More guns = less crime, part 22

From Reason comes a report of a study about An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates. Their conclusion, unexpectedly of course, is that assault weapon bans don’t do squat, and limiting the legal ownership and carry of guns for self defense (or, presumably, other purposes) increases crime rates. I’m sure we are all shocked that enforcing and encouraging defensive passivity and defenselessness encourages criminals, but there you have it.


10 thoughts on “More guns = less crime, part 22

  1. As much as “more guns equals less crime” has more evidence in favor of it than “more guns equals more crime”, I think we should be careful of concluding that correlation equals causation.

    So I’m going to write a heresy here, and say that I don’t think that more guns (in the hands of non-criminals) necessarily means less crime, although you would have a good argument from the point of view of changing the incentives and risk/reward equation for your average criminal of low cunning.

    What I mean to say is “more gun control equals more crime”, but that isn’t the whole of it. Gun control is only one form of the wishful thinking that contributes to a tapestry of wishful thinking concerning governance that creates the environment where crime can flourish and the government actors are either incapable of combating it, or accept it as part of their governing scheme.

    It’s understandable how someone who hasn’t thought very hard about the issues of crime would think gun control, or knife control, or lockpick control, or drug/alcohol prohibition, would have an effect on crime. It takes effort to actually think about things, and most will not until they have a personal stake in the matter.

    The dividing line comes with the next thought. If you follow from there to “How’s that going to work in the real world?” you pretty quickly realize that the net result will be a worse situation.

    If the next thought is, to paraphrase and strip the non-functional concepts, “…and that will work because I care about the problem and I’m a good person!”, complete with all the endorphins the exclamation point would imply, and we have a narcissistic do-gooder that would happily starve the Kulaks in order that the glorious Five Year Plan would succeed.

    I’m not going to set aside those whose moral calculus includes supporting the ban or prohibition or whatever so that they can create a situation advantageous to themselves. I’m thinking of the trafficker whose livelihood depends on a prohibition to make an profitable black market. Alcohol, drugs, guns, foie gras, tobacco, doesn’t matter. I’m thinking of the business owner that needs illegal aliens that can’t go to the police to report unsafe conditions or abuse. I’m thinking of the Los Angeles politician that needs illegal aliens’ support, and he ensures that support because he makes sure that local enforcement of immigration law is ineffective, whereas his opponent would enforce that law. His party’s calculus would include publicly supporting ‘legalization’, but always coming up one or two votes short. I’m thinking of the Chicago alderman candidate that goes before a panel of gang leaders to get their support for his candidacy.

    The exploiter can count on the support of the narcissist, while the pragmatist picks up and moves.

    So, gun control, under control of the exploiter and the support of the narcissist, is not the only factor contributing to more crime. It’s the lenient enforcement of malum per se laws while malum prohibitum laws are super-criminalized. It’s policies that destroy families, then follow it up with a rotating door parole policy because there’s not enough jail space. It’s effusive welfare schemes while the tax roles are shrinking. It’s health care for all, under government control, when any fool can see that’s just a plan for government control of your continued living. It’s every plan of good intentions that is going to turn things around any time now, but never does, because no government program ever has ever eliminated its own reason for being. Once you have a government agency devoted to a problem, you’re assured of having that problem forever, because you can (maybe) cut the problem in half with (at least) twice as much funding, following Xeno’s Paradox into bankruptcy.

    • As much as “more guns equals less crime” has more evidence in favor of it than “more guns equals more crime”, I think we should be careful of concluding that correlation equals causation.

      OTOH, absence of correlation is a pretty good indicator of absence of causation….

      • And a NEGATIVE correlation (when other variable are corrected for) absolutely indicates absense of causation, and is considered strong evidence of the opposite causation (when there is a binary choice).

        Such as the case with the “Less guns = less crimes” issue; when corrected for other variables, there is a NEGATIVE (albeit slight, but still statistically significant) correlation for that statement.

        Accounting for demography, other laws, etc., it is VERY reliable to say that when comparing two populations or locations that are otherwise similar except for legal gun availability: “Where guns are legally and actually* less available for protection, there is more more confrontational crime and more violent crime. Where guns are legally and actually more available for protection, there is less confrontational crime and less violent crime. Total crime rates _may_ be similar, with crime rates skewing towards non-confrontational property crimes in higher gun availability scenarios.

