Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gun Control Flaws 2.7, "What does it hurt? Hello, Unintended Consequences!"

A major problem with gun control "solutions" is their narrow perceived scope of cause and effect. Since most all gun control focuses on the tool used in violent firearm-related crime, it doesn't consider any of the other factors that are actually directly responsible for violent crime, such as socio-economic factors (poverty, prevalence of gangs), the failure of our criminal justice system to rehabilitate offenders before letting them go back onto the street, and how prohibitions actually serve to increase violent crime rates by creating a profitable enterprise for violent criminals.

Consider the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's. The government saw a problem (abuse of alcohol), implemented a solution (ban it completely), and once it was implemented, received a stern lesson in Unintended Consequences.

With legal distribution and sales of alcohol now illegal, organized crime took over, making millions of dollars distributing the contraband, making it profitable for those willing to engage in a life of violent crime.

The same thing has occurred with the prohibition of recreational drugs - all the laws and money dumped into the "war on drugs" have had little proven effect to reduce consumption or demand, or even the supply. Being a profitable enterprise for those willing to disobey the law, the lure of "easy money" draws those in poverty with little other opportunity to succeed into gangs for illegal drug distribution. They must be violent to protect their distribution "turf" from other violent gangs.

The lesson to be learned is: When something there is a demand for is made contraband, those willing to disobey the law will step in, drawn by the profitability, to supply the demand - actually increasing the number of violent criminals on the street and thereby increasing violent crime.

Viewing the history of homicide in this country, note the slow increase in the homicide rate leading up to and during prohibition, then the sharp drop right at the end. Note the same increase with the ramp-up on the "war on drugs" in the 60's.

Now consider the similarities in what's happened with increasing gun control:

Back before the Gun Control Act of 1968, except for some states, anybody had open access to purchase firearms from a legal gun dealer. Pretty much anyone could buy a gun, even through mail order. It stands to reason that since there was no real prohibition, guns were no different than any other item bought and sold on the street - perhaps a gun was stolen merchandise, but otherwise there was nothing special about them, because they could just as easily be bought from almost anywhere.

Now flash forward 40+ years to our current state, where the supply to "prohibited persons" within the US is limited - They can no longer buy directly from FFL dealers if they can't pass a background check, but it hasn't actually been proven to stop any significant number of violent criminals from getting their hands on a gun - instead, it has bolstered the "black market" on the street, making guns a profitable commodity for those willing to disobey the prohibition and sell to those that aren't allowed by law to possess a gun.

As we see with anything else we prohibit where a demand exists, the more tightly we try and regulate guns, not only will the law not have any significant effect keeping them out of the hands of "prohibited persons," but the black market on the street (and the number of criminals running it) will actually increase to meet the demand.

Not quite the result that gun control advertises, is it?


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