What’s Your Best Idea to Cut Gun Deaths? A Freakonomics Quorum

Are there more guns in the U.S. or more opinions about guns?

Hard to say. This blog has featured a variety of posts about guns in the past; today we present a quorum with a very narrow focus: what are some good ideas to cut gun deaths? Let’s put aside for a moment the standard discussions about the right to bear arms and deal instead with the reality on the ground: there are a lot of gun deaths in this country; how can they be lessened?

In response to the recent Supreme Court decision to revoke the D.C. gun ban, Levitt made clear his preference: enforcement is a much bigger deal than ownership.

Or, as Jens Ludwig puts it below:

“A big part of America’s problem with gun violence stems from young guys walking or driving around with guns and then doing stupid things with them.”

We asked a group of people who give a lot of thought to this issue — Ludwig, Jesus Castro Jr., Eric Proshansky, and David Hemenway — the following:

What’s your best idea to cut gun homicides in the U.S.?

Here are their answers. Comments welcome.

Jens Ludwig, McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

“Flashing a gun at a party might still score points, but it would now massively increase your legal risk.”

We should give out rewards — I mean big, serious rewards — for tips that help police confiscate illegal guns.

More people die from gun suicides than homicides in the U.S., but gun crime accounts for most of the $100 billion in social costs that Phil Cook and I estimate gun violence imposes each year. Most murders are committed with guns (around 75 percent in 2005 in Chicago). We also know that young people — particularly young males — are vastly over-represented among offenders, most murders happen outdoors, and a large share of all homicides stem from arguments or something related to gangs. A big part of America’s problem with gun violence stems from young guys walking or driving around with guns and then doing stupid things with them.

Young guys carry guns in part because this helps them get some street cred. For a project that Phil Cook, Anthony Braga, and I conducted with sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh (published in the November 2007 Economic Journal), Venkatesh asked people on the South Side of Chicago why they carry guns. As one gang member said, in the absence of having a gun:

“Who is going to fear me? Who [is] going to take me seriously? Nobody. I’m a [unprintable five-letter word that starts with the letter “p”] unless I got my gun.”

Guns are something that a lot of guys seem to have mostly to take to football and basketball games or parties and to show off to their friends or girlfriends. At the same time, the costs of carrying guns might be low. A previous Freakonomics post by Venkatesh notes that cops are less likely to be lenient for other offenses if someone is caught with a gun. But the chances of being arrested with a gun are probably modest, since the probability that even a serious violent crime or property crime results in arrest is surprisingly low.

Giving out serious money for anonymous tips about illegal guns would increase the costs of carrying a gun and reduce the benefits; flashing a gun at a party might still score points, but it would now massively increase your legal risk.

These rewards might help undercut trust among gang members and could be particularly helpful in keeping guns out of schools. A bunch of logistical issues would need to be worked out, including how large the rewards would be (I think $1,000 or more wouldn’t be crazy) and how police should respond to tips and confiscate guns while respecting civil liberties.

But this idea does have the big advantage of getting us out of the stale public debate about gun control, and it gives us a way to make progress on this major social problem right away.

Jesus “Manny” Castro Jr., 33, became an active gang member at the age of 12. After being incarcerated for two and a half years, he joined Cornerstone Church of San Diego and now runs the G.A.M.E. (Gang Awareness Through Mentoring and Education) program at the Turning the Hearts Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

“If parents knew that they would/could do time for their children’s behavior, perhaps they would stay more involved in their lives.”

Growing up in gangs and living the gang lifestyle, I have firsthand knowledge [of this issue] after seeing so many people die from gangs and guns! One great idea that can help to cut gun deaths in the U.S. is having the perpetrator’s family be financially responsible for all emotional, mental, and physical damages that result from the victim’s family’s loss.

This should include (but not be limited to) garnishing their wages for their entire lives and having them pay all funeral arrangements and all outstanding debts. If the perpetrator is under 18, then not only will he have to do time in prison but his parents should also be required to serve at least half of the time on behalf of his crime. Everything starts and stops in the home!

