I want to talk about the bottom line: Does gun control reduce crime? I want to first approach this on a level of hypothetical reasoning, then go into some of the facts and statistics on this topic. All facts and statistics are quoted from www.justfacts.com, while the link is available at the bottom of the article.
The Logic of Gun Control
First, let us reason together. In a society, we have three types of people: those who use their firearms legally and for non-violent purposes, those who use their firearms illegally and for violent purposes, and those who don’t use firearms at all. The theory behind gun control is that by making it more difficult to purchase weapons, the number of violent crimes committed will go down. So, we make it more difficult to legally purchase say… a handgun. In fact, we ban handguns all together. So with handguns illegal to purchase, violent crime involving handguns should go down, right?
Think about this logically. If you were going to rob, murder, or rape someone, and you wanted to use a handgun, would you walk into a gun store, show them your papers, properly register the gun, buy the ammo at the same store using a credit card under your name, then go commit your violent crime? Let’s be serious. Those who intend to use a handgun illegally tend to also acquire the handgun illegally. So by making it more difficult to legally purchase a handgun, all you are accomplishing is removing the type of person who uses their firearms for non-violent purposes from the equation and turning society into a place where the only people who have guns are the police and the criminals. I wouldn’t feel very safe in that society.
The Facts of Gun Control
Now that we’re done reasoning, let’s look at the facts. Chicago was mentioned above because they did an experiment on eliminating handguns in their city. Here’s what happened, from www.justfacts.com:
* Since the outset of the Chicago handgun ban, the Chicago murder rate has averaged 17% lower than it was before the law took effect, while the U.S. murder rate has averaged 25% lower
*Since the outset of the Chicago handgun ban, the percentage of Chicago murders committed with handguns has averaged about 40% higher than it was before the law took effect
So, to sum up, while the murder rate did in fact go down, we know that it had little to do with the handgun ban because the percentage of murders committed with handguns went up a whopping 40%. Based on these stats, we can conclude that the lower murder rate in Chicago was due to an extraneous circumstance independent of the ban on handguns.
On the flip-side, we have to ask, does the prospect of a potential victim being armed deter crime? Well, according to justfacts.com, yes.
Check out these numbers:
* A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:
. 34% had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”
. 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun”
. 69% personally knew other criminals who had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”
What this means is that a full third of all convicted felons would not have been caught if gun control laws had been stricter. I’m not sure this can be made more plain. In conclusion, it can be stated that a standard background check previous to being able to purchase a firearm is sufficient and optimal for maintaining a system that can help innocent victims become innocent heroes.