"Well, how's that 'no gun' thing going for ya?"

By latest count, ten have been killed and seven wounded according to the latest news reports. Read about it here.

Maybe we should discuss why someone who wants to kill mucho people might (a) disobey the no-guns campus rule and (b) why a no-guns location is a tempting "soft target" for a terrorist or a man with a gun and mayhem on his mind. 

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MORE GUNS!!!!!!!!

During the Thatcher years, a few odd townships in the UK decide to post their town as a nuclear free zone. It always made me laugh, imagining a mushroom cloud explosion bending to avoid Little Chortledon or wherever.

Declaring a small place a gun free zone is kind of the same thing really. I mean I could declare the few inches of air around my body as a knife free zone, for example, but unless I have a way to enforce that declaration, I'm just whistling in the wind.

Gun ownership and rights have been made synonymous with independence and rugged Americanism in a masterful way by the NRA. Now "gun control" sounds just like "chemical castration".

People outside the US offering nostrums or opinions need to understand how unique we are. In most other countries, owning a gun is a privilege and not a right.

Many causal linkages that one might assume don't really bear up to scrutiny. Take this DailyBeast.com article which correlates gun deaths adjusted per capita with how liberal/restrictive the state's gun laws are. While it's true that the states with the highest gun deaths tend to have the most permissive gun laws, they also tend to be less affluent states with great numbers of blacks and/or Hispanics.

It should be obvious that there is an economic factor which plays a far greater role in gun deaths than gun laws. Gun crimes tend to be committed by poor people in the black and Hispanic minorities. They also tend to be the more usual victims of such crimes. Well-educated and affluent white folks tend to figure into the statistics only rarely. 

Clearly, raising poor blacks and Hispanics out of poverty and ensuring their education would have a far greater impact on gun crime than trying to take guns away from everybody through laws that only law-abiding citizens would obey anyway.

I've never understood the point of the "criminals will get hold of them anyway" argument. Anyone with any intelligence knows that only lawful people obey the law but that does not stop us making laws. Criminals get hold of heroin but we still ban heroin. Should we instead make it legal and available to all because criminals will get it anyway?

In fact...making something difficult to obtain will certainly impose some barriers even for those who really want to get one. How much of a barrier? Who knows. Good luck finding statistics on that.

Anyone have any experience becoming so enraged you needed quick access to a legal weapon? Where do you start? Who do you call? Is it worth the risk getting caught at a random traffic stop? Is it safe to deal with illegal gun dealers? Can you afford the cost (exponentially more expensive)?

No doubt some will get their guns...but there is no doubt barriers bring down gun ownership (and all the accidents and unplanned murder that comes along with it). Just how much is anybodies guess.

Yes Simon...the fact that some will get their gun anyways is a terrible and lazy excuse when dismissing gun control.

Bad analogy. Heroin is an addictive substance and after a while use become, well, let's say much less than 100% voluntary. Guns are always kept and used 100% voluntarily. There is no analogy between the psychologies of heroin and gun use.

When you pass laws against heroin, you pass them knowing that, like most laws, the effect will be post hoc. In other words, applied to offenders after they offend. We already prosecute gun abusers after they offend. 

If, on the other hand, you want to prevent people from killing with guns, my advice is to look at who does the killing and the why.

As I said elsewhere, gun deaths are much more aligned with social and economic factors than gun possession. Gun crimes in and among white people in affluent suburbs are far lower than in the poorer areas which are far more heavily populated with black and Hispanic minorities (speaking about the United States). 

Well, certainly all crime is aligned with social and economic factors primarily.  Not just murder.

It still begs the question of whether allowing frustrated poor folks access to firearms to be used in robberies and other crimes is a good idea.  Doesn't that seem likely to cause gun deaths?   Not to mention that such homes often don't have a tradition of firearm ownership and use, and are also more likely to experience gun accidents and children getting access to guns.

To my mind, the experiment was done in Australia, where the imposition of strict gun control laws led to a significant drop in gun violence and gun-related crime more generally.   If we believe in empiricism, that's a very nice empirical test.

In the U.S. of course we have such a gun mythology that doing something like what Australia did is probably impossible in any foreseeable future.  The easiest way around it is to just start taxing ammunition to death.  Tax ammunition to pay for the full social cost for all gun violence - the loss of a breadwinner, the death of a child, the post-traumatic stress to all the survivors and EMS workers, etc.

Plus, if we tax ammunition for the cost of gun violence, it will incentivize responsible gun owners to lead the efforts to keep guns out of the hands of the irresponsible.

It still begs the question of whether allowing frustrated poor folks access to firearms to be used in robberies and other crimes is a good idea. 

Wow! You're advocating "You're poor so we won't let you have as gun like the affluent people"? I suspect there may be a Constitutional problem there. On a practical level, since so many guns used in crimes are not bought over the counter, are you thinking of some sort of secret police who would jump out of the shadows to arrest people selling guns to poor blacks and Hispanics?

To my mind, the experiment was done in Australia, where the imposition of strict gun control laws led to a significant drop in gun violence and gun-related crime more generally.   If we believe in empiricism, that's a very nice empirical test.

This is an interesting but probably irrelevant comparison. Get back to me when Australia has a huge sub-population of poor blacks and Hispanics. In the US, most blacks are the descendants of slaves and most Hispanics aren't really Spanish. What most of them have in common is Native American heritage.

 The easiest way around it is to just start taxing ammunition to death.  Tax ammunition to pay for the full social cost for all gun violence - the loss of a breadwinner, the death of a child, the post-traumatic stress to all the survivors and EMS workers, etc.

Keeping in mind that I'm not a gun proponent, but rather a proponent of a solution with some chance of working, I suspect that anything that provides an effective impediment to owning guns, like prohibitively pricing ammunition, you're certain to end up with a case that goes to the Supreme Court and, unless the complexion of the Court changes, I suspect such a tax would be struck down, much as a poll tax would.

"I suspect that anything that provides an effective impediment to owning guns, like prohibitively pricing ammunition..."

Unseen, why would prohibitively pricing ammunition be an effective impediment? The criminals would presumably just steal the ammunition.

Or if there was a total ban on guns and they were hard to com by criminals would just make their own guns. And if metal was banned...they'd just break into an iron mine and mine the metal and then forge it themselves. And if mines were illegal then they would just build a molecule synthesizer and convert the quantum state of the material until it resulted in a metal that a gun or bullet could be made out of.

Putting limitations on guns isn't useful. Criminals will always get their guns somehow. Don't ask me to explain how. It's the magic invisible hand of the free-weapons-of-murder-market.

Thanks for that Simon. It is utter gold!

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