Rebutting the ‘Criminals don’t follow laws’ and ‘Gun Control only hurts law-abiding citizens’ argument against gun control

Posted On August 2, 2013
August 02, 2013

Myth

“The bad guys, the criminals, don’t follow laws and restricting more of America’s freedoms when it comes to self-defense isn’t the answer.” – Sarah Palin

“…The challenge with gun laws is that by definition criminals do not follow the law. For example, Connecticut’s gun laws, some of the strictest in the nation, were not able to prevent this atrocity.” – Alex Conant, Marco Rubio’s spokesman

“Thus the classic slogan — when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns — isn’t only a word play; it is a fundamental insight into the folly of gun prohibition. Such an approach means the bad guys are well-armed while law-abiding citizens are not.” – Jeffrey Miron

“Gun bans don’t disarm criminals, gun bans attract them.” – Walter Mondale

Overview of Pro-Gun Arguments

  • The main point of this argument is that criminals do not follow laws; therefore laws restricting gun ownership and types of guns would only hurt those who follow them.
  • This implies that areas with more restrictive gun laws should have more crime given that an armed populace deters criminals.
  • This notion is connected with the idea of “gun-free” zones and that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Reality

(Injury Prevention 2004;10:280–286. doi: 10.1136/ip.2003.004150)

(Health Affairs 2007; 26, no.2, doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.26.2.575)

What do these two graphs have in common? They both show sharp decreases in the observed rates of firearm deaths immediately following the implementation of gun reform in two countries.  There is no way to reconcile this stark empirical reality with the argument that “criminals don’t obey laws.”  Clearly, some criminals obey some laws some of the time; this is the nature of incentive explicit in law enforcement. Even at the margins, this is valuable.    Indeed, J. Ludwig empirically validated this effect in his scholarly paper about gun control and violence: “even imperfect efforts to restrict gun availability to high-risk people can reduce illegal gun use on the margin, even if these regulatory barriers can be overcome in a number of ways by those who are determined to obtain a gun.”

We have one of two mechanisms to explain the decrease in violent crime following gun control: either potential criminals are deterred from crime, or existing criminals are deterred from crime. Either way, you have gun reform that has produced meaningful, substantive improvements in the metrics society should care about. If it’s not clear that laws have the capacity to induce changes in behavior, I won’t be able to improve upon that position.

The Lawbreaker Paradox

The statement that “criminals do not follow laws” is true for the same reason it’s completely irrelevant to a substantive discussion on gun reform– it’s a tautology. It says exactly nothing about the proper course of action a society should take to improve social outcomes.

Definitionally, criminals don’t follow laws. This is no more a meaningful statement about social realities than the observation that dogs bark or cats meow, so it is baffling that gun proponents view this as an acceptable rejoinder in political debate.

Though it may seem like such an obvious point may not need mentioning, it has become increasingly popular among those who oppose gun reform to argue that such legislation only hurts law-abiding citizens, making it more difficult for innocent civilians to get the guns they need to defend themselves. Criminals, after all, don’t obey the laws that burden law-abiding citizens. I will term this position the lawbreaker paradox—a paradox because it axiomatically reinforces the idea that laws, though created with the intent to improve social outcomes, hurt the people who follow them.

The paradox is as follows:

  1. Law-abiding citizens obey the law
  2. Criminals are lawbreakers, and thus do not obey the law
  3. Laws impose restrictions on the behavior of only those that follow them
  4. Laws, therefore, only hurt law-abiding citizens

Without exception, every law could be refuted with the lawbreaker’s paradox, and societies would swiftly descend into anarchy if it weren’t for reasonable policymakers. Laws against rape, murder, and theft, for example, are rarely followed by rapists, murderers, and thieves, but the fact that such people exist in society is the reason behind such regulations in the first place.

Among gun advocates forwarding this line of argument, there seems to be a serious lapse in moral intuition that privileges expediency over human lives. To think that the minor inconvenience of gun reforms such as background checks, waiting periods, and assault weapon bans is more burdensome than the death of thousands of innocent civilians each year (which such reforms seek to redress) reflects a miscalibrated sense of what matters in the world. After all, when gun advocates say that they are being ‘hurt’ by gun control, let’s be clear what the actual implication of this statement is: my right to not be bothered in the least by regulation outweighs the right to life for thousands of innocents who die in the absence of said regulation. Not only can such gun reforms reduce the number of homicides, but there is very little controversy about the tremendous effect they would have at reducing suicides. So, the belief that laws aimed at saving lives “hurt law-abiding citizens” is completely incompatible with any sane definition of right and wrong.

Why have any laws at all?

Not only is this conservative sound-bite irrelevant to gun reform discussion, it’s also socially untenable and dangerously naïve. If we were to accept that a law is justified only if it has a 100% compliance rate (this is, necessarily, the logical extension of any position that renounces legal reform under the pretense that ‘criminals don’t obey laws’), then we could systematically dismantle every existing law until nothing remains but the state of nature. Laws against murder, rape, and theft would be abandoned out of fear that criminals wouldn’t follow them, and that they would thus hurt law-abiding citizens who ostensibly murder, rape, and thieve out of self-defense. Taking this argument to its logical endpoint, even the most hardened of libertarians would be reticent to accept a world where property crimes can be used to abrogate property rights.

Not to mention that there are already plenty of weapons that have been banned which criminals aren’t using– RPGs, machine guns, anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, and so on. Just because something is illegal doesn’t mean that criminals automatically have a desire to use said weapons, or have access to a black market that could supply them.

Argumentum ad nauseam on why laws are good

I can think of at least three reasons why law and law enforcement is valuable:

A)     It allows people who have been wronged by criminals to seek retribution in the criminal justice system. A lack of coherent laws governing gun control would make all criminal justice disputations arbitrary.

B)      The punishment associated with breaking said laws forces criminals to internalize a cost to their actions. This cost will not deter the most hardened of criminals, but it will, unequivocally, deter a reasonable subset of potential criminals who resolve that the costs of jail time are not worth the benefit of their crime-to-be.

C)      The existence of laws influence social norms governing appropriate behavior.  Evidence from social psychology and evolutionary psychology, show that one’s evaluation of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are significantly determined by the views of authority figures (see Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment).  Not only can morality be legislated, but it seems easier to get humans to do immoral behavior given a government imprimatur. Research shows that private racist views intensify or diminish with respect to laws that epitomize those views. In the same sense, then, America’s gun laws contribute to a culture in which guns are valued as power symbols, totems of masculinity that prime aggressive, violent behavior. As Alec Wilkinson writes in The New Yorker, “It’s about having possession of a tool that makes a person feel powerful nearly to the point of exaltation… To people who support owning guns, the issue is treated as a right and a matter of democracy, not a complicated subject also involving elements of personal mental health. I am not saying that people who love guns inordinately are unstable; I am saying that a gun is the most powerful device there is to accessorize the ego.”

Building our better selves into law

But the entire argument misses the point, because the purpose of laws is to describe the most ideal set of rules and conditions that, when followed, produce socially optimal outcomes. Punishment in the form of fines, jail time, and social opprobrium functions as the enforcement mechanism behind these laws. So, it should be clear that the point of law has nothing to do with its adherence; that’s the point of law enforcement.

I’m reminded of a Sam Harris quote in the Moral Landscape:

“Clearly, one of the great tasks of civilization is to create cultural mechanisms that protect us from the moment-to-moment failures of our ethical intuitions. We must build our better selves into our laws, tax codes, and institutions…we must build a structure that reflects and enforces our deeper understanding of human well-being.”

Laws, therefore, are about ‘building our better selves’ into the social institutions that govern behavior. We endorse laws like gun reform because we ought to live in a society where people’s ethical intuitions and norms for communication are informed by diplomacy and compassion, rather than deterrence through mutually assured destruction.  We ought not live in a world where benign interactions are securitized through prejudice, stereotype, and threat construction because of constant fear that our concealed carrying neighbor has malignant intentions. We ought not live in a world where deliberation is transformed into Mexican standoffs, and our sense of security is inextricably bound up in how big our guns are and how fast they can shoot.

 

About Evan DeFilippis

Evan DeFilippis graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a triple degree in Economics, Political Science, and Psychology. He was the University of Oklahoma's valedictorian in 2012, he is one of the nation's few Harry S. Truman Scholars based on his commitment to public service, and is a David L. Boren Critical Languages scholar, fluent in Swahili, and dedicated to a career in African development. He worked on multiple poverty-reduction projects in Nairobi, Kenya, doing big data analysis for Innovations for Poverty Action. He will be attending Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School in the Fall.

115 Comments

  1. Charles O. Hendrix Jr.   August 8, 2013 4:47 pm / Reply

    Sir Francis Bacon summed up this phenomena of denial quite well.

    The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate.

    Sir Francis Bacon, Book l. Aphorism 46.

    This sums up those opposed to sensible legislation to reduce gun violence and the ready availability of guns in the United States. No amount of information will sway them or allow them the ability to grasp and accept that information.

    • jeremiah   July 5, 2015 10:04 pm / Reply

      This also applies to those who support gun control. By posting this you are proving your point, but not in the way you intended.

      • Jack   June 16, 2016 6:05 am / Reply

        Well said Jeremiah. I too thought the same thing.

  2. Pingback: Debunking the “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People” Myth | Armed With Reason

  3. Cameron   December 5, 2013 8:08 am / Reply

    To pose a question, what would you suggest happen? Let’s say gun control gets passed and the law abiding citizens give up their guns because that’s what we do? What would you suggest for the criminals that still have their guns? What do you think is going to happen at that point?

    • Anonymous   October 6, 2014 2:51 pm / Reply

      Your comment is throwing up a straw man, and you know it. Nobody is suggesting that law abiding citizens “give up” their guns (is this the best that the so-called “gun rights” people can do?). Through lax or loosely enforced gun laws and poor securing of firearms by law-abiders criminals have acquired guns. The idea is to make sure that, from here on out, it is harder for those who can not or should not have firearms to get them. It’s not going to stop everyone, but it will slow and stop some of them. It’s a multi-faceted problem that needs to be addressed on many fronts.

