Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? | Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy

Posted on: Thu, 12/20/2012 - 12:48 By: Tom Swiss

The best overview I've found of the case that gun control laws do not and cannot reduce violence is this article from the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy by Don B. Kates & Gary Mauser: Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence. I don't agree with all of their analysis, but the facts they present are pretty conclusive against the notion that more guns makes for more violence.

While American gun ownership is quite high, Table 1 shows many other developed nations (e.g., Norway, Finland, Germany, France, Denmark) with high rates of gun ownership. These countries, however, have murder rates as low or lower than many developed nations in which gun ownership is much rarer. For example, Luxembourg, where handguns are totally banned and ownership of any kind of gun is minimal, had a murder rate nine times higher than Germany in 2002.


A second misconception about the relationship between fire‐
arms and violence attributes Europe’s generally low homicide rates to stringent gun control. That attribution cannot be accurate since murder in Europe was at an all‐time low before the gun controls were introduced. For instance, virtually the only English gun control during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the practice that police patrolled without guns. During this period gun control prevailed far less in England or Europe than in certain American states which nevertheless had—and continue to have—murder rates that were and are comparatively very high.

In this connection, two recent studies are pertinent. In 2004,
the U.S. National Academy of Sciences released its evaluation from a review of 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and some original empirical research. It failed to identify any gun control that had reduced violent crime, suicide, or gun accidents. The same conclusion was reached in 2003 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s review of then‐extant studies.


One reason the extent of gun ownership in a society does not
spur the murder rate is that murderers are not spread evenly throughout the population. Analysis of perpetrator studies shows that violent criminals—especially murderers—“almost uniformly have a long history of involvement in criminal behavior.” So it would not appreciably raise violence if all law‐abiding, responsible people had firearms because they are not the ones who rape, rob, or murder. By the same token, violent crime would not fall if guns were totally banned to civilians. As the respective examples of Luxembourg and Russia suggest,individuals who commit violent crimes will either find guns despite severe controls or will find other weapons to use.

Deaf Three-Year-Old Not Allowed to Sign His Name Because It Violates Preschool's Weapons Policy (Gawker)

Posted on: Tue, 08/28/2012 - 18:02 By: Tom Swiss

From the "OMFG you must be kidding me" department: Deaf Three-Year-Old Not Allowed to Sign His Name Because It Violates Preschool's Weapons Policy (Gawker)

A deaf preschooler in Grand Island, Nebraska, has been prohibited from signing his own name because school administrators believe the gesture he uses looks too much like a gun.

shooting at my old school

Posted on: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 19:01 By: Tom Swiss

Pretty much unthinkable 25 years ago, even though guns were just as available back then: a student at my old high school, Perry Hall High, brought a shotgun with him to the first day of school, assembled it, walked into the cafeteria, and and shot another student, critically wounding him.

A teacher lunged at the student to stop the shooting and before pinning the boy against a wall a second round was discharged, police said.


The victim, who also was not identified, was 17. He was medevaced to Baltimore Regional Hospital Shock Trauma where he is listed in critical condition.

Very, very brave teacher.

injuries at Empire State shooting all from cops

Posted on: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 12:26 By: Tom Swiss

So, what was first thought to be a mass shooting at the Empire State Building turns out to be a simple murder followed by ill-trained police wounding citizens (CNN) as they shoot the murderer. I have to wonder if the politicians who were so quick to try use the apparent mass shooting to push for more gun control laws, will instead now call for laws requiring better training and higher standards for police. Probably not.

And you certainly won't hear and discussion about how downsizing and an economic system that screws the worker to the benefit of the 1%, can drive people to such despair that, in response to losing their job, they will engage in this sort of murder/suicide-by-cop.

Man wielding sword in Dairy Queen dies after being shot by employee (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 10:15 By: Tom Swiss

1) People who can't get guns are still capable of deadly mayhem. 2) Civilians with guns can often stop people intent on deadly mayhem. Man wielding sword in Dairy Queen dies after being shot by employee (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

A masked man wielding a sword tried to rob a central valley Dairy Queen on Sunday afternoon but was shot and killed by an employee, Las Vegas police said.

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