One thing lawmakers should consider when they pass a law isn’t just how it will be enforced but also how that enforcement will sway people’s behavior. For example, the idea behind the death penalty is, in part, that executing people will dissuade others from committing such heinous crimes. That’s the goal.
However, sometimes the enforcement may actually push people into behaving very differently than originally intended.
A case last week in Connecticut is just such an example.
Sgt. Jennifer Pinto said police were called to Reynolds Avenue at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on a report of a car burglary that involved a stolen gun. The owner of the car, Christopher Jerome, 26, parked his car at about 8:20 p.m. Monday and, thinking that he was going to get back into the car a short time later, did not lock the doors.
When he got up the next morning, Jerome saw that his driver’s side door was open and his gun had been taken out of the unlocked glove box, Pinto said. Jerome presented his pistol permit to officers and told them that he had more firearms in his home.
So Jerome was the victim of a crime. Yes, he made a big mistake in not securing the firearm, but he did the responsible thing in owning up to the mistake.
As a result, he was charged with reckless endangerment.
Way to reinforce responsible behavior, folks. That wasn’t all, either.
Because of the circumstances of the theft, police went into the home and took the guns, a semiautomatic Glock pistol, another handgun and a semi-automatic AR-15.
Under a new law that went into effect Oct. 1, Jerome was charged with a misdemeanor count of unsafe storage of a gun in a motor vehicle in addition to the reckless endangerment charge. The new law makes it a crime to store a gun in a locked car if it is not also put into a safe, locked in the glove box or stored in the car’s trunk.
So now what will happen when people learn about what happened to Jerome?
Easy. They’ll either refuse to contact the police about stolen guns or they’ll lie and argue the car was locked or the gun was secured with a gun lock but stolen anyway.
More than likely, many will simply refuse to report the guns stolen. They’ll feign ignorance or come up with some other kind of excuse if it’s later learned their gun ended up in the wrong hands, but they’re not going to admit to having made a mistake. Why risk it?
No, that’s probably not the best thing to do, but can you blame them?
Jerome had a lapse in judgment. As a result, he’s not only facing charges but was completely disarmed without any conviction or suggestion that he represents a threat to society.
That is a huge problem, yet this is what the anti-gunners want. They want to make it so any single mistake can be twisted and turned into justification to disarm us. People are human, they make mistakes. That’s all Jerome did, and now look where he is. On some level they want all of us to either be put in that exact same spot or so terrified to be there that we basically neuter ourselves by never taking our guns out of our safe.
There’s literally nothing right about this kind of thing.
Remember when victim-blaming was a bad thing? That never actually applied to us, though, now did it?