The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > Law and Civil Rights

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 23, 2013, 09:58 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: July 26, 2005
Location: The Bluegrass
Posts: 8,454
How gun owners are like sex offenders.

Okay, now that I've got your attention, let me explain. I read an opinion issued today by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals where the court struck down an Indiana state statute prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing social media sites which they know allow children to participate (under age 18). The 7th Circuit said the statute violated the First Amendment. While recognizing the state's interest in protecting children, the court said the statute was not narrowly tailored to prevent the harm the statute sought to address.

Below is an excerpt of the opinion where I have redacted certain text by placing it in parenthesis and substituting it with other text which is in italics. Imagine the court is reviewing a ban on high capacity magazines and is confronted by the argument that it will deter assaults by firearms. (By way of background, the court's real opinion also refers to a separate statute which criminalizes the online solicitation of minors):

The district court also suggested the law was narrowly tailored to serve purposes different from the existing (solicitation and communication) laws against assault. It stated the existing laws “aim[] to punish those who have already committed the crime of (solicitation) assault with a firearm,” while the “challenged statute, by contrast, aims to prevent and deter (the sexual exploitation of minors) assaults by firearms by barring (certain sexual offenders from entering a virtual world where they have access to minors) the use of high capacity magazines.” The state continues this argument on appeal. The immediate problem with this suggestion is that all criminal laws generally “punish” those who have “already committed” a crime. The punishment is what “prevent[s] and deter[s]” undesirable behavior. Thus, characterizing the new statute as preventative and the existing statutes as reactive is questionable. The legislature attached criminal penalties to solicitations in order to prevent conduct in the same way decade-long sentences are promulgated to deter repeat drug offenses. Perhaps the state suggests that prohibiting (social networking) high capacity magazines deprives would-be (solicitors) assailants the opportunity to (send the solicitation) shoot someone in the first place. But if they are willing to break the existing (anti-solicitation) assault law, why would the (social networking) law banning high capacity magazines provide any more deterrence? By breaking two laws, the (sex offender) assailant will face increased sentences; however, the state can avoid (First) Second Amendment pitfalls by just increasing the sentences for (solicitation) assault — indeed, those laws already have enhanced penalties if the defendant uses a (computer network) firearm.
John Doe v. Prosecutor, Marion County, No. 12-2512, slip op. at 14 (7th Cir. Jan. 23, 2013) retrieved from 7th Circuit website on 1/23/13 at

This is the type of analysis the courts should be using in looking at firearm restrictions under the Second Amendment. If someone is going to assault or murder children, they aren't going to pause a moment if they are also breaking another law restricting magazines or restricting certain types of guns.
KyJim is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.04204 seconds with 9 queries