BOSTON—A Massachusetts lawmaker is pulling back from legislation that called for having the letter “G” affixed to the driver’s licenses of suspected gang members.
Rep. Paul McMurtry of Dedham said Tuesday that the bill would not go forward in its present form — if it goes forward at all.
He said the original intention of the bill — which was heard by the Legislature’s Transportation Committee this week — was to revoke the driver’s licenses of gang members so they would not be able to drive from one location to another to commit crimes. He said it wasn’t meant to violate anyone’s civil rights.
Critics said the so-called “scarlet letter” measure raised legal and constitutional issues.
Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley said stamping a “G” on a driver’s license would do little to address gang problems.
This idea is particularly head-slapping since almost all the research on gangs shows that people join them because they feel disconnected from their communities and find a community within the gang, so guess what? Singling them out and trying to publicly shame them makes that worse. Luckily it seems to have been stopped dead in its tracks.