A learned individual challenged me to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” gun control increases violent crime.
That is not at all difficult to do if you take the same standard juries use; “The overwhelming preponderance of the evidence.”
To begin with the foundation of proof, crime statistics are numbers. Numbers cannot leap off the page and slap you in the face; they can only become larger, become smaller, or remain unchanged. A successful anti-crime law would result in crime numbers becoming smaller, a failed anti-crime law results in larger numbers of crimes; particularly violent crime: while a law that results in no change in crime numbers or rates is a wasted effort.
New Jersey Violent Crime Rates 1960-2010
So pick a gun control law and look a the crime numbers in the years subsequent to passage. New Jersey’s violent crime number are in the chart on the right, and the source of those numbers is the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for the applicable years, laid out in a spreadsheet for your convenience at this link.
New Jersey’s gun control drive began very late in 1963, and the very restrictive State law was enacted in 1967, taking effect 1 January 1968. The effects of the gun control drive are quite clear; as are the results of New Jersey’s law itself. And of course, the effect of that law was amplified by the Gun Control Act of 1968. Obviously, some factor drove New Jersey’s violent crime rates up immediately subsequent to the inception of a gun control drive, and more rapidly after the inception of a restrictive gun law.
The graphic on the right shows the District of Columbia’s violent crime rate, and thee effects of both Federal and District gun laws. Obviously, those laws fit in the same category as New Jersey’s laws. They did not reduce violent crime, and the violent crime rate did not remain unchanged. Therefore those laws failed to reduce crime.
How about murder? The graphic below shows the United States murder rates from the end of the “Wild West” in 1885 through 2012. Every regularly enforced restrictive gun law is reflected on that graphic, as is every permissive gun law. From the labor violence impelled State laws of 1905-1906, New York’s Sullivan Law of 1911 which drove the U.S. homicide rate up by 25%; the restrictive laws during prohibition, the decline in enforcement of gun laws during the Depression; the “black market blip” during WWII,” and of course the soaring murder rates after passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968. And of course, that graphic also shows the massive reduction in murder after the States began relaxing gun laws in the 1990′s:
The Bloody Results of American Gun Controls, 1905-2012
The homicide graphic shows the effects of more than 14,000 restrictive gun laws. Of those, not a single restrictive and regularly enforced gun law has succeeded in leaving the crime rate unchanged. Without exception, every restrictive gun law in history has been immediately followed by a sharp increase in violent crime and homicide rates, with the increase depending on the severity of the law and the rigor of enforcement. We could extend this discussion until all of the more than 65,900 restrictive gun laws have been examined, but the results will not change.
While it is conceivable that some restrictive weapons law might, someday, somewhere, merely leave the violent crime and murder rates unchanged, that has not occurred to the present. And, given the breadth and variety of those laws, the actual probability that such a law will ever exist are almost infinitely small.
Obviously, on the preponderance of the evidence, gun control legislation drives violent crimes, including murder. While people can, and do, claim that if we try gun control “just one more time” it will succeed in making our children safer, making or lives better, or have some positive benefit.
And the rational answer is a question. With almost 66,000 failed gun laws in 519 years if gun control was going to do anyone any good, why has it not done so already?