      • Dustin   January 17, 2015 12:55 am / Reply

        Well, it is a rational question, due to the fact that governments constantly try to completely ban firearms, and if the population does not support it, the government tries to create loopholes in laws where they can criminalize whomever they want by simply saying that there is suspicion of criminal activity, or that a person(s) is breaking some other law that does not produce a victim, and then are able, by law, to confiscate their guns. (this same concept happens with other laws as well to criminalize people) This actually happens frequently in the U.S.
        So, when people say that “The government isn’t trying to take your guns.” they most likely do not understand the legislation the government has created and are ignorant to the immoral acts the government has committed.
        So, in some aspects it may be a straw man, but if the question was made in the same aspect as my explanation, then it is not a straw man.
        But, that doesn’t even get into the aspect that everything the government does is in some way immoral. If you want to look into that topic, you can look up Larken Rose on YouTube. He makes very rational arguments about it.

        • fiddlestix   January 29, 2015 3:01 pm / Reply

          that is fundamentally a myth.
          government does not constantly try to completely ban firearms and punish those that oppose it.

          in a democratic society government is a reflection of the will of the people. this is basic civics. government is not inherently immoral. and if a people wants to collectively decide to give up guns that is their right. and history has shown that societies that have done have received a benefit in the form of far fewer homicides and suicides, which emphatically and completely destroys the myth that “more guns = more safety”.

          • Dustin   February 1, 2015 2:46 pm

            You actually have gotten some things incorrect.
            1: Democracy is supposed to function the way you said, but simply does not due to the nature of government in which it grants power, thus attracting the corruptible and creating an instrument of power of which immoral people are able to use to further their own agenda.
            2:Government is in fact inherently immoral, also due to the nature that it is founded on. Government, as many know, uses the threat of violence to enforce their laws/legislation, thus even if the law was that everyone has to eat a certain amount of vegetables, and if someone does not, the government will use law enforcement officers to enforce that law. But, if there was no one to enforce the laws, very few would obey the laws. Thus, even if the law is immoral or not, the foundation of government is in a constant state.
            3: The information you speak of has in fact been proven wrong in history, specifically that when people are not allowed to have firearms, the government will typically be able to do as they please and have in some cases caused the worst genocides (Known as democide) in history (Examples: Mao Zedong’s communist China, Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Stalin’s communist Russia, etc.) Which some may argue it was just because they were communist and socialist, but if you look at the state of the U.S. government, the British government, and many other government, which have many monetary socialist ideologies in place (redistribution of wealth is one).
            Also, to add onto that, all throughout history, even before the time of firearms, government’s confiscated weaponry and committed horrid atrocities.
            Also, having a firearm is crucial, even if it does not stop someone from trying to commit a crime, but will most likely stop them from succeeding to commit said crime (like murder and theft for example), which government statistics typically include a person engaging in the crime and not the person being stopped with a firearm or any other weapon.
            I for one am anarchist and a full supporter for self defense for these reasons.
            I highly suggest looking up Larken Rose or Christopher Cantwell on YouTube for more information on anarchism and the immorality of government.
            I also suggest reading this article and watching the video to see a real home intrusion to see why having a firearm is a very good idea. You must think of it in terms as yourself of what would be best for you, and then apply that to what other people may feel.
            http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/19/man-relives-bone-chilling-moment-when-a-neighbor-kicked-through-his-door-and-came-at-him-with-a-machete-it-was-like-the-shining/

          • Amanda B   June 14, 2016 11:23 pm

            As an “anarchist” why are you interested in engaging this debate at all? You fundamentally disagree with our nation’s form of government, and the laws they create.

            In all honestly, I’m much more afraid of people like you than any criminal boogeyman or radicalized Muslim. And I’m not alone.

        • Mark Remy   April 22, 2015 10:29 pm / Reply

          “gG)overnments constantly try to completely ban firearms”? Seriously?

          • jdberger   December 8, 2015 11:14 pm

            Well, the first chart shows Australia. They had a “mandatory buyback” of a whole swath of firearm categories and currently prohibit their sale. The “mandatory” part sounds like a ban to me….

            Current proposals in the US include a “ban” on “assault weapons”, a “ban” on certain types of common rifle ammunition, a “ban” on “semi-automatics”, etc. Since most of these proposals actually include the word “ban” I think it’s fair to take them at their word.

          • Saint Stephen   January 6, 2016 11:46 pm

            You know how it is with conservatives, Mark – everything to them is either black or white. Either you have completely unrestricted access to any weapon you want, or “the government wants to take away all your guns.” There’s no middle ground like, say, background checks, or not allowing mentally disturbed people to have guns, or allowing people to buy certain types of guns but not others.

        • Ken Starr   April 23, 2015 3:10 pm / Reply

          What gov is this Dustin? It certainly isn’t the U.S.

        • tsturzl   December 7, 2015 7:42 pm / Reply

          I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the government works. While some parties(given there are hundreds of actual parties) oppose guns, we also have the NRA which supports guns, and the GOP and teaparty who side with the NRA. Larken Rose is anything BUT rational. Its like you took Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones and merged them into a single mess of poorly formed ideology.

          There is not single centralized opinion, agenda, or predetermined legislation that the government holds as a single body. The government can in fact be, and has been influenced by the immoral. But also the opposite is true. Then when you come to talking about morality, morals are highly subjective and extremely arbitrary and semantic. You may see any and all gun control as immoral, but I do not. You might think gay marriage is immoral, I do not. You might think that its immoral for a man to want to become a woman and vice versa, I do not. Given these are all examples, not assumptions, but you get my point.

          There is no such thing as inherently immoral. That’s a stupid thought all together. There is nothing that is objectively immoral, there are things that may be “vastly” immoral, but its completely subjective. This is the entire purpose of political parties such as the NRA, DNC, GOP, teaparty, mothers against drunk driving, etc. You take any war and you look at both sides and they’d tell you they’re the good guy. You take any argument and you talk to each person and they’ll tell you they’re the right one and they’re the “good” one. There is not such thing as the bad guy, there are just people carrying out their own agenda, sometimes that agenda steps on a lot of toes or is simply greedy, but that does not reflect the entire system. And this is “bad” because it effects you poorly, in otherwords is disrupts your own agenda. There is no such thing as good and bad, this isn’t a comic book.

          You’re extremely close minded, and seem to follow the typical conservative mind set that what you believe is the objective morality that man should live by, but that surely isn’t true. Our government is founded and established on the freedom to pursue happiness as long as you don’t infringe anyone else’s ability to do the same. It is not found on a specific set of morals, nor does it imply any morals.

    • Tasman   January 6, 2016 11:00 pm / Reply

      It is called Policing.

      • Cameron   January 6, 2016 11:25 pm / Reply

        What is called policing?

  4. Maurice Colontonio   December 10, 2013 3:53 pm / Reply

    I’d love to see some graphs that show what happened to the violent crime rate. Of course gun deaths will go down, there are less gun in circulation, but what about rapes, murders and assaults by other means than guns, home invasions, etc. If you did a little more research, and was focused on actually being objective in your argument, you would see that in the UK and Australia, violent crime rose after guns were removed from the equation. Do a little more digging, post all the relevant information, then let it stand on it’s own. The violent crime rate in both countries is significantly higher than in the US. In the UK, it’s 8 times what we have here, and if you adjust the numbers down to show violent crime as we define it, it’s still double what we have. Check it out. Eliminate pools, and you will have less drownings. That still doesn’t make people any less stupid.

    • Charles Hendrix   April 11, 2014 10:32 pm / Reply

      @Maurice. Total hogwash. Violent crime has gone up…that depends on what the definition of “violent crime” is. In Great Britian, teling somebody you are going to kick their butt is a “violent crime”. Perhaps you should take your own advice and do some research beyond the monthly Field and Pro magazine or the monthly NRA publication.

      • Maurice   April 11, 2014 11:03 pm / Reply

        It’s you that needs to do the research. In the uk, when you adjust their crime stats to apples and apples with ours, their violent crime rates are DOUBLE what we have in the US. Those are FBI stats, not the NRA.

      • The Banana Guy (@The_Banana_Guy_)   June 12, 2016 2:39 pm / Reply

        Section 28 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 gives a basic explanation as to what is to be considered as a violent crime – as to the use of a “dangerous weapon” – of which is specified in Section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

        I’m sorry buddy, but nobody is above the law. As it seems that you yourself have not done any research also.

        Stats are made based on murder cases of which the judge decides whether the case is to be considered to be a violent crime by looking at these Acts of Parliament especially the Firearms Act 1968.

      • Dustin   January 17, 2015 1:57 am / Reply

        Those statistics in that link are very misleading and confusing at a first glace and require extreme detail comparison. It does not evidently show the difference in the size of the populations and does not show how compact they are, which definitely has an impact on crime rate. (Bigger Population = More Crimes – More Dense Population = Higher tension = More Crimes {generally speaking})
        Thus, it is not the guns of which are the problem, but rather the tension of the population, and other things like education, abuse within families, etc.
        Guns are merely a tool which is neutral. In the U.S. it is said by the FBI that hammers are used more than rifles and shotguns combined in murders, and hands and feet are actually used quite a lot in murders as well.

        • mjch gsdl   January 17, 2015 2:23 am / Reply

          I love when you guys say, “… more than rifles and shotguns”… or “it is said”… like we don’t notice you didn’t include handguns which are used about 4x as often as knifes and about 12x more than blunt objects and about 9x more than fists/feet.

          handguns: 6,371, knives (cutting objects): 1,589, Blunt Objects: 518, Personal weapons (fists, feet): 674

          … there are another 1,859 unknown firearm homicides where the type of weapon isn’t known, or classified.

          http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_11_murder_circumstances_by_weapon_2012.xls

          • Dustin   January 17, 2015 11:35 am

            Yes, that is true (supposedly), but handguns are the second most regulated firearms in the U.S., the first is full-auto firearms.
            I live in California, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the U.S. and here you must be 21 years old to legally buy a handgun and sub caliber ammunition, you must undergo a background check, you must register your firearm when bought, and all handguns cannot legally have a capacity over 10 rounds, yet handguns are everywhere, and many of them are over 10 rounds, and it seems a lot of criminals have them.
            From what I have seen, no matter the laws, people still do illegal things, many people, and are never caught.
            Also, I would just like to add, due to the recent innovations with 3D printing, it is actually becoming easier to manufacture your own firearms, which one man in Japan printed out many different handguns made of polymer before he was caught, which firearms are illegal for civilians in Japan.
            Also, just recently, someone was able to print a firearm out of metal, and supposedly it worked. I believe it was a 1911 pistol.
            So with this in mind, I think it would be safe to say firearms are never going away no matter the legislation, and it would only be rational to get your own to attempt to defend yourself, because the criminals will only keep getting more.

