Urban and Suburban Gun Issues

MLewyn's picture

It seems to me that the public argument about gun control should really be two separate arguments:

1.  How do we reduce gun crime generally?  This argument is primarily an urban argument, to the extent that gun crime disproportionately occurs in central cities, and especially in poorer central cities such as St. Louis and Detroit.  

And because gun crime tends to be committed with handguns, this is an argument about handgun control in particular, since handguns are portable and thus easily used both for crime and for self-defense.  So the issues worth arguing about are: is it feasible or desirable to reduce the number of handguns in circulation?  And if not, how do we keep handguns out of the hands of the most dangerous people>

2.  Given that some people will always want to shoot others, how do we prevent murderers from shooting lots and lots of people at a time?    As to this issue, the key issues are: given a heavily armed society, should we prohibit the guns with the most firepower, the ones that can kill dozens of people in ten minutes instead of just a few?  And is there any practical way to draw a line between the first type of guns and the second?

I don't think issue 2 is an urban issue at all, because mass shootings tend to be in rural and suburban areas.*

Mind you, I'm not expressing an opinion about either (1) or (2); there are people out there who have given a lot more thought to gun issues than I, and far be it from me to tread on their turf.

 

*I express no opinion on why this is the case.  Suffice it to say that some people think suburbia breeds mental illness, while others think that the sort of people who tend to commit these sort of crimes (white males who can afford big, expensive semiautomatic rifles) tend not to live in cities.

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