• AJJ
    621
    I’ve been reading Peter Hitchens’ A Brief History of Crime. It has a chapter about gun laws, which quotes this from John Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime:

    Guns also appear to be the great equaliser among the sexes. Murder rates decline when either more women or more men carry concealed handguns, but the effect is specially pronounced for women. One additional woman carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for women by about 3-4 times more than one additional man carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for men. This occurs because allowing a woman to defend herself with a concealed handgun produces a much larger change in her ability to defend herself than the change created by providing a man with a handgun.

    I’ve shared the above example because of the interesting juxtaposition it poses. Those who oppose freer gun laws tend to be on the left, where feminism is of course a focus.

    Hitchens’ conclusion is that - in the UK at least - preventive policing, proper punishment by the courts and “a revival of morality and responsibility, would be a far better solution [to increasing violent crime than mass gun ownership].” However, based on the information in his book, it does seem to be the case that the freedom to own and carry guns reduces violent crime, and proponents of strict gun laws are simply mistaken when they take the opposite to be the case.

    What are peoples’ thoughts on this?
  • tim wood
    6.5k
    Seems to me there are two axes, more guns/fewer guns, more controls of guns/less control of guns. No doubt there are sub-considerations, but these at least.

    What are guns? In modern America the only answer, outside the military and police, is that they're toys. And tools of self-destruction. They account for a lot of suicide.

    And enshrined in our Constitution is our 2d amendment, grossly misunderstood now as a justification to possess and play with toys. But the underlying purpose of the 2d amendment is to my mind serious and not to be dismissed. It guarantees an armed citizenry to oppose tyranny - understood in late 18th-century terms. It presupposed a citizenry that understood that a gun is not a toy, nor to be played with. It also noted the importance of training and control, "A well regulated militia...".

    Perhaps an example of modern gun usage: Concord, city-of, is the capital of New Hampshire, a state with permissive gun laws. A small, very clean city. A warm and sunny spring Sunday morning. A small arts festival in the park that is also the entrance to the New Hampshire state house. (To give a correct idea of the spirit of the place, there was until recently in the statehouse a small handwritten note in pencil - of some age - on the door requesting the last person through to take a moment to be sure the door was properly closed; neither capitol police nor security in view.) Various tents and exhibits of the sorts of things an arts community raises up on such occasions: paintings, jellies, pottery, t-shirts, leather stuffs, cotton candy, ice cones, social services, and so forth; we've all been there. And a small, middle-aged couple each conspicuously wearing camo-shirts and a military style webbed belt with a semi-automatic pistol holstered high on their sides. Why the guns, they were asked. For protection, they answered. The whackdoodles are among us. I simply wish they did not have guns, nor appropriate for themselves a right of judgment as to when and how to use them.

    Given the 2d amendment and taking it seriously calls for it to be taken seriously. To my way of thinking, gun display is inappropriate and should be controlled. Gun ownership and use should be only for those willing to be trained in their use, perhaps with a psych profile included. And guns licensed and the owners responsible for them at all times.

    In other words, guns are lethally serious business, not toys. They need to be regulated as such and reserved for people who pass training and can accept responsibility for them.
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    What are guns? In modern America the only answer, outside the military and police, is that they're toys. And tools of self-destruction. They account for a lot of suicide.tim wood

    I grew up with guns - for sport and for hunting. There are other legitimate reasons to own guns. They're not toys, they're tools. I don't own any now because I'm no longer interested and my wife wouldn't like it.

    And enshrined in our Constitution is our 2d amendment, grossly misunderstood now as a justification to possess and play with toys. But the underlying purpose of the 2d amendment is to my mind serious and not to be dismissed. It guarantees an armed citizenry to oppose tyranny - understood in late 18th-century terms. It presupposed a citizenry that understood that a gun is not a toy, nor to be played with. It also noted the importance of training and control, "A well regulated militia...".tim wood

    The Supreme Court has decided that the 2nd Amendment applies to individual gun ownership. The Constitution means what the SC says it means. You may not like it, but that's the way it works.