          • mjch gsdl   January 23, 2015 6:36 am

            supposedly? I was using your collegues source..

            Many of the laws you speak of are new, and california still borders states with fewer “gun control” laws..

            There are more than 20 states which received an F in scorecard, while california was #1. Clearly there is room for improvement.. If you disagree that these are unreasonable, we have a different definition what that word means..

            http://gunlawscorecard.org/

            http://smartgunlaws.org/tracking-state-gun-laws-2014-developments/

            Sorry, but no law works 100% of the time.. that is such a ridiculous argument.. and so the one about 3d printing making such laws obsolete anytime soon.

          • Matt M.   January 23, 2015 4:42 pm

            Yes, and which states with poppy fields or the legalization of heroin does California border? If guns were illegal all over the United States, you would have us believe that while criminals are able to get their hands on virtually everything else – including trafficked human beings, they will not be able to get their hands on guns?

            If the law’s on California’s books are reasonable, then certainly you can show me some clean statistics demonstrating that those with concealed carry licensees are MORE likely to commit crimes than those without. There is no need for any statistical sophistry.

          • mjch gsdl   January 28, 2015 4:32 pm

            Don’t try to move the goalposts, or confuse “gun control” with prohibition.. The purpose was to reduce the number of firearm deaths.. and its working. More detailed studies, however, require more time..

            http://www.msnbc.com/all/california-did-tough-gun-control-laws-cut

            This is a argeument that advocates like to bring up alot… There just aren’t any reliable, peer-reviewed studies to determine whether ccw commit more or less crime. The burden of proof is yours, and statistics alone don’t prove causation…

          • Matt M.   January 28, 2015 7:26 pm

            The purpose should be to reduce total unlawful deaths. We saw the opposite happen in Australia during and in the immediate aftermath of their 600,000+ gun buyback. Total homicides rose during the buyback, dropped, and then rose even higher.

          • mjch gsdl   January 31, 2015 1:00 pm

            First, The “gun control” laws weren’t limited to the buy back program.. Second, by saying “immediate aftermath” you are attempting to cherry-pick a data set that fits your narrative.. Yes. There was a single, one year spike in 1999. Which is tragic but statistics often fluctuate from year to year.. presently murder rate is at its lowest levels..

            Straight from the AIC (Australian Institute of Criminology)

            “…There were 14 more recorded victims of homicide than in 2009–10 however the rate remained at historically low levels at 1.2 per 100,000″

            “Since 1999, when there was a peak of 344 victims, the number of murder victims has been in decline. The 2011 figure of 244 victims represents a 29 percent decrease in the number of victims of murder compared with 1999.”

            http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/facts/2012/facts12.pdf

          • Matt M.   January 31, 2015 1:22 pm

            You apparently do not understand the proposed cause and effect relationship between guns and violence. It is not cherrypicking to only look at the relevant data. If I pull my TV’s plug out of the wall socket, I don’t wait for an extended period of time to determine if it was electricity from the wall socket that powered the TV. If I take some caffeine and I feel energetic a year later, chances are that the caffeine is not responsible.

            The fundamental argument is less guns = less crime. The explanation for this theory is that people will not, for example, switch to knives. Thus, when you take away or reduce the number of guns, we should see an immediate drop in violence as some people who would otherwise engage in acts of violence now do not do so (because they have not switched to knives and explosives).

            What you seem to propose, however, is not an explanation based on the practical cause and effect relationship, but rather some magical mystical force that takes several years to kick in. In essence, you would have us believe that it’s not the removal of guns and the disinclination to find suitable substitutes for violence. Rather, some time later, everyone wakes up one day and says “okay, I feel a little less inclined to be violent.”

          • mjch gsdl   February 2, 2015 7:30 pm

            LOL Pot, meet kettle..

            That would be like saying traffic laws and safety equipment aren’t at all responsible for motor vehicle deaths being at some of their lowest levels in 60yrs.. Even though traffic laws, like gun control, have been expanded and are, in fact, still being enforced. I said said earlier, the laws weren’t limited to the buyback program in 1996. Here is a current list of new, and expanded laws with dates:

            http://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/australia.php#Appendix

            A report from the AIC shows the number of homicides by stabbing weapons have remained unchanged since ’89-90 (before the gun buyback program). Even though I said no such thing, the proponderence of evidence suggests people didn’t find “suitable substitutes” as you implied.

            http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/tandi/401-420/tandi417.html

            (btw, these homespun anecdotes have been quite entertaining)

          • Matt M.   February 2, 2015 7:43 pm

            The fact that there were in fact additional restrictions in fact weakens your argument, assuming they were fully implemented immediately after. It would be the equivalent of traffic laws being put in place with immediate enforcement (new restrictions) and compliance (buyback).

            The increase in homicides would demand showing that we cannot hold all things equal.

          • mjch gsdl   February 2, 2015 9:45 pm

            you haven’t proven an “increase in homicides”, in fact I proven there was a steady decline following the “national firearms agreement and buyback” of 1996. I can tell from your reply you didn’t bother reading any link I provided. All the details were provided.. I deal in facts that I can see. Since you were unwilling to provide evidence, your opinions are “noted” but not accepted as fact.

            I have tried being patient and cordial but I can see I’m wasting my time trying to have an fact based debate with you. I can see its a total waste of my time.

          • Matt M.   February 2, 2015 10:22 pm

            Your frustration derives from the fact that you are telling bold faced lies. An increase in the dependent variable in the midst of a decrease in the dependent variable is the opposite of a slow and steady decline as is an increase In the dependent variable in the window of the immediate aftermath.

            That is not how a cause and effect relationship works when the proposed relationship is one of immediacy.

            Its basic philosophy of science.

          • Cameron   February 2, 2015 11:41 pm

            Yes, bold faced lies says the person who has provided no facts against the one that has. You should probably sit down and shut up at this point as you’re continually making an ass of yourself. Show us tangible REAL proof of what you speak, then you may have a leg to stand on, but at this point, your argument is invalid and dismissed just like the rest of your peers opinions. Facts make the case, not thrown around words that you use to try and sound smart.

          • Matt M.   February 2, 2015 11:48 pm

            Google image “Australia homicide rate.”

            Phone is not good at copying and pasting links. All info is there. He does not deny my statement of stats.

    • fiddlestix   January 29, 2015 3:09 pm / Reply

      I agree you should do some digging.
      And if you did that digging, you would find that what British LEO defines as a “violent crime” is far different than what the US LEO does. For example they include “simple assault”, which itself is defined differently in each nation. In the UK simple assault includes obnoxiously yelling at someone.

      Also remember that the US doesn’t have a national database or means of reporting national crime statistics. And then in addition to that remember that most crimes rely on self-reporting; ie, the police only know if a crime has been committed if someone reports it. And in the US there is a far larger “ant-LEO” bias in certain communities that results in crimes being unreported. So you have two factors that have a very heavy depressive effect on crime reporting in the US.

      Every studies that accounts for all these factors come to the same conclusions:
      -the violent crime rate in the UK is only slightly higher then the US (and nowhere near 8x)
      -the rate of death (homicide and suicide) is far higher in the US, by a more than 4:1 ratio
      -the rate of injury (non-lethal) is also far higher in the US

  5. CNS   January 16, 2014 9:07 pm / Reply

    Like most arguments in favor of gun bans or draconian gun restrictions, this one completely misses the mark: There is a huge difference between laws against harmful actions vs laws against non-harmful ones.

    Things like murder, rape, robbery, etc, etc are inherently harmful actions they we never want anyone to do under any circumstance. Those actions inherently create victims. There is no peaceful way to rape or murder someone. Those actions are always harmful and thus must be universally prohibited.

    But gun ownership is quite different. Gun ownership by itself is not harmful. That is a peaceful action that by itself does not create victims. The many different guns I own, including my AR15, have never harmed anyone. That goes for the vast majority of guns in America, and the vast majority of owners.

    Yes, guns can be used for harm, and when they are, we have laws to deal with the people who use them in this manner. The problem with gun laws is that they tend to only harm the peaceful law abiding gun owners like me, while doing nothing against gun criminals, since their actions are already prohibited by our laws against harmful behavior (rape, murder, etc).

    We don’t restrict or prohibit cars because of drunk drivers. We don’t restrict or prohibit gasoline access because of arsonists. What we keep pointing out is that it’s just as wrong to restrict or prohibit guns, and their owners, based on the actions of criminals. We don’t have a “department of pre-crime” in this nation, and for good reason. We don’t restrict people or punish them for the actions someone else has done or what they might do in the future with the tools they currently have.

    So no, we shouldn’t abolish all laws, but we should abolish and abstain from passing laws that punish people for non-violent, peaceful, non-threatening and non-coercive actions. That would include “waiting periods”, gun registration requirements, bans on so-called “assault weapons” (which are really civilian guns rarely ever used in crime), bans on carrying lawful owned concealed weapons, etc, etc.

    The fact of the matter is such laws only harm the lawful, as we’ve been saying all along. Criminals don’t care about them at all and won’t obey. All they do is make it more difficult for honest, law-abiding citizens to acquire the means of defending themselves. We’re not talking about minor inconveniences here. Many of these laws result in massive burdens and often jail sentences for well-meaning honest people who violated them by pure accident while doing something that was totally non-harmful. After all, it’s much easier to arrest an peaceful citizen who carried a gun into a place where it was prohibited without realizing it or didn’t fill out registration papers he didn’t know about then it is to arrest a hardcore violent criminal. Peaceful citizens who break the law by mistake don’t try to hide their actions, and usually come clean when they are caught. Violent criminals do not give us such consideration..

    • Evan DeFilippis   January 17, 2014 7:54 am / Reply

      A huge number of laws prohibit activity that probabilistically precedes bad impacts. Conspiracy to commit a crime, for example, isn’t “inherently harmful”, but it’s prohibited in nearly every developed country in the world. In United States v Shabani, for example, the Supreme Court determined that an “overt act” doesn’t need to be committed in order for conspiracy to be unlawful. The purchase of illegal recreational drugs, is another example. If some sort of economic transaction has a large conditional probability of producing harm, and the cost to implementing such laws prohibiting such transactions are not extravagant, then there is no reason we should not have those laws. In this case, it is superficially easy to prevent felons from getting legal access to guns, and the conditional probability of a felon committing another crime with a gun is high enough to justify background checks.

