Op-Ed: Locking guns won't do anything to save lives

After [the] attack at Santa Fe High School, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick forcefully told people of their “responsibility” to lock up their guns. We all want to do something, but everyone locking up their guns will cost more lives than it saves.

Santa Fe High School had received an award for school safety but it was helpless to stop this latest nightmare. We need to rethink school safety. Despite this year’s attacks, deaths from school shootings have actually declined over the last few decades. Still, that doesn't take away at all from the seriousness of the problem we face.

Lt. Gov. Patrick was just giving people advice. By contrast, gun control advocates always want to use laws to force their solutions on others. Since the Santa Fe killer apparently took his father’s guns, a number of gun control advocates have proposed to hold parents like him criminally liable; any gun owner would face criminal charges for leaving his gun unlocked or failing to keep it under his immediate

Other shootings have involved guns stolen from parents. In 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza stole his mother’s gun and subsequently killed her. She kept the gun in a safe, so a new law wouldn’t have mattered there. Since 2000, there have been two additional mass public shootings in the U.S. where a juvenile killed at least four people.

Gun control advocates claim that gunlocks will also reduce children’s accidental gun deaths. Unfortunately, the problem is more complicated. Mandating that people lock up their guns can have unintended consequences.

According to my research, published in the Journal of Law and Economics and elsewhere, requiring individuals to lock up their guns in certain states made it more difficult for those people to successfully defend their families. Such laws emboldened criminals to attack more people in their homes; there were 300 more total murders and 4,000 more rapes occurring each year in the states with these laws. Burglaries also rose dramatically.

Click here to read the entire op-ed at TheHill.com.

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