Illegal guns explained by Tom Diaz

VPC’s Senior Policy Analyst Tom Diaz explains “illegal guns”. He gets off to a great start with:

The phrase illegal guns really has no value in the way we approach looking at the problem of death and injury in the United States which is from the public health perspective. It’s really sort of a political term that is often used to avoid confronting the bigger problems…

He goes on to explain various ways firearm end up in the hands of those prohibited from owning firearm. He does a pretty good job of it. I really couldn’t find much fault with what he said until the very end when he said the states with lax gun laws needed to have strict gun laws.

What he willfully ignores and fails to mention is that those states with strict gun laws have a strong tendency to have higher rates of violent crime. By myopically only looking at “how did the criminal get a gun” rather than “what firearms policies result in increased public safety” he completely fails at the presumed goal of his organization, The Violence Policy Center. It should be abundantly clear that Tom Diaz is not interested in policies that reduce criminal violence. He is interested in restricting access to firearms. His organization wants to ban firearms and infringe upon the specific enumerated rights of innocent people. It’s shameful the interviewer, “Eight Forty-Eight” only presented the position of an organization which advocates for illegal government acts.


8 thoughts on “Illegal guns explained by Tom Diaz

  1. Personally, I think Tom Diaz is a good writer.

    Which states with strict gun laws have a higher rate of violent crime? NYC has very strict gun purchase laws and has a much lower rate of violent crime than places like Miami and Houston. (I know NYC isn’t a state but it has it’s own laws so I’m treating it like it is.)

    California has strict gun purchase laws. How does it’s violent crime rate compare with other large states that have looser laws?

  2. And let us all be thankful that we don’t live in that hell hole of murder and violence that is Vermont.

  3. Except, of course, for how from a public health perspective, we don’t have a firearm problem ITFP.

    Instead, we have a male suicide problem. Because the majority of tragic, senseless firearm deaths are male suicides — 50.13+%. And how the firearm suicide rate consistently exceeds the rates of death from firearm homicides, accidents, and legal interventions combined by a significant margin.

    So we don’t actually have a firearm problem. We have a male suicide problem, which no one wants to address because the widespread acceptance of male disposability by default is a taboo topic.

    Of course, in a national culture where a man’s penis being cut off and ground up in the garbage disposal is considered an acceptable subject for riotous laughter and mockery on major mainstream midday television, I can see why pointing this out would be a non-starter for both sides, regardless of how useful it might be.

  4. ubu: Compare Illinois (home of Chicago) to Michigan (home of Detroit) and California (home of Los Angeles), as well as to Texas (home of Dallas and Houston).

    Some states may be better than others (Vermont vs. Texas), some states may be worse than others (Illinois vs. Vermont), but it usually has to do with existence of large cities with a criminal underclass rather than gun laws.

  5. karrde,

    California has a lower violent crime rate than Texas as well as a much lower property crime rate than Texas. (Stats are here: )

    Michigan and Illinois have almost exactly the same violent crime rate (497.2 versus 497.0). Illinois has a slightly lower property crime rate. (Stats here: )

  6. @ubu52, the last time I checked the FBI UCRs Illinois data did not include Chicago. Chicago either didn’t send in the reports or it was in a form that was not acceptable to the FBI.

    Also, it probably is best to compare geographically adjacent political jurisdictions to avoid some of the sample bias that occurs with employment rates, cultural differences, demographics, etc. For example Maryland versus Virginia is probably better than Texas versus California. But California versus Nevada may suffer as a valid comparison because of severe population density differences.

  7. Nevada is mostly rural and it is not a border state like Texas and California are. Texas and California are also #1 and #2 in population in this country so I think the comparison is valid. (Both are also heavily hispanic.)

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