      We rebut the bulk of this commentary in the final paragraphs:
      “But the entire argument misses the point, because the purpose of laws is to describe the most ideal set of rules and conditions that, when followed, produce socially optimal outcomes.” We should therefore implement laws that minimize the likelihood of harm to societal well-being. Laws such as background checks, robust licensing regimes, lock-box requirements, and so on, have enormous potential at saving innocent lives with extremely minor inconvenience to law-abiding gun owners.

      The whole idea of getting “punished” by following laws is vacuous libertarian nonsense. Regulations are the cost of living in a society. You give up certain freedoms in exchange for access to a social and economic structure that makes your day to day life easy. If you don’t want to get “punished” by laws, move to Somalia.

      Really re-read this paragraph, because I’m confident you missed it the first time around:

      “To think that the minor inconvenience of gun reforms such as background checks, waiting periods, and assault weapon bans is more burdensome than the death of thousands of innocent civilians each year (which such reforms seek to redress) reflects a miscalibrated sense of what matters in the world. After all, when gun advocates say that they are being ‘hurt’ by gun control, let’s be clear what the actual implication of this statement is: my right to not be bothered in the least by regulation outweighs the right to life for thousands of innocents who die in the absence of said regulation. ”

      Oh no! A two-week waiting period and basic licensing procedures. How could I possibly live with them? My freedoms!!! Get over yourself.

      • Maurice Colontonio   January 17, 2014 5:03 pm / Reply

        Do your research on how many people were killed with “assault” weapons in the last few years, and then get back to us. (Here’s a hint, it’s just a few hundred, and that INCLUDES gangbangers killing each other) Also, did you know that EVERY SINGLE LEGAL gun transaction by a licensed dealer in the United States is preceded by a background check through the NICS system? Face to face transactions between buddys can never be regulated no matter what the law says, so it’s a moot point. The waiting periods are idiotic as well, it accomplishes nothing other than to further hamper and deter buyers. Until you actually man up and purchase a firearm, you will never understand the hoops you must jump through to buy a gun in places like NY, NJ, CT, etc. Interestingly enough, these places have very high crime rates, some of the highest crime in the nation is in the areas with the tightest gun regulations. You need to get over yourself, and do a little more research before you open your mouth.

        • fiddlestix   January 29, 2015 3:24 pm / Reply

          He never once stated the words “assault weapons”.
          So one has to ask, why are you even raising that straw man as a defense? Some sort of persecution complex? Or simple inability to debate rationally and factually?

      • AntiCitizenOne   January 24, 2014 4:37 am / Reply

        “Conspiracy to commit a crime” most definitely falls under the standard of “imminent lawless action.”

      • Theodore   January 17, 2015 4:06 am / Reply

        “Move to Somalia!”

        Right after you move to North Korea.

        The second amendment is the law of this land. The cold hard truth is that sonetimes more people die with greater individual freedoms and I am perfectly content with it.

        Where are you arguing for exorbiant taxes on alcohol and mandating that breathalyzers be installed in all cars? Constantly trading away liberties for freedoms is that our founders consistently argued against.

        America was founded on the notion of maximum personal liberty until said liberty causes chaos. This hasn’t happened with guns. We deal with far more commodities that cause far more deaths thsn guns, namely alcohol and smoking. Just so we can get drunk at a bar and enjoy a cigar.

        The majority of Americans do not want your draconian restrictions, Evan. Pack up and move to Britain or Australia. You’re in the wrong country.

        I will never give up my liberties. Come and take them.

        • fiddlestix   January 29, 2015 3:33 pm / Reply

          That’s no true at all.
          Background checks and waiting periods are not at draconian.
          And more than 80% of Americans support both.

          Funny you should mention Australia.You clearly know nothing about the country. Australia is the country most like the US in terms of societal mindset. Very frontier spirit, independent minded, etc. Including a large gun culture very like the US’s. Between the two of us we form a nearly perfect case study, with both experiment and control group.

          In 1994 they had a mass shooting. As a result they passed a massive gun reform law. It included background checks, waiting periods, and even included a requirement to state why you wanted to purchase a firearm if you already had one. No ones guns were seized. People aren’t barred from buying a gun (unless they are mentally ill or a criminal, obviously). There is a modest restriction on the number of guns, since you don’t really -need- dozens of them for home defense. Note that collectors still collect.

          But the result of that law has been no mass shootings since then, and a sharp decrease in homicides, far sharper than the overall trend of decreasing crime rates seen worldwide in western nations.

          Compare that to the US, which experiences a mass shooting or school shooting approximately every 10 days.

          Like I said: More than 80% of Americans support both waiting periods and background checks.

          Because they work.

          • Julie   December 5, 2015 7:47 pm

            fiddlestix, I’m not sure you know much about Australia. I am married to an Australian and have a unique perspective on the societal differences. I have been to every Australian state (I have not visited the territories- Norther Territory and ACT). Surprisingly, our cultures are VERY different- not to mention the actual geographical and population make-up of the country, itself.

            First off, Australia is an island. The US has very fluid borders with two countries. You can obviously see the disadvantage the US has with attempting to even keep guns from coming in via Mexico. The only fluidity in aussie borders are the waters, themselves. Policing illegal guns is much simpler when they already quarantine at every port, anyway. They even quarantine between Tasmania and Western Australia and the rest of the country! Meaning, they obviously have the infrastructure that is capable of that kind of policing. Meanwhile, those of us here in the US are struggling to keep living, breathing, illegals from openly and knowingly crossing from Mexico.

            Secondly, despite your assertion that they have frontier spirit, there is no “right to bear arms” written into their laws. Our relationship with guns starts with the actual formation of our country. Without the populace being already armed, a revolution would not have been possible. The founders had the revolution in mind when writing our Constitution. To this day, Australia remains part of the British commonwealth. There has been no break from their “mother” country. There has never been a general rebellion against government, nor a distrust of governmental power built into Australia’s very laws.

            The very essence of Aussie government structure is that there is more strength in the federal government than the individual states. There is an inherent “inevitability” of federal government practices that pervades society. They, having mandatory voting, don’t even vote for the Prime Minister, but rather, the political party that leads the country. It’s just so very different from our system!

            Also, the population of Australia is more highly concentrated in urban areas of the continent, rather than in the country. Their rural populace is very much a minority. However, in the United States, we remain a very rural/small town society. According to a quick search, it seems the US has 20% of population living in rural areas. Australia’s is 11%. If we were living, breathing creatures, we would most certainly not be the same animal, let alone in the same animal family.

            From being there, firsthand, being married to an Australian, and having countless Australian friends (and family), I can tell you that their culture is MUCH MORE English than it would EVER be American.

            This Aussie/American comparison of gun laws is what ticks me off the most. I’m all for finding effective solutions for keeping gun deaths down. But when you use a vastly different country as the success story for gun control, you’re being intellectually dishonest. Truth is, there is really no other country like ours- with the extensive amount of freedoms that we have. You’d be better off comparing states’ gun laws and figures while putting them in context (accounting for overall American trends, possible regional factors, etc).

            The UK comparison is even worse! They’re just a series of islands with the land mass that is more comparable to a single US state!

            We need an American solution to a specifically American problem. We either need to work within existing laws or change those laws. If gun control was voter control, instead, you better believe people would be doing everything in their power to protect the vote (which is a right specifically written into the Constitution like gun ownership). So, we need to make sure that we are not countering existing law, since we would NOT want that to happen with any other law on the books. There is no simple, clear answer, unfortunately. But puhleese stop comparing the US to Australia!

    • fiddlestix   January 29, 2015 3:22 pm / Reply

      It’s like you didn’t even read the article, and then made the exact same claims that the article debunked.

      The point of the article was to present data, scientific evidence, that shows that gun ownership in fact IS HARMFUL when the whole of society is looked at. You individually may be the perfect gun owner. But enough of your fellows are not, such that society has a whole can be scientifically shown and proven to be harmed by gun ownership. Hence the desire to create laws that will prevent those people from easily obtaining a weapon.

      Not draconian gun seizing, but backgrounds checks for mental illness, criminal activity, etc. Waiting periods to eliminate crimes in the heat of the moment such as domestic violence. These sorts of laws can be shown and proven to reduce rates of homicide and suicide.

      And no we don’t ban people from having cars. But we do make them pass a driving test, drive sober, obey traffic laws, and otherwise prove they aren’t a danger to society when operating a vehicle. Doing the same for guns is completely reasonable.

      Your other arguments are completely specious and ignorant. They don’t pass gun laws because it’s easier to arrest a citizen than a criminal. That is idiotic and shows that you believe government simply has a desire to arrest people, with is absurd.

      And passing laws isn’t about whether or not people obey. That’s the exact argument the article makes, which you ignored. Obedience is the task of law enforcement, not law creation. The creation of laws is simply the act of a society listing out what it thinks is acceptable behavior. There is no distinction, though you try to make one, between any laws when trying to apply the law breakers paradox as a reason to enact a law.

      • CNS   January 29, 2015 10:22 pm / Reply

        You still don’t get it. Gun ownership itself is not harmful, in any way, shape or form. Guns don’t cause death or crime any more then gasoline causes arson or crowbars cause burglary. Only certain acts with guns are harmful: assault, murder, negligence, or suicide. The mere act of owning a gun doesn’t cause any of those things. Those are caused by actions humans take. We hold humans responsible for the actions they take, not their tools or the tools owned by others.. Punishing the rest of society for the actions of others is neither logical nor moral.

        Waiting periods have never been shown to effect any type of criminal activity. All they do is prevent a peaceful, lawful act from taking place in less then an arbitrary random amount of time. The question is this: Is the act of making a lawful purchase of a firearm in less then a randomly decided time frame so inherently harmful that it should be punished with fines or imprisonment? The obvious answer is no: The act of making a lawful purchase of a firearm as fast as the purchase can be lawfully processed is not harmful at all. Thus it should not be prohibited.

        The fact of the matter is that honest harmless citizens get arrested for breaking gun laws by accident all the time. There was a recent case in New Jersey where a woman was arrested for having a concealed handgun, even though she had a CCW permit. She didn’t know her permit wasn’t recognized in New Jersey. For this honest mistake, she faced the prospect of doing hard prison time. It was only after public outcry that the charges were reduced and she got off with no time in prison.

