Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Should Criminals be Encouraged to Use Fake Guns?

Criminals tend to be optimists, at least when it comes to carrying out crimes.  They often envision only one scenario, and assume that everything will go as planned. It is one of the reasons that many criminals depend on imitation, toy, or replica firearms.  A number of  states treat the use of a replica or imitation gun the same as the use of a real gun in a crime.

No state requires a defender to determine if a gun pointed at them is real or imitation. There is no controversey in the law about that.  If the defender reasonably believes that they are under deadly threat, it does not matter if the perpetrator was using an imitation gun.

Imitation guns are less expensive and a bit easier to obtain than real guns. 

Some Texas police officers believe that the use of imitation guns for criminal purposes is on the rise. From
DALLAS (AP) -- Police in Texas say more crimes are being committed with imitation weapons such as BB guns, likely because they're cheap, easy to obtain and criminals may believe -- mistakenly -- that if they're caught, they'll avoid the severe punishment that can come with illegally possessing a real one.

California law differentiates between real and imitation guns in their laws on brandishing. From
    1. Brandishing  a  pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person... in a rude, angry, or threatening manner... in a public place:
      • a minimum three (3) month, to a maximum one (1) year, jail sentence, and/or
      • a maximum $1,000 fine.92
  1. Brandishing any other firearm... or brandishing a firearm in other than a public place... in the same manner:  not less than three (3) months in county jail.93
  2. Brandishing an imitation firearm: not less than 30 days in county jail.94
Should the use of imitation firearms in crime be subject to the same penalties as real firearms?

I submit that penalties for the use of imitation firearms in crime should be less.  The criminal is putting the victim(s) at lower risk, and is putting themselves at higher risk. This is behavior that should be encouraged.

It is good public policy to reward this behavior with lower penalties, just as non-confrontational crime has lower penaties than crimes that occur in direct confrontation, such as robbery. 

I would prefer to confront a robber armed with an imitation gun instead of a real one.  I would prefer to confront a robber with an imitation gun instead of a knife or club.

Many criminals are ignorant of the law, so incentives do not always have a significant effect.  In this case, the law would reinforce an existing belief, so the chance of success is greater.

Replace criminals guns with imitation guns?  We should encourage this trend.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch


Vincent said...

Hi Sean,
Don't you think that punish less a criminal with fake gun is a open door to punish more a good Guy that kill him ?
It's a réflexion of a french Guy.

Wireless.Phil said...

Same is going on in and around the Cleveland area, might as well say across the USA.

Anonymous said...

I submit that focus on the tools used to commit the crime is a problem in and of itself.
Why focus on whether a gun is real or not instead of placing the focus on the robbery itself?
I contend that whether a item is real or not matters not, if at all, when the real crime here is the theft, the violation of the individual rights that robbery itself is.

Why do we view a strongarm robbery different, more serious, than stealing a bike out of a front yard when nobody is looking? In both cases, the crime itself is the same - stealing. HOW one does this crime should not be the focus, THAT they do so should be and BOTH of those examples should be treated the same.

But but but stealing the bike presented no "threat". Oh bullcrap. It DID! Here is how. When that thief crossed that private property line to grab that bike when nobody was looking, someone very well could have been looking....out the window and then exit their abode to defend their property. If we are going to talk about what COULD have happened, well, then lets always afford ALL the could, not just some of it.

My point is that we are tricked into looking at the wrong things, with claims of better or lesser of two evils. I submit that we should refocus entirely. Let's look to the ACTUAL crimes themselves, rather than the tools used to accomplished them.

Should we look to screwdriver and crowbar control, and assign varying degrees of penalty based on the quality or genuineness of those tools? Of course not. We should place the focus on the breaking and entering as opposed to the tools used to commit such a crime.

I get your question and even concede your points about what you would rather face. However, they aren't germane when we look to the actual crimes being committed. We must not be suckered into the gun controllers tool based arguments....they are a distraction and they are meant to be. We must cut through that garbage, exposing it for what it is - a diversionary tactic used to increase gun control powers.

Wireless.Phil said...

Swedish pensioner 'pulled fake gun' on salesman

A Swedish pensioner, 64, is facing court after she allegedly threatened a door-to-door internet subscriptions salesman with an airsoft gun, forcing the man to hide on a roof.

Pilotearl said...

Criminals should be encouraged to use fake guns as long as the "fakes" look real so that the law enforcement and/or armed citizens can use their real guns to rid society of these scumbags for the last time. I will absolutely, positively, guarantee that if one of these dirtbags displays what appears to be an actual firearm they will display it for the last time.