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Tighter Gun Laws Are Not the Solution
Tighter Gun Laws Are Not the Solution

By: John R. Lott Jr. Senior Research Scholar, School of Law Yale University New Haven, Conn.

The article "Hawaii's Xerox-Office Shooting Throws into Relief State's Effective Gun Laws" attributes the low murder rate in Hawaii to its restrictive gun laws. That's an unjustified inference, for many states with few gun regulations experience even less crime. In 1997, 18 states had as low or lower murder rates than Hawaii. Out of these, most had relatively lax gun laws, as evidenced by Handgun Control Inc.'s own rating: the gun laws in 14 of the 18 states received "grades" from "C" to "F."

States might well differ in many other respects, though, so the more important evidence comes from the effects of changes in gun-control laws on crime rates. Such studies show that restrictive laws have either increased crime or have had no effect. Hawaii's murder rate has traditionally been below the national average, and there is no evidence that tightening its gun-control laws further lowered its low crime rate. Data from across the U.S. indicates that each one percentage point increase in a state's gun-ownership rate has been associated with a 3% drop in violent crime. The long state waiting periods discussed in the article unfortunately prevent people from quickly obtaining a gun for self protection, and such laws are associated with more crime, particularly against women.

To Purchase: More Guns, Less Crime By: John Lott, Jr.

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