    Gun ownership and use should be only for those willing to be trained in their use, perhaps with a psych profile included. And guns licensed and the owners responsible for them at all times.tim wood

    I know conservative gun owners for whom gun rights are important who wouldn't disagree with what you have written. Problem is, gun control is one of those issues that are so emotional and emblematic that finding a reasonable middle ground is probably impossible.
  • AJJ
    621


    I fully agree that not everyone should be allowed a gun. And it seems prudent for those who do carry them to keep them concealed in public (I thought people had to by law anyway). But here’s something else quoted by Hitchens from Lott’s book:

    Violent crimes are 81 percent higher in states without non-discretionary laws. For murder, states that ban the concealed carrying of guns have murder rates 127 percent higher than states with the most liberal concealed-carry laws.

    And this:

    In the period 1987 to 1996, Florida issued 380,000 concealed-carry licenses and revoked seventy-two because of crimes committed by the permit holder. Most of these crimes did not involve the use of the permitted gun.

    Virginia and Texas were basically the same in this respect. So it appears that up until around 2000 at least (perhaps things have changed since) legal gun owners were behaving very well in those states.
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    I fully agree that not everyone should be allowed a gun. And of course those who do carry them should keep them concealed in public (I thought people had to by law anyway).AJJ

    Generally, concealed carry is much more heavily regulated than open carry. So, the law doesn't agree with your assessment. Many places in the US allow open carry while most require a permit which may be difficult to obtain for concealed carry.

    Violent crimes are 81 percent higher in states without non-discretionary laws. For murder, states that ban the concealed carrying of guns have murder rates 127 percent higher than states with the most liberal concealed-carry laws.AJJ

    I am very skeptical of these statistics. If you look at the data, it is very ambiguous whether or not gun ownership has an effect on violent crime.
  • AJJ
    621
    Generally, concealed carry is much more heavily regulated than open carry. So, the law doesn't agree with your assessment. Many places in the US allow open carry while most require a permit which may be difficult to obtain for concealed carry.T Clark

    I see. I intuitively thought open carry would be more restricted that concealed carry, but there you go.

    I am very skeptical of these statistics. If you look at the data, it is very ambiguous whether or not gun ownership has an effect on violent crime.T Clark

    I haven’t read Lott’s book, but according to Hitchens his findings, though challenged, weren’t refuted. That was the case 20 years ago anyway.

    Hitchens gives crime figures for Australia during its first two years of firearms restrictions, after a 1996 massacre in Tasmania:

    ...armed robberies rose by 73 per cent, unarmed robberies by 28 per cent, assaults by 17 per cent and kidnapping by 38 per cent. Murder did fall by 9 per cent, but manslaughter increased by 32 per cent.
  • Echarmion
    2k
    I fully agree that not everyone should be allowed a gun. And it seems prudent for those who do carry them to keep them concealed in public (I thought people had to by law anyway). But here’s something else quoted by Hitchens from Lott’s book:AJJ

    The problem with such figures is that they don't account for other differences in the areas that they are looking at, such as population density. The places with the strictest gun laws are ususally cities, which have higher crime rates across the board.

    Virginia and Texas were basically the same in this respect. So it appears that up until around 2000 at least (perhaps things have changed since) legal gun owners were behaving very well in those states.AJJ

    The vast majority of people behaves "well" insofar as most people respect the law to a wide extend. However, the more guns that are around, the easier those guns end up on the black market. In countries with strict gun laws, acquiring a gun is highly risky, because very few people have access to guns and therefore the avenues are easier to police. Getting a gun (either legally or illegally) requires planning and effort, and this alone provides some amount of protection.

    But I think that one of the most important factors, and one that is often overlooked, is culture. In an european country, where guns are rarely seen outside the hands of the police, people simply do not tend to think of a gun as an option or a solution.
  • AJJ
    621
    The problem with such figures is that they don't account for other differences in the areas that they are looking at, such as population density. The places with the strictest gun laws are ususally cities, which have higher crime rates across the board.Echarmion

    According to Hitchens, Lott found that “the largest drops in violent crime following the introduction of legal concealed handguns came in the most urban counties with the highest population and greatest crime rates.” Lott is said to have gone into immense detail, sometimes looking county by county at the effects of changes in gun law.

    The vast majority of people behaves "well" insofar as most people respect the law to a wide extend. However, the more guns that are around, the easier those guns end up on the black market. In countries with strict gun laws, acquiring a gun is highly risky, because very few people have access to guns and therefore the avenues are easier to police.Echarmion

    It seems the widespread availability of guns does cause this problem. However, this doesn’t necessarily speak in favour of strict gun laws. Hitchens again:

    Brazil and Russia, both countries with far tougher gun laws than the USA, have murder rates four times higher than America.

