TTAG reader BR writes:
There is a school of thought that says that if a man is too dangerous to be allowed to have a gun, he is too dangerous to be free. I have not previously subscribed to this school of thought. There are few black and white things in life so surely there must be shades of grey as far as how dangerous somebody is. If the state has the power to lock you up, then they should also have the power to let you out of the cage with some limits on what you can or can’t do/possess. If a person commits a violent felony, you lock em up for a period of years, then let them out with restrictions on their ability to own firearms. The theory being, they paid their time, if they re-offend they won’t shoot somebody. This should theoretically lower the risk of letting the offender back out to an acceptable level. Theoretically . . .
I’ve recently run across some pretty powerful data that would seem to support the lock ’em up theory. I was listening to a recording of Clayton Cramer at some symposium. Click here for the link (requires Microsoft Silverlight). His presentation starts about 2:20. If you have your blood pressure under control, then by all means listen to the whole thing.
Cramer referenced the work of Bernard Harcourt who studied the relationship between aggregate institutionalization rate (mental hospitals + prison + jail) with the murder rate. There is a pretty strong correlation between the level of folks who are locked up and the murder rate. REALLY strong. Here’s a link to Harcourt’s paper.
The paper itself is pretty dry stuff, and I’m no statistician, but click here and take a look at the graph on page number 56. It’s pretty persuasive stuff. There is a pretty direct inverse relationship between the aggregate number of people who are locked up and the homicide rate.
I’m re-evaluating my position. What’s your take?