Monday, July 12, 2021

Strict local gun policies aren’t effective in reducing gun violence. (Gun talk #4)

by Rod Williams- In looking at the issue of gun violence, one thing seems safe to say, strict local gun control policies have little impact on the level of gun violence. 

Statista Research Department recently compiled a list of the world's 50 most dangerous cities with a population of over 100,000, by murder rates (link).

While most of the world's most dangerous cities are located in Latin America where violence is caused in great part by drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and gang wars, four American cities are on the list.  They are St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Detroit. 

The pro-gun group American Association for Firearms Advocacy said that among the U. S. cities with the strictest gun laws are New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago.  Note that Baltimore is on both the list of cities with the strictest gun laws and the list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world. 

While the Statista Research listed four American cities as the world's most dangerous, any number of list of America's most dangerous cities include on their list the city of Chicago.  As reported in the Washington Post, Illinois ranks 8th for the toughest gun laws in the country and in addition, Chicago also bans what is commonly called "assault weapons."  Having relatively strict local gun laws does not keep Chicago off of the list of deadly places.  Actually, while Chicago has the most murders of any city in America, it has a lot of people and is not among the top ten cities with a high murder rate.  Some list ranks it as the 18th worst.  Still, I think the point is valid that relatively strict gun control policies do not stop Chicago from having a large number of murders.  The Washington Post article does say that some states with lax gun control policies have cities with high murder rates, but the evidence seems slim that there is a cause and effect.

Washington D.C has had a high murder rate for a long time despite having had a ban on handguns.  When the ban was lifted, murder rates dropped.  I am not suggesting that the removal of the ban on handguns led to the decline in the murder rate, but lifting the ban did not cause an increase in the murder rate. 

While some cities with strict gun laws have high murder rates, New Orleans has a high murder rate and Lousianna has some of the laxest gun laws in the nation. There seems to be no pattern. 

From my look at the data, I can only conclude that local gun control laws are ineffective at impacting the rate of gun violence.  Any effort to impact the incidents of murder and gun violence by passing local gun control laws is a waste of time.  Doing so may make some people feel good but even if strong local gun control laws are passed, it won't accomplish much. Also, there are limits to what a local government can do even if they want to.  Cities do not have the authority to impose gun control policies more strict than what their state will permit.  Also, ever since the District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court decision, cities cannot just ban handguns, even if their state would permit a city to do so.  

In looking at any data as I have done above it is wise to keep in mind that people who carry cigarette lighters have higher incidents of lung cancer.  Correlation does not equal cause and effect.  Also, in making comparisons between one time and another time or one place and another place, one cannot hold the other variables constant. 

Having reached the conclusion that local gun control laws are ineffective and efforts to pass them are a waste of time, that is not to ignore reasons why that is so.  Our cities have city limits but not walls or border controls.  We can move freely in this country and even if a city could ban guns, that would not stop someone from bringing guns into the city.  Also, what is on the books, may not be as important as how stringently it is enforced.  I think even the most adamant gun control advocate would have to concede that not many members of the criminal element would voluntarily surrender their gun even if a city could and did ban possessing a gun. 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment