Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guns and the decline in crime


In a real life demonstration of scholar John Lott's maxim "more guns, less crime," violent crime has dropped in Virginia as gun ownership has increased.

According to a Fox News report, firearms sales in Virginia were 16 percent higher in 2012 over 2011 and violent crime went down by 5 percent. 
Perhaps the significance of this is best seen in the raw numbers: In 2012 licensed gun dealers sold 490,119 guns in their state, while the number of violent crimes for the same time period was 4,378.
Virginia Commonwealth University assistant professor Thomas R. Baker commented on the numbers: "This appears to be additional evidence that more guns don't necessarily lead to more crime." 
Baker referred to this as "an interesting trend given the current rhetoric about strengthening our gun laws and the presumed effect it would have on violent crime." And although he stressed that this increase in gun ownership and the corresponding decrease in violent crime do not necessarily prove people ought to reject future gun control laws, he said that the drop in violent crime "really makes you question if making it harder for law-abiding people to buy guns would have any effect on crime." 
Virginia law allows citizens with a concealed-carry permit to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense, and carrying a firearm in plain sight, "open carry," is also legal in Virginia, "except where prohibited by statute."

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