The greatest way to make this happen is to make it law and set up organizations that educate parents on how to stop gun violence and clearly teach them the consequences that result from gun violence. At Turning the Hearts Center, through our G.A.M.E. program, we found that the young people we are working with care about their parents and what they think.

I get parents’ input on what goes on at home so that I can implement and address their issues into our G.A.M.E. curriculum. Kids have respect for their parents — and if parents knew that they would/could do time for their children’s behavior, perhaps they would stay more involved in their lives.

If the people in communities around the U.S. can model what we do at Turning the Hearts Center, we can make a difference in the world. Hard-core issues like gun deaths need hard-core consequences.

Eric Proshansky, deputy chief of the Division of Affirmative Litigation, New York City Law Department. He has been part of Michael Bloomberg‘s legal team in his campaign to eliminate illegal guns in New York City.

“The elevation of the gun to sacred political status explains in part why 30,000 annual gun deaths have not given rise to anything like the complex regulation of, for example, the automobile or pharmaceuticals.”

Elect public officials who are, in fact, committed to reducing gun deaths in the U.S.

If deaths on the scale caused by guns were caused by any other consumer product (face it, that’s all guns are) solutions like those that have provided us with air bags (and other legally mandated fixes of useful products with the capacity to kill or maim when placed in the wrong hands) would have long since emerged.

The elevation of the gun to sacred political status explains in part why 30,000 annual gun deaths have not given rise to anything like the complex regulation of, for example, the automobile or pharmaceuticals.

What evidence there is suggests that who you vote for does affect the gun death rate. See L. David Roper, “Gun Deaths and Political Parties.” See also “Policies to Prevent Firearms Trafficking” by Jon Vernick and Daniel Webster, published in Injury Prevention in 2007.

It remains to be seen whether more or fewer gun deaths will result from a political process that in recent years: 1) engineered the appointment of a tipping-point Supreme Court vote aimed at overturning settled Second Amendment precedent; 2) gifted near-total legal immunity to the gun industry through the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (when did laws begin to be entitled by spinmeisters?); and 3) via the Tiahrt Amendments, concealed from the public previously available public gun-trace data that identify negligent (and worse) gun dealers.

Our preliminary experience in New York City has been that by identifying (through the now Congressionally suppressed gun-trace data) those retail gun dealers whose business practices foster gun trafficking and providing them — through the incentive of a lawsuit — with the motivation to sell with greater care, we reduced the number of guns that wind up in the hands of New York City criminals. Should the ultimate effect of that effort be fewer New York City gun deaths, that result will be directly traceable to policy choices made by the city’s elected officials.

No one knows exactly what regulatory measures will reduce gun deaths. But that ignorance is fostered by a political process that will not even permit experimentation. The notion — expressed recently by the Supreme Court in its decision on the Second Amendment — that “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table” is pure circular reasoning; the judges and those who appoint them determine the architecture of that shrine.

David Hemenway, professor of health policy, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center at the Harvard School of Public Health, and author of Private Guns, Public Health.

“It’s time to take some of the politics out of firearm safety.”

Create the National Firearm Safety Administration.

A milestone in the history of motor vehicle safety in the United States, and the world, was the establishment (40 years ago) of what is now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.). The N.H.T.S.A. created a series of data systems on motor vehicle crashes and deaths and provided funding for data analysis. This enabled us to know which policies work to reduce traffic injuries and which don’t. The N.H.T.S.A. mandated many safety standards for cars, including those leading to collapsible steering columns, seat belts, and airbags. It became an advocate for improving roads — helping to change the highway design philosophy from the “nut behind the wheel” to the “forgiving roadside.” Improvements in motor vehicle safety were cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a 20th-century success story.

A similar national agency is needed to help reduce the public health problems due to firearms. Firearms deaths are currently the second leading cause of injury deaths in the United States; more than 270 U.S. civilians were shot per day in 2005, and 84 of those died. In response, Congress should create a national agency (as it did for motor vehicles) with a mission to reduce the harm caused by firearms.

