Harsanyi: I’ve Found No Evidence That Gun Control Reduces Violent Crime

David Harsanyi Gun Violence Gun Control

courtesy reason.tv and YouTube

David Harsanyi is the celebrated author of First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History With the Gun

“I guess if I were to be fair, I would think about the 1930s when a bunch of crazy people grabbed automatic, fully automatic weapons, and were driving around the countryside robbing banks with Tommy guns and fully automatic rifles. Putting some laws into place that would make it slightly more difficult for those people to have those guns, it might have helped.

“But the reverse seems to be true. I think crime hit a high in the early 1990s. And since that time, over the last 30-35 years, we’ve seen a big drop in crime. And at the same time we’ve seen a big spike in ownership. So I’m not saying that we saw the drop in crime specifically because of the guns, though I think it’s a part of it. But obviously those two things are not related.

“And most times when we see a mass shooting, very tragic events obviously, the laws that the politicians come forward with almost never have anything to do with the event itself. It’s just some other hobby horse, some other law that they’ve been thinking about, that they want to push through. Because, in my estimation, it’s all just leading towards, not confiscation of all guns, but as close as they can get to that.” – David Harsanyi in How the Gun Made America Great

comments

  1. avatar Alex Waits says:

    Yup.

    The country is in a sad state when civil rights are polarized.

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

      “The country is in a sad state when civil rights are polarized.”

      And historically, Democrats have fought the hardest against the expansion of civil rights…

      1. avatar Salty Bear says:

        Civil rights opposed by Republicans:

        Right to travel.
        Right to marry.
        Right to keep what you earn.
        Right to carry a gun.
        Right to privacy.

        Don’t get me wrong, Democrats are against all those things too. But it shows that they are not alone.

        1. avatar doesky2 says:

          Let me try to interpret Lefty Salty Bear.

          Right to travel = Any F’n illegal should be able to come across our border at any time.

          Right to marry = Despite thousands of years of precedence…homosexuals have a “right” to the word marry.

          Right to keep what you earn = You don’t have the right to choose your own health care. The gov knows better.

          Right to carry a gun = Republicans don’t agree with me…Master Salty Dog

          Right to privacy = you should have the right to murder your baby up until the point that it’s head is out of the birth canal.

        2. avatar JasonM says:

          I believe the “right to travel” he’s referring to is the recent restriction on visas from those seven unstable islamic terrorism hotspots that Obama proposed and Trump enacted.

          There were republicans who supported the first laws against interracial marriage in the US. But the democrats at the time were far more racist.

          I took “the right to keep what you earn” to mean taxes. And republicans (especially today) have a much better track record on reducing taxes, but they’re not perfect.

          There are republicans who oppose gun rights. Reagan signed gun control as governor of CA. GHW Bush signed the Gun Free School Zone Act. Toomey sponsored Manchin-Toomey. Florida’s republican legislature and governor passed gun-control legislation that failed in Washington’s democratic legislature. Like taxes, republicans are generally better on the issue of gun rights, but as a group, they’re not perfect.

          Right to privacy could also include laws like the Texas anti-sodomy law that got overturned. Or laws trying to make it easier for law enforcement to search your house or observe your digital information. This is not a strong point for republicans historically, but they’re better today than a generation ago.

          I’d say neither of the major parties has a great track record in all categories, but today the republicans have a better position overall. This is especially true now that the democrats oppose free speech and the presumption of innocence.

        3. avatar GS650G says:

          Don’t forget democrats were for or against the same things. It’s because they are people.

          But rather than look backwards let’s look where they are today.

        4. avatar jwm says:

          And let’s not forget the antifa brown shirts doing the dems bidding.

        5. avatar Please Think says:

          doesky2,

          Thousands of years of precedence makes no sense in attempting to validate or invalidate rights. We don’t have thousands of years of precedence for any of our constitutionally protected rights, especially not if you are including protecting all citizens’ rights. We have thousand of years of governments of a wide variety of forms trampling on all people’s rights, including the right to trial, right to bear arms, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.

