Sunday, January 16, 2011

Prof. Gary Kleck in the WSJ

The famous criminologist wrote a very interesting article for the Wall Street Journal in which he basically said we should focus more on the common gun violence than the occasional mass killing when trying to shape common sense gun control laws.

I was particularly interested in this part.
And extending background checks to cover private gun transfers might also block gun acquisition by ordinary criminals, even if they are ineffective against deranged and powerfully motivated mass killers.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. That's a great article. Mass shootings, particularly those that involve kids or high-profile victims like this one, can really kick-start legislation. But I agree with the author that the resultant legislation may not be suited to the average crime. Every *hour*, 3-4 people are shot in America, and about one of them dies. That means you have the equivalent of the Tucson shooting every 6 hours, in terms of wounded and killed.

  2. By the way, Mike, would you add New Trajectory to your bloglist, and become a follower? I appreciate the support.

  3. That would make sense, and the way to do that was I think very wisely analyzed by Richard Florida in The Geography of Gun Deaths which examines a variety of factors - gun laws were only one - that shows what contributes to gun deaths and what does not. Relying overmuch on only gun control laws is insufficient to reduce those violent deaths.

    There are places where it is useful not to have guns - like schools - where restricting guns, not encouraging or allowing people to bring more like teachers, is a good thing.

    Whereas crazy people aren't really the problem, deaths from crazy people with guns, while they get a lot of attention, really aren't a major problem in the larger problem of gun deaths and injuries.

    Closing loopholes like gun shows not requiring any background checks would help, but so would bringing the NCIS federal gun check data base up to speed, since it is currently some 2 million names behind. Arizona is said to have supplied only some 4,000 names to the federal check list, out of 122,000 names that qualify for federal restriction.

    Tell me that isn't more shootings waiting to happen.

  4. I agree there are several major factors in gun violence, the availability of guns being only one. But it is the most tangible and concrete and the one about which we could make the best impact the quickest. Other things like keeping violent criminals in jail longer and addressing addiction and unemployment have more long range solutions on which people are already working.

    Gun availability to unfit people needs to be dealt with. We have the means to do it, it would already be done if not for the NRA and the lawful gun owners who oppose all efforts.