Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gun bans

Freakonomics rocked out a very interesting post on the effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness) of gun bans. Here is the gist:

It seems to me that these citywide gun bans are as ineffective as many other gun policies are for reducing gun crime. It is extremely difficult to legislate or regulate guns when there is an active black market and a huge stock of existing guns. When the people who value guns the most are the ones who use them in the drug trade, there is next to nothing you can do to keep the guns out of their hands.

My view is that we should not be making policies about gun ownership, because they simply don’t work. What seems to work is harshly punishing people who use guns illegally.

For instance, if you commit a felony with a gun, you get a mandatory five-year add-on to your prison sentence. Where this has been done there is some evidence gun violence has declined (albeit with some substitution towards crimes being done with other weapons).

These sorts of laws are attractive for many reasons. First, unlike other gun policies, they work. Second, they don’t impose a cost on law abiding folks who want to have guns.

This passage makes a very good point about the high value that drug dealers place on firearms. Here is an example of a Baltimore drug dealer that received 200 pounds of marijuana in a FedEx package. From what I am told, marijuana on the streets of Baltimore is worth in excess of $4,000 a pound (not the $1,200 a pound figure cited in the article). Therefore, a 200 pound package is worth $800,000. How much trouble and expense do you think a drug dealer would go through to get his or her hands on a few good AK-47s to protect a stash of drugs worth nearly a million dollars? My guess is they would go through a whole lot of trouble. In fact, gun bans probably create a very profitable business in illegal gun trade.

Finally, legislation that creates jobs!


jim adams said...

In fact, gun bans probably create a very profitable business in legal gun trade.

I love America. Home of the brave, land of the free, and location of the orginal inventors of home grown terrorist.

PZGURU said...


Do you mean "illegal" gun trade? How would gun bans create legal gun trade?

PZGURU said...

People only need to look at the failures of "prohibition" to see a perfect parallel to this whole notion of banning guns. Prohibition did not work, nor will gun bans. Case closed.

jim adams said...

No PZGURU, I meant LEGAL. Anytime there is any type of gun legislation there is an increase in the flow of guns and cash. Outside the state or states, out side the country, and these can often be legal that become illegal, or just like Joe Kennedy (President Kennedy's father) did with the prohibition earning and Scotch. Money and items (Scotch, or now Illegal guns)moved, stored until they are cleaned and then sold legally.

In business the trick is to make money whether the market in going up or down, and there is no such thing as a free market (FM wouldn't like that). The market place creates and takes advantage of opportunties to buy and sell, and it is all about opportunity not freedom.

No Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny, no Free Market.

PZGURU, I knew if anyone would pick up on my restructing of the sentence, you would. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

So, you're not in favor of the natural food chain (one animal eating another), but you don't mind people killing people for no reason....interesting.

Also, your "data" flies in the face of solid results in Bloomberg's NYC.

I have no problem with rifles, etc.. but handguns are manufactured and purchased to kill people.

jim adams said...

I think whether the question is addressed to me or not, I will go on record with the following statement.

I am against killing people, with one exception. The death penalty.

The case is also made for self defence, but I think the difference there is that the one being attacked did not intend to kill, so they are not changing the food chain on purpose, but out of a desire for preservation of the food chain.

I think there is a place for hand guns, sport - target shooting, police and armed forces.

I think the individual that needs an ak47, is one very weak and scared individual that needs more help than a weapon can give them.

There are some individuals who want to make the case that we need to protect ourself against our government. That may have worked, until Washington put down the first tax rebellion in the colonies.

Freemarket said...

Anon 5:33 is completely off target on all counts. Worse, they misrepresent my own views (by saying I am against the natural food chain). It is hard to take that commentor seriously.

PZGURU said...

Jim - I really wasn't trying to be critical. I just wasn't sure if you were being serious, or sarcastic, or maybe just had a typo (which I have done many times).

I'm with you on this. I believe people have every right to own a gun to defend themself, I believe in the death penalty, and I don't think there is any good reason for someone to own an AK47.

ANON - people kill people. A gun by itself can not do anything. Let's ban cars, bats, knives, alcohol, etc., since those things also can cause death. Is that what you want?

jim adams said...


I didn't for a moment think you were being critical, but I am insulted that you would think I, of all people, would make a spelling error.

I would never do such a thing, and if for some reason I did I would never admit to ti. So put that in your planning and zoning reg's and smoke it.

As I mentioned before,I really did think you would pick up on the difference. It was just a little trick to get the discussion going.

Anonymous said...


What's the purpose of a handgun?

Freemarket said...

Primarily self-defense. Sure as hell not the "killing people for no reason" nonsense that you were spewing in an earlier comment.

jim adams said...

I have a hard time with the self defence point of view. To bring all the elements together, loaded pistol, recent practice with the weapon, line of fire, and proper identification of threat, is near impossible, unless you are a cop.
Cops will tell you to keep the amom seperate from the pistol.
I haven't shoot a weapon since I was in the service, and most people my age and younger haven't been in the service.
The line of fire, if in my house is restricted
by the walls, and another problem, the bullets will go through my walls.
Last if I wake up with a loaded gun, in the dark, who knows what I would be shooting at. It could even be shadows.
Give me a piece of pipe with a handle bar grip on one end and I will be a greater threat than Chunk Conners.
Lets play this out in a car. Cops will tell you to put the gun in your trunk. That helps a lot when your being threatened. "Hold on guys let me get to my truck, so I can find my gun and load it".
Let's hide the gun under the car seat. If someone wants to threaten you and sees you reach for something, the chances of them being more scared than you and blowing you away are extremely high.
O.K. one more. How about if your in some dangerous place other than your home or your car.
Well I have to ask, why are you there??? unless your a cop, and we have already covered cops and guns.
Now that I have told the whole world about my pipe and hand grip, I will have to find a new location for it. But that's o.k. it was hard sleeping when I had it under my pillow.

The King, o.k. Elvis for you youngsters said...

As I have said before

"In a pinch, a 22-caliber pistol makes an excellant TV remote control. But you can only use it once".

Freemarket said...

I think this conversation is drifting. The impetus for this post was the notion from a well known researcher that gun bans are ineffective crime fighting measures. This is because there is an active black market and a large stock of existing guns. Sure, I don't buy the paternalistic arguments against guns for self defense either,(the "you'll shoot your eye out" arguments), but I think the important consideration is the ineffectiveness of gun bans in reducing crime.

I would love to see what would happen to the crime rate if drugs were legalized.

jim adams said...

Don't you think the white collar crime rate would increase, and instead of drive by shottings we would have wars as we do for oil.

Of course we would not call it crime, we would call it National Defense.

God must be taking a long coffee break, because if God was aware of what we do on this little plant, we would all get one heck of an ass kicking.

Sorry for moving away from your point on gun bands. To attempt to bring it back to gun bans, I would say that with legalized drugs gun bans would also be ineffective. But we might have to work on inter-continental missile banes a little harder than we are now.