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Friday, March 29, 2013

How guns reduce crime

Talking Points Memo:

A prominent Utah gun lobbyist fell victim to a robbery earlier this week when his AR-15 was stolen from his vehicle, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.

Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said his car was locked and parked outside his home on Wednesday, with his weapon secured in a case in the backseat. By Thursday morning, the AR-15 was nowhere to be found. Investigators still have no leads on the missing weapon.

Gun apologists like to argrue that more guns means less crime. But the reasoning is flawed. Crime has been declining for years and so has gun ownership. Sure, gun sales are high, but it’s panic buying by gun nuts. The number of people who actually own one or more guns has been declining for decades. So the math is not “more guns = less crime,” the math is “fewer gun owners = less crime.” After all, if you have two guns, it doesn’t mean you’re twice as likely to witness a crime, let alone stop one. This story illustrates one reason why that’s so. Some dope gets his AR-15 stolen and now cops have to worry about one more assault rifle in the hands of a criminal.

This also points to another problem with blood lobby arguments. When they start talking about guns and crime, they gloss over the fact of stolen firearms. But if you start talking about restricting sales, they start talking about a “black market” where criminals will be able to buy guns. And where do those black market guns come from? Well, they’re stolen, of course.

So guns absolutely stop crime — except when they absolutely do not. It really all depends on which serves your current line of bullshit.

[photo by Vlad & Marina Butsky]

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