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View Diary: 89 firearms per 100 Americans: Gun crime stats for 2011 (32 comments)

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  •  One caveat (5+ / 0-)

    I've seen far too many debates over the effectiveness of gun control laws that gets bogged down in comparing one US local or state law versus some other.  The big problem with such comparisons is there are no borders, no import controls.  Of course a city-law banning guns is not going to be completely effective in keeping guns away from criminals when they can just drive 20 minutes to the next county and buy the guns there.  

    Comparisons between nations at least avoid that.  Yes, you can smuggle guns into Canada from the US (and the guns used in our gun crimes prove it happens a lot, and decent gun control in the US would likely reduce Canadian gun crime too) but you at least have to risk a border crossing, a car search, etc.  It's not a trivial endeavour.  

    Gun control laws without borders aren't totally useless - they'll still have effects on gun suicides, accidents and impulse crimes of passion by previously non-criminal people, but no, they're clearly not going to stop organized crime or other people intent on committing gun crimes from getting them.  

    •  This whole debate leaves out things such (4+ / 0-)

      as poverty, which drives a lot of crime, the war on drugs, which drives a lot of crime.

      Hawai'i and Texas are probably quite different in a variety of ways.  But so is California and it has the highest rate.

      it's all quite complex and this complexity makes it difficult to come up with interventions that will actually work.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:52:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The perception is that guns are the easy variable (0+ / 0-)

        One thing that is an elephant in the room: hundreds of millions of guns and tens of thousands of fatal shootings? That's a huge ratio. I wish everything in life were that safe.

        If guns cause homicides they are dismal failures at it.

    •  I once lived in a "bad neighborhood" (3+ / 0-)

      on the beach in north Florida. They called it "The Hill" and it was lower middle class/working poor with scattered apartment units for welfare recipients. It was famous for being an area where you could buy pot (all the way down to nickel bags) from just about anybody on the street. Mostly AA, a few scattered whites and latinos.

      It really wasn't so bad a neighborhood if you didn't mind people smoking pot (a truly non-violent high), and I looked forward to the evening appearance of the 'veggie truck' - a 2-ton flat bed piled high with fresh fruit and vegetables that would park itself in the middle of the street going one block at a time. That brought out most of the neighborhood, turning the block into a lively street gathering as people haggled over the price of oranges and collards and sweet onions while shooting the breeze with the rest of the neighbors.

      Then all of a sudden - like over a period of less than a month - crack cocaine was introduced to The Hill. At the very same time crack hit (it was 1986, shortly after the CIA was introducing crack into LA neighborhoods, as reported voluminously by the Rocky Mountain News years ago), all the 'usual' guys from whom you could get a little pot quit dealing anything but crack, and they ALL had guns. I would venture that not a single one of them actually went to a gun store and purchased their piece. They'd come by them the same way they came by the crack, and probably from the very same people.

      The sound of random gunfire became so common day and night that we quickly moved out. Before we left I told friends still stuck there that it was a dirty plot and to stay the hell away from both crack and guns. I doubt any of them listened.

      Point of story: the guns that so infest crime-ridden neighborhoods (gangs and/or petty low-level drug dealing) are most likely NOT purchased for hundreds of dollars by people who could pass a background check. Rather, they get them from whoever has decided to exploit them by luring them into prison. How many people get killed before that happens apparently isn't a big concern to the gun-and-drug-runners.

      •  I guess (0+ / 0-)

        But all those guns started out as legal purchases somewhere.

        Someone with a clean criminal record went to a gun store and bought them, then resold them to the dealers.

        Or, you know, exploited the gun-show loophole and bought them there.

        Criminals aren't stamping guns out of sheet metal in their garages.  They're buying them from "legal" sellers because that's the easiest way to get them.   The general lack of criminals with guns in the UK or Japan says making legal guns unavailable does a lot to make illegal ones very difficult to get.  

        •  Actually, I strongly suspect (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fuzzyguy, annecros

          the guns came from some police department's confiscation vault. Yeah, they're supposed to destroy them, but way too many find their way back on the streets. You're right that at some point in their history they were purchased. I'm just saying the newly armed young men in that neighborhood didn't purchase them, and neither did whoever gave the guns to them.

      •  Thus contributing to correlation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The number of guns went way up, the number of shooting went way up, so statistics would show a correlation.

        •  Discharging of firearms (0+ / 0-)

          certainly went way up, but I don't recall a significant rise in people getting shot in that neighborhood. Of course, we left when the shooting started being regular, so it might have degenerated into turf wars later. Statistically unnoticeable in the metropolitan area, given that it was always one big shoot-em-up in that county (Duval). In certain neighborhoods, not hard to guess.

          The 'plot' I warned my friends on The Hill about was obvious to us, not so obvious to the locals (apparently). Get into crack and the next thing you know you're either in dangerous debt to a supplier with a goon squad or in a turf war for who gets to sell on this street or that one to the drive-throughs (almost exclusively white teens/young adults). Or, most likely, end up doing way too much time in prison where those who concoct 'plots' like this warehouse their ruined-life victims.

          It was very sad to watch, it had been a lively and fun neighborhood for all its relative poverty, the block party pot-lucks were legendary... Until the veggie truck quit coming around and everyone had to hide behind closed and locked doors because the street was full of punks with weapons they absolutely didn't need to have, and who may have never even figured out they'd been set up for the fall.

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