FBI's latest crime report, for the first half of 2009, shows America is a less violent place even though ownership of guns has surged. Deterrent effect may have a role, but others see no correlation.
So, some say more guns produces a deterrent effect and therefore we have less crime and another group says there's no correlation. I think I'll number myself in the second group, but I must admit this is good stuff for the pro-gun folks. It is exactly what they predicted.
Pro-gun groups jumped at the FBI report, saying it disproves a long-running theory posited by gun-control groups and many in the mainstream media that gun ownership spawns crime and violence. “Anti-gunners have lost another one of their baseless arguments,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.
Well, of course Mr. Gottlieb would say that. But isn't it a bit premature to draw such conclusions? Aren't there any number of other factors involved in something as sweeping as crime stats?
The debate over whether guns spur or deter crime has been under way for decades. So far, research has come out with, in essence, a net-zero correlation between gun sales and crime rates. More likely factors for the crime rate decline have to do with Americans hunkering down, spending less time out on the town with cash in their pockets and more time at home with the porch lights on, experts say. So-called "smart policing" that focuses specifically on repeat offenders and troubled areas could also be playing a role, as could extended unemployment benefits that staved off desperation.
So there you have a couple of viable factors, including the economy, which some say would add to the crime rate. This article points out how that can work in reverse. Of course, the way the police do their job, which hopefully is always improving, would have a positive effect too.
One of the ideas mentioned was the fact that this debate has been under way for decades. Any six-month change has to be watched for a while to determine if it's nothing more than a temporary fluctuation. So, let's keep watching, by all means.
What's your opinion? Is the first-half-of-2009 stats an indication that more guns equals less crime? Do you think this is the beginning of the end for the gun control argument that guns are a major part of the problem?
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.