BHARADWAJ: Gun control is ineffective and infeasible
More of the same failed policies will not curb our country’s homicide rate
Over the past few decades, and as the gun ownership rate — firearms per capita — has increased, our country’s gun homicide rate has drastically decreased.Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
This Wednesday, March 14, students across the nation and here at the will participate in the in protest of gun violence. The specific demands of the protesters are numerous and variable depending on location, but for the most part they all include some measure of , in an attempt to reduce the number of mass shootings in this country. Historically speaking, however, gun control has proven to be largely ineffective in the United States, and it is unlikely that similar legislation will be effective or feasible in curbing our country’s homicide rate.
One of the most significant legislative pushes being made by gun control advocates is an . Unbeknownst to many, however, a similar piece of legislation has already been successfully passed in our nation — the , which lasted for a decade before its expiration. Studies by the and the showed that the ban had little to no effect in reducing violent crime, which could be why it was never renewed. This inefficacy probably has to do with the fact that assault weapons only account for about of gun homicides in our country. There is no reason to believe that recreating this failed piece of legislation would lead to different results.
Many moderate gun activists also advocate for “,” including background checks and for some varieties of firearms just to name a few, all of which have the goal of minimizing the number of guns in the public. However, there is little precedent to suggest the effectiveness of such policies. Studies have shown that there is practically no correlation whatsoever between gun ownership rates and crime rates between . In fact, many areas with incredibly gun like Chicago, Ill. or , Md. still have some of the highest in the country. In addition, numerous states like have seen their homicide rates increase following the implementation of comprehensive gun control.
This may seem counterintuitive at first, but it makes sense when you consider the obvious truth that criminals inherently do not follow laws. This is evidenced by the fact that over occur in gun-free zones — such as schools or churches — as opposed to areas with other armed citizens. By passing such legislation, the government is simply preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves, while criminals still have a myriad of illegal and unpreventable ways to obtain firearms. In addition, the advent of and other technologies in the future will also make it even easier for criminals to obtain weapons, making it even more important that citizens have the means to defend themselves.
Some more extreme gun control advocates back a full-fledged of the Second Amendment, along with mass firearm confiscation, similar to nations like Australia. However, this is infeasible for the simple fact that there are more than in circulation in our nation, belonging to over , as well as potentially millions more that were obtained . The gun buyback program implemented in Australia in 1996 cost and was only successful in removing about , which serves as an example of the potential outcome of such an implementation in our country. That is without mentioning the estimated produced in America every year which would need to be seized as well, pushing costs even higher. Moreover, Australia’s gun buyback did little to reduce its overall .
So if assault weapons bans, comprehensive gun control and full-fledged gun bans are all infeasible and ineffective, what then is the solution? Well, in order for a solution to be applied there must be a problem in the first place, and nationwide trends prove this isn’t the case. As our police forces have become over the past few decades, and as the gun ownership rate — known as firearms per capita — , our country’s gun homicide rate has . While tragic mass shootings do occur, it is important to recognize that these events are not necessarily indicative of widespread trends, nor can they be prevented with gun control legislation. While their intentions are certainly pure, gun control advocates must learn to use their brains instead of their hearts if they hope to enact meaningful change.
Milan Bharadwaj is an Opinion columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com.