When I write about gun control, I generally make two arguments.
- First, criminals are lawbreakers, so the notion that they will be disarmed because of gun control is a fantasy. Crooks and thugs who really want a gun will always have access to black-market weapons.
- Second, to the extent that good people obey bad gun-control laws (and hopefully they won’t), that will encourage more criminal activity since bad people will be less worried about armed resistance.
These points are common sense, but they doesn’t seem to convince many leftists, who have a religious-type faith that good intentions will produce good results (they need to read Bastiat!).
Every so often, however, the other side accidentally messes up.
As part of its never-ending, ideologically driven campaign to undermine gun rights, the New York Times ran a big 5,000-plus word story last month about mass shootings. Creating hostility to guns was the obvious goal of this “news” report.
But buried in all that verbiage was a remarkable admission. A big majority of shooters already are in violation of gun laws.
“The New York Times examined all 130 shootings last year in which four or more people were shot, at least one fatally, and investigators identified at least one attacker. … 64 percent of the shootings involved at least one attacker who violated an existing gun law.”
And for the 36 percent of the nutjobs in the story who purchased or obtained guns legally, almost all of them presumably would have gotten their hands on weapons even if they had to violate minor laws on guns prior to violating major laws against murder.
So what the New York Times and other anti-second amendment activists are really saying is that honest people should be defenseless even though bad guys always will have the ability to arm themselves. And by making such a preposterous claim, they actually provided ammo (pun intended) for those of us who defend the Second Amendment.
So maybe, just maybe, the problem isn’t guns. Indeed, perhaps we can draw the conclusion that society will be safer if more good people are armed.
Heck, even big-city police chiefs are beginning to reach that conclusion.
Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute. Mitchell is a strong advocate of a flat tax and international tax competition.