    But I think that one of the most important factors, and one that is often overlooked, is culture. In an european country, where guns are rarely seen outside the hands of the police, people simply do not tend to think of a gun as an option or a solution. Getting a gun (either legally or illegally) requires planning and effort, and this alone provides some amount of protection.Echarmion

    But there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that strict gun laws do provide protection.

    In the USA, so-called ‘hot’ burglaries, committed while the victim is in the house, comprised 13 per cent of the total. In England and Wales they accounted for about 50 per cent of the total.

    I’ll say again I agree with Hitchens that allowing guns in the UK is not the best option, but he makes a strong case for it being a fair option.
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    I haven’t read Lott’s book, but according to Hitchens his findings, though challenged, weren’t refuted. That was the case 20 years ago anyway.AJJ

    If you look on the web, there seem to have been a bunch of studies, the results of which seem to be pretty inconclusive. That's for the US. It is my understanding that gun ownership in the US is really different than the UK. Many more people here own guns and it's relatively easy to get them. Is that also true for Australia?
  • tim wood
    6.5k
    I grew up with guns - for sport and for hunting. There are other legitimate reasons to own guns. They're not toys, they're tools.T Clark

    Did you need to hunt? And sport is a kind of toy. And there is nothing wrong with toys. Tools? For what tasks? The problem comes when people don't really know what they themselves are about. And outside of police and military applications, what other "legitimate" reasons are there? Actually toys are a legitimate reason, but just where and how and why do you use some toys? Don't mistake me. If the 2d amendment did not exist, I would not write it; but as it does exist and exists for an original reason, notwithstanding modern perversions of that meaning, I would not repeal it. It is part of the original experiment.

    And what the SC says is not what something means - I'd prefer it that what the something means is what the SC says. Rather it is the last word on the law until the mistake is undone. Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson two obvious examples.

    Question: you go to a major league baseball game only to see some clearly odd-looking people wearing guns. When asked, they say for protection: do you feel safer with them near you?
  • AJJ
    621
    If you look on the web, there seem to have been a bunch of studies, the results of which seem to be pretty inconclusive. That's for the US. It is my understanding that gun ownership in the US is really different than the UK. Many more people here own guns and it's relatively easy to get them. Is that also true for Australia?T Clark

    I’ve had a quick look and there is indeed an ongoing debate.

    Gun ownership is tightly restricted in the UK. I don’t know what it’s like in Australia, but according to Hitchens’ book they tightened their gun laws after ‘96 and violent crime went up significantly over the first two years.

    Given the vast majority of people in possession of legal guns (according to the statistics I’ve quoted) don’t commit any serious crimes, I’m wondering how it could be that violent crime instead rises in tandem with liberal gun laws. Another thing to consider is that England’s crime rate was incredibly low at the beginning of the 20th century, compared with what it is now, and at that time we had very liberal gun laws ourselves.
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    Did you need to hunt?tim wood

    Hunting was a family tradition. We ate what we shot. Do you eat meat? Do you need to? Is it better for me to have someone else kill the meat for me? Learning to shoot was the first thing I had to do where I, at the age of 11 or 12, had to take responsibility for the safety of others in a serious way. Nothing else came close till I got my license at 16.

    I don't really like hunting. I didn't when I was a teenager. Getting up at dawn in January with the cold wind blowing off the Chesapeake Bay and the rain coming down. The role of the young guys in hunting is to be the mules. Hauling, moving decoys around, cleaning the birds when hunting's over. But I'm comfortable around guns and I know how to use them safely.

    If the 2d amendment did not exist, I would not write it; but as it does exist and exists for an original reason, notwithstanding modern perversions of that meaning, I would not repeal it. It is part of the original experiment.tim wood

    Originalism - the idea that some theoretical "original intent" of the Constitution is what's important - is an approach usually used by right wingers who want to get the Federal government out of State government business. They want to eliminate the "modern perversions" that form the basis for Federal involvement in environmental regulation, civil rights, worker protection, and so on and so on. I don't know your overall politics, but you should be careful about jumping on the original intent bandwagon.

