Sunday, December 16, 2012

Concrete-bound Blame

The following is a commentary on the topic of the recent Connecticut, USA shooting and resultant cries for gun control/gun bans.

Laws do not prevent some undesired action, they merely change the incentives and constraints surrounding that action. For example, murder is against the law, but even so, there are murders everyday.

As this applies to gun control, outlawing guns to whatever degree just raises the price of guns to a corresponding degree, due to their resultant scarcity and the legal risk of obtaining them.

We've discussed this idea before in "Toleration Is Not Sanction" where the underlying reality of demand for "something" manifests itself regardless of our attempt to throttle it. To review, look at drugs. Outlawing drugs made the costs of those drugs go up, and violence surrounding their distribution and manufacturing increase. Look at U.S prohibition. Cost went up, quality went down, violence went up. Similarly, when guns cost more, criminals will commit more robberies to pay for those guns.

When a criminal breaks into your house and comes for your jewelry so he can sell it for a gun, you will also have been disarmed of your own gun in the face of this threat. That an innocent person cannot own a gun allows the criminal (with gun or not) to feel safer about his encounter in robbing you. This safety, as a result of a gun ban, encourages crime, and puts weapons in the hands of criminals, while simultaneously taking them out of the hands of innocents, leaving those innocents as easy victims for future crime.

Criminals who want guns are going to get their hands on them one way or another. If they get denied from the shop, they will try their neighbors or someone they know. If they can't get it there, they will seek them out elsewhere. Do not be fooled by the facts of this particular case: if the guns had not been from the mother, they would have been from somewhere else.

Where they were procured is inessential, the essential element is the kind of thinking that causes someone to want to pull and actually pull the trigger. Perhaps a look at the motive power of this person's thinking would be far more instructive than pointing at a tool and saying "Guns are bad, mmmkay?".

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