I have immense respect for Bob Costas/Sunday night, however, he was wrong. In the halftime of Sunday Night Football, Costas gave a monolog concerning the tragic death of Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Javon Belcher on national television in which he expressed the opinion that if Belcher did not have a gun, he and his girlfriend would still be alive.
Costas is a vibrant, intelligent man, but he stepped beyond his expertise. In theory, Bob Costas was right. It makes sense to say that guns propel to crime, but for those of us who study these theories for a living reality tells a different story. The major flaw in this idea, above all else, is a simple mistake to make: Guns do not kill people, with rare exceptions related to faulty mechanics. People kill other people.
In the tragedy of this year’s Aurora, Colo. shootings the most ironic thing is that it may have been lucky that the mentally deranged killer used a gun. If one weren’t available, it is safe to assume Holmes would have used explosives.
But anecdotes are not the same as evidence. The Brady bill had no measurable effect on violent crime. Canada, the nation most similar to ours in culture, has strict gun laws, but its violent crime rate is double the United States’. Other western nations show a similar trend. In sociologist John Lott’s book, “More Guns Less Crime” his statistics show that the more concealed weapons permits a particular area issues, the lower the violent crime rate. Moreover, there are now 78 percent fewer deaths on school properties —despite the high profile massacres — from guns than there were a generation ago. Violent crime in the D.C. area had no change after passing strict gun laws, at the same time neighboring Baltimore saw significant decline.
Suicides tell a different story. The wider availability of guns has led to more suicides by gun, but not more suicides overall. Compared with a generation ago, people are more often choosing to use guns now as opposed to other methods. If someone is determined to take his or her own life, having a gun just makes it easier.
More guns lead to a trend of less crime, as counter-intuitive as that might seem.