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Crime Control Through Legislation  A common legislative response to certain social problems is to ban it  We have banned ◦ Certain guns and gun-related.

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Presentation on theme: "Crime Control Through Legislation  A common legislative response to certain social problems is to ban it  We have banned ◦ Certain guns and gun-related."— Presentation transcript:


2 Crime Control Through Legislation

3  A common legislative response to certain social problems is to ban it  We have banned ◦ Certain guns and gun-related products ◦ Various types of drugs

4  Crash course in basic economics ◦ Where there is a demand, there will be a supply  Who cares? ◦ As long as demand is not targeted, efforts to restrict supply won’t succeed

5  Efforts have been made to ban gambling, in response to ◦ 19 th -century lottery corruption ◦ Organized crime ◦ Police corruption  Did it work? ◦ No!  Almost all states have banned prostitution  Has prostitution gone away? ◦ Of course not  Commonalities ◦ When social ills such as these are criminalized, they are not consistently prioritized by the justice system (i.e., inadequate and partial enforcement)

6  Prohibition is cited most frequently in support of critics’ arguments that banning products/substances doesn’t work ◦ Modest reduction in alcohol consumption ◦ Black market ◦ Instead of solving the problems of criminality, through this amendment crime and corruption arose in America

7  We are a gun-toting society ◦ Approximately 200 million guns in circulation  Two types of gun bans stand out ◦ Federal legislation  Gun Control Act of 1968  1994 Violent Crime Control Act ◦ Citywide gun bans  Has federal legislation worked? ◦ Many say no, partly because the guns it targets are rarely used in crimes (ex assault weapons ban)  What about citywide bans? ◦ Little research is available ◦ Research that is available is not conclusive

8  McDonald v. City of Chicago- the end of gun prohibition as an idea. The simple, undeniable truth is that gun control does not work.  Strict gun-control policies have failed to deliver on their essential promise: that denying law- abiding citizens access to the means of self- defense will somehow make them safer. This should come as no surprise, since gun control has always been about control, not guns.  Why bans enacted: fear of government of their own people?

9  America has taken a “supply-side” approach to drugs  This consists of ◦ Interdiction ◦ Eradication  Do drug bans work? No! ◦ Black markets ◦ Adverse effects on inner city communities  Disproportionate number of minorities going to prison  Violence tied to drug selling  Reduction in number of positive adult male role models ◦ Corrupting influence on law enforcement ◦ Public health consequences  Potency of drugs  Costs of treating addicts and responding to drug-related violence and death

10  Gun control includes ◦ Altering gun designs ◦ Regulating gun transactions ◦ Denying gun ownership to dangerous persons ◦ Buybacks ◦ Limiting the “right to carry”

11  Gun manufacturers have been encouraged to improve gun designs, such as by ◦ Including indicators as to whether a weapon is loaded ◦ Installing trigger locks ◦ Incorporating personalized gun technology  Effect on crime? ◦ Probably none because  Improved gun designs are mostly intended to reduce accidental shootings  Firearms are exempt from regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

12  People who can’t buy guns, according to the Gun Control Act of 1968, include ◦ Minors ◦ Adults under indictment or who have been convicted of a felony ◦ People convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence ◦ Illegal aliens ◦ People confined because of mental disorders ◦ Others  If we regulate gun transactions, will gun violence decline? ◦ Probably not, because  The secondary market is pervasive  ATF is understaffed and can’t possibly inspect all licensed firearms dealerships frequently enough

13  The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (1994) was responsible for background checks ◦ Effectively created a waiting period  Did Brady work? ◦ Prohibited thousands of people from buying guns ◦ Effects on crime unclear, according to a number of studies  Why was Brady not a resounding success? ◦ Not all states were bound by it ◦ Act was short-lived (expired in 1998)

14  Some states have experimented with gun buy-back programs  Do buy-backs affect crime? ◦ Studies seem to say no  Why? ◦ Short-lived ◦ Can always buy more guns ◦ Token reward for turning in a gun ◦ Buy-back participants are at a low risk of offending

15  Article referred to buy back as “political theater and “make great TV and give the impression that politicians and police chiefs are putting a dent in the supply of dangerous firearms.”  The guns that tend to be surrendered are very seldom the ones used by criminals. Turned in by older people who would rather have a $100 gift certificate to buy groceries.  n/ed-buybacks12

16  Some states allow people to carry concealed weapons  John Lott’s book, More Guns, Less Crime, makes a case for universal concealed weapons laws  Lott showed deterrent effect in “shall issue” states  Others have severely criticized Lott’s research ◦ Some studies show increases in crime in right-to-carry states!

17  Sex offenders are among the most persistent offenders  Two popular approaches have been used to address crimes committed by sex offenders ◦ Megan’s law  Requires registration ◦ Jessica’s Law  GPS monitoring of sex offenders ◦ Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act ◦ Buffer zone laws ◦ Texas sex offender registry: ex.aspx

18  Indicators are they do not.  This new story from New Jersey, headlined " Report finds Megan's Law fails to reduce sex crimes, deter repeat offenders in N.J.", ought to impact the debate over sex offender registration laws. I doubt it will, in part because (as the article shows) politicians eager to show how tough they are rarely worry much about the true effectiveness of the laws they support. This new story from New Jersey  Link: 009/02/study-on-sex-offender-registration-in-new-jersey- suggests-its-ineffectiveness.html

19  Failed to deter sex crimes or reduce the number of victims since its passage 15 years ago.  Growing cost of carrying out the law -- estimated at $5.1 million statewide in 2007 -- "may not be justifiable.“  There is little evidence to date, including this study, to support a claim that Megan's Law is effective in reducing either new first-time sex offenses or sexual re-offenses

20  Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 ◦ Targets corporate accounting fraud ◦ Section 906 certification  CFO or CEO signs off on SEC filings ◦ Critics say it duplicates existing law  The Patriot Act ◦ Detentions ◦ Improved intelligence gathering ◦ Military tribunals ◦ Does it work?  How can we know?

21  Have legislative bans actually worked?

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