Lawmaker Aggressively Pushes To Punish Gun Owners for Crimes Committed by Others


It is indisputable that many members of the anti-gun crowd want to undermine and ultimately repeal the Second Amendment, but given the relative impossibility of actually getting rid of the right of citizens to keep and bear arms through the challenging process of amending the Constitution, they have sought other means to try and reduce gun ownership.

One such method of achieving that goal is by making the prospect of gun ownership largely unpalatable and riddled with consequences for a majority of American citizens, which they attempt to accomplish through creating intense social pressure and stigma against gun ownership, as well as erecting a series of formidable and costly legal hurdles to purchase and/or possess a firearm that can prove too daunting to go through for most people.

That is essentially what a lawmaker in Virginia wants to do with a proposed law that would hold gun owners accountable if a firearm they owned was used by somebody else to commit a crime, regardless of whether the gun owner had anything whatsoever to do with the crime that occurred.

WVTF-FM reported that Democratic Virginia state Sen. David Marsden said gun owners should be held fully liable if their weapons are used in a crime — even if those weapons were stolen or otherwise obtained without the gun owner’s knowledge or approval.

“All guns start out legal, and then 60 percent of the guns that end up being used in crimes or in suicides are in the hands of people who don’t own them or didn’t originally own them. We’re careless with our guns,” said Marsden, casting the onus for gun-related crime and suicides on lawful gun owners.

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But a law that would hold gun owners accountable for the actions of other people would seem to fly in the face of legal precedent that holds individuals accountable for their own actions, and would likely be unable to withstand legal challenges if passed.

“For you to make a gun owner liable for injuries because his gun was lost or stolen, and a third party used it in the commission of a crime or for injuries, would turn tort law upside down,” legal expert Richard Kelsey told WVTF.

Piggy-backing off of that, pro-gun outlet Bearing Arms noted that this law would be equivalent to one holding car owners accountable if someone stole their vehicle and then used it to run other people over, a ridiculous law that would punish victims of theft for the later violent actions of the criminals who initially victimized them.

Such a law, whether related to cars or guns, would do nothing to reduce violent crime and would most likely be overturned in court — and Marsden and his ilk probably know all of that already — which would suggest that Marsden’s law has nothing to do with “gun safety” or reducing instance of gun violence, but rather is intended to reduce gun ownership as a whole.

Would you oppose a law seeking to hold gun owners responsible for the misuse of their weapons by others?

Indeed, were such a law to be passed — set aside for a moment whether it would survive legal challenge — it would undoubtedly serve to discourage potential gun owners, who might reconsider their plans to purchase a firearm in light of the fact that they could be held criminally liable for the eventual and hypothetical misuse of that weapon by somebody else.

While they might like guns and support the idea of gun ownership, they would nevertheless have been cowed into non-gun ownership by the intimidation of the state and threat of criminal liability for the misdeeds of others.

Furthermore, statistically speaking, non-gun owners are typically far less likely to speak out vociferously against this and other gun control laws that infringe upon the Second Amendment, as personal feelings on guns aside, they don’t really have a dog in the fight as they aren’t a gun owner that would be personally impacted by those laws.

In this manner — reducing the pool of gun ownership through social stigmas and threats of criminal liability — the anti-gunners succeed in their dual goal of having fewer guns in circulation and silencing voices of dissent against their unconstitutional citizen-disarming ways.

Marsden’s proposed law would accomplish both of those goals, to an extent, by successfully stigmatizing gun owners as “careless” for losing firearms or having them stolen, then by holding those same gun owners responsible for the criminal acts of others that happened to be committed with the previously lost or stolen firearm.

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Bear in mind also that this effort by the anti-gun crowd is not solely focused on gun owners, as those who seek to do away with guns have already proposed similar laws that would hold firearm manufacturers and licensed firearm dealers criminally liable for the misuse of weapons they produced for or sold to others.

In the end, this law proposed by Marsden in Virginia is little more than a thinly veiled effort to punish legal gun owners and reduce the number of gun owners overall by making it too costly and risky, both legally and financially, for people to own firearms.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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