As a young cop, I was taught to “stack charges.” That is, write arrest reports to include all possible and applicable crimes. For instance, if a rape arrest could include lesser burglary and vandalism charges they were to be included. The prosecutor would winnow through the whole thing and make the ultimate decision on charging crimes but they wanted the report to be broad enough to support any prosecutorial strategy. What all this means is many criminals who got arrested for one particular crime wound up being booked for three to six crimes. There is no shortage of statutory law. In California, there’s probably 50,000 violations in the state vehicle code, which means every driver is guilty of something every time they get behind the wheel. Yet people still needlessly die every day on California roadways. Law lessens crime when the citizen believes punishment is likely and the risk of such punishment is not worth the risk of getting caught. Decriminalizing marijuana, for instance, means every young derelict will gladly accept the occasional citation to appear in court for the freedom to smoke pot. A professional criminal may choose to commit a robbery without a gun for the sake of avoiding an enhanced sentence. But what about the human being who has decided that he wants to walk into a crowded location and murder people while they scream, cry, and beg for an ounce of mercy? Does that fellow care about the wrath of legislation? Laws at their best motivate the honest toward honesty and provide for the lawful force needed to stop the dishonest. But men have been killing each other since Cain and Abel, and every governmental body since long before the Babylonians have tried to legislate peace. The difference is in the old days people knew that crime could not be prevented but it could surely be punished, causing a righteous cultural change over generations. You will notice that crime has always existed but social restraint continues to disappear. In part it is because we now assume that it is the law’s responsibility to end crime and create decent human beings. Law never created a decent person. We need another law against guns like we need another excuse for taxation. Forcing the law-abiding to undergo greater restriction of civil rights does nothing to criminals. It never has.

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The Author
Al
Albert League is a former Marine and law enforcement firearm instructor who consults on a variety of security topics.
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