The next entry in the Alley’s “Cost of Gun control” series is the United States of America.
“America” or “The States” is enormous, the third laargest and third most populous nation on Earth. It is also the only nation that nominally recognizes the right of every citizen to own and carry the means to defend themselves and others against criminal victimization.
Crime rates are, by world standards, low, but by our standards far too high. In 2014, comparing official to official crime rates, the States ranked 132nd out of 195 for murder, and 122nd for overall crime rates.
There is little doubt that the U.S. Will rank even better when all the countries have reported their 2015 data.
With that, we have a few “fine print” items to take care of before we get in a muddle.
To begin, DISASTER CENTER LINK HERE data after 1960 can be confirmed here, or in the FBI Uniform Crime reports on file in may police headquarters.
Crime data before 1950 can be problematical since the definitions of many crimes have changed. For one example, the threshold for grand larceny in one New England state has gond from $30 to $100 to $1000, but currently rests at $3,000. Obviously, lumping everything together under one heading would be misleading .
On the other hand, we have good homicide data to 1900, and population and homicide numbers can be extracted from Census data as far back as 1880.
For an overview of crime prir to 1950, between 1880 and the gun control frenzy of 1905 and 1906, most American States ranked among the safest places on Earth. Only the English midlands had a homicide rate as low as the majority of American States,
Economically this vast and diverse nation could be self sustaining, with all the food, clean water, and energy we can use. High taxes and extreme regulation have forced a great deal of “stuff production” offshore, primarily to Asia, but we are still major factors in agriculture and manufacturing.
Demographically, the United States has a primary paleface population, wth palefaces and other low crime minorities making up 85.6 percent of the population and higher crime minorities comprising 14.4 percent.
American gun laws are a mixed bag, ranging from some of the most relaxed laws on the planet to some of the most restrictive laws on the planet. Areas with relaxed gun laws are usually quite safe. Elsewhere it has been a case of “press for gun control or enact restrictive gun laws and watch your crime rate climb.”
with that, let me remind readers that crime numers post 1960 are available you can verify those numbers at his convenient website.
And the last piece of “fine print” is this goes here.
In 1960, local agency reporting and FBI estimates totaled 8,110 murders. Of those, just 3345 pr 44 percent pf murders were firearms related. That number may be slightly igh, since at that time many American Law enforcement agencies did not report in years in which they had no major crimes to report.
In 2016, State Uniform Crime Reporting Agencies reported 15,070 homicides, of winch 11,004 or 73.1 percent of homicides were firearms related.
The increase in both absolute numbers and percetages of firearms related homicides began in 1953 and most States had reached the 66.6 percent point by 1969, an indication of how publicity affects crime rates.
In 1962, the release of two serious studies of explicit television violence and societal, particularly youth, violence threatened the entertainment industry. Reshooting episodes already “in the can, on firm,” carried an estimated cost of $50,000,000, or about half the industry’s net profits.
The industry, particularly the production companies based in or near Hollywood, wee looking for a duversuib ti taje pressure off the industry when the murder of President John F. Kennedy provided a ready made reason, at first blaming the death of a popular president on “mail order guns,” and later on “all guns.”
Hollywood’s gun ban campaign began on November 30, 1963, an a hastily called meeting in Chicago. At that meeting more than a million dollars was pledged for the war against guns. That year, the FBI reported 8,640 homicides.
1964 was the first full year of Hollywood’s gun ban campaign, and the media played up gun bans for all they were worth, raising the homicide total to 9,360/
1968 marked the fifth year of Hollywood’s gun ban campaign, and the campaign had major successes in Illinois and New Jersey, with laws that were as rigid as anything in Europe going into effect on January 1,1968.
1968 was a year of mourning, as two inexplicable murders, that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy set the stage for the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968. While Lyndon Johnson’s GCA’68 was only in effect for two weeks of that year, the FBI reported homicide total was 13,800.
1969 was the first full year of Federal gun controls, along with the ammunition buyer registration,. That year, the FBI reported homicide total was 14m760.