The agency should create and maintain comprehensive and detailed national data systems for firearms injuries and deaths and provide funding for research. (Currently the National Violent Death Reporting System provides funding for only 17 state data systems and no money for research.)

The agency should require safety and crime-fighting characteristics on all firearms manufactured and sold in the U.S. It should ban from regular civilian use products which are not needed for hunting or protection and which only endanger the public. It should have the power to ensure that there are background checks for all firearm transfers to help prevent guns from being sold to criminals and terrorists.

The agency needs the resources and the power (including standard setting, recall, and research capability) for making reasonable decisions about firearms. The power to determine the side-impact performance standards for automobiles resides with a regulatory agency, as does the power to decide whether to ban three-wheeled all-terrain vehicles (while allowing the safer four-wheeled vehicles).

Similarly, each specific rule regulating the manufacture and sale of firearms should go through a more scientific administrative process rather than the more political legislative process. It’s time to take some of the politics out of firearm safety.


Bob

Gun crime happens mostly in "bad" neighborhoods, or it originates there. It is mostly drug and gang related. If the government gave a hoot, they would go after the problem.
Taking the guns away from law abiding citizens will accomplice nothing more than create more helpless victims.
Total confiscation is impossible because guns can be smuggled and unlike drugs they last a long time. The criminals will not be disarmed.
We are neither capable/willing to safeguard our borders, nor are we capable/willing to get rid of gangs of illegal immigrants such as the MS13, which is extremely easy considering that no crime has to be proven other than the fact that they are here illegally. Instead we allow illegal alien criminals to rob, kill, rape and get away with it.
The cops usually know who they are and if they don't have to prove guilt in court, if all they had to do is arrest and deport illegal immigrants on suspicion of gang activity a lot of American lives would be saved.
If you can trust the government, that allowed this mess to exist in the first place, you don't need a gun on your person or at home. If somebody attacks you and kills a loved one as you stand helplessly, find a shrink, he will convince you that it was not your failure, there was nothing you could have done. Deep down you may feel otherwise.

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Aaron

"One simple but very effective measure would be to mandate the registration of each gun's unique fingerprint, the lands and grooves that mark the bullets fired from it. That would give detectives a starting point for each gun homicide, and more and speedier convictions would reduce the number of new assaults."

Several problems with this:

1) A firearm leaves a different "fingerprint" on every different type of bullet. There are easily 50+ manufacturers making ammunition for any given cartridge type, and each of those will be using a different bullet in the cartridge. Having a "fingerprint" from one of those offers no guarantee that any of the others will match.

2) The barrel of a firearm wears over time. It has been shown that no two bullets from the same gun ever have identical "fingerprints", even if they are fired immediately in succession.

3) A bullet is severely deformed by impact against a target. Obtaining a "fingerprint" from a recovered crime scene bullet is essentially impossible because the bullet gets mangled upon impact.

4) 2-3 minutes with a file that can be purchased at any hardware store is sufficient to significantly alter a firearm's "fingerprint". This would not in any way be noticeable to a visual inspection and would not damage or alter any mark used to indicate that the firearm had been fingerprinted. It would also not be distinguishable from normal barrel wear and could not be tested for.

5) The state of Maryland already has a ballistics database. In the 5 years it has been in operation, it has not even led to an arrest, much less a conviction. However, it has cost Maryland taxpayers over $2.5 Million.

The simple fact is that despite what TV and movies say, it's simply not possible for "ballistics" to "match" a bullet to a gun. The most that can be done is to say that it's _possible_ (not even "probable") for a gun to have fired a particular bullet, but that still leaves the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of other guns that could also have _possibly_ fired a particular bullet.

Basically, your solution would cost a lot of money to implement, a lot of money to administer, and would provide essentially zero assistance in solving crimes.

