Gun Laws Don't Stop the Killing

By Thomas E. Gift, MD. January 25, 2021

A recent report looks to see if laws restricting the right to keep and bear arms might have effects on homicides and suicides not caused by guns. They found no increase or decrease in non-gun homicides associated with changes in gun related homicides, and the data regarding suicides were too sparse to be useful. Their report was based on examining a series of earlier studies.

To the authors’ credit, they noted that some experts describe a substitution effect, that is, a person not killed by a firearm may instead be killed by some other form of violence. They cite several previous studies finding that those not suiciding by shooting are likely to do so by other means, and that homicides not committed by shooting will probably occur by other means.

There are however a number of problems with the publication. The authors seem to see all homicides as bad, and never mention justifiable homicides. These often involve self-defense, or appropriate actions by police or bystanders to protect the innocent. The researchers seem to assume that any reduction in homicides is desirable, ignoring the injuries, arsons and assaults prevented by the appropriate use of force.

A recent DRGO contributor noted the existence of many dozens of peer-reviewed academic studies conducted by a wide range of authors suggesting that widespread gun ownership deters crime. ....

"The takeaway message is that relationships between homicide, justifiable homicide, suicide and firearm availability are complex. But the intent of murderers and suicide victims are almost always discernible. It is elementary foolishness to blame inanimate objects for how people choose to act."


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