The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
US Gun Nuts!
Steven Den Beste (indispensible as always) pointed me to an article stating simply that American gun ownership is out of control.
As Steven says, if the freest, richest, smartest, most powerful, most inventive, most economically dynamic country in the world has liberal laws regarding private gun ownership, maybe it should serve as an example to the world and not a pariah.
I agree completely, and I believe that the UN has been watching that "Bowling For Columbine" silliness.
It is interesting to note the progression of "thought" in the anti-gun crowd. They once thought that strict gun laws would make crime go down in the cities. But in cities with very strict gun laws (Washington, New York, Detroit), gun crime actually got worse after laws were enacted.
They argued (justifiably) that guns were being smuggled in by criminals (who, btw, don't care about gun laws). Gun laws needed to be federal, they said, so that guns could be stopped at the border. Then, gun crime would go down. (They were immune to the obvious: gun crimes are not generally committed by legal gun owners).
If only there was an island somewhere, to serve as a test of this hypothesis.
In fact there are two:
Britain enacted some of the strictest gun laws in the world after the Dunblane massacre in 1996. Gun crime there is exploding. (One of the most common crimes in Britain (and most terrifying to me personally) is home invasion: armed burglars burst in, take a family hostage and rob them. Tha kind of crime is very rare in the US, simply because criminals never know when they might encounter an armed homeowner. Thieves "case" a house to make sure that the homeowner is gone before entering.):
Gun crimes during the first 10 months of the annual period have trebled in most of the urban areas which have so far submitted statistics to the Home Office. Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said gun gangs were spreading across the country whereas, until recently, they were confined to a handful of London boroughs.
Sir John said: "We have to stem the large number of guns coming in. We know you can buy a gun in London for £200 to £300, and that's frightening. The price of hiring or buying a gun has come down because there are more guns circulating. We are having success; we are taking out about 600 guns a year."
The new gun crime figures also show that handgun crime has soared past levels last seen before the Dunblane massacre of 1996 and the ban on the weapons that followed.
Australia (thank you Tim Blair) also enacted strict gun laws with a similar result:
Australia's gun legislation was the most up-to-date in the Pacific region, the survey said, with average annual firearm imports dropping 66 per cent since gun laws were tightened in 1996/97 after the Port Arthur killings.
However in the 2001/02 financial year Australian customs officials seized 812 illegally imported firearms with hundreds of thousands believed to have made it onto the market.
And from 1999 to 2002 the number of robberies involving firearms in Sydney's most populated areas rose by 34 per cent, while handgun homicide has grown from 13 to 50 per cent since Martin Bryant killed 35 people at the Port Arthur tourist site in Tasmania in April 1996.
Now how can anyone argue that strict gun laws prevent gun crime?
Oh, but they will! What we need now is global gun control!