Saturday, June 28, 2008

This decision will cost American lives

So says Spot, quoting Justice Scalia. He's talking about the DC gun ban reversal.

Now, I wasn't in Minnesota when the 'shall issue' law was passed, ironically, I was in Fort Stewart training for Kosovo, carrying an M-16 with me everywhere. But I remember the liberal cry when it was being debated.

Minnesota will become the new 'wild west'. People will be killing each other in the streets at high noon. Neighbors will kill each other over fence lines, and road rage on the freeways will now be routinely deadly.

And the actual result? Not much of an increase at all.

Gun deaths in Minnesota in 2003--74.

Gun deaths in Minnesota in 2006--86

An 8.6% increase, while at the same time we had a 3% increase in population.

So accounting for the increase in population, in the five years since Minnesota became a shall issue state, we have seen an average of 10 more homicides a year. But, interestingly, I can't find any evidence that any of these gun deaths stem from a conceal carry permit holder, other than 1. In 2005, a permit holder was arrested and later convicted of murder. But, since he was a bouncer at a downtown bar, there's a fair chance he would have been able to get a conceal carry permit under the old law.

But what is not included in the statistics is the number of crimes that have been prevented or interrupted by a law abiding citizen carrying a gun. If a couple of thugs threaten a guy and his wife in a back alley, and the guy pulls his gun, does that get reported? Maybe, maybe not.

In any case, there is no basis in Minnesota's experience with reasonable gun control to suggest that the whole country will become a wild west because of the court decision. Time will likely prove that to be true, but Spot and his friends will still be waiting showdowns at high noon.

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