As the initial shock over James Holmes’ midnight massacre subsides, the inevitable chorus of demands for tougher gun control laws is on the rise. But outrage is not a rational argument and the fact that this tragedy occurred changes nothing about the rational, evidence-based case for the private ownership and concealed carry of firearms.
Let’s keep the following facts in mind before we go demanding changes to the law:
- We have known for at least 16 years (since John R. Lott’s 1996 study) been that taking guns out of the hands of lawful owners leads to more assault. Florida legalized concealed carry in 1997 and the murder rate declined 39% over the next 10 years because criminals were afraid that their marks might be armed.
- Many things are correlated to homicide rate, but the strictness of a country’s gun control laws aren’t among them — income inequality, poor lack of medical care, and a large trade in illegal drugs (Fajnzylber et al, 2002) are. Gun control is a sideshow to the real problems that cause America’s problem with violent crime.
- If you think that a willing killer is going to be deterred because he has to buy a gun from his weed dealer instead of from Walmart… well, no study to cite here, you’re just out of your mind, because even a stoner is willing to buy from that guy. In a country with 88 guns per 100 people, gun control laws will leave firearms in the hands of all the wrong people.
This should be required reading for any gun-hating, wannabe do-gooders!