August 31st, 2007


I wonder

I was reading an article about gun laws that mentioned 30,000 people killed in the USA by guns each year.

Firstly I have to eye that number, as I suspect it's been somehow inflated. Then I have to ask... has that number actually been broken down and analyzed? Has anybody actually looked at what would change if we banned gun ownership?

For example, how many of those are criminals killed in police shoot outs? We can't remove guns from the police, so whatever percentage of that number represents policemen acting in the line of duty wouldn't go away. (It might go down a bit if criminals can't get guns, so there are fewer shoot outs, but see below for why I'm not going to bet on it.)

Then, how many of those will killed by guns that were already illegal? If you ban legal gun ownership, it may cut down a bit on the number of guns floating about, but criminals already illegally own guns, so making it illegal to own guns at all isn't exactly going to stop them, they're already breaking the laws we have. So there's another chunk of that number that wouldn't change if we banned guns.

And what percentage of that number is defensive killings, people who own guns using them to save their own lives? That number would go away, to be replaced by a new number, the number of people killed, raped, assaulted, etc. who could have defended themselves if they'd owned a gun.

I wonder, counting up all that, how many of those gun deaths are left? I suspect it's not very many.

Anybody know if there's a place where I can find out?