CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, January 22, 2009

'The Disconnect Between the Streets and the Business Suites'

(Baltimore, MD) Juvenile offenders brought from Baltimore detention centers, along with Baltimore PD representatives, school officials, social workers, and leaders from grass-roots organizations, participated in a panel discussion regarding street crime. The five teens, recognizing the mistakes they had made, talked about their intentions to stay on the right path in spite of the violence in their neighborhoods. "But asked whether they felt safe in their neighborhoods, their answers showed just how tenuous staying on the right path can be.
'For me, safe or not safe, it doesn't matter because things can go bad in a second,' said one of the teens, who added that he once made $850 a week on the streets slinging drugs. 'But if I've got [a gun], I'm the man and you can't say nothing to me. If I don't have a [gun], I'll walk around with a knife.' At one point, the panel moderator asked the teens whether any of their family or friends had been killed. 'This year?' one asked...

The teens who spoke to the crowd talked about the lure of the streets and how important the money they earned through criminal activity was to their families. They said they didn't want to become involved in violence, but some said factors in their neighborhoods and the need to be respected were difficult to overcome.
Full story from [Michele Berry]

January 22, 2009 in Drugs, Guns, Juveniles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Washington Council Enacts Tough Gun-Control Measure

Nearly six months after the Supreme Court put an end to the District of Columbia’s decades-old ban on handgun possession, the City Council here passed a sweeping new ordinance on Tuesday to regulate gun ownership.

The legislation would require all gun owners to receive five hours of safety training and to register their firearms every three years. In addition, they would have to undergo a criminal background check every six years.

Councilman Phil Mendelson, who helped draft the bill and shepherd it through the Council, called it a “very significant piece of legislation that borrows best practices from other states.”

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December 17, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Plaxico Burress Turns Himself In On Gun Charge

Amd_plaxicoburressTroubled Giants star Plaxico Burress turned himself into a Manhattan precinct Monday morning where he is expected to be charged after accidentally shooting himself in the right thigh while drinking at a Midtown nightclub.

Walking with no sign of a limp from the bullet wound, Burress stepped out of a black Cadillac Escalade in front of the NYPD's 17th Precinct just after 8 a.m. Wearing dark jeans, a white collared shirt and a black jacket, he stared straight ahead as he walked and ignored shouts from an assembled group of reporters and fans.

His lawyer said the wide receiver would be arraigned at 1 p.m. at Central Booking and would plead not guilty to charges of criminal possession of a weapon.

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December 1, 2008 in Criminal Law, Guns, News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gun checks may violate federal law

The Delaware State Police have been conducting secret background checks of some gun owners since 2001, a process known as "superchecks" that may violate federal law.

The checks have resulted in confiscation of weapons, some for legitimate reasons, but have subjected many citizens to a search of mental health records that in most cases police would be unable to access.

In Delaware, when someone attempts to purchase a pistol or rifle, he or she must first sign a consent form authorizing a criminal and mental health check by the state Firearms Transaction Approval Program.

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December 1, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 28, 2008

A chance for sensible gun laws

WIth the historic election of Barack Obama, the nation finally has an opportunity to enact sensible national gun policy. Obama should look to big cities, especially Boston, for guidance.

Big-city mayors know all too well the devastating impact a failed national gun policy has had on people living in urban America. Most of the 83 Americans who die every day from gun violence live in cities. The average annual US death toll from guns is 34,000 Americans. Comparatively, over the past 30 years, 1,035,000 Americans have died from guns in the United States versus 655,000 US service men and women killed in all foreign wars combined.

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November 28, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When a Gun Isn't a Gun?

18005029_240x180U.S. attorneys had a conundrum on their hands -- they had the evidence to prove a convicted felon was in possession of a gun, but they couldn’t prove the gun was a gun.

What attorney’s had on their hands was an American double-action revolver that was manufactured between 1880 and 1941.

The problem is that federal code states that the weapon is not a firearm unless it was manufactured after 1896. Without a definitive production date, the gun was inadmissible as evidence.

