Fri 19 Aug, 2011 05:49 pm
Gun control: Misfire
By: Times-Dispatch Staff
Published: August 17, 2011
"I don't know if there's anything disproven by those numbers," says state Sen.
Donald McEachin, a gun-control advocate who is evidently hoping to become
the poster child for confirmation bias. McEachin was referring to
Sunday's Times-Dispatch story about Virginia's law legally allowing
concealed-carry license holders to bring their firearms into bars
and restaurants. Contrary to widespread predictions, the measure
has not turned the streets into rivers of blood.
In fact, since the measure passed, the number of gun-related crimes
in bars and restaurants has fallen. The drop may be mere coincidence, but
contrary to McEachin's doubts, it does indeed disprove something:
It disproves the dire pronouncements of those who opposed the measure
during the years it was being debated.
For instance, chiefs of police from around the state joined Virginia
Beach Police Chief Jake Jacocks in calling the bill "a recipe for disaster."
Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms agreed, terming it "stupid" and
"a fatal mistake." The Virginia Center for Public Safety, a gun-
control advocacy group, accused state lawmakers of putting narrow
special interests "above the safety of Virginia's families." Salon magazine
said Virginia "is permitting residents to legally carry concealed weapons at
pizza joints full of little-league teams where people drink pitchers
of beer and get in fights over Redskins games."
If the critics had been right, then gun crimes in bars and restaurants
should have skyrocketed. Instead, they fell.
This is not surprising. Time and again, the public has been warned
that broadening the scope of legal gun rights will lead — automatically, as
it were — to an increasing incidence of bloodshed. It happened
when Florida passed its concealed-carry law, and when other states followed suit.
It happened when the Supreme Court upheld an individual right to carry firearms,
and again when the high court applied that ruling to cities beyond
the District of Columbia. Time and time again, the prediction has
been proven wrong.
More guns might not lead to less crime; deterrence is a very hard
thing to prove, but this much is clear: More guns do not lead to more crime.
Virginia's experience with its concealed-carry law fits a long-running pattern.
Unfortunately, most gun-control advocates probably will wave away
any data that do not support their dubious hypothesis, just as
McEachin has. That is a long-running pattern, too
[All emfasis has been added by David.]