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PUNISHMENT SHOULD FIT THE CRIME


By Larry Pratt

October 19, 2005 
NewsWithViews.com

I have to admit that a Pennsylvania law has me stumped. I cannot for the life of me figure how the state offense of giving alcohol to a minor has anything to do with banning the offender from owning guns. [Click here for a .pdf of a state poster targeting hunters and shooters under the new law.]

If this were a New York City ordinance, I would not be surprised, even if I still failed to make the connection. At least in New York City, we have seen the rise of smoking Nazis banning everything but thinking about having a smoke (so far). It would be a logical growth of big brotherism in the Big Apple to beef up the booze police and hammer the hapless citizenry hard for giving a kid some communion wine.

But what were legislators in Pennsylvania thinking about when they passed this law? I know. Stupid question. Of course, they were not thinking! And likely, none of them even read the bill, the normal preparation for voting in any legislature.

This is a law that Sarah Brady can love. No doubt we will have to be on the watch for it in other states and in the U.S. Congress.

If giving alcohol to minors is such a major problem, why not do something for punishment that actually fits the crime? An example would be community service for juvenile alcohol rehabilitation programs and/or fines paid not to the government, but to such programs.

The vicious anti-self defense nature of this new Pennsylvania law makes as much sense as saying that the right to own a car is forever prohibited for giving a kid some alcohol. Or, why stop with cars? Why not ban houses? Or, maybe lifetime in prison? Or even capital punishment? Why stop with one unrelated penalty when the sky is the limit?

This law is evidence of a disturbing trend to find backdoor ways to gradually prohibit the entire population from owning guns. Not an obvious, "Guns are banned," mind you. Why confront the Second Amendment head-on when the judges, politicians and the media wink at such clever ways to disarm the public? Just pass a series of laws all predicated on the unsuitability of different people from owning guns. And when the whole patchwork of laws is finally sewn together -- voila! Nobody other than the government is worthy of owning guns! And, we'll still have the Second Amendment on the books!

We have seen restraining orders that are applied for no actual reason when couples divorce -- even though such unneeded, prophylactic restraining orders deprive people of their right to self-defense. We have seen an ex post facto law enacted by Congress which disarms a huge group of the population who committed minor "infractions" -- such as spanking a child, or shoving, or shouting at a family member. Now Pennsylvania has piled on. What fun!

We the people do have one handy option. We can fire the folks who voted for this monstrosity.

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Preferably during the next primary election which will take place in April of 2006 in Pennsylvania. Failing success there, the general election in November offers a second "shot" at the offenders. (I hope the use of the word "shot" in this context is not a crime!)

The election-day slogan should be: "Ban anti-gun politicians, not guns."

2005 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

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Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is:  gunowners.org. Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at: www.gunowners.org/radio.htm  

E-Mail: ldpratt@gunowners.org


 

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The election-day slogan should be: "Ban anti-gun politicians, not guns."