Glenn Reynolds: How gun laws put the innocent on trial
Typically great stuff from Professor Glenn Reynolds (aka @Instapundit), published in his USA Today column:
Police are horrible, racist monsters who want to lock up minorities over even trivial violations of the law! And police are also the only ones who should have guns!
These two beliefs, it seems from my observations, are often held by the same people. Yet there is a conflict: If you favor strict gun control laws, laws that will punish people severely simply for possessing a gun or ammunition, then you will wind up throwing a lot more people in jail. And many of those people will be minorities.
Meanwhile, on the gun front, I think we need federal civil rights legislation to protect citizens who make innocent mistakes. Federal law already defines who is allowed to possess firearms. Under Congress’s civil rights powers (gun ownership and carrying, after all, are protected under the Second Amendment), I think we need federal legislation limiting the maximum penalty a state can assess for possessing or carrying a firearm on the part of someone allowed to own a gun under federal law to a $500 fine. That would let states regulate reasonably, without permitting this sort of injustice.
Want to reduce crime? Punish criminals. Don’t lock up peaceable citizens on a technicality.
To read the whole thing, click over to USA Today.