This is a topic where I’m not sure I know my own mind.
I grew up with guns, and I was pretty proficient with a rifle last time I tried to use one. I enjoy hitting a precision target. I think it just makes sense that more people carrying concealed decreases the crime rate, because I know I would be less likely to attack someone if I thought they might be carrying a handgun. I think there are some crimes that are prevented by guns that are never reported, but there’s no way to actually know this for sure.
On the other hand, I’ve learned that other countries have banned guns to some extent and reduced at least gun crime (notably Australia and Scotland), and that simply having access to a firearm increases the suicide rate. In addition, most homicides in the US involve the use of guns. In the home, guns are more likely to be used stupidly to harm relatives (on purpose or by accident) than as a means of self-defense. Pediatricians are aware that having guns in the home is a risk to children’s health.
The thing that made me reconsider my position on gun control was this Cracked article. I encourage you to go through and check out all of those links, regardless of your position on the issue.
It seems clear to me that having a gun in the home is a danger, especially if there is any history of depression in any of the occupants or if there are children. Does this mean gun control is the proper response? Should we legislate to save people from themselves?
Well, if we know what causes deaths, shouldn’t we remove that cause? It’s what we are doing with drugs. Of course, it isn’t as simple as banning guns in Ohio and seeing what happens, because guns can be easily brought over from surrounding states. Control between country borders is only a little better, especially the Mexican border.
I haven’t seen any data that greater access to guns decreases or increases the homicide rate. On the other hand, when most homicides are using guns, and when guns make homicide so much easier, it would make sense that fewer guns make for fewer homicides. It is true that people determined to commit murder or suicide will find a way, but easy access to guns makes people able to commit murder or suicide on a whim.
At this point, I am willing to vote for greater gun control laws, as that seems the better course of action to me right now, based on the available evidence. What do you think?