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November 18, 2008 in Criminal Law, Guns, News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What President Obama Can Do to Reduce Gun Violence

President-elect Obama should implement seven tested and proven initiatives that will have an immediate impact on reducing gun related violence, accidents and suicides without affecting the Second Amendment or having any negative impact on responsible and law abiding gun owners.

Of the average 34,000 gun deaths in the US every year approximately 11,000 are homicides, 18,000 are suicides and 5,000 are unintentional accidents. We can change these horrific numbers.

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November 11, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Do Guns Reduce Crime?

Npr_logo The Supreme Court's ruling this summer that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to bear arms has added fuel to the ongoing national debate about guns. Recently, a panel of six experts took on the proposition "Guns Reduce Crime" in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.

The series is based on a program that began in London in 2002. It pits experts on either side of an issue against each other in Oxford-style debates.

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November 6, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lost-gun ordinances usually fire blanks

Lose a gun in Cleveland and fail to report it to police and you could face a $250 fine and 30 days in jail. But in the 12 years that ordinance has been on Cleveland's books, only two people have been taken to court for failing to report a lost or stolen gun.

That experience, and those of other cities, suggests that Pittsburgh's proposed ordinance on reporting lost or stolen guns and others cropping up all over the state and nation warrant neither the fear they are engendering in foes, nor the hope they inspire in advocates.

The target for anti-violence advocates is the so-called straw purchaser -- someone with no criminal record who can therefore pass a background check and buy a gun, but then sell it or let it fall into the hands of someone who uses it for crime. When police trace that gun back to the original purchaser, that person often gets off the hook by claiming it was stolen or lost.

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October 31, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Limit on Gun Law Passes; Senate Vote Unlikely

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly yesterday to legalize semiautomatic rifles in the District and repeal its gun registration laws, but the bill's future appeared in doubt as a prominent senator announced she would try to block it.

"If this bill comes to the floor of the United States Senate, I will do everything in my power to stop it," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

The House bill passed 266 to 152, with the support of 85 Democrats. It was the second time in four years that the chamber had voted to overturn most D.C. gun laws. The 2004 measure died in the Senate, and a similar result is likely this time.


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September 18, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Eighth Circuit Rejects Second Amendment Claim

A machine gun and a sawed-off shotgun borne pursuant to membership in an informal militia unaffiliated with the state militia is not activity protected by the Second Amendment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held Aug. 13 (United States v. Fincher, 8th Cir., Nos. 07-2514 and 07-2888, 8/13/08).

The court also ruled that possession of these weapons is not covered by the individual right to bear arms recognized in District of Columbia v. Heller, 76 U.S.L.W. 4631 (U.S. 2008).

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September 9, 2008 in Criminal Law, Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lawyers in Supreme Court Gun Case Ask for $3.5 Million in Fees

The lawyers who defeated Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban in the Supreme Court, successfully arguing that Americans have an individual right to arm themselves, want about $3.5 million for their trouble, according to a motion for attorney fees and costs filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The team -- financed by The Cato Institute's Robert Levy and led by civil rights and intellectual property lawyer Alan Gura -- says it clocked at least 3,273 hours in the course of District of Columbia v. Heller, which was filed in February 2003 and concluded in spectacular fashion on June 26, the last day of the high court's cycle. The lawyers anticipate the District will oppose the motion, but they've not received a response, the motion says.

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August 27, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Gun Laws and Crime: A Complex Relationship

29liptak_1901 Lurking behind the Supreme Court’s ruling last week that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms were a series of fascinating, disputed and now in many ways irrelevant questions. Do gun control laws reduce crime? Do they save lives? Is it possible they even cost lives? Justice Stephen G. Breyer, one of the dissenters in the 5-to-4 decision, surveyed a quite substantial body of empirical research on whether gun control laws do any good. Then he wrote: “The upshot is a set of studies and counterstudies that, at most, could leave a judge uncertain about the proper policy conclusion.”

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June 30, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)