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Regulation of Guns


Gun control laws invite two questions. First, how do firearms laws affect the distribution of guns in a given population; second, how does the pattern of firearms dispersion in that population affect its likelihood of engaging in crime. It must be said that there is relatively little evidence in the United States for the proposition that laws can effectively get people to give up guns they already own or to refrain from acquiring new weapons. The relationship between firearms dispersion, crime, and violence is difficult to sort out. While criminals often use guns to commit crimes, seek firearms for this purpose, and probably commit a different number and kind of crime when they have guns than when they do not, it is undeniably also true that guns are effective in the same applications for which police officers use them—deterring aggression. One should expect to see guns where one sees criminals, but also where honest people are fearful of criminals. There is little persuasive evidence in favor of gun control as a crime reduction technique and some probability that, in some circumstances, additional regulation might have a perverse effect.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawRegulation of Guns - More Guns, More Crime, Prohibition, Waiting Periods, Gun Buy-back Programs, Background Checks