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It’s true that if you make guns criminal, only criminals will have guns, but that doesn’t mean crime won’t drop.
Jeffrey Swanson, a psychologist and sociologist at Duke, found that mental illness is not a good indicator of gun violence.
(Drug and alcohol abuse are far better predictors.) Most mass murderers don’t have a history of mental illness, while the vast majority of mentally ill people don’t ever kill anyone.
But Lott’s research has been criticized as faulty by many other analysts, and newer studies tend to find that the best way to lower gun crime is simply to reduce the number of guns available.
A analysis in 2015 found that the stricter the gun laws were in a given state, the lower the number of gun-related deaths per capita. Let’s just ban guns altogether—and confiscate them if need be.
There are cultural, constitutional, and political hurdles.
Americans—or more accurately, some Americans—are deeply fond of firearms, which is why there are more guns in the U. than people, even though only a third of American households own guns.
But as my colleague Adrienne La France laid out recently, there are real questions about whether they can work all that effectively.
And let’s say you designed a perfect, fool-proof smart gun: How long would it take to replace all 350 million guns already in circulation in the United States? That seems like evidence that more guns make the nation safer.
But the penalties are already pretty steep: Up to 10 years in prison and a 0,000 fine.
The problem with straw purchases isn’t necessarily the lack of a sufficient deterrent: It’s the difficulty in proving a straw purchase was a straw purchase.