Is it possible that more guns equals less crime?
Published February 16th, 2010
In the weeks following the election of Barack Obama,
gun and ammo sales across the nation surged. Interviews with
the proprietors of gun shops and their customers revealed
a concern that the new president would severely regulate
firearms and ammo ownership.
A year later, it’s obvious that the worst fears of gun owners
weren’t realized. Despite Obama’s troubling comments about
bitter small-town residents who “cling to guns or religion” during
his campaign, the president has not taken actions that could
reasonably be construed as anti-gun.
When it comes to the emotions stirred by the Second Amendment,
however, the paranoia of some conservatives is not a one-way
street " although national media invariably contrive to portray
it in those terms.
Meanwhile, liberal paranoia about gun ownership goes essentially unexamined.
According to liberals, the huge increase in gun purchases that came
as a consequence of Obama’s election were certain to result in
a commensurate spike in gun violence. Despite these repeated
predictions, the frenzy of gun violence that was supposed to erupt
never occurred. In fact, gun violence has decreased
Indeed, the liberal mantra that more guns equals more crime
has run headlong into some inconvenient facts.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2009,
violent crime is down significantly this past year across the board
in everything from car thefts " which have declined almost 20
percent " to homicides, which have dropped 10 percent.
Coupled with the worst recession in a generation " which liberals
also said would create more crime " the fall in violence is all the
Some anti-gun groups have argued that firearms, like alcohol and drugs,
are inherently dangerous and should be regulated as a health threat,
but if the decline in violent crime this past year is any indication,
it would seem that more guns equals less " not more " crime.
Anxious gun owners who compulsively stockpiled ammunition last year
in the belief that President Obama would send out ATF agents
to confiscate everyone’s firearms were obviously off the mark.
Gun control advocates who insist that the apocalypse is just
around the corner because gun ownership rates continue to rise
are no less paranoid.
As we have previously observed in this space, it’s increasingly
obvious that guns aren’t the main cause of violence in society any
more than windows are the reason that people sometimes jump out of them.
Nor is the problem a lack of gun laws. In almost every example of
public gun violence the media has reported on in the last couple
of decades, the shooter or shooters were usually in violation of
several gun laws before they opened fire.
In the final analysis, it is society’s toleration of violence in all its
forms that needs to be addressed. Neither arming ourselves to
the teeth as individuals nor collectively retreating behind a wall
of laws will move society positively in the direction we all seek,
but have yet to find.