Gun Laws: A Hit or Miss on Mortality and Crime Rates
As humans we are always looking for the fastest and easiest solutions to our problems, when its possible to do so. This human characteristic pertains to the case of gun control. Anti-gun activists believe that with more gun laws and stricter policies, crime rates, murders, and homicides, where a gun was the weapon, will decrease. However these individuals have failed to see that there is no correlation between gun laws and crime. Gun policies such as not being able to own a rifle or handgun, and restrictions on the amount of weapons one can own do not stop crime. They fail to improve society and by no means put an end to violent crimes, murders, and homicides.
Gun laws do not affect affect mortality and crime rates. Not every single crime that happens in the world is recorded. It is near impossible to do so, and this means many crimes go unreported. Imagine the sheer amount of murders, and homicides that occur out of the public’s knowledge. There is a chance the murder weapon was a gun, and there is also a chance that it was not a gun. How do we know that a stricter gun law has decreased the mortality rate of some nation? Even if the numbers look like they are in favor of the gun law, not all the data is there. There is a chance that countless crimes went unrecorded.
In the article Police Tactic: Keeping Crime Reports Off the Books, not recording crimes is actually a strategy used to keep the recorded crime rates down. This makes the data look better than it actually is. In addition, other reason for police not reporting every crime can be, “to avoid the dull task of preparing reports; others may fear discipline for errors in paperwork. Sometimes officers run out of time because they are directed to another job” (
Baker, Goldstein, 2011). This article was published by the New York Times and applies to the N.Y.P.D. The amount of unreported crimes has seen a decrease, and has dropped from 4.4 percent in 2000 to about 1.5 percent in 2011 ( Baker, Goldstein, 2011). Even though this rate is dropping it still is present in today’s world. This also is just crime that is reported to police. There is almost definitely more crime that occurs “underground” that law enforcement is not even aware of. So how can we account for all the murders and homicides caused by guns? The simple answer is we can’t.
Implementing stricter policies wouldn’t affect those who carry out unknown crimes. If the police do not know about the crime committed, why would it matter if the suspect followed the gun laws in use. Disregard to these gun laws comes in it’s strongest form when we look at another underground aspect. This is the underground gun market. Just like bootlegging alcohol during prohibition, the underground gun market was established under the circumstances that made it harder to legally own a weapon. Gun laws do not pertain to these markets, and the weapons distributed in them are unregistered. Across America the vast majority of criminals do not purchase their weapons through a legal process (
Cook, Ludwig, Venkatesh, Braga, 2005).
Since gun laws are aimed at making society safer by decreasing the availability of guns, they could almost be considered useless when the criminals committing crimes are buying guns illegally. If more guns resulted in more crime then the United States would have the highest suicide rate and a higher homicide rate (
Jacobs, 2002). However this correlation does not exist. Millions of households around the U.S own firearms, this is more than most countries in the world. However, our crime rates are not as high as some of these other nations. This trend shows there is no need for strict gun laws, where they would have no effect on a country where most of the population is responsible with their firearms. There is no relation between gun laws and crime rates, because the crime rates are not dependent on the amount of weapons in circulation, instead they rely on the mental states of who obtains them.
If there had to be any correlation between gun control and violent crimes, interestingly enough, it would be that less gun control causes an increase in crime rate. This notion is pretty counter-intuitive but it is clearly seen in some European nations. Many countries in Europe have very strict gun policies, however the crime rates do not match up as one would think they should. The Harvard study Gun Control is Counterproductive shines light on the fact that countries with strict gun laws witness higher murder rates than those who’s laws are less strict. This study focused on nine European nations with the lowest gun ownership rates (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000). These nations had a combined murder rate that was about 3 times greater than nine other nations with the greatest ownership rate of firearms (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000) (
Harvard Study: Gun Control is Counterproductive, 2018). Now murders and crimes committed throughout the world are not only carried out with the use of firearms. People are killed by knives, and countless other weapons. Crime rates can also be a bit shaky and inaccurate due to countless factors. This study should not prove that gun ownership decreases crime or on other end, increases it. However it should highlight the fact that gun control is ineffective at preventing murder. It is counterproductive and does not benefit society (Harvard Study: Gun Control is Counter Productive).
More gun laws and stricter policies would not help the world’s problem with murder and crime. This is not a viable solution. Instead these ideas would just create more anger and irritability from the side that is pro-gun. This is just fuel for the fire of the debate between pro-gun and anti-gun activists. As unfair as it is, only one side can win this argument. One side will be right, and seeing that gun laws are counterproductive and also upset millions of gun owners, there shouldn’t be more of these laws enacted. Taking a step back from these laws, means that the anti-gun activist side ultimately loses in the game of gun control.
Cook, P. J., Ludwig, J., Venkatesh, S. A., & Braga, A. A. (2005, November 07). Underground Gun Markets. Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://www.nber.org/papers/w11737
GOLDSTEIN, A. B. (2011, December 30). N.Y.P.D. Leaves Offenses Unrecorded to Keep Crime Rates Down. Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/31/nyregion/nypd-leaves-offenses-unrecorded-to-keep-crime-rates-down.html
Jacobs, J. B. (2002). Can Gun Control Work? Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=dpzN711aYlQC&oi=fnd&pg=PR15&dq=why gun control doesn’t work&ots=atIgrSsxHS&sig=aaEDwMulkkBHYhINAg6IBlNV6v8#v=onepage&q=why gun control doesn’t work&f=false
Harvard Study: Gun Control Is Counterproductive. (2018). Retrieved November 4, 2018, from https://www.theacru.org/2007/05/08/harvard_study_gun_control_is_counterproductive/