Let’s put the 2nd Amendment aside. It’s irrelevant. If it needs to be changed or removed, we can do that. if we couldn’t change the Constitution, we’d still have slavery and women couldn’t vote. Let’s just talk about facts and figures and reality, politics and Founding Fathers aside.
To do this, we have to put aside emotion. For example, the VT massacre is a horrendous, terrible, emotional devastation. Mistakes were made by many, wrong decisions made, fingers can be pointed, blame can be shifted, and the bottom line is still 33 dead and 21 wounded. But we can’t base decisions about social policy on emotion. Gun laws and gun control is one of those topics that sparks strong emotion but of all things must be looked at objectively and dispassionately.
I tried looking for statistics regarding crime rates and gun control, and honestly, the only things I could find that said there was less crime in countries with stricter gun control either a) did not have any facts to back that up, or b) presented a couple of numbers out of context that are meaningless with that needed context. The US has had more crime than Denmark and England 200 years ago, so saying the US still has more crime than those countries today is meaningless (and as we’ll see, most likely false!) You have to look at trends to see whether crime is falling or growing comparatively and over what periods in time, as well as look at HOW crime is reported! As we’ll see, that makes a huge difference if the US Justice Dept. reports ALL homicide from the police and does not change that number as that crime may get pleaded down or thrown out of court later, vs. England which changes its homicide rates to reflect only homicide convictions. Or Japan which has an epidemic of under-reported crime to the police, and then systematic under-reporting of crime from the government to the UN and media services.
So, here’s what I found. First was a commentary, as I blogged before, by “Classically Liberal” regarding citizen defense using firearms and rising crime rates in Great Britain following their outlawing of nearly all civilian firearms:
When mass killers meet armed resistance.
Reason Magazine’s “Gun control’s twisted outcome.” which examines in great detail the crime rates of the US vs. the UK and the disparity in reporting, the trends, which shows that the UK has one of the worst crime rates comparable to the US and worse than the US in some cases despite their extremist anti-gun laws.
Wikipedia’s entry (don’t freakin’ dump on Wikipedia. Yes it has problems, but is it any less valid than the New York Times which has come under repeated scrutiny for made-up articles and poor to non-existent fact-checking? Studies have shown Wikipedia to be no less accurate than the Encyclopedia Britannica…) on crime statistics and facts regarding states with restrictive laws vs. their crime rates.
American Enterprise Institute’s John Lott Jr.s article regarding the failure of gun control laws.
Michigan New’s article comparing Canada’s higher than realized crime rates and their tough anti-gun laws.
An extensive article with an extensive bibliography on “Doctor’s for Sensible Gun Laws” regarding Canada’s crime rates vs. their gun laws.
The NRA’s (yeah, the NRA. If it was just them I’d pass them off as unreadably biased, but their facts match up with so many other sources’) fact sheet on crime rates in countries with high gun control laws.
And finally, a PDF (see link as bottom of the page) with a ridiculous amount of facts and statistics regarding crime rates and gun laws with a ridiculous amount of stated sources, many from governmental and independent sources.
It’s an overused statement, but it’s true: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. All these facts bear that out. If you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns and crime will not go down!
If you want to stop gun crime, you HAVE to fix the problem at the source! The same is true for this “Drug War” and so-called “War on Terrorism.” People commit crimes not because they have a gun available to them, but because of sociological ills. Poverty, social disempowerment, drugs, mental instability…. Removing guns is not going to stop people from killing, raping, robbing, suicide, killing sprees. It will simply make it so that the only people with guns are those already willing to break laws in the first place.
As I believe “Classically Liberal” stated, the police cannot be trusted to protect you. The police are not personal body-guards. Criminals go to great pains to commit crimes where police are nowhere around, and they prefer victims that can’t fight back. Police, gods bless them for doing a job I never could!, come around after the crime is already committed and try to catch the criminals after the damage is already done. This isn’t a slam against the police (I have GREAT respect for them!) this is a statement of fact.
Again, as always, I would MUCH prefer if there were no guns at all ever anywhere in the world. Even if that happened, people would go back to knives, swords, clubs, glass, clubs, whatever, and still commit crimes. It’s a fantasy to believe that removing guns from legal ownership will reduce crime. Logic refutes that, the facts refute that.