Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Violent crime

Some comments I left over at Denny Burk's blog:

i) To begin with, mass shootings in the US have gone up over the past few decades. That doesn’t correlate with access to firearms.

ii) By definition, if you confiscate enough guns, you may have fewer shootings. But that’s a deceptive comparison. That doesn’t mean you have less violent crime.

Gun bans and gun confiscation can lead to a spike in crime. There’s a loss of deterrence. In addition, citizens can no longer defend themselves or their property. That gives crooks a green light.

It’s not enough to compare a drop in gun violence with a drop in gun ownership. You need to compare that with overall crime stats .

iii) I don’t know where you’re getting your stats. For instance:

“Many people don’t have the connections to get illegal firearms. You’re looking at these folks as if they were ‘rational’ murderers who’d have the presence of mind to make the necessary connections to procure one illegally (if they were illegal).”

Mass shootings are typically premeditated.

“Consider the kid in Newton. Do we think a borderline autistic home-schooled high school kid would have the connections (and money) to illegally procure the kind of weapons he used (if they were illegal)?”

i) Your objection is circular. Because private gun ownership is currently legal, there are restrictions on minors. If, however, guns were banned, you’d have an unregulated black market giving everyone, including minors, unrestricted access to guns.

ii) Likewise, because private gun ownership is currently legal, you don’t need special connections to procure firearms. If, however, guns were banned, then a black market would open up. You wouldn’t need spacial connections to get the gun of your choice under that scenario. If it was against the law to obtain any gun whatsoever, then all types of guns would be available on the black market.

iii) Yes, access to guns means some people die by guns who otherwise wouldn’t die that way. That, however, overlooks the fact that guns are both offensive and defensive weapons. Just as guns take lives, guns save lives. Access to guns means some people, who’d otherwise die, are not killed because they are in a position to protect themselves. There are tradeoffs. 


  1. Does no one look at the gun crime stats from the districts in the U.S. with the toughest gun laws?

    D.C. anyone?

    1. No, because "Australia" is their answer to any counterargument.

    2. They could one up themselves and utilize the data for the dearth of gun crime deaths for most of human history.