Laws Don't Distinguish Between Unwitting And Larcenous


The Phoenix television news last evening had a story of a Valley student who brought a handgun to school. He was brandishing it about in the rest room, showing off that it was loaded, and he was heard making verbal threats against another student.

When word of this reached school authorities, the police were called and this student was arrested. And rightfully so! A little later in the evening I picked up the Tuesday edition of the Payson Roundup, which I hadn't yet had a chance to read.

The leading story on the front page read "Student with gun arrested at school." In reading the story it turned out the student was 19 years old, certainly old enough to legally have a gun. The gun was a shotgun, not a handgun, it was never out of the student's car, there was no mention of it being loaded, apparently it was never pointed at anyone, and there was no mention of the student making any threats against anyone.

It certainly seems there was more similarity between this student and the hapless American who unwittingly brought a box of bullets into Mexico and was harshly treated for his blunder, than there is between this student and the student in the Phoenix story. The problem with laws, it seems, is that they are unable to distinguish between the unwitting and the larcenous.

Ted Leonard


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