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My_2Cents_Worth

It's telling that so many of the Pro Gun Control types equate Gun Violence with Criminal Violence. Self Defense can involve violence that is not only justified but necessary. Teaching children (and adults) to surrender to unjustified violence encourages criminals and increases the rewards of those who are tempted by an easy target.

Turning people into sheep who depend on the government for their own protection would first require that the government be able to provide that protection, it can't. How many bodyguards does it take to provide round the clock protection for the President? Or Mayor Daley? Or Mayor Bloomberg? Or any of the rest of the priviledged elite?

Maybe they are young enough or big enough or strong enough to think they will always be safe in a couuntry where brute strength will always win or stupid enough to think that paying off the violent criminal will make him go away and not come back the next time he is short of pocket money. Or maybe they think that if there are enough helpless victims available they can hide in the crowd and someone else will be the target.

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Thomas B.

It'd be interesting to get some more diverse voices on this issue. What would Eugene Volokh, or another 2nd Amendment advocate suggest as a way to reduce gun violence?

Defender

Repeal all gun laws, and all the "redneck," "criminal" stigma that comes from owning one, and inform criminals that their next act of aggression could be their last. No one wants to get shot. There will still be those who think they're more important, more dangerous, boirn to rule others. They'll be weeded out fairly quickly.
It is a FACT that violent crime is more common in lower-class, lower-income areas, which happen to be populated by blacks and Latinos and other minorities. When MAINSTREAM entertainment channels glorify the gangsta lifestyle, is art reflecting life, or is life imitating "art"?
What is rewarded reoccurs. To most people, approval is more important than money. They spend a LOT of money to GET approval. When speaking standard English and getting good grades is grounds for getting beaten or even killed for "acting white" and "betraying your race," what needs to be changed?
We will not obey your gun laws, just as criminals do not obey ANY laws. So far, we have been able to coexist with only around 100 or so high-profile deaths-by-government in gun seizure assaults. Those people never believed their government was willing to see them dead for NONVIOLENT, LEGAL acts of gun possession. That their government would set aside all the laws WE are expected to live by-- sanctity of the home, the right to confront one's accuser, the right to trial -- to make examples.
It has been, shall we say, counterproductive. The rules of engagement in this battle have been made crystal-clear. The government respects no rules, but "Y" in a "Yes/No" space on a federal form inatead of a spelled-out "Yes" means a raid by masked federal ninjas with aimed machine guns.
The incremental approach of the gun-grabbers -- a frog can be boiled alive if the temperature of the water is increased so slowly that he doesn't jump out -- is over. We are reclaiming our right to simply have the tools to attempt to stay alive. Criminals laugh -- literally laugh -- at your laws. They have declared war. One does not win a war by being nice, but by making it too expensive and dangerous for the enemy to continue hostilities.
We shall.

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brett

The best way to cut down on gun violence, with the exception of all the gang related stuff in the slums of big cities, is to allow anyone and everyone to carry a gun anywhere they want. People aren't going to shoot up a mall or a school if they know everyone else there is loaded. If they do decide to go on and try, they will be dead before there is more than one victim. Gun laws and restrictions only apply to those who follow the law. Placing restrictions on guns only tips the ratio of legal to illegal gun ownership towards illegal. It will do nothing, as D.C. has proven, to deter crime

jt

Give everyone one grenade.

M Todd

The rise in gun violence is in proportion to the "war on drugs" Half of the prison population is drug related. They are not drug kingpins, the majority are minor drug possession and using. 70% are marijuana related drug arrest.

The war on drugs created a higher risk, the higher risk created higher profits and more incentive for selling drugs. Even if we legalized marijuana, it would drastically drop the arrest rate, prison rate, and drug trafficking. Since marijuana represents 85% of all drug use followed by illegal prescription drugs and you see the war on drugs is really the war on marijuana.

Holland is a good example of a country that has regulated its drug use. It has lower crime, lower drug abuse per ca pita, and over all lower drug use per ca pita. While our cities have seen meth and cocaine use mushroom and the associated violence, Holland has not. But, we insist on staying this insane course with the war on drugs.

