View Full Version : Does public access to weapons reduce violent crime?

The Empirical Guy
01-03-2012, 04:47 AM
We've got an international community here so I'm hoping for a few ideas and perspectives on this one.

The other day my brother was telling me about something he had read that was correlating a drop in crime rates in a city in America (I forget which one now), with an increase in gun sales. It tied in with some thoughts of my own I was having based on some recent observations, and thought it warranted some discussion.

If weapons, be they guns, knives/ blades, tasers etc were readily available to the public, does it reduce violent crime?

The way I see it it's a double edged sword (pun intended). Of course, if everyone can pick up a gun, it's much easier for people to go and hold up a bank, or shoot someone over a dispute. On the other hand, would the knowledge that everyone is potentially armed deter people from such crime? Maybe someone where weapons are more commonplace can give me the flipside of this (looking at you, Americans), but here's my thinking on it:

Out the other night as part of NYE celebrations, I was rather astounded at the amount of young males (16-24 age bracket) who were standing around, intoxicated to some degree, trying their hardest to start a fight with someone. Virtually every one I passed was yelling abuse at someone, pushing and shoving at someone, chasing after their chosen target, or just standing around with the look in their eyes of itching to fight anyone who dared breathe in their direction. Now, the involvement of alcohol and the cultural that breeds the urge for testosterone pumped male behaviour is a separate discussion, but I was thinking, here in Australia it's incredibly hard to get access to a gun. When these guys go looking for a fight as a way to entertain themselves on a Friday night, the worst that's likely to happen is a bloody nose and some chipped teeth. Would they be so eager to pick a fight at every opportunity if there was a reasonable chance that doing so would get their head blown off?

I've often thought this in regards to simple crimes like holding up a gas station. Here, with guns hard to come by, it's not uncommon for people to hold up gas stations and the like with box cutters, kitchen knives and so on. So sure, if they could get a gun to use it might be more dangerous in that regard... but would they be so keen to try it if they knew the attendant probably has a shotgun under the counter?

Thoughts and opinions. OK... GO!

01-04-2012, 09:23 PM
Yes, less public access to guns especially would reduce gun crime.

Most guns used in crime are not bought on the black-market, but legally, in the U.S. Not to mention the phenomenally high 'accidental shooting' rate as well. The problem in the U.S is that every idiot and their dog think they have the 'right' to own, operate and wield a deadly weapon.

The statistics speak for themselves at any rate, any progressive western nation with decent legislative process that bans or limits gun use, has a far lower gun-crime rate.

01-05-2012, 02:09 PM
Living in America, I've got to say, easy access to weapons doesn't reduce violent crime, it only makes it more deadly.

Golden Eel
01-05-2012, 08:28 PM
I can't say I'm an expert on this, but I know nothing will ever end violent crimes. If guns get banned, people will kill each other with swords. If swords get banned, they'll use bats. If bats are banned, they'll use rocks. If rocks are banned, they'll beat each other to death with their bare fists. And the type of person who is going to talk shit and pull a gun on you doesn't care if you have one as well, they're already insane.

The Empirical Guy
01-08-2012, 05:11 AM
Hmm. I don't think my meaning may have come across as clear as I might have liked in my opening post. To clarify, I wasn't intending to take either side for or against gun control, I was simply speculating from the sidelines. In further discussion with people on this topic away from the forum, though, it seems I may have grossly underestimated the general populace. You see, I was assuming that if people see a pattern of "oh, when people try and initiate violence with people, they end up getting their head blown off", they will stop initiating violence. I based this on the idea that when you get a dog and it shits on the carpet, you scold it and it quickly learns to stop shitting on the carpet. However, it appears I may have placed my faith in humanity uncharacteristically high, and that humans are, in fact, significantly less intelligent than dogs, and would continue shitting on the carpet, so to speak.

01-08-2012, 05:30 PM
I think what access to guns does is increase the temptation for brutal violent crime, as opposed to mere hand-to-hand conflict, or squaring up to people. It appeals to the machismo and stupidity of anyone whose predilection is domination, or brute force. You don't have to prove how tough you are, you simply have to intimidate or snuff people out in a heartbeat. That's not just violence, it's abuse of power, and not everyone should be entitled to that power.

If someone is going to do something truly insane, unhinged, or heinous, they'll do it by any means necessary. But the lazy mind of an inner-city gang member (for instance) isn't unhinged, it's brazen, and has a lot to prove to a peer group, or warped sense of entitlement. Conversely, I don't think it's all about crime either, we're back to the aforementioned power struggle. People allowed to defend their homes with firepower may feel safer, but do they also feel more relaxed with the idea of a 'Shoot First...' approach? That can have severe deficits just like any other situation where someone's got a bullet to dispose of.

The simplest assessment I can think of would be that public access to weapons increases violent crime because it changes the psychology of how humans enact their urges. It's no different from people becoming spoilt having everything available at the push of a button, or more positively, people respecting the virtue of money if they worked hard for it. All tools we create affect how we behave, either fuelling or depleting basic instincts we already possess.

01-09-2012, 06:58 AM
I don't think access to weapons would reduce violent crime, just the opposite in fact.

There has been a change of attitude in the UK that I have noticed with regard to guns since I was a kid and I'm sure it brings us more in line with the US and how people there see weapons (especially guns). It was quite common for people to have a gun when I was growing up, usually a shotgun and maybe a rifle. It was a tool and was used only for food. The thought of using them for violence didn't come up ever that I remember. Occasionally someone got shot accidentally but that was it. Bearing in mind that I grew up in the country and not in a city, maybe it was different there. Now people see guns primarily as weapons and the whole 'macho' crap thing has taken over.

People will always be violent. So it is best to have laws that keep angry and stupid people away from them.

01-09-2012, 12:47 PM
I love the saying "Guns Don't Kill People. I Kill People". People kill people. I happen to live in the land of Happy Guns, and I do own two guns. I don't believe that it is my God given right to own one like a lot of red bludded amurricans believe. I watch the news daily and nightly and there are so many incidents on a daily basis where some moron gangbanger blows someone away. Pun not intended, ok maybe it was. I can't fathom ever pointing a gun at someone ending a life for any reason other than last resort self defense. In this country, a lot of the neighborhoods in every city are just infested with gun toting, poor, uneducated scum bags taking pop shots at people for something as pointless as a gang initation where you have to kill a random person in order to get street cred. Either that or they need money for drugs and whatever the hell else they think they are entitled to, so I do believe that people should have the right to arm themselves for protection. Though I think that the incidents of gun violence would go down, I still think the murder rate would be through the roof just because for some reason in America most people are fucking crazy. That is all.

01-10-2012, 01:51 PM
I have the American view that I have a right to bear an arm and do. Less crime because of guns? Nah.

Totally against banning guns.