Which Came First, the Gun or the Crime?

Gun control tends to be one of those topics where arguing for the individual’s inherent and constitutional right to own firearms is a tough sell. Many anti-gun advocates do not care that the 2nd Amendment protects this right.  They seek to improve society by making everyone safer. 

But often anti-gun advocates only look at the surface of the problem rather than the root.  The generic anti gun reasoning is that gun control is necessary because too many dangerous people own guns.  The question then becomes, how do you decide which individuals are inherently dangerous?  The most common answer is individuals convicted of felonies.  Who comprises the majority of convicted felons?  Easy answer:  people convicted of drug and/or gang related crime, about 50% of US inmates are drug offenders.

This is the root of the issue.  If the desired outcome of gun control is less gun crime, then the answer lies not with guns, but with those using the guns to commit crimes.  In this case, the majority of crimes are gang related.  Why do gang members commit so many violent crimes with guns?  They do so because gun crime is an inherent aspect of any black market.  The current black market is primarily comprised of the production and distribution of illegal drugs.  The profits of this trade are then used by gang members to purchase firearms and thus ensure their ability to continue their trade.  Keep in mind that the government has outlawed the products they are providing.

But wait, outlawing something is supposed to make it go away, right?  There are two reasons why it is impossible to deny an individual access to something he or she desires.  First, natural law dictates that as long as what you do does not hurt or infringe on the rights of someone else, it is permissible.  This logic can be extended to the mere ownership of guns as well as the consumption of drugs (the government does not own your body, you do).  The second is demand.  As long as a demand for something exists, there will be a supply.

Here is where it all ties together.  Gun crime is so high because prohibition of drugs has created an enormous black market.  Black markets deal with illegal products; calling the police when your drugs have been stolen is out of the question.  You need to build an army and then arm it.  Currently these armies are called gangs, while during the prohibition of alcohol they were called mafias.  Just as gun crime sky rocketed during alcohol prohibition, so has it during drug prohibition.  When you ban a substance or product, you create an environment where gangs and mafias can thrive.  The only competition they have is with each other, and since what they are doing is already illegal, guns provide a quick and easy solution to their problems.

So why shouldn’t we ban guns?  Banning guns will create a black market that sustains itself through gun violence.  Banning guns to eliminate gun crimes ignores the reasons the crimes are being committed in the first place.  You want to reduce gun crime?  End drug prohibition, thereby eliminating the primary purpose gangs exist and the funds they require to purchase guns to commit gun crimes.  Think about it and ask yourself: Which came first, the gun or the crime?

Stats are always fun:

  • In 2004, estimated gang members totaled 2,000,000

Justice Policy Institute report, Gang Wars, 2004

  • Total Prison population is around 2,400,000
    • 51.4% of inmates consist of drug offenders
    • Only 7% of nonfatal violent crimes involve firearms

Bureau of Prisons Website, 2010

  • United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, 756 per 100,000
    • Russia is second with 629, followed by Rwanda at 604

International Centre for Prison Studies, 2007

  • According to the American Corrections Association, the average daily cost per state prison inmate per day in the US is $67.55. State prisons held 253,300 inmates for drug offenses in 2007. That means states spent approximately $17,110,415 per day to imprison drug offenders, or $6,245,301,475 per year.

US Department of Justice, 2007

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