What would happen if the billions of dollars made on trafficking marijuana disappeared? What would happen if the 1.2 million people in prison for minor drug possession where not jailed? What if we concentrated on the cause of gun violence instead of the gun itself?

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Historic Arms LLC

What's Your Best Idea to Cut Gun Deaths?

I'm just a hick, hillbilly gun maker in rural Georgia, however:

I must point out that NY city, and Great Britain both have found out that criminals are part of every society. They by definition do NOT comply with the law.

When you "outlaw" a means of defense, only honest productive citizens follow that law. You tip the scales of power in the criminals favor. He then KNOWS only HE is armed, his victims are not.

[Why do you think evil people attack in "gun free zones", not at the local rifle range?]

In "the" bastion of "anti-gun", Great Britain, total elimination of firearms only caused the criminal members of society their to now choose a new tool...Knives.

Stabbings and slashing and horrible injuries thereof have gone up alarmingly. Britain's answer to this: Now outlaw knives...

Folks, Don't forget: Cane bashed Able's head in with a rock. Soon I expect Great Britain to outlaw them also.

But hey, don't worry. The Cops are minutes away, when seconds count to save you or your family.

I choose to take that responsibility myself. In a responsible manner, as I know that society will always have within it's members criminals. Among those criminals, there are truly evil people who will harm and kill other people. Sometimes for money, drugs, your car, whatever. I can pretend they are not there, but they are.

If you wish to see less accidental shootings? We teach are kids in school about drugs [D.A.R.E. Program], and sex then offer them condoms, why the hell are we not teaching basic firearms safety in schools as well?

Len Savage

President,
Historic Arms LLC
Franklin, GA

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John Hardin

(1) Reduce accidental deaths through mandatory firearms safety training (such as the NRA's Eddie Eagle program) in all schools. This doesn't "glamorize" firearms, it removes their mystique. Ignorance never improves safety.

(2) Reduce murders by keeping violent criminals in jail. A very large percentage of firearms homicides are committed by repeat offenders.

(3) Reduce the impetus for violent crime by legalizing drugs. Prohibition did not work for alcohol, it just led to a massive violent crime wave. Prohibition of drugs is performing exactly as well; let us finally recognize that, and seek other solutions to the societal ills drugs cause.

Making it harder for peaceable, responsible, non-criminal citizens to obtain, possess and carry firearms for self defense and other legitimate purposes will do nothing to noticeably reduce firearm homicides, as "the reality on the ground" is that those people are not the source of the vast majority of firearms-related homicides.

Stop demonizing an inanimate object.

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jack burton

"If all hand guns could be removed from society and replaced with knives, homicide would decline 95%! "

Perhaps one might want to read this before opining...

http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel120501.shtml

jack burton

"In my 57 years I have learned one thing about our pistol loving fellow citizens. Each of them displays a deeply held morbid fantasy of killing an evil doer with their handgun. Most will go to their maker secretly disappointed that their main chance never came along. "

And isn't it amazing, folks, that people who never shot a gun, who are dreadfully afraid of guns, who believe that guns CAUSE good people to go bad, who only barely know which end the bullet comes out of, are somehow the people to whom we should look for advise on how to use guns for self defense?

While we simple-minded, misguided, befuddled people with years or even lifetimes of experience with guns, really don't know our butts from a hole in the ground about guns, and without the anointed ones' guidance we will merrily continue to shoot ourselves in our feet, kill our children, and generally screw up society?

Like they say: When you're sick you go to a car mechanic; when you're in court you need a butcher; and when you want to know something about guns, you go to a gun-banner.

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jack burton

My solution: bullet offsets.

Similar in concept to carbon offsets, the annual medical and social cost of gun related crimes would be distributed as a tax on the price of an individual bullet.

This would make it easier for gun owners to weigh the personal benefits of purchasing a bullet against the overall cost of a bullet.
-----------------------------------
My solution to the carnage caused by automobiles: auto offsets.

