Tag Archives: study

Fascinating Paper on Gun Control

This is a paper in the Harvard Law Review, which looks at gun possession rates against violent crime rates. It comes to a conclusion that certainly resounded with me. People often point to other countries outside the United States with tighter gun control and less crime.  However, it is likely that most of these differences arise from socioeconomic factors:

In sum, though many nations with widespread gun ownership
have much lower murder rates than nations that severely restrict gun ownership, it would be simplistic to assume that at all times and in all places widespread gun ownership depresses violence by deterring many criminals into nonconfrontation crime. There is evidence that it does so in the United States, where defensive gun ownership is a substantial socio‐cultural phenomenon. But the more plausible explanation for many nations having widespread gun ownership with low violence is that these nations never had high murder and violence rates and so never had occasion to enact severe anti‐gun laws. On the other hand, in nations that have experienced high and rising violent crime rates, the legislative reaction has generally been to enact increasingly severe antigun laws.This is futile, for reducing gun ownership by the law‐abiding citizenry—the only ones who obey gun laws—does not reduce violence or murder. The result is that high crime nations that ban guns to reduce crime end up having both high crime and stringent gun laws, while it appears that low crime nations that do not significantly restrict guns continue to have low violence rates.

It should be noted, that I do not know if this paper mentions background checks. If it does, I would guess that if criminals want guns, they would still get them, just as they would still get them if guns were banned outright. Nonetheless, background checks, unlike gun bans, do not make it harder for regular citizens to buy guns…unless the government makes nonviolent crimes illegal as well, like using marijuana or other drugs, or being an undocumented immigrant.