Breaking a gun law in New York City will now bring shame and embarrassment as part of the punishment, if lawmakers get their way. New York City Council introduced the bill that could get people on a public registry, just as sex offenders can be found. The Public Safety Committee, as it has been referred to as, is still currently in the works. A gun-offender registry does already exist, but it is only accessible to members of the police force.
This new registry, on the other hand, would be available for anyone in the public to see. City Council member Ritchie Torres says, “The public has a right to know the whereabouts of gun offenders in their neighborhoods for the same reason that we have the right to know the whereabouts of sex offenders,” he said. “These are two categories of crime that have high rates of recidivism. They can strike terror in a neighborhood.”
After four years of good behavior, offenders may be taken off the registry. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. is in favor of passing this bill, especially after it was not passed last year. Not only are offenders in trouble legally, but there is certainly a sense of public shaming as well. He says, “If you committed an act of gun violence, if you shot somebody, and you don’t want to be put in the public spotlight, if this is going to embarrass you too much then you know what, just stay away from guns. Don’t do the crime.”
If enacted, people will even be able to receive email notifications if a gun offender moves into their neighborhood.
An important question that needs to be asked; Would a law-abiding citizen with 8 rounds in his or her magazine be considered a ‘gun offender’? The NY SAFE Act, which was passed in the dead of night in early 2013 and in part only allows 7 rounds to be loaded into a magazine, is still up in the air and has come under harsh criticize. This SAFE Act turned many otherwise law-abiders into criminals with the stroke of a pen.
The last time I checked, criminals aren’t afraid of tarnishing their character when committing a crime, so why would they care if they’re placed on a public registry?
Is this attempted gun offender registry just another inch closer to bigger things?