For those of you who may not know, the image below is called a meme. Memes have become a fun internet fixture for high school and college-aged kids, as well as many others. Memes are often used to humorously poke fun at things that we do in society. They can be very much a “cultural” thing.
This morning I found this meme titled “College Liberal.” Even though it is obviously making fun of that group, I do think that it brings up a good point, whether intentionally or not. Liberals think that gun control laws will keep people from owning guns. Sounds good in theory I suppose, but that is assuming that every single human being is going to be law-abiding. In this meme the college liberal “smokes pot” regardless of drug laws already in place (assuming the “college liberal” attends school outside of Colorado or Washington). So we see the flawed logic that has many people believing in this myth:
“Gun control laws would prevent crime from happening.”
Let’s play “Myth Busters” and put this one to rest. The question we must ask is, “do gun crimes actually go down when there are gun control laws put in place?” The answer to that is no. One of the best case studies for this comes from Washington D.C. In 1976 gun control laws were tightened and in that year there were 188 homicides. Throughout the ban on firearms in D.C., which lasted more than 30 years, homicide rates rose. Finally in 2007 the D.C. gun ban was struck down as unconstitutional. Since then, homicide rates have fallen from 186 in 2008 to 88 in 2012. So why exactly did the gun bans fail in D.C.?
This political cartoon can answer that question better than you may think. In an op-ed for the Washington Post (also from the linked article above) Jeffery Scott Shapiro said, “The gun ban had an unintended effect: It emboldened criminals because they knew that law-abiding District residents were unarmed and powerless to defend themselves.” Criminals are criminals for a reason. The law doesn’t stop them from other behaviors so why would it stop them from having and/or using guns? Add this to the fact that D.C. criminals now faced an unarmed city and bad things were bound to happen. It should also be noted that Washington D.C. still has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and that their gun homicide rate remains one of the highest in the nation according to statistics compiled by “The Blaze.”
So gun laws don’t actually help gun crime, but do they help overall in the crime rate? Again the answer is no. Look at the United Kingdom where possession of a handgun is illegal. In the UK there are 2,034 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In the United States, there are only 466 crimes per 100,000 people. An analysis of the FBI crime statistics also shows that states that adopted concealed carry laws reduced murders by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robberies by 3% (statistics and more information can be found here).
Finally, let me briefly revisit a segment from the YouTube video above. In 1982 Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law actually requiring households to have at least one firearm. Residential burglary rates dropped 89% in the city! And today the violent crime rate in Kennesaw is still 85% lower than Georgia’s or the national average. Imagine that! A city that actually made it a requirement to have a gun in the home and crime rates did not increase, but rather dropped significantly!
Hopefully the information presented has been insightful. The next time someone makes an argument to you for gun control by saying it would prevent gun crimes, remind them that criminals, by definition, don’t follow laws. Gun laws will not do anything for us except make us more vulnerable to violent crimes. Having a gun can protect and prevent bad things from happening.
Thanks for reading!