Similar in concept to carbon offsets, the annual medical and social cost of auto accidents would be distributed as a tax on the price of an individual auto.

This would make it easier for car owners to weigh the personal benefits of purchasing a car against the overall cost of a car.

Of course, adding $5,000 to the price of every car just might price many people out of the market, but hey, if it saves the life of one child in a car accident it is more than worth it.

jack burton

"So I propose that gun ownership be managed along similar lines. You would receive a license to own guns after passing a written test and a demonstration of your proficiency with each firearm at a shooting range."

Do I need the governments permission to buy a car? No.

Do I need to buy the car from only certain people with licenses to sell cars? No.

Can I buy as many cars as I want each week/month/year. Yes

Can I buy small cars, big cars, slow cars, fast cars, cars that look dangerous? Yes

Can I buy Hummers virtually like the troops use? Yes.

Do I have to wait from 5 to 15 days to pick up my car. No

If I traded in one car for a newer model do I still have to wait five to ten days to pick the new one up. No

Can I modify my car to allow more fuel, more performance, or better cornering. Yes

Would I have to turn over to the government without compensation some models of automobiles that might be banned years after I buy them. No

Do I need a license to buy a car? No
(in most states)

Can I buy a car at age 16? Yes.

Are driving lessons mandated in most high schools? Yes

Can I buy a car from anyone in any state? Yes.

Can I sell my car to anyone in any state? Yes

Can convicted felons buy, own or drive a car. Yes

In some places (e.g. NYC or New Jersey) would I first need a permit to buy from the police department which sometimes takes up to 2 years to obtain. No

In some cities (e.g. Washington D.C.) would I have to store your car partially disassembled. No

Do I need to register a car that I own? No (as long as I keep it on my own property)

Do I need a background check or waiting period to buy a car? No

Is my car held responsible if I misuse it? No

Would failure to register my car be a federal felony (prevents me from owning another one). No

Do I need to "safe store" my car even though many are stolen and used for criminal purposes? No

Will I lose my driver's license if I violate the law with my car? Most likely not

Can I legally drive my car into any state/city in the nation with every jurisdiction honoring my registration/license? Yes

Shall I go on? Or do you really, really want to treat guns like cars?

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jack burton

"One simple but very effective measure would be to mandate the registration of each gun's unique fingerprint, the lands and grooves that mark the bullets fired from it. That would give detectives a starting point for each gun homicide, and more and speedier convictions would reduce the number of new assaults."

Please don't let the FACT that the so-called "fingerprint" changes with the shooting of a box or two of ammo get in your way of your wonderful, but totally unworkable idea.

Or that running a dowel coated with a rubbing compound down the barrel can change any guns "fingerprint" within seconds.

logan

actual solutions

1 - I like the idea of giving a reward for ratting on someone with an illegal gun.

2 - A few people have suggested education. That's a great one for a number of reasons. It seems a lot of people (including those on this blog) are fearful of guns because they have no personal experience with one.

3 - Legalizing drugs would be somewhat effective too, albeit highly improbable. It might actually work.

4 - Perhaps certain government agencies could advertise in areas with high gun violence and remind people the penalties for a gun crime. The laws already exist, but what good is harsh punishment if people are unaware of its existence?

I think education might be the best answer. It would be great if such a class existed in school. I mean... who is opposed to gun safety? Then again this class could go under the others that are lacking such as: personal finance, basic car maintenance, a psychology class on relationships, how to build credit, how to make a major purchase such as buying a home, and other topics that are usually only learned after they are needed.

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jack burton

Make purchasing, ownership, possession of a gun and/or ammunition illegal without proof of successful completion of a firearms safety course.

Violation of this would make you ineligible to own or purchase guns and ammo.
----------------------------------

Make purchasing, ownership, possession of a book and/or a typewriter illegal without proof of successful completion of a communications course.

