Posted by: Jay | March 7, 2008

Bemoaning The Lack Of More Gun Control

That’s the way this article comes off. And it starts off with one of those absurd statements only to contradict that statement a sentence later:

The scenario is all too familiar: A disturbed gunman opens fire in a school, an office, or a shopping center and, before horrified spectators, slaughters innocent men, women, and even children. After the massacres at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech University, and Omaha’s Westroads Mall, the question is always the same: How could this tragedy have been prevented? Inevitably, there are calls for tougher gun control, and routinely they are followed by arguments about Second Amendment rights, along with protestations that “guns don’t kill people; people do.” In the end, the reactions to these tragedies serve only to remind how deeply divided Americans are when it comes to guns.

Emphasis mine. But then in the very next paragraph she writes:

Four out of every 10 Americans own a gun. And nearly 3 out of 4 believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to have a firearm. Recent Gallup polls show that only 38 percent of Americans think the most important way to combat gun violence is through stricter gun laws; 58 percent believe more should be done to enforce current laws instead. And more than two thirds oppose an outright ban on handguns.

So you have less than half of Americans who actually own guns, but 75% believe the 2nd Amendment protects the right of the individual to have a firearm, 62% don’t believe stricter gun control laws help to fight crime and nearly 70% of Americans oppose an outright ban. Where is this supposed division?

The rest of the article is littered with statements that provide no substantiation. For instance:

Laws allowing individuals to carry concealed weapons, which advocates say tend to discourage criminals from shooting, have brought little meaningful decrease in crime.

Where does she get this? When my home state of Florida started to allow citizens to carry in 1987 the decrease in crime was in no way, meaningless:

In 1987, when Florida adopted its current concealed-weapons law, Florida’s homicide rate was 11.4 persons per 100,000. In 1993, Florida’s homicide rate declined to 8.7 persons per 100,000. During this same period, the national homicide rate increased from 8.2 to 9.3 persons per 100,000. Thus, allowing honest citizens to carry concealed weapons saves lives. During the same period (1987-93), the incidence of rape went up 14.4% while in Florida the rate went up only 2.9% and started declining in 1993. Although Florida’s rape rate went up somewhat, Florida women avoided the skyrocketing rape rates that the rest of the country experienced. Allowing honest women to carry concealed weapons thus prevents rapes.

Then we get to whole new level of absurdity:

On the streets of D.C.’s rougher neighborhoods today, it’s hard to see how the handgun ban has made much of an impact on crime. Last year, homicides—about 80 percent of which are caused by firearms—were up 7 percent from the year before, to 181. That makes D.C.’s one of the highest per capita murder rates in the country. If the gun ban is struck down, the District will very likely see an increase in firearms ownership and perhaps a rise in burglaries by criminals trying to obtain guns.

This reads like an old Dennis Miller news story from Saturday Night Live! First she writes that it’s hard to see how the ban has made much of an impact on crime and then goes on to say that homicides in DC were up 7% from the year before. That makes it pretty obvious that the ban has had very little impact on crime. And you have to love the logic she employs after that. Crime will increase because people are going to start committing more burglaries trying to find guns. She doesn’t consider the possibility that we’ll see a decrease in burglaries because burglars will be less apt to commit their crimes knowing the resident could have a gun for protection.

I don’t really know who Emma Schwartz is, but this kind of reporting is really sloppy.



  1. […] Same old song and dance. Twice in one day! […]

  2. Where does she get this? When my home state of Florida started to allow citizens to carry in 1987 the decrease in crime was in no way, meaningless…

    Well, she has a point. Statistical studies are unable to prove that Florida’s (or any other state’s) CCW law has had any effect (positive or negative) on crime rates – John Lott nothwithstanding.

    Of course, the same studies are unable to prove that ANY gun-control law has had any effect either.

    Two meta-studies of all of the gun control research up to the time of the studies concluded that they could reach no conclusion. The first was a study commissioned by the Carter administration, published in 1983 as Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime and Violence in America (highly recommended). The second was commissioned by the Clinton administration and was carried out by National Academies of Science in 2004 as Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review.

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