Letter: Laws don’t prevent crime; they enable punishment of the criminal - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Letters To The Editor

Letter: Laws don’t prevent crime; they enable punishment of the criminal

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Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2013 5:01 pm | Updated: 4:06 pm, Tue Aug 20, 2013.

I’d like to thank Bryan Brinkley (“Richardson’s arguments are absurd,” AFN May 3) for taking the time to respond to the “absurd” arguments in my many gun control articles.

Unfortunately, he ascribes to me a position I don’t hold. I don’t think I said there should be no laws in our society.

In my guest commentaries I’m specifically asking how the current gun control proposals will reduce gun violence.

These are the same proposals supported by Mr. Brinkley’s group, Arizona People Acting for a Safer Society, as reported by AFN on April 12: “AZPASS is calling for background checks, banning assault weapons as suggested by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, banning high capacity magazines and making ‘straw’ purchases of guns illegal.”

So, please make the case. Be specific. How do these proposals prevent murderers from getting a gun? How would they have prevented Newtown or Aurora? How would they prevent any of the shootings that happen every day?

Brinkley asserts that laws make us civilized. I submit that more laws make us less civilized. Rather than do what we know to be right, we do what we can legally get away with. We slaughter a million of the innocent unborn every year with legalized abortion and we don’t think twice about it. Adam Lanza slaughters 20 innocent school children in Newtown and it’s a national tragedy. Yet abortion is “civilized” because it’s legal?

Laws don’t make us civilized. Most of us don’t need laws against murder, theft, insider trading, speeding, and abortion. Most of us know what acceptable behavior is.

Laws establish the punishment for bad behavior. That punishment only deters bad behavior when it’s commensurate with the crime and when the law is actually enforced. HOWEVER, INDIVIDUALS ARE STILL FREE TO CHOOSE WHETHER TO OBEY THE LAW OR NOT. We as a society choose to enforce the laws or not. Laws don’t prevent crime; they enable punishment of the criminal.

Let me try to make a less absurd argument using one of Brinkley’s examples of my failed logic.

In 2009 there were 36,000 motor vehicle deaths: 10,500 of those were due to speeding, 70% of those involved speeds exceeding the posted limits of 40 mph and above.

Using pro-gun control thinking, if we enact more speed limit laws, that’ll solve the problem of speeding deaths. So let’s reduce the speed limit from 55 mph to 40 mph. And let’s put governors on all cars that limit their top speed to 40 mph, so we’re forced to slow down.

Or, we could increase the penalties and enforce the current law. Would speeding decrease if the penalty was to lose your license?

Which is more reasonable? A law that impacts all drivers and forces everyone to go 40 mph? Or increased penalties that get applied only to those who choose to speed?

Which is more likely to reduce murders? A ban on scary looking guns? Or an expedited execution for those who commit the crime?

Oops, my bad. Executions are not very “civilized.” Better ban the guns.

Bill Richardson

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