Earlier this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom shared some deep thoughts on the state’s exploding homelessness problem. The Golden State, which already has something of a spending problem, is laying out about a billion dollars to do something about its burgeoning homeless population of almost 160,000 people.
Newsom’s solution: enable doctors to prescribe housing.
Doctors should be able to write prescriptions for housing the same way they do for insulin or antibiotics.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) February 21, 2020
As the Daily Mail reports . . .
Newsom noted that healthcare and homelessness are not separate problems and suggested doctors should be able to prescribe a place to stay if they are treating a (sic) someone who is mentally ill that does not have stable housing.
It would seem that those prescriptions for homes and apartments would then be filled, for the most part, by Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid system. That would be a huge new burden on the California taxpayer, but that’s a different problem for a different blog.
While we’re addressing outstanding issues, let’s not stop with homelessness. What about the state’s crime problem?
California’s crime rate has generally mimicked the nation’s as a whole, dropping to historic lows since the early 1990s. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more that can be done. California spends over $16 billion on law enforcement each year and its violent crime rate is about 17% higher than the national average.
What’s a governor to do?
Why not attack California’s violent crime problem the same way he’s now bird-dogging homelessness? Get the state’s physicians to get off their white-coated kiesters and start prescribing firearms to the the majority of the state’s residents who don’t own them.
Estimates of the number of annual defensive gun uses in the US range from 500,000 to almost 3 million, but let’s stay conservative and call it 1.5 million. That’s around the number the CDC says they came up with.
The large majority of those defensive gun uses never involve pulling a trigger. And each one is a crime prevented; a robbery, burglary, assault, rape or murder that didn’t happen.
How many of those 1.5 million defensive gun uses happen in California? Hard to say, but since a little half-ass Googling didn’t turn up a decent number, let’s assume the state has about the same number of DGUs as their percentage of the US population: about 12%.
That would put the annual number of California defensive gun uses at 180,000. Close enough for non-government work.
That’s a lot of crimes prevented every year. A lot of citizens who didn’t become victims. But here’s the problem. Only about 4 million Californians own firearms. That leaves more than 30 million state residents gunless.
And that’s why the intrepid Governor Newsom needs to get on this horse. He needs to attack the gunlessness problem with all of the vigor with which he’s tackling homelessness.
Think of all of all of the crimes that could be prevented, the victims saved, the property losses avoided, fewer people needing medical attention and less of a burden on the state’s healthcare system.
All it takes is a few more guns.