Freedom Is More Important Than A Lower Death Rate

We have covered the counter-evidence on this blog before (here for example with links). But now a new study is being touted as  supposedly supporting more handgun restrictions.

It turns out that when you make it easier to buy guns, more people wind up getting killed with guns. That’s the conclusion researchers from John Hopkins University came to after studying the effects of Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its “permit-to-purchase” law, which required a local sheriff to vet would-be gun owners before they could buy their weapon. Researchers believe this move was “associated with an additional 55 to 63 murders per year” over the next five years, they announced.

OK, I have no idea how reliable the study is. It has just been announced and is not published yet. What I find odd is that it is being touted as an argument for stricter restrictions on gun ownership.

Why?

We know for a fact that eliminating swimming pools from all private homes would save far more lives of children.  So do we make swimming pools illegal? No. Why not? Because it is no one’s business whether or not you want to install a swimming pool on your property. People have a right to live how they want and it is up to them to manage their risks and make their decisions.

Unlike swimming pools, the right to make your own decisions about owning or carrying a firearm is enshrined in the Second Amendment.

So that’s that. We live in a country where we don’t have to worry about our basic rights and freedoms being taken away because some Ivy League statistician proves that exercising them so is dangerous to society.

It is also worth pointing out that the best way to reduce the murder rate is not necessarily what the gun controllers are saying. Remember, we have other evidence showing that widespread gun ownership is associated with a reduction in crime. If the murder rate rose in response to removing a restriction, that doesn’t prove that re-imposing restrictions is the best way to save lives. For example, one option would be to encourage more gun ownership among law abiding citizens so that attempted murders had a better chance in ending with the assailant becoming the subject of a justifiable homicide.

The good news is that this study is not going to sway the Missouri legislators to violate the rights of the people and usurp their responsibilities:

Barbara Shelly at the Kansas City Star expects the study to fall on deaf ears in Missouri’s legislature. “They favor a vigorous gun market, and no amount of research or evidence is going to convince them otherwise.” Indeed, the state senate last week endorsed a bill that would nullify all federal gun laws.

I don’t often praise state legislators, but I am pretty happy with my states senate on this issue.