Anti gun rights people will often use misinformation to advance their arguments. Sometimes the misinformation takes the form of an overt untruth, while other times it is more subtle. A recent news story from the Hartford Courant in Connecticut seems to fit into that second category of anti gun misinformation:
Robberies fell by 19 percent, and robberies involving a gun were down by 15 percent. Car thefts dropped by 27 percent.
Police confiscated 228 firearms last year, a 60 percent increase from 2007, when they seized 142 in an effort to get illegal guns off the street and cool off crime “hot spots” as they emerge.
In and of themselves, these two adjoining statements from a short article discussing a drop in crime are truthful. However by arranging them together, it leads to the impression that there is a connection between the increased gun seizures and the reduction in crime, when no such connection has been proven. Indeed, I sincerely doubt that there is such a connection, given that guns are by no means scarce and criminals have no problem acquiring news guns when their existing guns are seized. Such criminals can buy guns from their local gang, or get their guns imported by the same smugglers who bring tons and tons of drugs into the country each year. Or they can just go and steal a gun. In fact, we have seen time and time again that schemes to “get guns off the streets” just don’t reduce crime, anymore than handgun bans stop murders.
For those who don’t fully recognize the effects that simply mentioning two unrelated things together can have, I offer the following example from the Christian Science Monitor: In the lead up to the Iraq war, President Bush routinely mentioned 9/11 and Saddam Hussein together in press conferences, often in the same breath. No credible evidence has ever suggested a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, and even the Bush administration never (directly) said that there was a link. However just mentioning 9/11 and Saddam Hussein together was sufficient to convince many Americans that there was some link, even know the goals of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were quite incompatible, and the two were not friendly by any stretch of the imagination. This mistaken belief continues to this day, with a double-digit percentage of Americans incorrectly thinking that there was some connection between 9/11 and Iraq.
The fact is that gun control has failed in the US, Europe, and every other country that has tried it. It is only because of the type of misinformation and anti gun myths discussed above that such ineffective anti gun policies have not been yet abandoned. Sadly, it seems that we are in for more (pointless) gun control laws in the coming years…
My thanks to Anders for pointing out the news story discussed above.