A timely reminder: "Keeping lawful citizens unarmed won't reduce number of criminals"

What I would have added to this piece is that disarmament is a relative question. The issue is whether a law disarms more law-abiding individuals or criminals. Who is more likely to obey the law? Who is more likely to find the law imposing costs on their gun ownership? The problem is that the law-abiding citizens are often the ones who care more about obeying laws.

What both sides need to realize is that it's criminals - not guns or politicians - who are responsible for crime. If an individual is truly bent on breaking the law, he isn't going to be deterred by simply more laws.

The only sure way to reduce violent crime is to reduce the number of violent criminals.

Studies show that criminals are less risk-averse than the population at large. In fact, it turns out that people who commit crimes actually seek out risk.

My one complaint with the piece is that it uses numbers that I say in my book are unreliable. The purely cross-sectional comparison is made because that is what most people do, but it is very misleading and exaggerates the benefits from right-to-carry laws.


Blogger saturdaynightspecial said...

This was a good column considering it was written by a high schooler (even a high schooler can see the obvious benefit from an armed populace.)

How do we reduce the number of criminals? The first thing to do is to allow everyone to protect themselves, especially the weaker ones - women. We are not going to reduce the number of thugs overnight. And arming everyone will lower the number of criminal acts and prevent some from becoming victims.

If you want to reduce the number of criminals further then you need to end the blackmarket on drugs. And ending the prohibition on gun possession for law-abiding citizens will eliminate most of the crime connected with the black market for guns, and that will reduce the number of criminals too. The blackmarket on drugs is too lucrative for people who are in low income brackets - they are much less averse to it's penalties and much more willing to risk incarceration for the high profits found in the blackmarket for drugs.

We can all be thankful for this illegal market because it never ceases to confirm the need to go armed in public. Drug addicts will do almost anything (rob, murder) for a fix. Plus the gun violence resulting from drug dealer turf wars. Poor people love the blackmarket for drugs - it's easy money to them. When one group of drug dealers ends up in jail another moves in to take their place - they love it when police make a major bust - and it may drive up prices too !

I'm always amazed when I see on the tv news police (or the DEA or BATF) bragging about another major drug bust (and confiscation); all it does is make room for another group to easily move in on the jailed group's turf, and it usually reduces the supply of the drugs and temporarily raises the street price. It never ends the war on drugs - it only nourishes it. Consider New Orleans:

City leaders conspired to neglect to maintain the levees, hoping for a flood that would force all the poverty stricken people out of the city (and it did.) What they didn't plan was for so many returning - allowing the drug trade to continue. After most of the city was evacuated, and thousands of poor were relocted all over the US, the crime has returned, including drug sales. End prohibition and you can reduce violent crime significantly.

If more police are available in areas where drug dealing occurs then usually the trading goes underground (but violence may increase), and up the economic ladder (some working people can find the trade lucrative enough.) We will never stop Americans from using drugs - it's considered recreational by millions of Americans, plus, some use it for medical purposes too.

The war on drugs, waged by governments, has allowed government to trample our civil rights, and usually harms more people than it protects.

If drugs were made legal then poor people would switch to other forms of almost work-free crime. That's the nature of poverty. But poverty has function: it motivates people to move up the economic ladder. Governments cannot eliminate poverty without destroying our freedoms and without destroying a capitalistic economy. Poverty is here to stay - prostitution is the oldest crime.

But how can anyone ever prevent maniacs from going on a shooting spree ? Better to allow citizens to arm themselves. That type of crime can never be predicted or is difficult to predict. But it can be reduced by respecting gun rights and allowing for an armed citizenry.

12/14/2006 4:22 PM  

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