Harvard Gun Study Admits the Truth: Prohibition Is Counterproductive

Arguably, a Harvard study should not matter. The truth about societies with widespread private ownership of weapons is both logical and has been verified by history. For the logic, I don’t see how it can be refuted.

  • Criminals prefer disarmed victims
  • Gun control laws only disarm the law abiding
  • If gun control laws increase the cost of gun acquisition for criminals, that cost is more than offset by the subsidy those criminals get from the government when they provide criminals with a disarmed society to victimize.

We could add a couple of other propositions; like that crimes motivated by personal hatred are easily done with other weapons or even by hands. If you know someone and want to kill them, then you can plan how to do it and get them with a car or some other improvised weapon. Likewise, it is hard to believe that a lack of firearms would make a significant difference in suicide rates.

Enter the Harvard study: “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder And Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence” The short answer is NO. As the Small Government Times blog reported:

“Russia, for example, enforces very strict gun control on its people, but its murder rate remains quite high.  In fact, the murder rate in Russia is four times higher than in the ‘gun-ridden’ United States, cites the study.  ‘Homicide results suggest that where guns are scarce other weapons are substituted in killings.’  In other words, the elimination of guns does not eliminate murder, and in the case of gun-controlled Russia, murder rates are quite high. The study revealed several European countries with significant gun ownership, like Norway, Finland, Germany and France – had remarkably low murder rates.  Contrast that with Luxembourg, “where handguns are totally banned and ownership of any kind of gun is minimal, had a murder rate nine times higher than Germany in 2002. The study found no evidence to suggest that the availability of guns contributes to higher murder rates anywhere in the world.”

Of course, not wanting to appear to be NRA members, the scholars did their best to discourage the idea that gun ownership deters crime. I wasn’t convinced. And even when they made their case, they admitted the opposite was true in the United States:

“In sum, though many nations with widespread gun ownership have much lower murder rates than nations that severely restrict gun ownership, it would be simplistic to assume that at all times and in all places widespread gun ownership depresses violence by deterring many criminals into nonconfrontation crime. There is evidence that it does so in the United States, where defensive gun ownership is a substantial socio‐cultural phenomenon.”

The referee is reluctant to rule, but I’m calling that a score for the Second Amendment.