Less guns, more crime

Liberals laughed in 1998 when economist John Lott first published his book with the controversial (to some), logical (to others)  title "More Guns, Less Crime."  The four word title sums up the book; the book itself is backed with studies and statistics proving the pithy title, none of which of course convinces the gun control people.  

In an interview about the book Lott explained 

John R. Lott, Jr.: States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes. Thirty-one states now have such laws-called "shall-issue" laws. These laws allow adults the right to carry concealed handguns if they do not have a criminal record or a history of significant mental illness.

Question: It just seems to defy common sense that crimes likely to involve guns would be reduced by allowing more people to carry guns. How do you explain the results?

Lott: Criminals are deterred by higher penalties. Just as higher arrest and conviction rates deter crime, so does the risk that someone committing a crime will confront someone able to defend him or herself. There is a strong negative relationship between the number of law-abiding citizens with permits and the crime rate-as more people obtain permits there is a greater decline in violent crime rates. For each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect the murder rate declines by 3 percent, rape by 2 percent, and robberies by over 2 percent.

Concealed handgun laws reduce violent crime for two reasons. First, they reduce the number of attempted crimes because criminals are uncertain which potential victims can defend themselves. Second, victims who have guns are in a much better position to defend themselves.

Liberals are probably still laughing--or more likely, condemning Lott--despite the latest news from Virginia.

Gun-related violent crime in Virginia has dropped steadily over the past six years as the sale of firearms has soared to a new record, according to an analysis of state crime data with state records of gun sales.

The total number of firearms purchased in Virginia increased 73 percent from 2006 to 2011. When state population increases are factored in, gun purchases per 100,000 Virginians rose 63 percent.

But the total number of gun-related violent crimes fell 24 percent over that period, and when adjusted for population, gun-related offenses dropped more than 27 percent, from 79 crimes per 100,000 in 2006 to 57 crimes in 2011.

While this latest bit of news seems to back Lott,  he will delay drawing conclusions because

I generally find it better to examine panel data rather than what seems like purely time-series data, but I haven't had a chance to look at this research.

Meanwhile, back in Obama's home city of Chicago

Illinois is the only state that doesn't allow residents to carry concealed weapons - and a group of religious leaders, anti-gun activists and lawmakers hope to keep it that way.

The newly formed "Stop Concealed Carry Coalition" announced today at the Chicago Temple its commitment to fight any bill that would legalize concealed carry in the state.

"I can't fathom the idea of going to the mall and just thinking that under that coat over there, or in that purse, there might be a weapon," said Ald. Ricardo Munoz of the 22nd Ward. "We cannot allow concealed carry to be the law of the land."

While "the concealed carry foes"  were meeting in concealed carry banned Chicago,  "status quo" continued. 

Girl, 15, fatally shot: 'This is somebody's child killing another child'  

Cops: Gang member killed, another seriously wounded at funeral 

Man shot while driving two sons on Northwest Side

Man killed on West Side     

The first two incidents occurred several miles from the Obama family home.  

These latest shootings seem to guarantee that in illegally gun carrying Chicago, the city will end 2012 with the highest per capita murder rate in the nation.   

Perhaps if the latest statistics from Virginia and Chicago, not to mention Lott's studies,  don't convince the anti gun folks to rethink  perhaps science fiction writer Robert Heinlein's observation will.  

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.