In the wake of the Sandy Hook killings it's clear that the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby have a clear path to the promised land -- everyone should walk around armed. If only there were a "good guy with a gun" everyplace there's a "bad guy with a gun" crime would virtually disappear. The guys in white hats would always get the drop on the desperados, the black hats would probably not even try to commit crimes because they'd know better, and in the rare event the saloon erupts in gunfire the Sheriff would have no problem telling the difference between the good guys and the bad guys.
Turns out not so much. With "Stand Your Ground" and "Extended Castle Doctrine" laws in place in over 20 states and for several years it's possible to study the effects of more people walking around armed. Here's what Economist Mark Hoekstra of Texas A&M found;
Results indicate that the prospect of facing additional self-defense does not deter crime. Specifically, we find no evidence of deterrence effects on burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault. Moreover, our estimates are sufficiently precise as to rule out meaningful deterrence effects.
So the baddies are still out there trying to commit crimes. It figures, criminals are notoriously stupid. Fortunately additional people walking around armed will be enough to keep things from getting out of hand...after all, Wayne LaPierre tells us we don't have time to wait around for the police and a drawn sidearm will be enough to make criminals stop before they really get started. Let's see what the numbers show;
In contrast, we find significant evidence that the laws lead to more homicides. Estimates indicate that the laws increase homicides by a statistically significant 8 percent, which translates into an additional 600 homicides per year across states that adopted castle doctrine. The magnitude of this finding is similar to that reported in a recent paper by McClellan and Tekin (2012), who examine these laws' effect on firearm-related homicide using death certificate data from Vital Statistics. We further show that this divergence in homicide rates at the time of castle doctrine enactment is larger than any divergence between the same groups of states at any time in the last 40 years, and that magnitudes of this size arise rarely by chance when randomly assigning placebo laws in similarly-structured data sets covering the years prior to castle doctrine. In short, we find compelling evidence that by lowering the expected costs associated with using lethal force, castle laws induce more of it.
There you have it, MULTIPLE STUDIES coming to the same conclusion -- Stand Your Ground laws don't deter crime, they escalate the violence associated with confrontation. Stanford Law professor John Donohue is replicating Hoekstra's study and finds that the results hold up.
It's time to call BS on the gun lobby and their ridiculous assertion that more people walking around armed somehow results in fewer people being shot. And no, I'm NOT advocating law officers going from house to house taking people's guns. I grew up in a rural community. I have family members who hunt and have hunted in the past. I've been out myself. I have good friends who hunt, skeet shoot, and use their guns in other responsible recreational pursuits.
But make no mistake...the NRA isn't responsible. It's time to stop treating them as if they are.