Apparently, the Ohio Legislature has lost their minds.
The busy bodies in the Ohio Legislature figured they could stay one step ahead of drug dealers if they criminalized the secret compartments in cars that aid in the clandestine operations of drug traffickers.
The legislation, which passed the State Senate and House overwhelmingly in June 2012, drastically invades the property rights of individuals. Among other things, the law prohibits the designing, building, or constructing of a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.
This past week the draconian law claimed its first victim. WKYC Channel 3 reports that 30-year-old Norman Gurley was arrested Tuesday evening. He was awarded the distinction of being the first arrest made under the state’s new “compartment law.” Police had pulled Gurley over for speeding and noticed wires running to the back of the car. This led them to the empty hidden compartment in the back of Gurley’s car.
Under the new law, it does not matter that Gurley did not have any drugs in his possession. If not for the new “compartment law” the cops would have let him go with a speeding ticket. Thanks to the new law a human being will be locked in a cage for the non-violent crime of owning a vehicle that has a hidden compartment.
Lt. Michael Combs, of the State Highway Patrol, claims that this law “takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade.” Combs says, “The law does help us and is on our side.”
Lt. Combs could not be further from the truth.
The law will only further drive drug trafficking into the shadows. Designers and builders of these compartments will have their trade forced onto the black market. It won’t matter if the customers intend to use the compartments for legal purposes; they will be forced to operate outside of the legal marketplace. This means that no taxes will be paid, but more violence could be introduced into the trade.
Dr. Mark Thornton explained, on a recent episode of the Lions of Liberty podcast, which conditions in the black market could lead to violence. I can’t explain the issues as clearly as Dr. Thornton, but I will try to summarize the argument.
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