        How did the New Jersey cops find out she was carrying a gun? Because she told a cop who pulled her over! If she was a criminal intentionally breaking the law and intending to harm someone, she never would have told the officer, and she never would have gotten caught. That’s my point. Gun laws often prove far more devastating to honest peaceful people who make mistakes then they do to real criminals.

        The purpose of laws is to discourage certain acts by punishing the people we catch committing them. As such, we should make sure that laws only prohibit acts that are actually harmful or at least threaten to be harmful, thus making the person carrying out the act worthy of punishment. Under this standard, it’s clear many gun laws fall short and should be repealed or not passed.

    • tvanderm   February 27, 2016 6:22 pm / Reply

      “We don’t restrict or prohibit cars because of drunk drivers. We don’t restrict or prohibit gasoline access because of arsonists. What we keep pointing out is that it’s just as wrong to restrict or prohibit guns, and their owners, based on the actions of criminals. We don’t have a ‘department of pre-crime’ in this nation, and for good reason. We don’t restrict people or punish them for the actions someone else has done or what they might do in the future with the tools they currently have.”

      Here’s the thing: NO ONE is talking about banning guns. Even in many other 1st world countries, where, yes, many types of firearms are banned for private ownership, guns are still legal, even if only limited to a shotgun or hunting rifle.

      Sure, we don’t ban cars because of drunk drivers. But we do require that everyone takes a state-mandated class on learning how to drive and/or demonstrate proper knowledge of driving a vehicle. You must be licensed to drive one. You must not be LEGALLY BLIND. You are required to have your car registered & inspected annually. You must have insurance if you drive it on public roads (which is basically 99% of all roads out there). If you show enough incompetence while driving and/or drunk drive and/or commit a crime with a vehicle, you will have your legal right to drive taken away: permanently or temporarily (usually temporary).

      So why can’t we, at a minimum, regulate guns like cars?

      Oh btw, I don’t care if there is nothing in the Constitution guaranteeing a right to have a car.

      Within the US, NO ONE, of ANY prominence, is proposing or even actively trying anything near the scale as Japan, Australia, the UK…etc (that list can go on and on and on). But what is wrong with wanting thorough background checks on all sales and transfers? To have them registered, etc?

  6. CNS   January 17, 2014 11:40 pm / Reply

    Yes there are laws against consensual acts that are not harmful to others, such as laws against drugs and prostitution, and we’ve seen how destructive and counterproductive those laws are. Many people have made good points that those laws cause more victims then they help, but that’s a point for a different topic. Laws against drugs are not a good example you want to hold up in regard to laws against acts that are not harmful to others. On the contrary, they make my case for me. Laws against conspiracy to commit a crime are different because they punish an act intended to cause something harful to others. The same cannot be said about most gun laws.

    Your final paragraph is just as invalid as the rest of your posting. Licensing, lock-box requirements, waiting periods, and so forth do not save lives, but they do harm lives because they give people fines and jail sentences for non-violent, non-harmful behavior. Laws that result in the use of force against peaceful non-threatening people should be highly suspect. They are also virtually impossible to enforce without violating rights, because these actions do not involve victims that come forward to file a report. As a result, the authorities have to get deepley involved in citizens’ lives in order to see if the laws are being violated. For example, how can a “safe storage” law be enforced without going into someone’s home to check? Again, we’ve seen the same problem with drug laws, and the results are quite ugly. They often involve midnight raids against harmless people. Sometimes the wrong house gets raided. Sometimes non-violent people die

    Whether or not we can live with licensing requirements and other intrusive gun laws is beside the point. The issue is whether or not we should, and whether or not we should punish people who have harmed no one. A fine or a jail sentence is not an “inconvinience”. It’s a serious life-impacting thing, and should only be used against harmful people who did something destructive. But with gun laws, fines and jail sentences are routinely handed out to people who simply made honest mistakes. Look at this case:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/18/traveling-mans-gun-arrest-appealed-supreme-court/

    This man harmed no one. He had no intent to violate the law. But his honest mistake that you or I could have just as easily made landed him in jail.

    Or how about this man, a veteran who will have a criminal conviction on his record for the rest of his life just because he mistakenly left a few bullets in his backpack. He did not harm anyone, nor did he intend to do so, but gun laws still resulted in a major impact to his life and livelyhood. This was not a mere “inconvenience”.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/guns/2012/jul/1/miller-dc-arrests-vet-arrested-unregistered-ammuni/

    This is usually the result of gun laws you champion. They don’t have anything to do with violent criminals, whose actions are already illegal, but they do harm honest well meaning peaceful citizens who simply made a mistake. Are these the type of men we should be using force against?

  7. AntiCitizenOne   January 24, 2014 4:18 am / Reply

    Never mind the fact that “assault weapons” or semi-automatic rifles have been available to the general public since the 1930s – and only NOW are we seeing a huge spike in spree killings. Something else is at play here.

    Where on earth did you get any evidence that a waiting period of all things supposedly makes a difference, when a judge in California struck down that very same rule?

    The only thing that would make even REMOTE sense coming from you is that you have to go through LEO-level firearms training BEFORE you even get a gun – LEO-level training PAID for by the state. At least no one will be sitting around on their hands doing nothing waiting for a certain number of days to be up.

    And in the end, what’s stopping you from making the two-week waiting period three weeks, then four, then ten, then months?

  8. AntiCitizenOne   January 24, 2014 4:21 am / Reply

    Assault weapons – if they’re good enough for police – they’re good enough for civilians, too – as the criminals they target are the same criminals that target us.

    High cap mags?

    Think about this, seriously.

    30+ round magazines are needed as they can give the user of a semi-automatic weapon more chances to hit the CNS (brain, spinal cord) to stop an assailant on the spot, right there and then. Hitting the CNS will drop someone as they will lose a significant amount or all of their motor function. Low perfusion from hitting center mass (which you are normally trained to do) takes a very long time to take its effect on the body and the assailant still has the ability to continue their assault during this time period.

    When you are reloading your weapon you are taught to go behind cover in order to reload. This also means that you may lose sight of your assailant(s) and the possibility increases that you could be ambushed by them.

    Being forced to reload more often does not help you at all when you are faced with multiple assailants as well. Obviously it takes less time to pull a trigger than it does to reload.

    With gun owners gravitating towards ammunition designed for less penetration of walls, you’re essentially fighting with under-powered ammo that will have less ballistic effect on human tissue. If you’re relying on the pain of a GSW to stop an assailant (and a determined enough/drugged up assailant may be able to withstand the pain), your “safer” bullets will not be as effective as standard issue hollowpoints or FMJ and you will need more of your “safer” bullets to have the same ballistic impact as other types of bullets.

    —————————————————————————————————

    “Oh, but if you force the mass murderer to reload more often there will be more chances to tackle him/her.”

    To be blunt – the gunman is only facing in one direction whenever they are aiming. You could have tackled him even when they’re not looking in your direction. Magazine change or not, doesn’t make a difference.

    “So then why do you even need a gun to stop an active shooter?”

    If you’re the only one tackling the gunman be prepared if they are able to fight you off and get you off of them – once they’ve fought you off, unfortunately, you’re in a perfect position to be executed by them at near point blank range. A handgun (and some short barreled rifles) can be fired at especially close ranges (see “fire from retention”) to deliver maximum ballistic force to significantly reduce their physiological reserve to fight back moreso than fists or an edged weapon will.. Although an edged weapon will do just as well, if you don’t lose control of it.

    And in that case, why do you even call cops if you think “one does not need guns to stop a spree killer?” You know they have guns, correct? Would you want a plainclothes/off duty officer sitting in the crowd when that terrible day occurs?

  9. Al Young   March 13, 2014 12:58 am / Reply

    It’s the typical red herring argument. Of course if you reduce guns, the number of gun deaths is reduced. That’s not the issue, the issue is whether homicide is reduced. If all the gun deaths were reduced but the overall homicide rate has increased – what have you achieved for society?

    Fact is, even your graph shows a downward trend in gun deaths prior to 1996. Australia likes to brag about no gun massacres since 1996 – well NZ can brag that too, and semi-automatic rifles are allowed in NZ. In fact if you compare homicide rates between NZ and Australia, they are statistically equal. How do you explain that?

    • fiddlestix   January 29, 2015 3:44 pm / Reply

      You seem to be under the impressions that guns are banned in Australia.

      They are not.

      Of all the western nations in the world, Australia is the most like the US in terms of gun culture, gun ownership rates, and general societal attitudes (independent frontier spirit, etc).

      As for homicide: yes it is reduced.

      That’s entirely the point: The US has more guns and fewer laws than any other western nation. And our gun crime rate, homicide rates, and suicidies rates, are far higher than every other developed nation. And even some undeveloped nations. That’s the point. If “more guns = more safety” were true, we would see the opposite. But it’s not, and we don’t.

      You also seem to believe that NZ has dramatically different gun laws than Australia (or no gun laws).

      They don’t.

      Quote:
      “Except under supervision of a licence holder, owning or using firearms requires a firearms licence from the police. The licence is normally issued, under the conditions that the applicant has secure storage for firearms, attends a safety program administered by the Mountain Safety Council and passes a written safety test. The police will also interview the applicant and two referees (one must be a close relative and the other not related) to determine whether the applicant is “fit and proper” to have a firearm. The applicant’s residence is also visited to check that they have appropriate storage for firearms and ammunition. Having criminal associations or a history of domestic violence almost always leads to a licence being declined.”

      So in fact much of what NZ does is precisely what many other countries do, and what we propose for the US as well: Owners are licensed, background is checked, and there are requirements for proper storage and passing a safety education program.

      • Matt M.   January 29, 2015 4:22 pm / Reply

        “But the result of that law has been no mass shootings since then, and a sharp decrease in homicides, far sharper than the overall trend of decreasing crime rates seen worldwide in western nations.”

        No. During the gun buyback, in which 600,000 guns were being taken out of the hands of citizens, the homicide rate rose. Sure, it dropped slightly the year after only to again shoot up higher than the pre buyback level.

        The relationship between guns and violence is one of immediacy. Pull the plug out of the wall, the tv turns off. Take the guns away, people stop killing each other. The Australia case shows the opposite of what you claim. We should care little about what happened in Australia after the immediate aftermath.

