How to Win the Gun Control DebateSubmitted by John23 on Tue, 02/05/2013 - 11:40
So I keep hearing the back and forth on this debate and it drives me crazy. The anti-gun guys always go into the stat "well Australia and these other countries banned guns overseas and they have almost zero gun related deaths." Or the "US has such a high gun related death compared to other countries." Or where there are guns there are more accidental gun deaths.
My response is - who cares? Those stats mean absolutely nothing. Who cares how many people are dying from guns....shouldn't we care about HOW MANY people are dying from violent crimes - whether gun related or not? Because the whole point of this discussion is trying to save lives right? Well, how do you judge whether you're saving lives - by measuring TOTAL murders and violent crimes. If you just measure gun related deaths you don't get an idea of how many people saved their lives by owning a gun and deterring a criminal. Or how many criminals are deterred in general because of the fact the populace is now armed.
Another fallacy in this argument is trying to compare one country, or even one state, to another. John Lott has shown in his book (more guns less crime) that gun related deaths can vary to extremes even from country to country within states, and that to compare a state with another, or a country with another is an illogical argument. And this makes sense because each area has its own culture and people comprising it which are unique and different.
So how do you determine if you're actually saving lives with all of these drawbacks? First you measure VIOLENT CRIME (murder, rape etc.) instead of gun related deaths....and you measure these stats in LOCALIZED areas where you have before and after statistics of areas where there were no legal carry laws at first and then legalized concealed carry laws etc. If we look at the data this way we can neglect the cultural differences in different areas as we're looking at the same culture in the same area with the stats. This gets rid of population density issues and other cultural factors that pop up from trying to compare two different areas in the world or a country.
What does John Lott find when you do this? He found that violent crime, murder, rape and aggravated assault all drop when you look at the data. Lott takes it to the extremes and filters out things that are known to cause decreases in violent crimes like arrest rates and many other variables to make sure the data isn't influence by these things.
His data isn't contested either....if you look at all the recent refereed academic publications over the last decade-there are a few studies that show that the addition of guns didn't increase or decrease violent crimes...but he covers these studies to a great extent to show their fallacies...some instances the studies use very short time periods so they can data fit etc. So not a SINGLE refereed study has shown that more guns increases violent crimes...and the vast majority of them found that indeed violent crimes did decrease after the addition of guns. His data is about as in depth as it gets.
So the argument that more guns equals more gun related deaths, and more guns equals more accidental gun related deaths is meaningless if you're trying to figure out how to save THE MOST amount of people. I lay it out like this:
You have two economies - economy A and B and they're roughly the same size....these are the death rates in each:
Economy A - 100,000 people die a year from violent crimes and 0 people die of gun related deaths.
Economy B - 50,000 people die a year from violent crimes and 1,000 people die a year because of gun related deaths.
Which economy is safer? Which would you rather your children live in. Economy B obviously...the economy that has more guns. But you have more gun related deaths? Who cares - there is less violent crime...dying is dying....whether you're smacked over the head with a spatula, or shot..that doesn't matter...you're dead.
Lott's data has shown that more guns...equals less death....meaning you're saving the most amount of people...so if you care about people...you want guns.
He also covers assault weapons and just about every other topic in the news....and the findings still support the conclusion...more guns-less violent crime.
For those interested in the book (my local library had it...so check that out before you go buy it):