          So, do gays have the right to marry? Why shouldn’t they? In what way does them enjoying that freedom harm any others? Can you find a justifiable reason that they shouldn’t be able to? I think not. Those in my mind should be the basis of any restrictions on someone’s freedom.

          “Use that which is yours so as not to harm another” is a long standing legal principle (still not thousands of years old).

        6. avatar burley says:

          Don’t feed the troll.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      Did you miss the 50s and the 60s?

      1. avatar Alex Waits says:

        Sure did miss the 50’s and 60’s. Did you miss the Civil War?

        What’s your point?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Civil rights have always been polarized. To include sending federal troops to escort American kids into American schools. It’s nothing new.

  2. avatar GunnyGene says:

    I hope y’all take the time to read the entire interview. There’s much more to this than just the excerpt here.

  3. avatar DJ says:

    Just bought his new book, First Freedom.

  4. avatar jwm says:

    As for the ‘motorized bandits’. Making full auto weapons harder to get had nothing to do with their crimes. Clyde Barrow stole his auto weapons from a national guard and police armory. They don’t play by the rules. That’s why they are criminals.

    Banning privately owned cars would have had more effect on crime than banning guns.

    1. avatar Kendahl says:

      From what I’ve read, the concern was more with organized crime’s use of automatic weapons in their internecine wars that with the occasional bank robber.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        It’s been a while. I’m a bit of a history buff. My understanding is that the gangsters didn’t really use FA weapons all that much. If a hood came after you it was much more likely to be a handgun or a sawn off shotgun. These weapons were simply easier to obtain.

        But hollywood has always loved to spice things up with FA weapons and large, flaming explosions.

        1. avatar frank speak says:

          valentines day massacre belies a good deal of that…..

        2. avatar jwm says:

          I’m not saying FA was never used, Frank. But it wasn’t nearly as prevalent as hollywood would have us believe. Then, as now, the handgun was the choice of the majority of criminals. A distant second was the shotgun.

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    Well said…vote!

  6. avatar rt66paul says:

    Sorry, but very few people were robbing banks, then – but it did sell newspapers. The bank robbers were revolutionaries – going against the people that took their lives away because of a runaway stock market. When you watch your family have to go hungry, when you see your children sick because they are weak from bad water and lack of nutritious food, you will do a lot of “bad” things to get them right.
    Our country could have gone communist in the 30s. As a matter of fact, people left the states for Russia – they were promised jobs, they really wanted to work.
    It is much different today, everyone wants the life, but they don’t want to put in the work, the common thread here is the media, trying to set policy.

    1. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

      Very true. Most of the automatic firearms were stolen from the government. You know, the only ones that can be trusted with such tools.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        prior to the NFA you could walk into any hardware store and walk out with a thompson…provided you had the money…and very few did…the biggest purchasers were the private corporate goon squads that tried to use them to suppress labor insurrection…most of those found there way into local police departments once the union contracts forced them to give them up…

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Unfortunately in those days there was no federal deposit insurance so those robbers were stealing directly from the depositors and not from some stereotypical Wall Street fat cat. And while those small town banks were quite unpopular for foreclosing on family farms, the real culprit was the Federal Reserve that decreased the money supply right when they needed to increase it. This caused deflation and crashed the commodities markets. The price for grain plummeted and the farmers couldn’t pay their loans. The bankers foreclosed and sold the land for a fraction of the loan amount and then went under themselves, taking the depositors’ money with them. None of that had anything to do with the market crash of 1929.

      Also, the county was steering toward fascism, not communism under FDR. Look at the (other) NRA – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Recovery_Administration – pure unadulterated fascism. Fascism was very much in vogue until the ugly sides of German and Italian fascism started to show. Germany had transformed itself from the economic collapse of the Weimar Republic to a manufacturing powerhouse under Hitler, and the people were desperate for a similar end to the Great Depression. The communist revolution in Russia had pretty much the exact opposite economic effect as Hitler’s fascism.

      1. avatar Dan Boyd says:

        You people would be wise to believe what this guy writes.

