Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Guns.. and political agnosticism

Summed up in one line, my take on gun control: The problem is far too complex and multifaceted to have an easy (and applicable) answer. If you are purely anti- or pro-gun, you are clearly ignoring something.

*one of the guns that many Swiss men are required (by law) to keep at home

To quickly address some common arguments: The 2nd ammendment does not give an unequivocal right to own a gun (this was a surprise to me). Persons that obtain guns illegally do not necessarily expose faults in the law (VA Tech shooter... the problem was not with US gun policy, it was with a gun-owner not properly securing his guns). Remember, that homicide rates include non-gun murders, of which there are plenty. There is an argument that guns cause murder because when somebody wants to kill someone they go buy a gun... well guess what, if you're going to kill someone, a gun is a pretty easy way to do it, I'd probably buy one too. This does not make any statement that the murder would not have happened without the gun. Dinner table and pragmatic arguments aside, consider the following countries:

United States: Fairly liberal gun policy, Low homicide rate/violent crime rate, HDI (.948)
Spain/Japan: Vehemently anti-weapon, Low homicide rate/violent crime rate, HDIs (Sp .938; Ja .949)
Switzerland: Nearly one gun per person, Low homicide rate/violent crime rate, HDI (.947)
Brazil: Gun ownership illegal, high homicide/violet crime rate, HDI (.792)
Colombia: Ownership legal, with checks; highest homicide rate, HDI (.790)

Right off, HDI seems to be a lot more correlated to violence than gun policy (if I get bored this weekend, I'll plot a few). The National Academy of Science kind of agrees, they, "found no evidence that shows right-to-carry laws have an impact, either way, on rates of violent crime." Now, I haven't talked to many murderers but... people who want to kill someone probably don't care much if they get a gun legally. You'd think that making it harder to get guns would help, but let's remember prohibition. The government made alcohol illegal and the US abounded with illegal alcohol. Anti-gun policies will probably not be effective unless your country is already uin the midst of a gun famine (that there is pontification).

It's simple, the problem is too complex to have a simple answer, but here it is... Remove guns from the hands of criminals. After you do that, educate and feed the masses, then take lunch. In the afternoon you can fix global warming... You think that sounds like a lot?...Yeah, about that? It looks I'm going to need you to come in on Saturday, and don't forget your cover paper on those TPS reports.

-Homicide rate/100o - 2000 United Nations Survey Fun page on International Homecide - Sources cited, but not well
-National Academy of Science, Committee on Law and Justice - online publication
-Recent article about new gun laws in Columbia


Blogger Cassy said...

Strangely enough, I was just thinking about this the other day. I'm ambivalent about gun ownership, but I think the peeps that piss me off are the ones that are totally pro-gun. They may cite the right for the populous to take arms against the gov't in times of revolution, but they're also probably the ones that would prefer women to remain in the kitchen and immigrants to stay in their countries of origin. Just personal experience, and perhaps not a generalization.

And by the way, I already solved global warming. Don't worry your mohawky little head about it. You should just enjoy a little corn smut while you're down there in Brazil. Apparently they love it.

8:12 AM  

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