A friend of a friend shared his thoughts on gun control as a response to gun violence on Facebook. It’s pretty fantastic.
It reminded me of a back and forth I had on Facebook with a liberal friend following the Sandy Hook shooting. Everyone acknowledged that the proposed bill in Congress drafted in response to the shooting wouldn’t have actually prevented the shooting had it been law. I pointed this out to my friend, and her response was basically ” but we should do something.”
Whether that something was effective or not seemed totally irrelevant to her, which would be supremely upsetting to me if I had come to grips long ago with the fact that an inability to problem solve is genetic to liberals the same way being perpetually drunk is genetic to the Irish, or beating me at arm-wrestling is genetic to lesbians.
The guy’s points are spot on and deserve a read by everyone, not just gun-control fanatics.
I know tragedies like the most recent shooting compel us to want to act, to do something, anything, about gun violence. I understand that. We’d be poorer creatures if we didn’t feel that way. But, at the end of the day, we want to make a difference – a positive difference – and not merely react for the emotional satisfaction of reacting.
I’m not going to try to make an argument. I don’t want to argue. I’d just like to share some facts, all of which are easy to verify – though I’m going to simply state them now and assume that, if you’re sincere about wanting to affect a positive change, you’ll look into them further.
1. While it seems that school shootings and the like are always in the news, in fact the rate of such crimes has not changed significantly for decades. Nor is it a problem unique to America. Nor do we have the highest incidence of such shootings, either in the developed world or the developing world. (Having said that, there really aren’t very many mass-shootings in absolute terms, and that means that the rates change quickly when one occurs. There is no observable trend in the frequency of such incidents.)
2. Though America has by far the highest number of guns of any nation, both in absolute terms and per capita, we do not lead the world in the rate of gun violence per capita. In fact, we’re below average in that regard, with more than a hundred nations “ahead” of us. And, in terms of violence per gun, we’re way, way down the list.
3. American gun violence is heavily concentrated in low-income urban settings, falling quickly as the size of the community decreases. If we subtract a few – half a dozen, for example – high-crime urban settings from the statistics, America’s rate of, for example, gun homicide drops dramatically, as does America’s place in the international statistics. (I said I wouldn’t try to make any arguments, and I won’t. But let me float the idea that perhaps some factors other than the presence of guns might be at work to account for this vast disparity in rate of crime among different armed U.S. populations.)
4. While any gun crime is too much gun crime, gun murders are not on the increase in America. In fact, they’ve been decreasing, and are down dramatically from their peak more than twenty years ago – this while gun ownership has continued to increase.
5. Finally, scholarly research seems to demonstrate that making guns more readily available to law-abiding citizens actually correlates with decreased gun crime. However counter-intuitive that may seem, it does appear to be the case. Again, without making an argument, let me simply suggest that anyone arguing for increased gun-ownership restrictions should at least consider the possibility that the unintended consequence of that policy will be more, and not less, gun crime. A good-faith approach to the subject would seem to require nothing less.
Featured image from Chieftan Press