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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 68649 Find in a Library
Title: ENFORCEMENT PROBLEMS OF GUN CONTROL - A VICTIMLESS CRIMES ANALYSIS
Journal: CRIMINAL LAW BULLETIN  Volume:16  Issue:2  Dated:(MARCH-APRIL 1980)  Pages:131-149
Author(s): R G KESSLER
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 19
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE ANALYZES THE POSSIBLE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF NEW GUN CONTROL LAWS WITH RESPECT TO PROBLEMS OF ENFORCEMENT, BUREAUCRATIC ABUSE, CRIMINAL PROFITS, AND OTHER THREATS TO CIVIL LIBERTIES.
Abstract: INSIGHT INTO THE POSSIBLE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF GUN CONTROL CAN BE GAINED BY EXAMINING THE APPLICABILITY OF CRITICISMS OF VICTIMLESS CRIME LAWS TO GUN CONTROL LAWS. VICTIMLESS CRIME LAWS PROHIBIT CONSENSUAL TRANSACTIONS OR POSSESSION, AND THUS GUN CONTROL CRIMES ARE VICTIMLESS (COMPLAINTLESS). FURTHERMORE, SINCE THEY DEAL PRIMARILY WITH GOODS, GUN CONTROL LAWS ARE SIMILAR TO LIQUOR AND NARCOTICS OFFENSES. NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF VICTIMLESS CRIME BILLS FALL INTO SEVERAL CATEGORIES: EXCESSES IN ATTEMPTING TO ENFORCE THE LAWS; DISCRIMINATORY ENFORCEMENT AND POLICE CORRUPTION IN ENFORCING THE LAW; CRIMINAL PROFITS FROM ILLICIT GUN PRODUCTION AND SALES; BUREAUCRATIC ABUSES BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES; OVERLOADING OF COURTS AND CORRECTIONS; AND LOSS OF RESPECT FOR THE LAW. SPECIFIC DISADVANTAGES INVOLVE THE LACK OF A COMPLAINANT AND LOW PUBLIC VISIBILITY WHICH MAKES ENFORCEMENT DIFFICULTY AND CAUSES GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL IN MANY CASES TO RESORT TO EXCESSES SUCH AS ENTRAPMENT, UNCONSTITUTIONAL SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, AND OTHER TACTICS THAT THREATEN INDIVIDUAL SECURITY AND PRIVACY. SUCH EXCESSES ARE ESPECIALLY LIKELY WHEN AGENTS USE SURVEILLANCE, UNDERCOVER WORK, AND INFORMANTS--ALL OF WHICH ARE IMPLIED IN ENFORCING GUN CONTROL LAWS. THE LACT OF A COMPLAINANT ALSO FORCES THE POLICE TO SEARCH FOR ANY VIOLATIONS THEY CAN FIND AND OPENS THE DOOR FOR DISCRIMINATORY ENFORCEMENT BASED ON FACTORS LIKE RACE AND POLITICAL PERSUASION. WITH PROHIBITION OF GUNS WILL UNDOUBTEDLY SPROUT UP AN ILLEGAL FIREARMS BUSINESS AND RELATED ILLEGITIMATE BUSINESSES. FURTHERMORE, SPECIALIZED UNITS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ARE LIKELY TO BE ESTABLISHED TO TARGET THEIR ACTIVITIES AT GUN CONTROL ENFORCEMENT. HISTORICALLY, THESE SPECIAL UNITS OFTEN HAVE PROVEN TO BE AGGRESSIVE AND RELATIVELY AUTONOMOUS LOBBYING AND PROPAGANDA ORGANIZATIONS. FINALLY, THE EFFORT TO ENFORCE WILL DIVIDE AGENCY RESOURCES. OVERALL, THE ENACTMENT OF A LAW WITH SO MANY NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES WILL RESULT IN LACK OF RESPECT FOR LAW, AND MORE NOT LESS CRIME. RESEARCH IS NEEDED TO ANALYZE THE IMPACTS OF GUN CONTROL LAW. FOOTNOTES ARE GIVEN.
Index Term(s): Critiques; Gun Control; Victimless crimes
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68649

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