    3. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

      The stock market kicked off an economic depression, but recovery had already begun, unemployment back down to 6.9% from 9%, when the smoot-hawley tariff made things worse again and the new deal kept things there.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        The Smoot-Hawley Act did immense damage to the economy but was only one of many governmental missteps under both the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations. Tax rates (on the ‘rich’) were jacked up to compensate for falling tax revenues. Huge amounts of money was borrowed to pay for government programs. But the most pernicious act was the tightening of the money supply by the Federal Reserve.

        Trade wars are a lot like actual wars. If you start one you’d better be damn sure you’re in a position to win it. The Smoot-Hawley Act was kind of like the Japanese thinking we’d just cede territory after they bombed Pearl Harbor. Only it didn’t just pick a fight with one nation but all of them.

        Raising taxes on the ‘rich’ will always without fail harm the economy and the working poor and middle class. There’s nothing the rich can do with their money that doesn’t benefit the rest of us. If they build a big house does the carpenter not benefit? If they buy a fancy car does the auto worker not benefit? If they invest in a business do the newly hired employees not benefit? But who benefits if they hand their money over to the government to pay people to sit idle?

        Government debt also harms the economy. If the rich guy puts all his money into treasuries then he’s not investing it elsewhere. The cost of borrowing goes up so fewer business open, fewer factories are built, etc.

        But the most pernicious act was the tightening of the money supply. You tighten the money supply to slow down the economy and stop inflation. Take a look at the Reagan era tightening of the money supply. Under Carter we experienced an unusual condition called stagflation. The economy was slow but inflation was growing out of control (largely due to rising oil prices). Reagan properly concluded that inflation had to be tackled first and the Fed cooperated. While Reagan’s economic policies were correct overall, look at what happened in the mid-west. In the late 70s that high inflation led to high commodities prices. At the time an acre of prime Iowa farmland went from around $1200 to $4000. Banks would lend to farmers with 20% down (these days it takes 40%). So say you wanted to double your 500 acre farm. You borrowed $1.6million. If corn stayed at $4+ a bushel you’re fine. But when the Fed slashed the money supply commodity prices crashed and you only got $2/bushel. Farmland went back to $1200/acre. Now you couldn’t pay your loan, the bank takes your entire 1000 acres because you put the first 500 down for collateral, but even after selling off the entire farm the bank is still out $400,000. This is what was called the Farm Crisis. It was the cost of avoiding the US dollar from becoming the Venezuelan bolivar.

        In the early 1930s however, there was deflation rather than inflation. Unemployed workers didn’t have the money to buy anything and employed workers started stuffing their mattresses out of fear of becoming unemployed. This was the absolute worst time for the Fed to cut the money supply. It was the Reagan Farm Crisis on steroids. All the government borrowing and spending wasn’t going to do a damn thing except to exacerbate the problem. In fact in 1939 FDR’s Treasury Secretary lamented that they’d spent all this money and still had high unemployment and now they had a mountain of debt to boot. Unfortunately, the lessons of the Great Depression were quickly forgotten by those in government.

  7. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

    Civil Rights, Freedom, Liberty. These great gifts handed down by our founders are being erased. Erased by gray suited thugs in the halls of power. Black robed tyrants sitting high on the bench of law, looking down upon the serfs they despise. We are loosing folks. WAKE THE HELL UP.

    1. avatar ColoradoKid says:

      What he said! If you’re willing to sit back, be complacent and bang away on your keyboard instead of taking action, then you/we deserve what you/we get! There will come a time when we will stand up for our rights, just hope it’s not too late. I have always looked to the NRA, but it’s obvious they’re not doing shit but taking our money. It’s up to us, but we have to do it collectively.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        expect more from them as the SCOTUS changes…right now they’re under attack and financially strapped…

  8. avatar Stateisevil says:

    Preach til you’re blue, the truth is no defense.

  9. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘I think crime hit a high in the early 1990s.’

    Hmmm… 25 years after LBJ’s ‘Great Society’. What a coincidence…

    1. avatar Dan Boyd says:

      Late 90’s crime decrease is attributable to Roe-v-Wade. A large percentage of aborted pregnancies prevented single mothers from raising Obama’s Son’s who would have reached their prime crime committing years in, you guessed it! The late 90’s.

