Column: Limiting gun access does not reduce crime

April 13, 2005
Collegiate Times

by Jon Laird

One of the most common defenses for owning or carrying a handgun is "It's my Second Amendment right." Although this argument appeals to the strict constructionist, it is less convincing to progressives who view the Constitution as more of a "living document," free to be interpreted as necessary for the current times apart from the explicit intentions of its founders. If gun owners are going to convince advocates of stringent gun control to ease up, they need to save the "it's my right" arguments for the courtroom and respond to gun control proponents who argue on the basis of gun violence statistics. Pro-gun laws are on a roll throughout the country, but their true impetus was changing hearts and minds, not in legalistic arguments.

Places where handgun carry is more common are better off for it. FBI statistics illustrate the fact that states allowing concealed weapon carry have much lower rates of violent crime, murder, robbery and aggravated assault than states with significant restrictions. Conversely, restricting or eliminating the right to carry inevitably causes gun-related crimes to increase. A perfect example is Australia, where the crime rate was dropping steadily for 25 years prior to 1996, when the government banned private ownership of most guns. Then, in 2000, armed robberies were up 45 percent and gun homicides in the Australian state of Victoria were up 300 percent. A law in England that mandated handgun turn-in by 1998 produced similar results; in the five years following, total gun crimes almost doubled and gun homicides increased by 65 percent.

If you think about it, it makes sense, going back to that old axiom,

"When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." Whether guns are legal or illegal, criminals always manage to get their hands on them.

Click here to read the entire column in the Collegiate Times.

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