        * All the “least restrictive” gun laws in the world are for nought if guns are less available due to supply or affordability. Likewise, laws that have zero restriction on gun acquisition and ownership, but require guns to be disassembled and locked up are more restrictive than laws that do not restrict carry of ready, loaded weapons by the law abiding, but severely restrict the types one can legally acquire and possess. The breaktop .38S&W in your pocket does more good when you’re being mugged than the DeathBlaster2000 with laser sight in the safe, obviously.

  2. The most basic argument is that violating or even infringing on an inherent, God-given right is immoral and therefore wrong, and that governments therefore have no right or authority to do so. The argument enshrined in the second amendment is both practical/moral (the security of a free state, where a free state is a moral ideal) and a moral one (THE RIGHT [pre existing] shall not be infringed).

    Note that there is no hint at a crime statistic threshold, beyond which THE right MAY be infringed (that’s Tam’s “no matter if every other gun owner on the planet attempted to murder someone last night; I didn’t, so leave me alone”). Therefore the statistical arguments are at best ancillary, to be used in support of the moral argument.

    The idea that power, including deadly force, should reside in the People at large (in the individual) is still a foreign concept to most people. Public education, which functions in the authoritarian mode, comes to mind.

    Your statistical arguments have another, possibly most important value, in that they may be used as supporting evidence at the sentencing hearings for those who infringe, or seek to infringe, or otherwise seek to chill under color of law or with the power or influence of office, the exercise of an enumerated right. It is illegal to attempt to discourage the exercise of a constitutionally protected right, but to actually succeed in reducing the exercise of that right, and actually have such reduction result in an increase in crime or in death, is subject to severe punishment including the death penalty (see 18 USC 242).

  3. As far as statistics are concerned with the right to keep and bear arms; contrary to what the authoritarians would like us to believe, it is obviously more important to have easy and immediate access to the most effective fighting weapons at those times and places where crime rates are highest.

    There should never be any infringements, but if statistics are to be used as a means of determining levels of infringement, then surely a high crime rate calls for less infringement.

    That anyone would fall for the trick that says, “You live in a high crime neighborhood, and so therefore we must take away your best means of defense” is astonishing. It’s exactly like calling for the removal of fire extinguishers at times of high fire danger, etc.

  4. I talk to people who are skeptical of gun control causing more crime by disarming good guys and reducing a deterrent on bad guys. I tell them that there is also another way that gun control causes more crime:

    Suppose someone is diagnosed with cancer, and chemo and radiation are prescribed. Not wanting to endure that, the patient instead visits Madame Marie’s House of Voodoo and Madame Marie puts a curse on the tumor. The patient gets worse.

    Gun control causes more crime in the same manner. Those who enact it believe they are doing something about the problem and thus feel less pressure to take more difficult but more effective measures. They instead place their faith in an ineffective remedy — and so crime increases.

    • That’s an interesting suggestion. Just keep in mind that your cancer patient wasn’t FORCED into Madame Marie’s House of Voodoo. To be accurate your analogy needs the element of force.

      It’s one thing to play around with your own life, make your own choices, and take responsibility for the consequences of your choices, but that’s NOT what we’re talking when politicians and their conspirators in the police departments attempt to violate your right to choose.

      So you need a man with a gun, forcing your cancer patient into the House of Voodoo.

      • And that man with that gun has a government uniform, a nice salary with benefits and a pension, and a badge. He calls himself a “Public Servant” and expects us to look up to him and thank him for his “sacrifice”.

        There’s your analogy, Mr. Jay.

      • Lyle — you’re missing the grammatical subject of the analogy.

        The subject isn’t the crime victim made helpless by antigun policies — it is the policy maker (i.e., voters and politicians). They (by and large) don’t live in the high crime areas, and are very unlikely to EVER be a victim of crime violence.

        Now that they have made policies that they feel will fix the problems of crime violence, they don’t bother taking actions that would be EFFECTIVE in reducing crime violence.

        The fact that Ice-Dog and Ray-Ray can more easily victimize an unarmed Grandma in a bad neighborhood is irrelevant to the voting antirights crowd, they don’t live in Grandma’s neighborhood. And since they have already “done good” by taking Grandma’s gun away, they can ignore looking at, say, why Ice Dopg and Ray-Ray are still walking around and breathing free air after having a list of prior convictions you could wallpaper a bedroom with.

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