Violation of this would make you ineligible to own or purchase books and printing supplies.

jack burton

Answers for those who think that "'gun control" is the best for America

http://hubpages.com/hub/Answers-for-those-who-think-that-gun-control-is-the-best-for-America

m Todd

Response to 174

Eks: Fact is people who use guns for crimes will continue to do so because they do not care if you add having a gun to the list of things they will do. So banning guns will not reduce the amount of violence. America does have a high crime rate, but that does not change the fact 1-1.5 million of those crimes did not happen because of private gun ownership. I don't see any logic with filling airbags with poison gas? Sorry would rather deal in facts than hyper bold.

As for knife verses gun, most gun battles happen in less than 6 feet. True it takes a person about 1.5 seconds to close the distance of 20 feet.
But most altercations do not happen that way. If having a gun is so ineffective for defense, they why do the police have guns? I am not talking about two criminals attacking each other with knives. I stated a 105 pound women with a gun is superior to a 200 pound man with a knife. That does not mean the women automatically wins, but do you think a women with a knife has a better chance than with a gun?

In Florida during the 70s car jacking was out of control because of the cocaine wars. It was greatly reduced because private citizens could carry a gun from the car to their home. The results were a dramatic drop in car jacking. Sorry most criminals will not attack a women carrying a loaded gun.

Your point about the police re-enforced my point about guns for defense. The police get their "after" the crime. It does not give me any comfort knowing a trained crime fighter is putting up yellow tape around my dead body. If someone is breaking into your house or attacking you, just how fast do you think the police can get to your house? Even if the police response time is 5 minutes, which would be a miracle in most cities chance are you will already be a victim.

Maybe giving each person a permit would not be such a bad idea. Right now anyone who does not have a criminal record can purchase a gun. They do not have to know safety, the laws pertaining to using a gun for defense, and how to safely discharge a weapon. To be issued a permit in my state, you have to take both safety and proficiency classes from a registered instructor. So forcing everyone who wants to own a gun to meet these requirements would be a good thing. Plus, states with conceal carry permits have seen there crime rate drop.

You think every one will be out their shooting it up if they had a gun, but I have a little more faith in the average person. The majority of people do not solve their problems with violence. For those that do, I wonder how many would be so quick to draw a gun, knife or baseball bat, if they knew the majority of peace loving citizens had a weapon? Who knows it might usher in a whole new era of people being polite to each other know that everyone is armed.

Those that take the ownership of guns responsibility continue put gun safety first. I am not pro violence or paranoid that some armed person is waiting to attack me. I do have a permit, but rarely carry a gun. And if I do carry it is a small sub compact that is a defense not offense weapon. People who have permits know that the law states that you must flee if you can and only fight if left no choice. It is a last resort period, but if it comes down to it, if I had no choice but fight I would rather meet an attacker with a gun than not.

I also believe if someone has a loaded gun that is not secure and a young person is harmed or killed with that weapon the person who owns that gun should be charged with a crime for child endangering.

Your statement about Canada is interesting, because I do business in Toronto, and gun violence because of drug gangs in the city are on the increase. Criminals will get guns and use them.

You also, keep going back to this illusion criminals will not carry guns if they are banned? Do you think drug dealers will all put their guns away so they can fight with knives to spare the innocent bystanders? They do not care about the innocent they sell drugs remember.

This is a fact, the cities with the highest crime rates and gun violence are cities with the strongest gun restrictions. DC, NY, Chicago, and LA all have restrictions on guns, All have the highest gun violence.

There was a time in this country if you used a gun or committed any violent crime you did hard time and if you murdered someone you lost your life or spent the rest of your life in prison.

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Ymal Brucker

The question starts from the false premise that a gun death is a bad thing. I suspect that 60% of gun deaths are from goblins killing goblins, 35% are from the righteous killing goblins and the remainder are the regrettable crimes of passion, accidents, etc.
These residual 1,500 or so are no more than the number killed by errant can openers. They are the price we pay for the overall greater benefits.
Attempts to reduce these 1,500 will simultaneously increase the number of goblins among us. That's the bad thing.