Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Disarming Canada

Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Disarming Canada

Article excerpt

The right to defend oneself and one's family against violent attack is fundamental. In "Self-Defense: The Equalizer" (FORUM, Winter 2000), Linda Gorman and David B. Kopel succinctly explain why gun-control legislation does not improve public safety but instead increases the chances of violent crime. The authors argue persuasively that gun control is a dangerous path to follow for democratic governments, as it is fundamentally inconsistent with individual freedom.

Gun-control advocates have a distrust of the typical person. The key assumption is that access to firearms will somehow cause otherwise law-abiding citizens to become violent. This is false and pernicious reasoning. Studies from around the world show that violent criminals are not normal people. For example, Canada's national statistical agency, Statistics Canada, recently found that the typical Canadian murderer, like his counterpart in the United States, has a long history of criminal violence.

The authors are on solid ground when they state that gun-control laws cannot abolish violent crime. There are no reputable studies in any country in the world that show that firearm restrictions significantly reduce violent crime. When the medicine doesn't work, the solution is not more of the same medicine. Rather one needs to rediagnose the problem.

There is good evidence that allowing people to defend themselves improves public safety. Over the past 20 years, many states in the United States have passed laws allowing responsible citizens to carry concealed handguns. The result has been that crime rates have dropped faster in those states than elsewhere. …

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