    Question: you go to a major league baseball game only to see some clearly odd-looking people wearing guns. When asked, they say for protection: do you feel safer with them near you?tim wood

    I'm the wrong person to ask. Watching baseball is the only thing I know more boring than hunting. I do think that businesses and other institutions should have the right to exclude otherwise legal firearms from their properties. That way, I can decide whether or not to do business with people who allow guns. Some states have proposed taking away that right in some situations. And sure, I might feel better not sitting next to people legally carrying guns. But there are also some people who don't feel safe when black or Hispanic people are sitting near them.
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    Another thing to consider is that England’s crime rate was incredibly low at the beginning of the 20th century, compared with what it is now, and at that time we had very liberal gun laws ourselves.AJJ

    Keeping in mind that the murder rate in the US is more than 5 per 100,000 while those in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia are about 1 per 100,000.
  • AJJ
    621


    Sure, though here’s something I quoted earlier:

    Brazil and Russia, both countries with far tougher gun laws than the USA, have murder rates four times higher than America.
  • T Clark
    4.8k


    Yes, better than Russia and Brazil. And that, my friends, is what is known as damnation by very faint praise.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    You the man AJJ! A happier society is where depressed people own machetes and swords and non depressed people own assault rifles and hand guns. Makes me proud to be an American. Everyone needs to own a gun or a compound bow (with out a self releasing trigger). Some people use these devices for compound bows that help you release it easier. These devices aren't good for depressed people. Depressed people wouldn't mind getting shot anyway so they don't need to protect themselves from people with assault rifles.
  • tim wood
    6.5k
    Hunting was a family tradition. We ate what we shot. Do you eat meat? Do you need to? Is it better for me to have someone else kill the meat for me? Learning to shoot was the first thing I had to do where I, at the age of 11 or 12, had to take responsibility for the safety of others in a serious way. Nothing else came close till I got my license at 16.T Clark

    You're misreading me. Probably my fault. The argument for hunting comes down to sport. I'm guessing not very many people in the 48 states need to hunt. If they hunt, it's nice when they do it in some approximation with an ethics of hunting. Eating what you kill falls into that category, it seems to me. Do I undertand you correctly that when you were a child you and others were in danger, and that you required a gun to protect you from those dangers? On Chesapeake Bay, mid-century or more current? There must be a story there!

    Or do you mean you were not responsible, and someone thought it a good idea to teach responsibility with a gun? I suspect the truth is different. I'm not asking.

    On the SC and original intent. Scalia, for one, was big on that. You can watch Youtube videos of him. But he was being disingenuous and it cannot be supposed that he was so ignorant that did not know that he was perpetrating a fraud. But at the same time, it can be supposed that there as an original intent, and that it can be a good thing to try to figure out what it was. Because the Constitution is the kind of document it is, nor now nor then is there a single authoritative voice that can say what it means because that is what he, the author, intended it to mean. Because, simply enough, no such author.

    So, yes, as a waypoint, so-called original intent is good to know for navigational purposes. And to be sure, at law, it's not intent but language that matters. If the language is clear.... Webster's 2d Reply to Hayne leaned heavily on language. That the Union was not a compact, but was rather ordained and established, and so forth.

    Allow me to press a little closer on the issue of untrained, and unqualified people carrying guns. If a person is legally carrying a gun, does that mean - imply - either he or she can use it, and the same he or she get to decide the circumstances of the use? In some states, Florida comes to mind, you can apparently shoot down and to death someone coming towards you whose face you don't like - never mind if they're on legitimate business. Similarly in some other states. Does that make you feel safer?

    A comedian, of all people, and from Australia, gets it right. Youtube, and imo required watching for people who do not understand what guns are:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rR9IaXH1M0

    Not a toy, not a tool except in special circumstances, but a gun. Sui generis. Not to be confused with other things because they're not like other things.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    Women are less likely to commit suicide because their dna makes them want to live a longer life. I'm not saying men are less ethical than women, just that women are more focused on living into old age than men. A depressed man is more likely to shoot himself than a depressed woman. I think the solution for depressed men is to own a compound bow without one of those easy release gadgets. I personally pray to be shot at long range by a man in a tower every day of my life. I'm not unique.
  • tim wood
    6.5k
    Women are less likely to commit suicide because their dna makes them want to live a longer life.christian2017
    Hmm. Somehow I don't think that covers it. But there are, apparently, a stunning number of suicides.

