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Thread: Gun Control Cost Effectiveness Paper

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    Regular Member Shy_Panda's Avatar
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    So here is the prompt, any ideas that you could float my way to help out a friend would be awesome, I have already mentioned a few ideas but am always open to hear more.

    "There is probably no topic today that is being debated more in our communities and legislatures than control of firearms. There are an estimated 200 million guns in private hands in the United States. More than half of homicides are committed with firearms, and the number of suicides by firearms annually exceeds 18,000. In the past several years we have witnessed the shootings of preschoolers, students, and racial and ethnic minorities by hateful persons using powerful weaponry. Nonetheless, the National Rifle Association and many citizens assert the Second Amendment guarantees them the right to bear arms. Many are calling for tougher legislation that would tighten background checks of persons purchasing guns, and limit access to weapons of persons with criminal histories and mental illness. A study released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found that a relatively few corrupt gun dealers were responsible for selling the majority of guns involved in crimes that could be traced to their initial sale. conservatives state, however, that such regulation would do little to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Other communities like Chicago have brought suit about gun manufacturers and dealers, claiming that fireaarms are an inherently dangerous and defective product. Assess the cost effectiveness of any government policy that attempts to regulate firearms."

    I appreciate the help on this one guys.


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    Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., PhD, a well known economist, wrote More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. His databases are publicly accessible. His methods might be helpful if his reasoning and conclusions are not.

    http://www.johnlott.org/

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    Gary Mauser (yes, his real name) is a Canadian who has done extensive research on firearms issues. He is a firearms owner and a professor at Simon Fraser University in BC.

    http://www.garymauser.net/papers.html

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    Shy_Panda wrote:
    So here is the prompt, any ideas that you could float my way to help out a friend would be awesome, I have already mentioned a few ideas but am always open to hear more.

    There is probably no topic today that is being debated more in our communities and legislatures than control of firearms. There are an estimated 200 million guns in private hands in the United States. More than half of homicides are committed with firearms, and the number of suicides by firearms annually exceeds 18,000. In the past several years we have witnessed the shootings of preschoolers, students, and racial and ethnic minorities by hateful persons using powerful weaponry. Nonetheless, the National Rifle Association and many citizens assert the Second Amendment guarantees them the right to bear arms. Many are calling for tougher legislation that would tighten background checks of persons purchasing guns, and limit access to weapons of persons with criminal histories and mental illness. A study released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found that a relatively few corrupt gun dealers were responsible for selling the majority of guns involved in crimes that could be traced to their initial sale. conservatives state, however, that such regulation would do little to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Other communities like Chicago have brought suit about gun manufacturers and dealers, claiming that fireaarms are an inherently dangerous and defective product. Assess the cost effectiveness of any government policy that attempts to regulate firearms.

    I appreciate the help on this one guys.
    Well, this topic comes from a biased premise (or, at the least, a topic which provide "a priori" knowledge in order to persuade a certain viewpoint). However:

    Preschoolers and students are already classes that are "protected" by no-weapons policies. Same with recent shootings in the mall. In calculating cost effectiveness, these existing bans should be considered as evidence of the status quo. Essentially, costs are already being paid without return.

    Moreover, if this takes place in WA state (or many other states), it might be good to mention the WA state constitution's extension of the 2A under article 1 section 24. The debate extends beyond the federal level presented in the topic ("citizens assert the Second Amendment guarantees them the right to bear arms") to the current state level. In addition to that, state law (under RCW 9.41) gives the rights. Therefore, costs need to be evaluated on numerous levels: repeal of current legislation, amendment to the state constitution, amendment to the federal constitution. Without all layers repealed, the "regulation" is severely limited in terms of its legal reach. Though illegal laws may be passed and stay on the books for a while (see: DC ban), they eventually must meet Constitutional scrutiny (Heller vs DC).

    If we're assessing this from a cost effectiveness standpoint, then, at minimum the amount spent by the government in defense of any policy should be considered. Additionally, the effectiveness side of regulations must be considered for a cost-effectiveness analysis. Pointing to the aforementioned examples (shootings in gun-free zones), it appears the only truly effective means by which to limit firearms is to do so at all levels mentioned, simultaneously. Essentially, the government must act as a multilevel cooperative and make illegal the private possession of all firearms. Enforcement would require additional curbings of those pesky Constitutional rights, as it might be considered "unreasonable search and seizure" to track previously owned firearms. This adds to the cost, and further decreases the effectiveness, as there are millions of firearms owned, nationwide, and people won't easily be convinced to go turn them in.

    Now, let's step back from the "ban" angle and address "regulation" from the modern politically correct term of "reasonable" or "common sense" restrictions. These restrictions can be "effective" in the long term, but at a high cost. I'm thinking, specificially, of automatic weapons and their current status. They've been regulated to the point it is nearly impossible to obtain them. In a similar fashion, restriction may make ownership of certain types of firearms more difficult. However, the effectiveness of such restriction is questionable due to the previous problems: willing forfeiture of now-restricted firearms.

    Ultimately, I think the best way to tackle this paper is that it's not legislatively possible/it's prohibatively expensive to create widespread restriction of firearms. Moreover, the restrictions themselves fail to be effective if they don't remove product already possessed, and if the restrictions are not uniformly applied across the nation. If you frame it in terms of cost being high and effectiveness being low, the ratio of cost/effectiveness is astronomical. At this point, a counterplan to the effect of "education instead of ignorance" would be a good idea, as it allows you to spend less money, have higher effectiveness, and (using the Lott data linked, above), likely would lead to fewer incidences.
    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

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