Sunday, October 30, 2005

John Lott rubs it in.

As Dr. Lott notes, when the Assault Weapon ban was about to expire there was a great outcry from Democrats that the sky would fall.  Looking outside, I notice it hasn't fallen.  Bummer for them.

Gun-control advocates seemed so certain. When the federal assault-weapons ban expired on Sept. 13, 2004, gun crimes would surge dramatically. Sarah Brady, a leading gun-control advocate, warned it would "arm our kids with Uzis and AK-47s" and "fill" our streets with the weapons. Sen. Charles Schumer ratcheted up the rhetoric, labeling the banned guns "the weapons of choice for terrorists."

    Not only would murder rise, but especially firearm murders. Murder and robbery rates should have gone up faster than other violent-crime rates since they are the crimes in which guns are most frequently used. Only states with their own assault-weapon bans would escape some of the coming bloodshed.

    Well, what happened? On Oct. 18, the FBI released the final data for 2004. It shows clearly that in the months after the law sunset, crime went down. During 2004 the murder rate nationwide fell by 3 percent, the first drop since 2000, with firearm deaths dropping by 4.4 percent.

    The new data show the monthly crime rate for the United States as a whole during 2004, and the monthly murder rate plummeted 14 percent from August through December. By contrast, during the same months in 2003 the murder rate fell only 1 percent.

    Curiously, the seven states that have their own assault-weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders last year than the 43 states without such laws. States with bans averaged a 2 percent decline in murders. States without bans saw murder rates fall by more than 3.4 percent. Indeed, that, too, suggests that doing away with the ban actually reduced crime.

Question is of course, how does that work?  How does the repeal of a law or the passing of a law change crime rates that fast?  Policing doesn't change that fast, nor does any physical constraint change criminal behavior.  Civillian behaviour probably doesn't change at all.  Certainly we can be sure that such a large number of crimes were not stopped by assault rifles. 

The only thing that actually changes is the feelings of the common citizens and the criminals.  Their emotional state and decision making regarding crime, specifically.  The effect of gun control seems to be to embolden the criminal set and the removal of it to cow them slightly.  Modern policing seems not to bother them in the slightest, but the mere possibility of an armed civilian is enough to get at least some of them to think twice.

Interesting, is it not?  Imagine what actual armed civilians would accomplish.

The Phearsome Phantom

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