Recent Shootings Underscore the Flawed Logic of Gun Control

Los Angeles, CA. Paramus, NJ. Washington, D.C. Three areas with the strictest gun control laws in the U.S.- CA and NJ are 1 and 2 on the Brady Campaign Disarmamenet scorecard. Despite the incredibly strict laws in those places, three very high-profile shootings recently occurred in these areas. 

But how could that be possible? The goal of all those gun control laws is to make America safer, isn’t it? The typical rants from the Civilan Disaramament Industrial complex dwell on a few core ideas. One of these ideas is that America’s murder rates could be quelled by enacting stronger gun control laws. The problem with this line of thinking is that it’s simply not true. It may not be obvious because the Journolists (mainstream media)have been very good at bombarding the airwaves with a steady stream of ‘news’ to make it seem like there is an epidemic of mass shootings underfoot across the US. So please explain the facts outlined in this chart (homicide rates per 1000 people, source: FBI.gov ):

There has been and continues to be a steady decline in the homicide rate per 1000 people in the United States. Note that during the Clinton A-Word Ban homicide increased but again decreased drastically after that legislation expired. 

Still not convinced? Let’s use the Massachusetts case for gun control as another example. In 1998 MA passed the strictest package of gun control laws on record at that time. Among other hardships imposed on law-abiding citizens it included:

…banned semiautomatic “assault” weapons, imposed strict new licensing rules, prohibited anyone convicted of a violent crime or drug trafficking from ever carrying or owning a gun, and enacted severe penalties for storing guns unlocked. …One of the state’s leading anti-gun activists, John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence, joined the applause. “The new gun law,” he predicted, “will certainly prevent future gun violence and countless grief.” It didn’t.

Legal gun ownership in MA plummeted from 1.5 million in 1998 to just 200,000 in 2002. This must be a great success- MA must be one of the safest states in the union nowadays- right? Unfortunately the result of these laws in MA has been sharp increases in homicide by firearm:

This graph is the opposite of the trend the first chart shows. Lots of sources exist for this data. Gun control emboldens criminals because they can be confident that they can commit a crime and the only firearm present will be the one the criminal has. That’s correct- criminals don’t care about laws! Even gun control laws that promise to make America safe. 

Of course the Civilian Disarmament Industrial complex has an answer for these inconvenient facts: outlaw all firearms in America. The problem is that other states won’t follow suit. If that’s a factual solution then why aren’t homicide rates or crime at all on the rise in states that border MA? This approach has also been attempted in much of Europe. Look at the results in countries where handguns are banned vs their neighboring nations:

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