The results are in: violent crime has plunged as gun ownership has soared.
According to a Congressional Research Service study, the purchase of 170 million guns over 10 years (around one for every two people in the whole country) coincided with a 51% drop in violent crime. While this correlation doesn’t necessarily prove causation, at the very least it does seem to disprove a reverse causation (that more guns don’t cause more violent crime), and strongly suggests that private firearms ownership has, in fact, been great for public safety.
Hiding in this relative no-brainer result of firearms ownership is an even greater lesson: we don’t need to appeal to government for change. So much of the back-and-forth of the gun debate has revolved around changing laws, either to further restrict firearms ownership or to deregulate. Of course, it’s important to make sure the government doesn’t get in the way of good ideas, and as such we need to keep fighting for gun rights in legislatures around the country. But the real change happens when citizens roll up their metaphorical sleeves and act on their own.
I think members of the liberty movement don’t adequately value the development and dissemination of world-changing technologies. We’ve already seen how Uber is taking the taxi cartels by storm. Technologies like Bitcoin loom on the horizon of human achievement, with the promise of supplanting the government system entirely. With guns, it wasn’t a miracle of the legislature that took down violent crime: it was the wide dissemination and application of an equalizing technology (firearms) that did the trick. We can, and should, repeat this success in any number of other areas.
Score one for a more peaceful world, thanks to the efforts of private citizens.
Return to Top