  10. Al Young   March 13, 2014 1:00 am / Reply

    I suggest you chew on this research paper instead of picking and choosing statistics to present a one-sided argument:
    http://www.ssaa.org.au/capital-news/2008/2008-09-04_melbourne-uni-paper-Aust-gun-buyback.pdf

  11. HGT   March 15, 2014 11:35 pm / Reply

    You do know that police have no legal obligation to protect citizens right?

    Where is the justice in outlawing the means of self-defense while giving the state a free pass to choose not to protect citizens?

    A perfect example of this sort of abuse would be fire fighters in the Old South refusing to put out house fires started by the Klan.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia

  12. Pingback: Guns ‘R’ Us – Matt Valentine – POLITICO Magazine

  13. TurtleShroom   September 12, 2014 1:37 am / Reply

    You’re forgetting one major thing.

    Gun crimes will obviously go down in a gun controlled state. The violent crime rate will, likewise, rise. Criminals will replace those guns with something else, and without people being able to shoot them back, they will be bolder. Given that they are also more skilled with knives than you, your survival chances have gone down if you can’t fill them with lead. There is a reason why a gun is called the “Great Equalizer”.

    The violent crime rate in the United Kingdom is TWICE as high as the United States. The United States, however, has a higher lives-lost rate. In other words, half as many violent crimes happen in the United States as the UK, but you are far more likely to die in the aftermath of a rarer USA violent crime. (It is not said, however, if those deaths count the criminals too.)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-24/u-k-gun-curbs-mean-more-violence-yet-fewer-deaths-than-in-u-s-.html

    What’s the outcome? It depends on what you value more. I think it’s better to have half as much crime than it is to say less people die of your crime, which happens twice as often.

    P.S.: http://lockandloadradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/pro-gun-control.jpg .

    • mgjscdhl   September 22, 2014 2:53 pm / Reply

      The U.K.’s “Office of National Statistics” defines violent crime differently from the F.B.I./UCR.. The U.K. includes crimes that aren’t defined as “violent” by the FBI/UCR. In other words, you’re trying to compare apples to oranges… This “think tank” isn’t the first to cherry-pick in order to arrive at a convenient conclusion.

      As for your graphic, its a classic straw-man argument..

  14. Tyler D.   October 17, 2014 8:06 am / Reply

    Lets also ban people from having a penis.

    After all, the vast majority of rapes are perpetrated with a penis. Although the most men will never use their penis to commit rape, there is always that chance they may decide to. “Shouldn’t we all live not live in constant fear that our ‘concealed penis carrying’ neighbor doesn’t have malignant intentions”?

    Go ahead and scrutinize my comparing a phallus to a firearm, but it is the only metaphor I could conjure up that hasn’t been reiterated thousands of times…

    Point is as follows:
    Couldn’t anyone with a penis commit rape? Yes.
    Is everyone with a penis going to commit rape? NO.
    Can a penis be used in a legitimate manner that can be enjoyed by the user? Yes.

    Liberal Logic: Lets just ban everyone from owning a penis because there is a minuscule chance they may use it one day for rape… Cut off everyones penis and I am certain the number of rapes will drop. (makes sense)
    However, rape with other objects will still continue none the less, just as murdered with other weapons still exist in gun free jurisdictions.

    Anyone even consider that using a gun for self-defense is the last reason on most gun advocates list for why they own them? They also are pleasurable to use for a multitude of legitimate pursuits. And (like a penis) one should not be deprived owning a gun , because another, whom doesn’t understand it, and fears it, wants to ban it based on it’s POTENTIAL for ill use.

    (Insert your homophobic rebuttal here)

    • GeeUP   April 24, 2016 9:25 pm / Reply

      Well a rapist is just going to rape anyways, so why should we have these rape laws?

  15. Supes Critic   November 4, 2014 8:50 pm / Reply

    Your rationale is flawed. The issue has never been about “gun homicide”, the issue is “homicide”. For example, gun grabbers always like to talk about Australia’s gun homicide rate, well who cares when their massacre deaths outstrip Canada’s rate by 2.5 times since 1996? Caused by madmen using arson. So whoopdie do – the madmen don’t use guns any more, they use arson which is evidently more effective. What have you really achieved by focusing on guns? When you look at the HOMICIDE rate (not “gun” homicide) across Europe, the country with highest gun ownership rates have the lowest HOMICIDE rates (eg. Switzerland and Sweden). By looking at just “gun homicide” rate, you end up with a BS conclusion. Obviously Switzerland with high gun ownership (33%) has higher “gun homicide” than the UK, but the UK’s overall homicide rate is MUCH HIGHER than Switzerland.

  16. Supes Critic   November 4, 2014 9:20 pm / Reply

    Also.. your parallel with rocket launchers etc. is idiotic and shows a lack of understanding on the purpose of different weapons. Rocket launchers etc. are offensive weapons designed for mass casualties. Firearms are designed for self defense – that’s why ALL police carry them and not rocket launchers!!!

    By the way – in Australia it is legal to own semi-automatic handguns, and there are just as many privately owned firearms now as before 1996 – so gun grabbers can’t keep using Australia as a symbol of gun control when there are the same number of guns. Obviously law abiding citizens have never been the issue.

    • Anonymous   December 27, 2014 2:56 pm / Reply

      No, I doubt that Australian politicians had American gun-regulation advocates in mind when they enacted reasonable gun control that requires everyone requesting to own a gun to have documented reasons for desiring ownership of a firearm before being permitted to purchase one. They were likely acting in order to ensure the safety of their own citizens.

  17. Michael   November 19, 2014 12:08 am / Reply

    The lawbreakers paradox is dumb and flawed. It only works for laws that restrict ones ability to their self defense. All other laws dont apply to the lawbreakers paradox. That is why the argument that the conservatives make is valid. The paradox does not discredit their argument.

  18. Thomas   December 16, 2014 8:31 am / Reply

    Since the 2nd amendment is broken and some people think it needed to be fixed, why stop there? Why not start rewriting the Constitution at the 1st amendment. Then we wouldn’t be free to discuss this argument, or choose our way of worship, that is where this is ALL going, eventually, Take a look at the United Nations model of disarmament. Would you say that it is irresponsible for the United States to possess a nuclear arsenal, when we are the only country in the history of the planet, to use nuclear wepons against orther humans. Why would the U.S. need nuclear wepons, take them away, or better yet, let the U.N. be the security force for the world.

  19. Matt M.   January 8, 2015 4:31 am / Reply

    Australia’s gun buyback began in late 1996 and ended in late 1997. Was the total homicide rate not higher in 1997 than in 1996? Mind you, the relationship between guns and homicide is one of immediacy. Pull the power cord out and the TV goes out. Take away the guns and the violence decreases (people aren’t going to automatically switch to knives). Sure, the murder rate dropped in 98, only to shoot back higher than the before gun buyback rate in 99.

  20. Greg   January 13, 2015 5:47 pm / Reply

    I don’t know where you are getting these graphs because the FBI actually releases gun crime statistics annually and it clearly shows that places in the US that have the strictest gun laws have the highest gun crime rates. It also shows that when conceal and carry laws allow citizens to arm themselves there is a sharp decline of gun crime. Dear author of this article, please answer me this one question: Do you really believe the armed criminal who brakes into your home will actually leave simply because you point to your “gun free zone” sign? I would like to remind you that Northern Illinois and Sandy Hook and basically every single mass public shooting took place at a “gun free zone.” I guess the shooters must have all overlooked those intimidating signs.

  21. Dustin   January 20, 2015 2:34 am / Reply

    For anyone that is anti-gun, I suggest taking a look at this. It make you pro-gun very quickly. (video included)
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/19/man-relives-bone-chilling-moment-when-a-neighbor-kicked-through-his-door-and-came-at-him-with-a-machete-it-was-like-the-shining/

    • Dustin   January 20, 2015 2:35 am / Reply

      *may

      • christian   March 2, 2015 11:39 am / Reply

        If all it takes is one scenario to change your mind from one position to the next without any consideration or hesitation then…. I guess that explains the psychological differences between people like you or me.

  22. Billy bob   January 22, 2015 6:07 pm / Reply

    You completely lost me when you said that banning guns will reduce suicide rates; that is proposterous. The problem with gun laws vs other laws is that murder, rape, and thievery all hurt their victims while owning a gun does not hurt anyone. A person owning a gun with malicious intent will hurt someone and a person owning a knife, baseball bat, pencil, or their own hands with malicious intent will also hurt or kill someone at the same rate. You are banning a tool. What is your next step when knife murders increase after all guns are banned. The problem is not the tool, the problem is the individual using the tool. Let us focus on treating people who are mentally ill, being compassionate towards our fellow Americans, educating people on proper gun safety, and working on reducing violence not just gun violence.

  23. Les marti   January 26, 2015 2:10 am / Reply

    The argument against gun control defy logic that is intuitive to most. Let’s say you have an intersection that is not controlled by signal lights and accidents are more likely to occur. Is the answer to increase the speed limits or install some traffic control devices? The NRA suggests more guns or speed in this case. If your logic agrees then please have yourself neutered to prevent further contamination of the gene pool.

    • CNS   January 26, 2015 3:01 am / Reply

      The argument for gun control goes something like this. Your neighbor has been convicted of rape. Is the proper response to simply punish the rapist with a proper prison sentence, or is to pass a law preventing everyone in the whole town from having any sex at all, because clearly the one person who raped someone proves that no one can be trusted with sex in general. It doesn’t matter if everyone else in the town has been having sex peacefully and consentually. Clearly we need to pass a law preventing everyone from having sex, even though rapists won’t obey that law any more then they would obey the law against rape in the first place.

      Remember, it’s for the children :)

  24. Les marti   January 26, 2015 2:20 am / Reply

    Does anyone believe that the Founding Fathers could ever envision the lethality of the arms available today and not have addressed that issue. The law was conceived and written into the Constitution over 250 yrs ago. They also allowed slavery, non-voting women or blacks. Should we strictly adhere to that inane logic just because it is in the original Constitution? Please remove your head from where you hide it. The view is far better.

    • CNS   January 26, 2015 2:55 am / Reply

      They may not have envisioned that exact type of arms we have now, but there is no reasons to think they couldn’t know that guns would be far more advanced 250 years later then they were at the time the 2A was passed, just the same way guns of their times were more advanced then the bow and arrow. That’s why they used the term “arms” instead of “muskets” or “flintlocks”. They wanted the 2A to apply to whatever arm was the primary weapon of the citizenry at any given time.