1969 marks the year many cities started editing their violent crime rates. While Philadelphia set the official record, with nine of every ten crimes report to the police going unreported, other cities joined that practice in short order. At one time, eery major city north of a line between newport News and San Diego reported substantially few murders than the local media reported.
That practice is understandable in light o fthe 200 to 400 percent rise in crime gun control ushered in, but it does complicate the job of determining results and cost of gun control. Continuing…
1973 marked both the 10 year Hollywood’s gun ban drive, the fifth year of Federal gun controls, and the peak yar for media reported homicides. That year the FBI reported 1919640 homicides, approximately a third less than the media reported total, by victims name and address.
1978 The tent year of Federal gun control saw the FBI report 1119,560 homicides, still substantial below the media coutn of murders.
The homicide and crime rates continued to remain at a very high level, with the FBI reporting 19560 murders in 1978.
1986 marked the 18th year ar of Federal gun controls, Assat weapons ban” campaign. The results were the same as every other gun control or ban ccampaign has had, soaring crime rates.
1988, the 20th year of Federal gun controls saw the FBI report 20,680 murders, with the numbers climbing dramatically.
1993 the 30th year of Hollywood’s still active gun ban drive, and the 8th year of the Assault weapons Ban campaign saw the FBI report a total of 24.530 homicides, and with substantial under reporting in some areas.
The passage of the “Assault Weapons Ban iin late 1993 canged America’s gun buying habits.
Instead of hunting or target guns, Americans began buying defensive weapons, such as handguns and shotguns. As a result, both violent crime and homicide rates declined dramatically until 1998, and more slowly until 2013, when a gun ban campaign began driving crime rates up. as thes chart below clearly show:
And once again we have a crime category rising and falling with an external factor, gun control. When gun control campaigns began in 1963 crime rose, and in 1993 when “Must Issu3e” gun control laws began to be seen, crime fell.
Not jsut some crimes, but all the ten major crime categories the FBI tracks. The chart below makes the 104th chart showing the violent crime and homicide rates in 60 States, one territory, and nationally.
These charts represent a total of 530 charts of American crime rates that rise and fall in lockstep Without giving consideration to other nation’s exactly similar experience with gun control, the probability of that pattern occurring by chance is a number that is outside human experience, 14.8*10^1054 or approximately equal to 1 subatomic particle in 150 quadrillion universes the mass of “ours.”
For all intents and purposes, the probability that this patter of crime rising and falling in lockstep with gun control laws is infinitely small.
And with that it is time to turn to the number iplied in the title of this post, the cost of gun control.
For reasons involving the purchasing power of a dollar, and of the lack of date from even one century ago, I will confine the cost estimate to the years after the inception of the entertainment industry’s mail order gun ban, nominally 1 January 1964. With those caveats, I msut add that there are costs that cannot be estimated.
The cost to a child who has lost a parent, the cost of widow, or widower, hood. The price of loneliness, and the cost of seriously warping our society, to name just a few.
Pegging the cost of every extra homicide at the price of a wrongful death settlement, $2,200,000, plus the estimated cost of permanent disability, medical care, lost wages, lost productivity, the additional cost of theft and destruction of property, and the additional cost of law enforcement, incarceration, and “corrections<" including parole and probation adds up to a conservative $4,397,000,000,000 from 1 January 1963 to 31 December, 2015. And that price is rising aat a rate of 396,000,000,000 dollars a year, or $1,250 per American, $150 for every American adult, or $3,300 for every American family. And that enormous sum is also rising every year. Clearly, while America is a wealthy country, we cannot affort that enormous annual cost for laws that only drive crime rates higher. It is well past time for Congress to preempt all local and State restrictions on gun ownership, possession, and carry, and limit gun laws to those that can be shown to make people safer and reduce crime. It is equally clear that Congress should impose a reasonable personal penalty proportional to the gravity of the offense for those who seek to chart new laws to evade preemption or to enforce preempted gun laws, beginning at $100,000 a day. And they should make that the first item of business after taxes and the budget are resolved. Strabger