Quote of the day—Daniel D. Polsby

Dominating a transaction simply means getting what one wants without being hurt. Where people differ is in how likely it is that they will be involved in a situation in which a gun will be valuable. Someone who intends to engage in a transaction involving a gun—a criminal, for example—is obviously in the best possible position to predict that likelihood. Criminals should therefore be willing to pay more for a weapon than most other people would. Professors, politicians, and newspaper editors are, as a group, at very low risk of being involved in such transactions, and they thus systematically underrate the value of defensive handguns. (Correlative, perhaps, is their uncritical readiness to accept studies that debunk the utility of firearms for self-defense.) The class of people we wish to deprive of guns, then, is the very class with the most inelastic demand for them—criminals—whereas the people most likely to comply with gun control laws don’t value guns in the first place.

Daniel D. Polsby
March 1994
The False Promise of Gun Control
[It’s somewhat remarkable that this extremely well done article, critical of gun control, appeared in The Atlantic in 1994.

This was a time when gun control advocates were on a roll. The evening news would give crime reports with an icon of a gun on the screen even when the crimes being reported did not involve a firearm. The message being screamed by the media and politicians was that gun control was the ultimate crime control. Yet a voice of reason made it through.—Joe]