      As for things like slavery and women not being allowed to vote, the reason those things were abolished is because the constitution was amended. The 2A has not been amended yet. If you want to amend it fine, go ahead and advocate doing that. But don’t pretend it somehow doesn’t apply just because it’s old. The first amendment is even older and no one is saying that doesn’t apply to modern America. The same goes for all the other amendments as well.

      • Weer'd Beard   January 29, 2015 12:38 am / Reply

        exactly! Yep women not being able to vote, and blacks not being considered human (as well as the legal sale of alcohol…and then realizing that prohibition of Alcohol was a HUGE mistake) were all handled by amending the constitution.

        While there are many non-politically connected anti-gun people who state that we should repeal the 2nd Amendment, no candidate holding public office would DARE say such a thing, tho it is obvious that all anti-gun politicians have zero respect for this natural right, or the totality of it.

        On a geeky level look up “Puckle Gun”, a rapid fire weapon first produced in 1718, and the Girardoni Air Rifle, which was a repeating air rifle that had a 20 round magazine, and was used as a military arm, as well as a private defensive arm. It was first produced in 1779.

        These guns had some pretty serious flaws in both of these guns, hence why the much simpler muzzle-loading firearms were around for so long.

        Still it seems pretty foolish that smart inventors and futurists like Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson wouldn’t bot A) Be aware of these guns, or B) somehow think that such technology couldn’t be perfected in the future.

        So indeed the founding fathers absolutely would have no more problem with the average citizen owning semi-auto rifles, pistols, or even crew-served machine guns.

        Especially since they didn’t have problems with them owning infantry rifles, swords, and cannons, which were very commonly owned by individuals.

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  26. Cameron   February 2, 2015 8:32 pm / Reply

    The name of this website is wrong… It should be “Armed with Ignorance…” It is dumbfounding that you people who “talk” so smart can be so dumb when it comes to a matter such as this. What the government is trying to do is control the populace by putting a ban on guns, and yes it is gun control, not “we’re the government and we’re trying to help.” The only thing they care about is keeping control and power, and they will use whatever means to do it.

    “Building our better selves into law”
    The laws the government is trying to put into place has nothing to do with building our better selves into law, they don’t care about that. Ask yourself this question, if they were to ban guns, would they have their Secret Service personnel, the Police Officers, the Military, or even themselves give up their guns? NOPE!!!

    Now, to pose a hypothetical question, let’s say there is a ban on guns (yes, they are trying to put a ban on guns, and if you don’t think so, refer to my first line). What do you think is going to happen with the criminals weapons, are they going to just up and say “OK, you guys are giving yours up, I will too.” That is a resounding NO!!! They are going to go on a spree and no one will be able to do anything (police won’t be able to respond quick enough). Now, let’s take it one step farther, let’s say the government decides it wants to control us a little more, what do they have to do? They have the police and military that are well armed at their disposal (I know this is a huge conspiracy theory style question, but it’s still a valid question nonetheless). I would hope that if that ever happened, they would tell the government where to stick it and walk… But, what would you do? You would have no way to defend yourself because you gave up your guns. To fight back against a tyrannical government that is trying to impose its will upon us, we would have to become “outlaws/criminals” to make sure we can defend our God given rights and freedoms.

    We, as Americans, have a right to own guns. The government is afraid of this right because it keeps them from controlling us. If the government is doing something we don’t agree with, we have the right to remove them from power. The question is, why don’t we do it? There have been so many that did wrong, or went back on what they said they would do, or blatantly lied about most everything they “stand for.” I for one will not be giving up my guns, even if there is a ban. They can have the few they know about, but they will not take my right to defend myself and my loved ones.

  27. mjch gsdl   February 3, 2015 12:08 am / Reply

    Its “interesting” how I become the “liar”, especially since I am the only one to link statistics and studies which prove disprove nearly every argument he made.. Let me be frank, advocates have been using (abusing) Australian statistics in the same way as matt for a long time.

    Even if, every so often, you can cut/paste something intelligent from google, its not enough to keep me interested. So you two can pat each other back when i’m gone.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/category/lott/cherry-picking/

    http://www.gunfaq.org/2013/03/the-misuse-of-our-gun-crime-stats/

    http://theconversation.com/faking-waves-how-the-nra-and-pro-gun-americans-abuse-australian-crime-stats-11678

    • mjch gsdl   February 3, 2015 12:13 am / Reply

      oh.. and copy/paste an google image?! next up, a youtube video? lol

      • Matt M.   February 3, 2015 1:36 am / Reply

        Google images showing graphs Froms government sources or derived from such are legit.

        Do your statistics not show what I have described?

        Once again, what you allege does not conform to the proposed cause and effect relationship between guns and homicide.

        • Cameron   February 3, 2015 4:48 am / Reply

          How can you possibly think a government that wants to ban guns is going to give legit statistics? THAT is plain ignorance. If you were trying to persuade people to do as you wished, you would talk it up and make it sound more grandiose than it really is… THATS EXACTLY WHAT GOVERNMENT DOES!! I don’t understand how you don’t see it that way. Again, you say the words that you think make you sound smart and logical, but it is all illogical. This whole cause and effect between guns and homicide is stupid and not logical. If someone wants to kill another person, they will, with or without a firearm. If someone has the thought “I’m going to shoot that person” go through there mind, they will just as easily have “I’m going to stab that person” go through it as well.

          Let me ask you a serious question. Do you feel threatened by guns? Do you feel like I am a threat to you because I carry a gun?

          • Matt M.   February 3, 2015 4:51 am

            I’m on your side, dude. I own multiple guns including a new 1200 dollar Sig saguer

            The stats show that when the guns were taken away, homicides rose.

          • Cameron   February 3, 2015 4:52 am

            My bad, I hit the wrong one. Now I gotta go find the right one. :)

          • christian   March 2, 2015 11:52 am

            Wait… aren’t/weren’t you using or siding with people that drew statistics from government sources? Isn’t it then… hypocritical, to say that your information is “right”, considering that it’s from the same source?

            I don’t think anyone said, “guns make you want to kill people”
            but instead, implied that “guns are generally more dangerous and require more responsibility”. To say that there shouldn’t be any laws dictating/influencing what we own and why, is absurd to me. If you truly wanted a lawless “free” country, then why not move to one? I would think its because there are more “cons” than “pros”…

            Actually Cameron, I’m going to tell you that you can’t speak for my experiences. If I have a thought “I’m going to do something bad” and there are repercussions that I’ve decided “aren’t worth my time”, then the law that was in place has done its work.
            You’re saying, “if someone wants to do something, they’ll do it” – black and white thinking there….

            Do I feel that you’re a threat because you carry a gun? No. Do I feel that carrying a gun bears much more responsibility? Yes.

            Any other odd and easily answered questions?

  28. doorgunner   March 5, 2015 12:55 am / Reply

    Kindly explain why if things are so much better in all those foreign climes that you are still in this country relying on better men than yourself to protect you? Are you proposing that law enforcement officers and soldiers beat their guns into plowshares? When encountering an armed criminal do you suspect that informing him you are a gun control advocate will save your wallet, virtue or life. Good luck with that. If you are a family man YOU are the first responder. Cower in fear if you will be assured your day of judgement will come. What will be your defense then??

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  30. Indian atheist   April 25, 2015 11:17 pm / Reply

    The laws against guns cannot be equated with the laws against rape, murder, etc..

    Rape laws act as a deterrent to criminal activity, whereas gun control laws encourage criminal activity by allowing an armed criminal to harass unarmed people..

    I live in India where the gun control is among the strictest in the world.. Is my society better because of it? Definitely not.. Communal riots are a frequent feature in my country and the police fails to protect the public when they break out.. Unarmed innocent people are killed by knife wielding hooligans..

    Consider the Mumbai attacks in November, 2008.. Just 10 terrorists managed to terrorize a city for 3 days and to kill over 300 people.. The state failed to protect the citizens and the ridiculous gun laws robbed them of their right to protect themselves.. Desperate people lobbed sticks and stones at the terrorists in an effort to fight back.. Just imagine that- trapped in a battlezone with no way to defend yourself..

    Lots of flawed logic in this article stemming out of the naivete of living in a stable society with an efficient police force..

  31. pablorod (Brazilian)   May 1, 2015 1:50 am / Reply

    Brazilian here. I’m passing by just to inform the Brazilian graphic used is incomplete. In fact, in 2014 we had 42.3 gunfire deaths per 100k inhabitants, almost a 100% increase from the peak showed on this graph. People are stil disarmed, while drug dealers open carry assault guns.

    • Devin Hughes   May 1, 2015 2:11 am / Reply

      Your numbers seem to be off. The most recent I could find showed a rate of 20.4: http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/northeast-brazil-suffers-highest-gun-deaths-study, which is still certainly up since the last year of this study. However, the gun control measure has been very effective a tamping down gun violence in major urban centers, with crack cocaine fueling the rise in violence in the northeastern part of Brazil. And the study cited above isn’t the only one that has found benefits from the gun control laws: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-mack-br/no-silver-bullet-but-focu_b_5323405.html

      • Matt M.   May 1, 2015 5:15 am / Reply

        “This was actually a significant decrease from a decade earlier, which may be explained by less accessibility to weapons due to gun control measures: between 2000 and 2010, over 200,000 illegal guns were seized by the police — while more than 130,000 firearms were voluntarily surrendered by citizens in buy-back campaigns. ”

        Wow. You mean there was a systematic attempt on the part of the authorities to disarm the most violent elements of organized crime and the death rate went down? Shocking.

        Looking at Australia, we know that buying back guns from law abiding citizens has no effect on the murder rate, unless, of course, you’re engaging in statistical sophistry and comparing the murder rate 10 million years after the buyback.

        Something tells me buying Pablo the farmer’s gun did not contribute to a reduction in violent.

  32. DevilsAdvocate   May 14, 2015 4:47 pm / Reply

    The odd Lawbreaker’s paradox aside, I believe the bigger question is this. Why should we focus on the tool instead of the act?

    For instance, everyone will agree rape is a HORRIBLE crime, offensive to anyone, and should absolutely be stopped at all cost. Consider for a moment that a majority of rape is committed with a penis. We already have laws that make the ACT of rape illegal and punishable. However, if we were to apply the gun control logic to this same question, would it not be “reasonable” to have penis control? Maybe registration? An outright ban on them all together?

