Since the subject of guns sometimes provokes a kind of involuntary reaction that inhibits clear thought and discourse, let me switch to an analogy in which the principle might be more apparent.
- Knowledgeable people and public health experts recognized that the wearing of seat belts in cars would reduce rates of injury and death. But for a long time there was no law or regulation. Laws were then passed, more people use seat belts now, and deaths/injuries are down.
Nevertheless, some people continue not to use seat belts, so those people are technically criminals. (To you, absolutely criminals.) Surely you do not mean to say that public health considerations are no longer relevant to people who fail to wear seat belts just because they have a new status as lawbreakers? The same public health principles still apply, whether law and regulation exist or whether individuals obey the law. It is more dangerous not to wear a seat belt than to wear one, period – one need not consult the Virginia Code to verify the truth of that statement.