SB332: Better to slowly burn a child to death than to shoot her with a gun?

Editor's Note: The article below was originally published on June 17, 2008, about Senate Bill 348, introduced by Senator Eric Kearney (D-9). That bill died at the end of the 127th General Assembly. Kearney reintroduced the bill again in 2009, as SB49, and we again published this article by way of response, on February 12, 2009. SB49 died at the end of the 128th General Assembly. But the necessity of republishing this article is again apparent, because Sen. Kearney has reintroduced the legislation, this time as Senate Bill 332.

By Gerard Valentino

Senate Bill 348 49 332, designed to add an additional 10 years to a prison sentence if a gun is used to cause injury to or death of a child, was introduced recently by Senator Eric Kearney (D-9).

The bill, which Buckeye Firearms Association strongly opposes, is another example of the legislature trying to make an existing crime more illegal.

Killing someone with a baseball bat, hammer or even a car leaves the victim dead. The person committing the crime is still a murderer and the family of the victim will still grieve. Just because a gun might be involved in the crime is irrelevant.

Laws enacted that vilify guns are used to desensitize people to blaming guns for the crimes committed by an individual. The same can be said for all gun control bills that make citizens accept the government's ability to infringe on the right to bear arms.

This bill is objectionable on both levels and leaves Buckeye Firearms Association no choice but to oppose the measure. To allow the legislature to punish one method of murder more strictly than another is also an insult to the victims and families who are killed by other means.

Equality under the law is supposed to be a hallmark of the American legal system. Imagine if your son or daughter's murderer got less time than another criminal only because a gun wasn't used in the crime. It would be impossible for most families to accept their child's murder was somehow less heinous because a knife or other method was used.

There is no public safety issue, real or imaged, that would be addressed if this bill becomes law. Inflicting violent injury and murder is illegal now, and criminals should be punished based on the results of their actions.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that crack cocaine dealers couldn't be punished with more prison time than powdered cocaine dealers since the crime was ultimately the same. Although written before the introduction of SB 348 49 332, their decision is an indictment of punishing criminals who commit the same crime in a different manner.

Please write your Senator today and tell them to oppose SB348 49 332. Remind them that murder is already illegal and that making it more illegal depending on the method used to kill is an irrational and illogical reaction to a non-existent public safety problem.

Gerard Valentino, a former military intelligence analyst, is a member of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Board of Directors and the author of "The Valentino Chronicles – Observations of a Middle Class Conservative," available through the Buckeye Firearms Association store.

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