Monday, December 28, 2009

Less guns, less crime

I support the idea of gun control mostly because of the notion that honest law abiding people who obtain a gun for the sake of protection are more likely to use that weapon in hurting someone they know rather than in protecting themselves or their family.

There are circumstances where having a gun would help protect people, and that must be judged against the times when having a gun makes things worse for a variety of reasons. On balance, I think the evidence is clear: Less gun, less crime.

I stipulate that it is tough to get accurate facts because people doing the research generally have a strong bias. This leads them to seek out facts that confirms their view.

In this instance, I am no different:

New York City has some of the most stringent gun control laws. In the past couple of years even high profile people who didn't commit other crimes (see Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress) were charged and convicted for gun violations.

Contrary to the More guns, less crime theory, promoted by the right wing, the facts show for now, the murder rate is falling in New York (and elsewhere also)

The decline in homicides is not happening only in New York. According to the F.B.I. uniform crime report for the first half of 2009, murders fell 10 percent nationwide compared with the same period in 2008. But New York showed a 19 percent decline in murders, the report said, and the city’s murder rate of 6 per 100,000 people was far lower than that of New Orleans, Chicago or Baltimore.

Whether gun control helps can be debated, but certainly it's hard to argue that strict gun laws hurt public safety. This could be coincidence. It could be effective policing. It could be a combination of many factors. But it is very reasonable to conclude that my personal view is vindicated:

Less guns, less crime.

Those on the left should read the article. It talks about "searches" that have disarmed people presumably before crimes occurred. There seems to be a proactive strategy that maximizes all of the available tools.

I think part of the problem in the past has been the leniency in the criminal justice system. We've seen that this year in various high profile cases where people have been given parole or bail when they should have been held in custody.

We need strong laws and strong enforcement.
Clear the jails of nonviolent offenders, and build more jails for violent offenders. That includes anyone caught with a dangerous weapon.

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