    This is where I think the gun control logic fails. We’re talking about whether to ban an ACT or an OBJECT. In this case, a penis is to rape, as a gun is to murder. Both ACTs are already illegal and punishable. Yet for some reason in the case of guns, some feel the need to go further and ban the object. Yet in the case of rape, I hear no talk of “dealing with the penis problem.”

    I realize this is a very extreme, ridiculous sounding example, but the same example could be given for cars, planes, boats, fists, kitchen knives, box cutters, etc etc.

  33. ArmedandReasonable   June 2, 2015 6:13 pm / Reply

    DevilsAdvocate, you hit the nail on the head. The author’s logic is seriously flawed, in attacking a property ownership question with arguments applying to laws prescribing consequences for behavior.

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  37. Berl Gorby   October 6, 2015 3:27 am / Reply

    The solution is not to have stricter gun laws, but to have more severe penalties ENFORCED on those who commit the crimes using guns. If the consequences were severe enough, and were carried out swiftly, there would be less gun violence. Our prisons are full of criminals who received less punishment than they deserved for the crime they committed. The severe and swift punishment of gun crime would prove to be a deterrent. Unfortunately, there are those who will blame everything and everyone else for the crime instead of holding the person who committed the crime responsible for his or her actions.

  38. Phil   November 2, 2015 2:01 am / Reply

    Evan, the problem with your argument is that you’re cherry-picking your data. You have cited a handful of cases that support your contention, where firearm-related deaths dropped after enactment of a gun-control law, and completely ignored places where the reverse was true — such as, for example, every time California extended its “cooling off” waiting period for handgun purchases. (Comparing Australia to the US is an apples-to-oranges comparison to start with – compared to the US, Australia really never had a violent-crime problem in the first place.)

    The truth is, we already have a sufficiency of gun control laws — if we would just ENFORCE the ones we already have. But getting serious about enforcing laws that are already on the books doesn’t win high-profile, campaign-boosting newspaper headlines the way calling for new laws does.

  39. dd6000   November 10, 2015 8:30 pm / Reply

    Berl and Phil, re “we just need to enforce the laws more”: you know what criminals our prisons are NOT full of? The kind who leave loaded guns around where their 2 year old children can find them and come to grief. I wonder why that is?

  40. Mattykotz   December 8, 2015 8:52 pm / Reply

    Refuting the “only the criminals will have guns” argument really comes down to simple logic. If a “criminal” is defined as someone who has broken the law then a “law abiding citizen” is just someone who hasn’t broken the law. If someone is thinking about breaking the law or, intends to at some point, they are still a “law abiding citizen” until they actually break the law. Since there is no way to know who is thinking about breaking the law or has intentions to break the law until they follow through on those thoughts and intentions, everyone could possibly be a “criminal”. Barring any kind of moral shock collar 100% of the population has the capacity and ability to break the law and become a “criminal”. If more people are armed and guns are freely available to people who have the ability to break the law then, you will have more armed criminals. If you have more armed criminals then, you will have more violent crime. So, in short, if guns are easily obtained by “law abiding citizens” who have the potential to become “criminals”, less gun restrictions make it easier for “criminals” to be armed criminals. Of course they could be stopped by a “law abiding citizen” who has a gun but they can’t do anything until the “criminal” acts and by then it’s too late. Some degree of damage has been done and the good guy with the gun didn’t do anything but make it possible.

    • Dustin   December 9, 2015 10:12 am / Reply

      That really made little to no sense. In your argument, you assume everyone can be criminals (quote: “everyone could possibly be a “criminal””, “100% of the population has the capacity and ability to break the law and become a “criminal””), then assume everyone (the 100% in the last quote) or many are criminals because they are able to (quote: “available to people who have the ability to break the law then, you will have more armed criminals”), and then assume people who are good shouldn’t have guns or should be heavily restricted because the bad would do harm with the same guns that can be obtained legally. (quote: “if guns are easily obtained by “law abiding citizens” who have the potential to become “criminals”, less gun restrictions make it easier for “criminals” to be armed criminals”)
      To me, that is logically incorrect. First off, real criminals who want guns will get them off the black market or manufacture firearms themselves, which isn’t very hard. (a side note, gun vendors can deny business to customers if they seem suspicious) Secondly, good people who want firearms could do the same exact thing, of which they would still be deemed criminals because it would be against the law if guns were banned, but that doesn’t mean they are immoral for doing so. Furthermore, you seem to assume good people are useless with guns to stop bad people with guns, which is incorrect. There are many accounts of people actually successfully defending others with guns against assailants, of which you can look up.
      Lastly, claiming everyone are criminals (murderers, thieves, etc.) simply because they have the potential to is a fallacy.
      It’s like putting someone in jail under suspicion that they will steal a car, simply because they wanted a specific car and other people have stolen cars in the past.

  41. charles maynes   December 10, 2015 5:05 am / Reply

    where to start…..

    using this logic begs the question – in 1991, the most violent year of gun violence in US history, was with 100 million guns in private hands- since then two things have happened- The violent crime rates have gone down, and we have tripled the number of guns in the public sphere.

    so with that- between 1991 and 2008 we added 100 million guns and we added another 100 million guns in the last 7 years- so we can, with great confidence, declare that indeed- the government is not coming for your guns- of course in this year, the Treasury took in 4.6 billion dollars in excise taxes and fees for arms and ammunition sales here and abroad…. so maybe they might have a vested interest also in lots and lots of guns being sold.

    the question to be asked, is why so much fear- because that is what largely drives a person into buying a gun.

  42. Bean1980   December 12, 2015 10:07 pm / Reply

    I don’t think the money revenue of of legal gun sales are that important anymore because their profits from corruption from the criminals are much hire and they are willing to make the trade off.The law abiding citizens don’t make them near as much as the other side does.So in the mean time they will cause a sky rocket in sales of guns and make what they can until it comes to confiscation of said guns.Then sell to the criminals,it is a win win situation for them.

  43. J. Funck   January 6, 2016 4:40 pm / Reply

    Graphs that ONLY show GUN violence do not give the whole picture.
    If stricter gun laws remove guns from both law abiding and non law abiding citizenry, what’s to say the use of machetes, knives, or pipe bombs do not rise? Could you please provide such a graph? Or does that data conflict with your soundness?

    I still find it disturbing to see the president unilaterally try to alter something covered in the Bill of Rights. Even if it’s something we could agree on. It’s troubling.

    How is it that congress and the president can pass a $2 trillion dollar bill they’ve only seen for 6 hours (and included the repeal of the Country Of Origin Labeling law that is vital to our well being) but no consensus can be made on this? Honestly, I think this could have just as easily been slipped into some recent legislation.

    But that is one more reason I am voting for Rand Paul, he actually reads bills.

    • Bean1980   January 7, 2016 1:36 am / Reply

      When this doesn’t improve nothing just like the gun free zone signs what will they say the problems is then.I don’t think they understand the difference between legal and illegal activity.The lawless will find a way around any law that is made,gun control won’t change that.This will only hinder the lawful and they know it,it is used to pacify the liberals and dems..

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  45. John Afella   January 24, 2016 10:05 pm / Reply

    The paradox is as follows:

    Laws impose restrictions on the behavior of all citizens

    Law-abiding citizens obey laws at all times and are therefore always restricted in their behavior

    Law-breaking citizens do not obey laws at all times and therefore are not always restricted in their behavior

    Therefore, laws only restrict law-abiding citizens behavior at all times

    (*see ‘punishment’)

  46. John Afella   January 26, 2016 1:48 pm / Reply

    And please ignore the “The paradox is as follows:” at the top of my post – it was a copy/paste error.

  47. Patrick Davey   February 22, 2016 9:48 am / Reply

    Mr. Evan DeFilippis, I came to this site looking for enticing evidence to counter the notion exactly as the title of this article suggested. Your education is impressive, but I am afraid that either you are only using it as a weapon (I am implying that you are intellectually dishonest) or it has utterly failed you (I am implying that you cannot think critically).

    The second graph from 2007 is clearly labeled. The first has only a minor point of ambiguity, but there is little possibility of misinterpreting it. In fact, I will take you at your word that what those graphs show is exactly what the data shows, and that you have presented the findings accurately. I will not even cast doubt on the claim that firearm deaths decrease after enactment of strict firearm legislation, including firearm bans. However, this provides absolutely no support for your contention.

    It should be plainly obvious that a “gun death” is only related to “criminals” by virtue of murder committed by criminals, self-defense killings by would-be victims, use of lethal force by law enforcement against criminals, and negligent discharge related to the misuse of a firearm by a criminal. The other major categories of gun deaths, accidental and suicide, have no relation to “criminals” or the criminal element. As such, a reduction in “gun deaths” following strict firearm laws or bans should come as no surprise and provides no evidence to support your claim.

    Put plainly, a “gun death” is not the same thing as a “criminal using a gun to kill someone.” All squares are quadrilaterals, but not all quadrilaterals are square, as they say. Those graphs do absolutely nothing to refute the meme.

    I wish you well, Mr. Defilippis, but I do not believe you are capable of properly debating this topic. You are either not honest enough to speak the truth or you have yet to acquire the capability to explore this topic at the level that is necessary to find the truth. Perhaps you are just developing your skill in sophistry, perhaps in preparation for a future career in politics. If that is your aim, please do not take offense if I do not wish you well until you have accepted some most necessary humility.

    On a side note, I too graduated from OU in 2012. I found the guest speaker to be a huge disappointment, and I am afraid I tuned out all of the speakers as a result. If you were a speaker then as valedictorian, I apologize for tuning you out.

  48. Pingback: Remember: Bathrooms and Guns Don’t Mix | Skunk Works

  49. Chad   June 15, 2016 4:17 pm / Reply

    Are we really citing Australia? A country that you can only move to if you can prove you are financially well off and can obtain a white collar job? Where most of the population is fairly homogenous? With aborigines still living mostly in abject poverty and racial oppression? That is not a good comparative study, too many unmatched variables. We could also use Sweden for legalized prostitution and Portugal for drug use. You can’t just draw those parallels without considering all factors. Let’s look at violent gun deaths and gun ownership by neighborhood demographics for two given large cities. Do a write up on that and I’ll read it.

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