Gun Hate Crimes

Florida legislators have proposed a law which really to me seems as foolish as a lot of the hate crime laws.  As you may know, I feel like it’s a poor idea to make it more illegal to hit someone because he’s black/gay/whatever than it is to just hit someone because you want their wallet.  To me, both actions are wrong, because they involve violating a person; and the motive is immaterial.

In a similar line, the legislature in Florida has proposed a law to make it “illegaler” (note – Uncleism) to use an “assault weapon” in the commission of a crime.

Under the proposed bills, a person using a semiautomatic or automatic weapon for a crime would face a first-degree felony with a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. If the crime results in a death or serious injury, the person would face a mandatory life sentence.

The bills would expand Florida’s 10-20-life law, which provides for minimum mandatory sentences of 10 years for committing a crime with a firearm and 20 years if the weapon is discharged. If that results in injury or death, the minimum penalty is 25 years, and the maximum is life.

Alright, so let’s think about that for a minute.  If you’re Johnny Stickup, and you knock over the 7-11 and kill the cashier with a cheap revolver, you might only get 25 years.  If you commit THE SAME CRIME with a cheap Lorcin semi-automatic, you automatically go to jail for life.

Now, I don’t want people to think that I’m opposed to punishing criminals, because I think that if you commit a violent crime then you deserve to get locked up or executed.  But I’m opposed to making actions more illegal based on the inanimate objects that were used during the crime.  One of the obvious (at least to me) affects of this is that it helps to reinforce the incorrect impression that “assault weapons” are somehow more dangerous than “non-assault weapons”.  My other objection to laws like this is that it cheapens human life.  Think about it; by saying that someone’s life is worth more or less prison time based entirely on the type of firearm with which they were murdered seems wrong.  “Well Mrs. Smith, your husband was killed with a revolver, so his killer will get 25 years.  It’s too bad the murderer didn’t use a Lorcin, then he would have gotten life.”  It’s almost disgusting.

For my Florida readers, please contact your legislators and express your opposition to this legislation.  It’s foolish posturing on the part of government officials in attempt to demonize an entire class of firearms.

4 thoughts on “Gun Hate Crimes”

  1. I believe this is primarily an attempt to get “assault weapon” language into Florida law (where there currently is none.)
    My representative Peter Nehr is rated “A” by the NRA, while my Senator, Charlie Justice, has an NRA rating of F. The bill is still in committee right now, in both the House and Senate, but I’m contacting my reps now, in case it makes it out.

  2. The whole premise is off, increasing terms based on intent or item used. Lorcin vs. revolver is not the right comparison. Dead is dead. Why do I care if the murderer used their hands or an RPG? To paraphrase, “Sorry Mrs. Smith, the guy merely beat your husband to death for his wallet. We’ll be lucky to put him away at all. Now, if the perp had shot a gay man, that would have been a slam-dunk life sentence.”

  3. Agree completely that it’s silly to have different laws for different types of weapons. I do, however, support a stiffer sentence for “armed” crimes over unarmed, and a manditory five or ten year add for the use of a firearm in the commision of a felony seems to me to be a good idea.

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