      Single motherhood is a greater predictive measurement than race and income combined.
      I’ve looked at the numbers and have confirmed this to be the case. Single fathers has the opposite effect.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        You incorrectly assume that abortion was illegal before Roe v Wade. In Texas it was only legal in the case of rape. Many states were much more permissive. To validate that claim you’d need to do an in depth analysis of only states with very restrictive abortion laws before Roe v Wade.

        But even if your hypothesis proves to be correct, it hardly justifies the killing of 55 million humans.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Before Roe, abortion was legal in 2 states. Roe was ’74, 18 years later seems to be ’92. And we did not and do not need another 50-100,000,000 gang bangers, especially when we would have to FORCE their mothers to bear them. You are suggesting the reinstitution of slavery. But we should all listen just as soon as you discover a way that you can become pregnant. Until then, it is not your business.

          And the analysis you claim is so difficult in available in about 2 pages of Freakonomics.

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Larry in TX,

          Parent/s have a natural, moral, and legal obligation to care for their children until those children are old enough to care for themselves or until the parent/s can safely hand-over their children to someone else to care for them. That is not, never has been, and never will be slavery. Neither is it slavery for a mom to care for her child in the womb until she can safely hand-over that child to someone else to care for him/her.

          Saying it another way, being responsible for our decisions is not slavery. It is not slavery if you have to pay restitution to someone for the damage that you cause to their person or property. Neither is it slavery when a mom has to be responsible for her decision to have sex and become pregnant.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          U_S, forcing a pregnant woman, at gunpoint, to spend the next 6-8 months of her life doing what *you* want her to do, without even paying her, is slavery. Play word games all you want, doesn’t change a thing. And unless you can get pregnant, it is none of your business.

          If you wish to change the status quo, the Amendment procedure awaits. The simple fact that none has even been proposed in the past 45 years shows that your position is extreme.

        4. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Larry in TX,

          I would agree with you entirely if the pregnant woman wasn’t killing a human being THAT SHE CHOSE TO CREATE.

          Actions and choices have consequences. Intercourse is an intentional act that sends sperm looking for an egg — and often results in the creation of a human being. A woman having an extremely intense desire to escape the consequences of her choice to have intercourse does not justify killing a human being.

        5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Larry in TX,

          How about a woman who delivers her baby at home and decides that she has an intense, all-consuming desire to immediately get rid of that baby. Because a powerful storm has laid waste to her community, it will be two weeks before anyone can get in or out of her home. Is it okay if she kills the baby and throws it outside so that she is not forced into slavery for two weeks caring for that baby?

          If your answer is “yes”, I have nothing more to say to you. If your answer is “no”, why does the baby’s location (in the womb versus out of the womb) determine whether or not forcing a mother to care for her baby is slavery? Saying it another way, why does time (days before birth versus days after birth) determine whether or not forcing a mother to care for her baby is slavery?

        6. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          ‘…we did not and do not need another 50-100,000,000 (people)’ – Better just to kill them all before they have a chance to commit a crime. It worked for Hitler with the Jews and Roma.

          ‘…forcing a pregnant woman, at gunpoint, to spend the next 6-8 months of her life doing what *you* want her to do, without even paying her, is slavery.’ – That’s the stoopidest thing I’ve heard all week. Who made the woman have sex? So making people take responsibility for their own actions is ‘slavery’? Isn’t it then slavery to impose child support on the father?

  10. avatar Nanashi says:

    “I would think about the 1930s when a bunch of crazy people grabbed automatic, fully automatic weapons, and were driving around the countryside robbing banks with Tommy guns and fully automatic rifles.”

    All of them stolen from the government who the NFA doesn’t apply to.

  11. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Gun control is about symbolism and about elevating the social status of one group (gun controllers) over another group (gun owners). That it does nothing to “reduce crime” is not surprising. Similarly, the 55mph speed limit didn’t save lives nor did it reduce gasoline consumption. It too, was about symbolism.

  12. avatar GS650G says:

    As soon as I’m assigned a personal security detail at taxpayer expense I’ll go along with being unarmed.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Might want to reconsider. So, 2 years after you disarm, your detail advises you that their pay now comes from you, and they rob you blind, what do you do now? Think the gun stores would still be open?

