I have to strongly recommend, as odd as it might sound, this post over at Free Range Kids for some interesting reading on the way one mother believes many Americans view the use of laws, specifically registry laws. The post has nothing to say about guns or gun laws, but I think it’s very insightful and applies to many of the ways that anti-gun advocates view gun laws, even when they know they won’t work to reduce crime. Here is a sample, but you should go read the whole thing:
I think what we’re really seeing here is just our country’s punitive mindset. It’s like we cannot imagine any way to express to somebody that we don’t like what they are doing except for calling it “abuse” and putting them on a registry. …
The point of laws should be public safety, not public humiliation, but more and more of our laws and moving in the direction of seeming to be more about shaming and humiliating and branding people who made decisions we don’t like rather than actually protecting the public from truly dangerous people.
I think the Connecticut gun owner registration picture we saw is a great example of how this works in our issue. Law enforcement officers know that the person who is going to use a firearm to rob or murder a person isn’t going to register it. They also know that they are unlikely to catch them with the unregistered firearm before (or during) the crime. But, this kind of perp line is designed to shame the gun owners who are not dangerous and pose no threat to society. Even better for the anti-gun advocate is the fact that creating such a scene makes it easier for them to judge and try to shame the non-threats over the simple fact that they disagree with the decision these men and women made to own guns in the first place.
If the oppressive laws keep you from buying more guns or send you packing out of the state, well, that’s just even better from their point of view. Now they can try and shame you without actually facing the consequences of such a decision or having people challenge them to what it means.
As I said, the letter at Free Range Kids has nothing to do with gun laws, but I think it does accurately represents the way that many voters now think about how they would like the force of law to work. The letter published there does a great job of highlighting ways that the slippery slope of this way of thinking could end up making you a criminal on a public humiliation registry for just about every common decision that someone somewhere might not like.