    From our friend the web:

    "There were 39,773 gun deaths in 2017, up by more than 1,000 from the year before. Nearly two-thirds were suicides" NYTImes.

    Let's do the math. 26,000+ gun suicides. Average 71+ per day. A bit more than one per day per state, say. Or one per 4.4 million, per day!. In the New York area, on average, three per day!?

    And they say guns don't kill people!
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    Your right, if men matter as much as women then yes, guns are very dangerous to their owners. I was following with the OP topic. I don't own any real guns due to depression (common problem among many people). There are weapons and ranged weapons that are safe to the owner such as a compound bow. (don't buy special release mechanisms). I do however like when my neighbors own an assault rifle because there is nothing they can do to harm me with that assault rifle. lol
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    Do I undertand you correctly that when you were a child you and others were in danger, and that you required a gun to protect you from those dangers?tim wood

    I wasn't clear - What I meant to say was that, as an 11 year old, using a gun was the first thing I had ever done that could have hurt someone badly. It was a very serious thing - both for me and for the people who were teaching me to shoot - father, uncle, grandfather. There are rituals about how you hold and carry guns. How you hand one to someone else. How you inspect it when you first pick it up and then again before you put it away. Using a gun is a grownup thing to do.

    A comedian, of all people, and from Australia, gets it right. Youtube, and imo required watching for people who do not understand what guns are:tim wood

    Very funny, although it didn't change my mind about anything. I guess that means I'm in the first 20%.
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    Women are less likely to commit suicide because their dna makes them want to live a longer life. I'm not saying men are less ethical than women, just that women are more focused on living into old age than men.christian2017

    This is not true.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    Statistics show women commit suicide less often. Gun laws don't prohibit women from owning hand guns nor assault rifles. Do you want to retract that statement?
  • Possibility
    2k
    Gun ownership is tightly restricted in the UK. I don’t know what it’s like in Australia, but according to Hitchens’ book they tightened their gun laws after ‘96 and violent crime went up significantly over the first two years.AJJ

    This statistic is no surprise but, to me, it gives no valid argument against tightening gun laws. The method for tightening gun laws in Australia in 1996 began with a voluntary surrender of weapons that would fall outside the new laws, including unregistered and unregisterable guns.

    So a gun owner could choose between surrendering his weapons to the authorities, keeping them in defiance of the law (and identifying as a criminal), or unloading them on the black market, perhaps for a tidy profit. One can imagine a flood of weapons in the hands of violent criminals and organised crime syndicates, and a shrinking window of opportunity to get away with activities such as armed robberies before the full force of the new laws came into effect.

    So what happened after the first two years?
  • tim wood
    6.5k
    It was a very serious thing - both for me and for the people who were teaching me to shoot - father, uncle, grandfather.T Clark

    Absolutely. And a fine thing when done well and right. Indeed, with a gun everything matters! Presumably yours done well and right. In my neck of the woods, you might go out and play pond hockey. Or on one of the larger frozen lakes skate with stick and puck across hundreds of acres of smooth frozen lake.
  • christian2017
    1.4k

    https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/

    In 2017, men died by suicide 3.54x more often than women.

    and i would recommend you go a little further through that website. Women more concerned with their mortality then men and evolutionary logical thought would dictate this is due to their dna. Are you sure about your prior position?
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    Statistics show women commit suicide less often. Gun laws don't prohibit women from owning hand guns nor assault rifles. Do you want to retract that statement?christian2017

    So, the fact that women commit suicide a lower rate than men indicates that women's DNA makes them want to live a longer life? No... I'll stick with my original statement.
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    Are you sure about your prior position?christian2017

    Yeah, I'm comfortable with my original position.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    well if you choose not to elaborate, i'll also refrain from elaborating my position too much. DNA is a real thing you know and in fact it does influence the decisions people make. You want to have a chat?
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    well if you choose not to elaborate, i'll also refrain from elaborating my position too much. DNA is a real thing you know and in fact it does influence the decisions people make. You want to have a chat?christian2017

    I think you and I have a difference in our understanding of how inference works. I don't see how the fact that women commit suicide less frequently than men tells us anything about their DNA or about whether they want to live a longer life than men do.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    Once again you are being vague. Are you telling me you've never read an article where a scientist attributes daily decisions to DNA?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.