G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Or it won’t have its intended effect. The proposal is out of New York:
Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president, unveiled a proposal on Tuesday for an online registry of gun-law offenders that could be viewed and searched by the public. It would keep the names of people convicted of crimes involving guns on the registry for at least 10 years and require them to check in regularly with local police.
“We must also ensure that those who engage in gun violence are not allowed to escape the spotlight,” Mr. Diaz told a packed auditorium full of city and state political leaders during his annual State of the Borough address, at James Monroe High School in the Bronx. “Law-abiding citizens ought to know who among us is responsible for gun violence.”
“That’s something we should look at,” said State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, one of the leaders of the Senate, adding that “the sexual predators’ registry has had a chilling effect” on sex criminals.
First, concerns over racial disparate impact would rear its ugly head before this proposal even got off the ground.
Second, sexual predator registries are effective because they evoke a visceral disgust response from the community. This is key since part of the point of a registry’s is to foster public shaming. The punishment of being perceived as a molester or rapist is stronger than any punishment a gun criminal would ever face. This social punishment is often harder on the criminal than the prison stint. The baseline assumption about gun criminals is that, despite the fact that they are depraved in their own way and need to be removed from society, they had, on some level, a justifiable reason for committing their crime. Strictly business, and all of that. But that’s not the case with a sex crime. Murderers and gangsters are anti-heroes in movies and books, but you’ll rarely find a sex criminal being perceived as any sort of hero.
My spidey sense tells me that the disgust responses of liberals would be triggered more by the types of gun registries which only track gun owners whereas they’d hold much less contempt for people on this proposed gun criminal registry.