Prof. Reynolds (Instapundit) has a new column about how gun control will impact the poor and minorities. As usual, he is spot on in noting that the people who are most affected by gun control are the same people that liberal gun controllers typically claim to care most about.
More generally, and he points out, there are far too many regulatory crimes out there–laws where failing to make a proper entry into your log, or carrying something across an invisible line, or not registering with the proper agency, is a felony. Historically, felonies made one liable to loss of all land and property, or else to death. Today, anything can be a felony, including many harmless actions such as carrying a firearm into the interpretive center at a National Park (even though it is legal to carry it on the park grounds).
There is obviously a need for regulatory crimes–people must be threatened with some punishment if they, for instance, don’t bother to keep a good firearms transaction record or account for their toxic waste properly–but there is no reason at all to treat a regulatory breach the same as a real crime, such as intentionally selling a gun to a criminal gang or dumping toxic waste into a river. (As an aside, the Feds have done both during the Obama administration, but somehow the regulators are never charged with the crimes that the regulated risk).
As you probably know, I’m fighting the State Department over exactly this sort of regulatory crime, and they are due to file their first response no later than next week.
ETA: To be clearer, nobody has accused me of committing any crime, I have merely chosen to sue the State Department and say they have no right to demand that I fill out their paperwork and pay their fees on pain of imprisonment. On the other hand, I can’t be certain that somewhere in the tens of thousands of pages of government regulations, I haven’t done something illegal. Because effectively nobody can be sure about that, which is the entire problem.