When the gun control debate becomes a crime prevention question, there exists one question. Do guns prevent crime? In answering that question, John Lott's book More Guns Less Crime come to mind. Lott asserts the answer is yes. He advocates that the states need to pass concealed carry laws in an effort to reduce crime. In an interview in 1998, he explains that criminals will have no way of knowing if the person they are going after will have a gun. This serves as a deterrent. His claim though the years have brought quite a level of conspiracy.
First, in John Lott's defense is Alex Jones. On his website, the man puts together a load of statistics that show that since allowing people to carry guns that crime has decreased. Also, in by answering the question, he has said yes. He also contains points about the UK and India that show their crime rate is very high suggesting that the public with guns can lower their rate. He showed that a ban of handguns in Chicago had no effect and crime actually increased.
So, what about other sources. In Virginia, a report supported Lott's assertion. The crime rate in Virginia did appear to decrease.
From 2006 to 2011, the total number of guns purchased in Virginia increased 73 percent, while the total number of gun-related violent crimes decreased 24 percent over that period. And when adjusted for population growth, the number of crimes further decreases to more than 27 percent, with 79 gun-related offenses per 100,000 in 2006 dropping to 57 by 2011.
Many truth checks done by local papers and investigative reporters have arrived at the same figures. In Reno, the paper examines this statistical argument. With the exception of one mass attack (and that one can be not classified as a mass attack) that occurred since 1950, mass attacks occurred where guns are prohibited. Lott's assertions seem quick by looking and interpreting the statistics in one way which is to bolster claims. One has to analyze the data more. The conclusion of the article sides with Lott because the best conclusion for society is that guns do not hurt.
Now here is the problem. This question should be answered definitively. The problem is outlined here in this Salon article (Qute an expansive article.) that Congress has squashed any data collection about guns. Still, the answer to the question is no. What appears to be the case is that steadily violent crime is increasing. If one says that guns do not bear out a decrease or increase of crime, one thing is sure that they are not the solution. The actuality is that Lott could not produce backing studies to his assertion.
From the Salon article, the criminologist Kleck and Gertz were examined. They asserted guns were used in many cases for defense which overshadowed crime by an overwhelming number. Unfortunately, this number was whittled down quite considerably. And then the whole premise of using a gun actually is like counter-terror where the purpose of having a gun is to threaten. But, the gun owner in defense is usually in the right. Well, no.
But, setting aside crime (also from the Salon article), there are over 32,000 (20,000 suicides, about 850 accidents) gun related deaths. Now, there is how convenient guns can dispense death. Essentially the argument makes guns a very big health issue. Of course, Jones has a graphic to show that there are other more serious health problems then what is provided by guns. And, there are cases where one with a gun have stopped or prevented the loss of life. Still, usually the predominate of cases involve others that are unarmed that apprehend or conclude a situation with a gunman. Cops tend to let a shooter expend their ammunition. And, recently an unarmed person talked an armed kid down at a school.
The question again is will more guns prevent crime. The Salon article questioned the effectiveness of gun use. Even cops are apt at shooting innocent bystanders or fail at using the firearm in defense. These cops are supposedly trained at this so one can think how an everyday person can actually succeed at the use of the firearm. The assumption that guns prevent crime is not a certainty. But, then there is the apparent indisputable fact that guns do not contribute either. From the Salon article, the debate becomes one a moral issue,
No serious person today is questioning the right of Americans to own guns, and without a doubt, you can find numerous cases in which guns have saved lives. But on balance, with the data available, it’s close to impossible to make a convincing case that guns save lives. With 300 million guns already in circulation, it’s hard to see a perfect solution, but encouraging more guns is certainly not the answer.
In answering the question, one must see the complexity of the situation. The question is about reducing crime. The unfortunate thing is the contribution to the well-being of society. While in the United States, one has the right to keep and bear arms, there is a responsibility for government to insure the public is not harmed. This is perhaps why there needs to be controls put in place. Still, the actions done need to acknowledge the role gun can play and provide a way the public can use them in a responsible way to prevent crime. In the United States people are given that option.
Right now in a politically charged environment, the Democrats have to be careful because our gun culture is entrenched and see the statistics in a way to bolster their position. Firearms are also used for hunting and sport so could this be the only function of a firearm? In deference to my friend, there are things that need to be done despite the gun lobby. First, a gun owner database needs to be expanded-- loopholes closed, made universal across all states, and involve all who have weapons. Also, making a firearm or having a firearm action automatic should be outlawed-- but if this is politically expensive then Congress needs to refer this to the states. I believe a clip limit will not work-- also if this proves to be politically expensive then Congress must also refer this to the states. The states need to get more active with this and really enable increased enforcement. If conceal carry is adopted and it is for ( I believe 41 states) then training needs to be mandatory. The serious nature of firearms need to be understood by all who have them. And the consequences of not abiding by the law needs to be stiff.
As for the NRA, their power is an illusion. This is because they do not represent responsible law abiding gun owners. They are not striving for the decrease in the accidents or misuse of firearms as mentioned. It is too bad because this is where they can help in society. Yet, they choose not to. And, the same applies to the gun/ammo manufacturers who also tend to not lift a finger to help. Without doing so makes Lott's assertion incorrect because without training there will be an increase in so many more accidents or unplanned discharges. With training responsible owners can more effectively serve as a detriment to crime. It seems to me, the gun/ammo manufacturers would make more money this way then by essentially advocating death-- they loose customers. Not to mention, most being untrained makes it easy for a criminal because he or she can see a victim and know if that victim cannot use a firearm even if the victim is carrying-- also negating the more guns less crime claim.
The NRA and gun/ammo dealers opposition to this effectively makes them a bad business, a bane in society complicit with criminals and they need to be shut down. One bad industry, the adult entertainment industry comes to mind; they did not help with social concerns and became a problem when it was seen they could help but did not. In fact, if a gun dealer becomes a social problem then it should be easy to shut them down-- with the NRA ignored.
The NRA and gun/ammo dealers have such a potential with establishing schools and pressuring states to make it a requirement. This actually will not hit their sales but may present a boom. Yet, they choose to be crazy. The main effort would then be to get rid of them especially in court cases. It is actually a conflict of interest if they are
So, do more guns stop crime? It is difficult to prove. The thought experiments done show there are consequences with more gun accidents, suicides, and with guns being close the most deadly resolution to arguments, guns stolen, guns taken and used for crime, and all uses accept for defense. Yes, mass killings are outliers and one must factor them out. It does come down to morality and in America we are split. We do need more data and this is an imperative action that needs to be done. This data should show Lott to be incorrect in situations which would end conceal carry.
But, that is not a death or attack on the 2nd Amendment. The idea is that all need to see a problem here and get involved to bring about a solution. And the problem remains how to prevent crime which includes other considerations and areas to bolster. That means the overall understanding of crime needs to be accomplished.