Jonathan Cook. Cook at one point said he was "uncomfortable" with the 10-year time frame."

What's this about? The Lincoln, Nebraska city council passed a crime package that prohibits the carry or possession of guns by people who committed certain misdemeanors. There are about 20 misdemeanors that would disqualify someone from their Right if it occurred within the past ten years.
Some of them seem like they're appropriate. But they're misdemeanors. Felonies have typically been the standard for a revocation of Rights & personally I think that's going to far. But misdemeanors are less than felonies. They imply a less serious crime was committed & therefore less harmful intent on the part of the convicted.

This is a textbook example of what incrementalism can accomplish. You needn't outlaw guns, you just keep restricting the people who may possess them. By the time you're left with a perfectly clean criminal & traffic court record then 99.95% of the population would be ineligible to possess, own or buy arms.
Another key point: pass it in small towns to test it out before moving on to county, state or national levels.

For further reading may I suggest All the Way Down the Slippery Slope: Gun Control in England & Some Lessons for Civil Liberties in America by Joseph E. Olsen & David B. Kopel

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