Harry Browne on Crime

2000 Libertarian Nominee for President


Pardon all non-violent drug, tax, & gun prisoners

I will make it clear to federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors that we want the violent criminals off the streets. Every member of the federal criminal justice system should understand that prison space is only for criminals who have hurt someone.
Source: The Great Libertarian Offer, p.237 , Sep 9, 2000

Crime Bill gives govt more power; won’t stop teen violence

After the Columbine High School massacre, the House of Representatives passed the “Juvenile Crime Bill”-supposedly to reduce teenage violence.

Conservatives supported the bill because they didn’t notice its gun-control provisions, and probably because they didn’t want to appear insensitive in the midst of a supposed crisis.

Liberals supported the bill because they didn’t notice that it gave the government more power to use warrantless wiretaps, allowed police to intercept messages going to your pager, promoted drug-testing of all school children, and gave increased immunity to police who might commit violent crimes against you.

As usual, the politicians had practically no idea what they were voting on.

Not only is federal law enforcement dangerous, it is very expensive. As with any other kind of bill, the politicians see anti-crime bills as opportunities to enact unrelated programs for their political allies.

Source: The Great Libertarian Offer, p.186 , Sep 9, 2000

No hate crime legislation; prosecute for crimes, not motives

Q: Your position on hate crimes legislation?

A: It’s what you do, not your motive for it. We should only be concerned with prosecuting people for what they do. If somebody kills somebody because he’s gay, that should have the exact same penalty as killing a person because he wanted his money. Either way, the person is dead, and neither one has been hurt more than the other if the actual physical offenses are equal.

Source: PlanetOut interview (planetout.com) , Jul 7, 2000

Mandatory sentencing takes jail space from real criminals

Q: Are ‘Three Strikes’ laws a good method to reduce crime? A: No, but most crime is a local issue.
Three strikes has been suggested as method of fighting the Drug War. I steadfastly oppose the Drug War. I believe it has made our streets a war-zone with innocent bystanders caught in the confusion of drug raids or drive-by shootings and that this war has wreaked havoc on our civil liberties.
Incarcerating non-violent drug users under such mandatory sentences limits the number of cells available for locking up hardened criminals guilty of capital crimes. I would pardon all federal, non-violent drug offenders because these people are not a threat to anyone and because we could use the space to keep real criminals behind bars so those individuals cannot add to their list of victims.
Source: Email correspondence from the candidate with OnTheIssues.org , Jan 27, 2000

No federal law enforcement; let states handle crime

Browne supports reducing prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes. Browne says, “Pardon all non-violent drug and tax offenders. Remove the Federal government from law enforcement, as it is no constitutional authority.” Regarding juvenile crime, Browne says, “Let the states handle all crime.”
Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

First priority: pardon non-violent offenders

Q: What would you do as President on Day One?
    On day one, they would all be cancellations of Executive Orders.
  1. Pardon every non-violent drug offender, non-violent gun offender, and non-violent tax evader
  2. Take steps to bring home troops from overseas, in 100 countries around the world.
None of these require Congress to give permission, because they were all done by Presidents without the consent of Congress.
Source: The Alan Colmes Show, WEBD NY 1050 AM , Aug 26, 1999

Stop prosecuting victimless crime; real crime then decreases

Historically, free societies have been able to protect themselves pretty well against violent crimes. Once you start prosecuting victimless crimes, it becomes so difficult to prosecute prostitution & drugs, that resources get diverted and swamped. If you saw someone stealing into your neighbor’s home, you’d call the police. But you wouldn’t if you saw your neighbor snorting cocaine. That’s the difference between violent crime and victimless crimes.
Source: The Alan Colmes Show, WEBD NY 1050 AM , Aug 26, 1999

End the War on Drugs to free up prisons and police

End the War on Drugs, to release from prison the marijuana smokers and other non-violent drug offenders serving 15-year and 50-year sentences. They fill up the prisons -- allowing the murderers, rapists, and other violent criminals to go free on early release or plea-bargains, and to terrorize your neighborhood. End the War on Drugs, to free up law-enforcement resources to fight violent crime, instead of chasing people who may harm themselves but are no threat to us.
Source: http://www.harrybrowne2000.org/ “7 Ways” 5/16/99 , Jul 13, 1998

Against capital punishment

Browne does not support capital punishment for federal crimes involving murder, nor imposing the death penalty for convicted international drug traffickers. Browne also does not support deporting resident alien convicted of a felony.
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test , May 1, 1996

Against anti-terrorist laws, since the hurt the innocent

I support no ‘anti-terrorist’ proposals; such laws always wind up hurting the innocent, while the guilty continue to slip through the net. Restricting the liberties of American citizens will not reduce terrorism, any more than restricting civil liberties has reduced drug use.
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test , May 1, 1996

Most federal law enforcement is unconstitutional

The Constitution specifies only three federal crimes-treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. And yet the Congress has passed federal laws against kidnapping, gun ownership, drug use, “hate crimes,” discrimination, fraud, carjacking, vandalism, pornography, and dozens of other activities that have no national significance.

Federal laws interfere with local police work and violate the Constitution. They also allow government to circumvent the Bill of Rights and subject citizens to double jeopardy. If a jury acquits someone of violating a state gun-control law, for example, he can be re-tried for violating a federal gun-control law-even though the second trial is for the same act.

The federal government has no special wisdom, no special authority, and no special ability to fight crime. The Founding Fathers thought that would be a terrible idea. The past 35 years have confirmed their wisdom. The federal government’s involvement in local law-enforcement has helped the guilty and hurt the innocent.

Source: Why Government Doesn’t Work, by H. Browne, p.136-7 , Jul 2, 1995

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Page last updated: Oct 01, 2016