Tuesday, April 15, 2008

High Rates of Gun Ownership Do Not Cause High Crime Rates

"There are enough guns in the United States that if you gave one to every adult, you would run out of adults before you ran out of guns. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. homicides involve a gun, a far greater fraction than in other industrialized countries. Our homicide rate is also much higher than in those countries. It would therefore seem likely that our homicide rate is so high in part because guns are so easily available. Research indeed shows this to be true.

"But guns are not the whole story. In Switzerland, every adult male is issued an assault rifle for militia duty and is allowed to keep the gun at home. On a per capita basis, Switzerland has more firearms than just about any other country, and yet it is one of the safest places in the world. In other words, guns do not cause crime. That said, the established U.S. methods of keeping guns away from the people who do cause crime are, at best, feeble. And since a gun--unlike a bag of cocaine or a car or a pair of pants--lasts pretty much forever, even turning off the spigot of new guns still leaves an ocean of available ones." (p. 131-132)

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