  13. avatar el Possum Guapo Standartenfuher " they think we're making pizza's Oberst von Burn says:

    What would reduce crime? Okay,.,,, free money, free drugs, free 40 ounce, and more dumb blond pregnant white chicks. Whoops there it is, whoops there it is

  14. avatar Frank says:

    Here’s some factual material for Lib/Left/Socialist Salty Bear:

    Democrats fought against anti-lynching laws.
    Democrat Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, is well known for having been a “Kleagle” in the Ku Klux Klan.
    Democrat Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, personally filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for 14 straight hours to keep it from passage.
    Democrats passed the Repeal Act of 1894 that overturned civil right laws enacted by Republicans.
    Democrats declared that they would rather vote for a “yellow dog” than vote for a Republican, because the Republican Party was known as the party for blacks.
    Democrat President Woodrow Wilson, reintroduced segregation throughout the federal government immediately upon taking office in 1913.
    Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first appointment to the Supreme Court was a life member of the Ku Klux Klan, Sen. Hugo Black, Democrat of Alabama.
    Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s choice for vice president in 1944 was Harry Truman, who had joined the Ku Klux Klan in Kansas City in 1922.
    Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt resisted Republican efforts to pass a federal law against lynching.
    Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt opposed integration of the armed forces.
    Democrat Senators Sam Ervin, Albert Gore, Sr. and Robert Byrd were the chief opponents of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
    Democrats supported and backed Judge John Ferguson in the case of Plessy v Ferguson.
    Democrats supported the School Board of Topeka Kansas in the case of Brown v The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas.
    Democrat public safety commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor, in Birmingham, Ala., unleashed vicious dogs and turned fire hoses on black civil rights demonstrators.
    Democrats were who Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other protesters were fighting.
    Democrat Georgia Governor Lester Maddox “brandished an ax hammer to prevent blacks from patronizing his restaurant.
    Democrat Governor George Wallace stood in front of the Alabama schoolhouse in 1963, declaring there would be segregation forever.
    Democrat Arkansas Governor Faubus tried to prevent desegregation of Little Rock public schools.
    Democrat Senator John F. Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil rights Act.
    Democrat President John F. Kennedy opposed the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. King.
    Democrat President John F. Kennedy, had Dr. King wiretapped and investigated by the FBI.
    Democrat President Bill Clinton’s mentor was U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, an Arkansas Democrat and a supporter of racial segregation.
    Democrat President Bill Clinton interned for J. William Fulbright in 1966-67.
    Democrat Senator J. William Fulbright signed the Southern Manifesto opposing the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision.
    Democrat Senator J. William Fulbright joined with the Dixiecrats in filibustering the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964.
    Democrat Senator J. William Fulbright voted against the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
    Southern Democrats opposed desegregation and integration.
    Democrat Senator 1964 – Senator Al Gore Sr. votes against Civil Rights Act.

  15. avatar Bt justice says:

    So called “Democrats” and their headlong rush to Communism, not to mention their thinly veiled hatred for American exceptionalism, are completely indefensible. Anyone who supports these politicians and aligns themselves in any way with “Democrats” should be regarded as a traitor and saboteur and dealt with accordingly.

  16. avatar jakee308 says:

    I think some of the cities (Chicago, Boston, LA, DC, Miami) could be used to say that gun control INCREASES violent crime and those cities have both the most gun control laws and the most violent crime.

    Of course it could be because they are Democrat majority/run cities also. That may be the cause.

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  18. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I look forward to reading his book. Perhaps I could add it to a list of 2A references for teaching classes.

    “Firearm Education: Teaching the Second Amendment in Kentucky school system grades K through 12”
    http://digitalcommons.murraystate.edu/bis437/149

  19. avatar joefoam says:

    Well imagine my shock when I read that gun control didn’t work. It has been proven ineffective world wide for generations now but still is attempted by people looking to ‘do something’. Its kind of like socialism, the pursuit of its lofty goals has caused the deaths of tens of millions but it gains traction again and again. Goes to show there is a fool born every minute.

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