Note: I actually wrote this post on Tuesday, the 18th, prior to my computer issues But it includes some great resources so I wanted to post it anyway. Enjoy!
These two links are to stories that are relevant to the gun control debate. The first involves what might very well have been another multiple-victim public shooting, foiled by a law-abiding citizen with a gun. The second, from EPJ, discusses how proposed legislation to crack down on “assault weapons” would impact a fraction of murders so small as to be nearly statistically insignificant.
My overall point here is that, like anything else, gun control is an economic issue. One must weigh the costs versus the benefits. The costs of America’s toleration of the private ownership of firearms are easily seen. The media blasts them at full volume on a nightly basis. The benefits are virtually unseen. Most defensive firearms uses do not even involve shots being fired, and few ever make the national news. Those that do certainly don’t get the sweeping coverage that a multiple-victim public shooting does. Those who favor stricter gun control presume that the availability of firearms in America offers no benefits. This is a foolish presumption. But the benefits are much more difficult to measure than the costs. When someone is dissuaded from attacking an individual because they brandished a firearm, we have no way to know whether that person might have been murdered or simply robbed, assaulted, raped, etc.
The economic calculations involved in this matter are not simple. But to the extent that they can be done, they already have been, by John R. Lott. I suggest anyone who is seriously interested in this topic pick up a copy of More Guns, Less Crime, and learn for themselves.
In the meantime, I urge everyone to step back from the debate for a moment and take a few days, weeks, or months to really process the relevant information, and then return to it. Making important decisions with huge societal ramifications while still reeling from the effects of an emotionally-charged strategy is a very poor idea. One need not go that far into the past to find incidents of this happening in America, with absolutely terrible consequences.