“Laws make bad memorials”

I would like to point out an article from the National Post (a Canadian newspaper).  The article discusses how some individuals opposed to gun rights in Canada acknowledge that the long gun registration law is ineffective at preventing crime – yet continue to strongly support the law because they view it as a “monument erected to the memory” of crime victims:

A quote from that article which neatly sums up the problem with using laws a memorials:

“This is so vicious, it’s amazing,” Suzanne Laplante-Edward — mother of Anne-Marie Edward, one of Marc Lepine’s victims — told The New York Times this week, in reference to the elimination of the gun registry. “The gun-control law is a monument erected to the memory of our daughters.”

But laws must rise and fall on the basis of proper public policy, not emotionalism. And our remembrance of the Montreal Massacre does nothing to change the fact that the gun registry never made Canada a safer place. While we certainly understand why the mother of a gun-violence victim would want our government to do anything possible to restrict firearms access, no one in our society has the right to proclaim a law morally untouchable. No one.

Memorializing victims of violent crime through law is a dangerous habit, in any case: It generally leads to both bad law and bad memorials. That is because laws made in this manner are usually over-reactive and ill-thought out. Inevitably, they require tinkering or even outright elimination — which is then interpreted as an insult to the original victims, leading to bitterness and hard feelings all around. [Read the full article here.]