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December 08, 2005

All right already! Back off the emails!

Sheesh! The Canadians (less CAPT H) are pinging me about the Liberal Party leader's proposal for a handgun ban in Canada.

Heh. File under "Oops I did it again!"

Alan of GENX@40 opened fire with this:

You know it is pretty hard to just slam them as liberals when they call themselves iberals: Martin set to promise tighter controls on handguns in bid to fight urban crime.

Being busy, I responded:

Heh. My only comment is that it's never worked anywhere else, but it will make them feel good.

Alan returned fire with:

Not to be snarky at all but how did the handgun ban not work in the UK? Is there any stats you are aware of? My interest is in writing about the topic not arguming so anything you are aware of would be useful.

Alan

And now Damian Brooks of Babbling Brooks jumps on me, too.

What? The Canadian Prime Minister proposes to ban handguns, and you have no posted opinion? I was expecting my favourite purveyor of gun-porn to blast the idea with both barrels.

Okay, I have an opinion. I sent it to Alan and to Damian.

It's a longish screed, so I'll put it beneath the fold, in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Me:

Firearms violence increased in the UK after the ban. I don't believe the ban per se really had that much to do with the increase, as Brits were pretty well disarmed in their homes by law and custom already - hence Blighty being the Home Invasion capital of the western world.

The dynamic I see at work is we do the easy thing - we ban ownership of firearms by the law-abiding, most of whom obey the law, though we create by fiat another little group of criminals, the ones who won't surrender their weapons (the ones not on any registry, anyway) and really have zero impact on the firearms availability to the criminal class. And, because we've not made this huge, symbolic gesture that oppresses only the law-abiding, we pat ourselves on the back and don't try to figure out, much less address, the underlying causes that impels the criminal class to violence.

Of course, one reason we do that is because we don't want to face a possibly ugly truth - that absent incarceration, there just isn't much you *can* do -
which, of course, flies in the face of Enlightenment Thought.

The great increases in gun violence in the last 100 years correlate very strongly to: Prohibition and The War on Drugs. During the height of conflict in the
Civil Rights Era, there were high-profile shootings, but deadly firearms violence did not spike horrifically, except in localized areas.

The great *decreases* in firearms related violence in the US correlate strongly to... the end of Prohibition, and the "three strikes you're out, and harsh mandatory sentences for drug and violent offenders - and for the guys with long sentences, their recidivism due to violence (they may still engage in criminal activity) after release is markedly down... currently thought largely due to the fact they are so much older.

Much of the firearms violence in the US is gang and drug-related, both things greatly exacerbated by the "war on drugs."

You want to make policy changes that will drive down the numbers further - that is where to mine your gold. Banning firearms is a pointless exercise, except as a symbol to law-abiding people... "We don't trust you, because you don't think like us."

If your lot think it's going to help, I make *this* prediction... the Mohawks and others will add gun-running to their repertoire, and thefts of guns in the Northeastern US will spike for a bit, as the criminal organizations stock up for stuff to move around across the border. I shouldn't really pick on the Mohawks per se, but I recall that members of that tribe have made an almost patriotic thing of getting around Canadian Customs with items of lucrative interest, and they have that nice long border with the US, IIRC.

Here, you'll probably like this source as being not tainted by my right-wingedness... 8^)

Alan lofts back:

You are a nice softie rightest and we all know it. Do you see that it is a handgun ban. I think we have as many guns in Canada per person as the US (I may be wrong) but they are rifles. Right now the spate of shootings in Toronto with handguns does point out the lack of purpose for the handgun - I would suspect possession of a handgun will simply be made criminal as it is with machine guns here and the rifles will not be touched.

Alan

My final volley was this:

Which is *exactly* what I put all those words together about.

It's a meaningless gesture that only affects the law abiding and allows the politicians to look like they've done something, when in fact, what they have done, usefully, is

nothing.at.all.

Damian, when he jumped on my back and started whacking me about the head and shoulders did send along *this* link, which I recommend to Alan (and the rest of you):

Oh, and btw, here's a counterintuitive post from a fairly vehement Canadian lefty that's very much worth the read: The Amazing Wonderdog.

On this subject, at least, a lefty I can read without getting cross-eyed - well done, Sir.

John | Permalink | Comments (49) | Gun Rights
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