The Gun Control Farce

From:,  by Thomas Sowell,  on Jun 21, 2016,  see the article HERE.

AR and mag

Surely murder is a serious subject, which ought to be examined seriously. Instead, it is almost always examined politically in the context of gun control controversies, with stock arguments on both sides that have remained the same for decades. And most of those arguments are irrelevant to the central question: Do tighter gun control laws reduce the murder rate?

That is not an esoteric question, nor one for which no empirical evidence is available. Think about it. We have 50 states, each with its own gun control laws, and many of those laws have gotten either tighter or looser over the years. There must be tons of data that could indicate whether murder rates went up or down when either of these things happened.

But have you ever heard any gun control advocate cite any such data? Tragically, gun control has become one of those fact-free issues that spawn outbursts of emotional rhetoric and mutual recriminations about the National Rifle Association or the Second Amendment.

If restrictions on gun ownership do reduce murders, we can repeal the Second Amendment, as other Constitutional Amendments have been repealed. Laws exist to protect people. People do not exist to perpetuate laws.

But if tighter restrictions on gun ownership do not reduce murders, what is the point of tighter gun control laws — and what is the point of demonizing the National Rifle Association?

There are data not only from our 50 states but also from other countries around the world. Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm’s empirical study, “Guns and Violence: The English Experience,” should be eye-opening for all those who want their eyes opened, however small that number of people might be.

Professor Malcolm’s book also illustrates the difference between isolated, cherry-picked facts and relevant empirical evidence.

Many gun control advocates have cited the much higher murder rates in the United States than in England as due to tighter gun control laws in England. But Professor Malcolm’s study points out that the murder rate in New York has been some multiple of the murder rate in London for two centuries — and, during most of that time, neither city had serious restrictions on gun ownership.

As late as 1954, “there were no controls on shotguns” in England, Professor Malcolm reported, but only 12 cases of armed robbery in London. Of these only 4 had real guns. But in the remainder of the 20th century, gun control laws became ever more severe — and armed robberies in London soared to 1,400 by 1974.

“As the numbers of legal firearms have dwindled, the numbers of armed crimes have risen” is her summary of that history in England. Conversely, in the United States the number of handguns in American homes more than doubled between 1973 and 1992, while the murder rate went down.

There are relevant facts available, but you are not likely to hear about them from politicians currently pushing for tighter gun control laws, or from the mainstream media, when those facts go against the claims of gun control advocates.

Despite hundreds of thousands of times a year when Americans use firearms defensively, none of those incidents is likely to be reported in the mainstream media, even when lives are saved as a result. But one accidental firearm death in a home will be broadcast and rebroadcast from coast to coast.

Virtually all empirical studies in the United States show that tightening gun control laws has not reduced crime rates in general or murder rates in particular. Is this because only people opposed to gun control do empirical studies? Or is it because the facts uncovered in empirical studies make the arguments of gun control zealots untenable?

In both England and the United States, those people most zealous for tighter gun control laws tend also to be most lenient toward criminals and most restrictive on police. The net result is that law-abiding citizens become more vulnerable when they are disarmed and criminals disobey gun control laws, as they disobey other laws.

The facts are too plain to be ignored. Moreover, the consequences are too dangerous to law-abiding citizens, whose lives are put in jeopardy on the basis of fact-free assumptions and unexamined dogmas. Such arguments are a farce, but not the least bit funny.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at


As usual, another pithy well written piece by Dr. Sowell. I never really thought much about it before, but he brings up a good point. If gun control laws really worked, the left would be quoting study statistics to us to prove their point. They don’t because they can’t – as spelled out by Dr. Sowell. Gun control is a primordial issue for the left, being one of their “owned” issues. Just imagine, if the real statistics were publicized and the public was educated on the number of times that a “victim” prevented a crime because he/she was armed, the issue would dissolve into the ether and the left would have one less crooked hook to hang their hats on. 

No wonder the liberal left is always so cranky, every issue they have requires lies, misdirection, and obfuscation to exist – otherwise, when confronted with the truth, “POOF” all of their issues go away.



Categories: General


6 replies

  1. The stats alone on increased sales and decreased murders should be sufficient to convince the gun grabbers their argument is wrong. But just like their argument for climate change, they have no solid evidence to support their claims, yet they continue the argument and the increased regulations. I’m with CW on stating that the debate is over. Put a lid on it, liberals and let’s move on.


  2. One can never argue with the logic of the venerable Dr. Thomas Sowell. The truth, after all, is the truth. Having said that, given the infiltration by the Left into our government and their influence on our society, I think we might be better off to take a page from their book and simply insist that the debate “is over.” In the first place, you can never win a debate with liars. Regardless of the infallibility of your logic, they will simply deny the truth and insist that they won (that describes, without exception, the history of debate with the Left). But more importantly, debate over constitutional issues without an actual Amendment on the table only reinforces the Left’s sense of entitlement to circumvent the Constitution through regulation and other means. Better to say, “You want to outlaw guns? Put an Amendment on the table. Then we’ll talk.” They won’t do it because they know they’ll lose, and if they’re losing, why give them credibility by engaging in these futile debates?


    • You’re right CW, Sowell is one of the voices that I always find interesting and informative and seldom disagree with. As I replied to Brian, I’m noticing more and more push-back against the gun control agenda – even now following another mass shooting. I’d like to think that the general public has finally realized that disarming law-abiding citizens isn’t the way to stop lunatic terrorists from attacking our way of life. The left just uses any crisis to make another push for gun laws. Logic never enters into their calculations, only a blind, illogical push to disarm America.


  3. Not only do the domestic gun stats not support the gun-grabbers’ claims, they actually go to prove the gun supporters’ claims that less guns = more violent crimes. Just look at Chicago and DC, for example.

    That’s why, for years, they tried to drown out the conversation with eternal squawking about Great Britain’s draconian gun laws. I’ve noticed there’s a lot less of that over the last couple of years, as BG’s crime stats have gotten worse, so actual facts are finally making a dent. I suspect that’s one of the reasons why gun control is losing ever more support as time goes on.

    I also suspect that as these very rare mass shootings take place, and are played up so disgustingly in the MSM as “gun” issues instead of domestic terrorism, people are starting to see through the leftist snake oil sales effort. They’re turning down the Kool-Aid, and voting with their gun-buying dollars. Just look at how guns, particularly semi-autos like the AR-15, are flying off the shelves.


    • Agreed Brian. I’m also gladdened to see that the gun control forces are losing the “debate” in more and more surveys. That only shows, as you said, that support for more laws is continually losing support. The gun control crowd is losing more often and by larger disparities – just look at Bloomberg and his spending has been for naught. And even now, immediately following a mass shooting, there’s not the public support for more Draconian gun laws that would have been apparent just 10-20 years ago. I do believe that we are winning this battle. I don’t currently own an AR, but I think that I’ll ask a buddy that I’m having lunch with tomorrow to put out his feelers – he frequently knows of stuff for sale by owners ( I bought a .40 cal Kel Tec Sub 2000 that way).


      • Garnet, consider a Ruger Mini-14. I actually prefer it over the AR. Fires the same round, also uses detachable mags, but it’s basically a Garand/M-14 action, which I consider superior to the AR.

        Further, it doesn’t seem to be on ANY of the gun-grabbers’ radar, for some reason.

        I’ve had one for almost 40 years — I got one when they first came out in the mid-70s — and it’s served me well. Great gun.


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