My gut instinct is to oppose guns and to favour gun control legislation. But gut instincts can be wrong.
Ever since John Lott and others started examining the relationship between gun control legislation and crime, I've had to put my instincts in check. The evidence seems pretty strong that jurisdictions that allow people to carry guns have less crime. As one street person once said, "Are you really gonna mug someone if you think they might pull out a gun instead of their wallet?"
Here is just the latest tidbit of evidence used by John Lott to support his position. Excerpts:
But Armageddon never happened. Newly released data for Chicago shows that, as in Washington, murder and gun crime rates didn't rise after the bans were eliminated -- they plummeted. They have fallen much more than the national crime rate.
In the first six months of this year, there were 14% fewer murders in Chicago compared to the first six months of last year – back when owning handguns was illegal. It was the largest drop in Chicago’s murder rate since the handgun ban went into effect in 1982.
Meanwhile, the other four most populous cities saw a total drop at the same time of only 6 percent.
Similarly, in the year after the 2008 "Heller" decision, the murder rate fell two-and-a-half times faster in Washington than in the rest of the country.
It also fell more than three as fast as in other cities that are close to Washington's size. And murders in Washington have continued to fall.
I would rather not believe the evidence that keeps piling up, but it is too overwhelming to ignore.
Some years ago, when I was president of the Canadian Law and Economics Associaton, I tried to persuade people to invite John Lott to be a keynote speaker. People objected that he was too controversial.