Skip to comments.Evidence scant on effectiveness of one-gun laws
Posted on 09/27/2006 11:07:42 PM PDT by neverdem
INQUIRER SENIOR WRITER
One-gun-a-month laws sound attractive to gun-control activists and draw broad public support in polls. But it's not clear that such statutes have had much impact on gun violence.
A study published last year in the journal Injury Prevention found that the laws restricting purchases had had no measurable impact. The study was done by a team of doctors from the University of Washington, using data from 1979 to 1998.
Another study, done in 2001 by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, found evidence of a slight decrease in gun violence associated with Maryland's one-gun law.
With only California, Virginia and Maryland having such laws, there isn't much evidence to be had. What is available raises questions about the effect of limiting individuals to one handgun purchase every 30 days.
Last year, all three one-gun states had homicide rates above the national average - slightly above in California and Virginia, well above in Maryland.
And Richmond, Va., and Baltimore had homicide rates among the highest in the country. Both cities reported well over 40 homicides per 100,000 residents, compared with about 25 for Philadelphia.
"There is no shortage of guns on the streets of Baltimore," said Margaret Burns, spokeswoman for the State's Attorney's Office for Baltimore.
But those who favor one-gun laws say the absence of hard proof shouldn't undercut the validity of the concept.
"The principle is a sound one," said Daniel W. Webster, codirector of the Johns Hopkins center. "You want to increase the cost of illegally selling and possessing guns. You make it easy if you let people purchase cheap handguns in bulk."
In California, which passed its law in 1999, officials say they have seen a reduction in straw purchasing, in which an individual buys multiple firearms and sells them to convicted felons, who are not legally permitted to own guns.
"Opponents say that since no single law solves the gun-violence problem in its entirety, any one law is therefore useless," said Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, a one-gun-a-month supporter. "That is not a philosophy we've adopted in California."
Virginia enacted its law in 1993, when the state was widely considered the "firearms supermarket" of the East Coast.
In the next few years, law enforcement officials in New York and New Jersey documented a steep drop in the number of guns traceable to Virginia used in crimes. Gun sales in the state fell off as well.
Now Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell has gone on record favoring repeal of the one-gun limit, on the ground that it's not necessary.
South Carolina, which became the first one-gun state in 1975, repealed the law two years ago, with legislators saying it was ineffective and an unreasonable infringement on Second Amendment rights.
The National Rifle Association has made a similar case against one-gun laws, calling them "gun rationing."
On the other side of the debate, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence asks why a one-gun law - with exceptions for legitimate collectors - should bother anyone.
"One handgun a month in Pennsylvania is not a panacea, and, yes, it would be more effective nationally," campaign spokesman Peter Hamm said. "But why not do this? We all know that anyone who buys 10 guns with cash on one day is probably up to no good."
Contact senior writer Larry Eichel at 215-854-2415 or email@example.com.
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I'm surprised at the title.
Well, if I buy a dozen guns they might go out and form a gun gang.
We need more laws to control gun gangs will be the battle cry of the anti gunners.
Common sense says keep the criminals locked up....K.I.S.S.
Gun gangs like to rumble with packs of SUV's.
Ultimately, laws such as "one gun a month" are only another sad example of the willingness of the anointed to have criminals to dictate the rights allowed the law-abiding.
To such "leaders", the Constitution is not even a dead letter.
Gun control isn't about crime or safety, it's about subjugation of the population. However, if they insist on one gun a month... fine... but NO exemption for LE or military or anyone else either. If they have that exemption, then I cannot and will not abide by that law.
Well said, Joe! Keep up the good work!
This is weasel wording in the press at it's finest. "Associated" does not really mean "caused by" It just means found together. All people who drink water die. A statistical test for association would show 100% correlation between water drinking and death. Doesn't meant that there's any causal relationship between the two. I'd love to get ahold of the actual data and run my own statistics on it. Of course anti-gun organizations never make their raw data available, because honest researchers like John Lott would quickly show them to be the liars that they are.
My guess that any decrease in Maryland's crime stats are due to random fluctuations
Seriously, those with closets full of guns can only shoot one at a time. Somedays you feel like a Colt, somedays you don't.
These gun control morons can't even figure out there own policies.
The only plausible (though unjustified, and likely dubious) benefit of limiting purchase quantities is to adjoining states with stricter gun control laws, because they are the logical destination for bulk gun runners.
But that benefit would not occur unless people were running guns from California to Nevada, Oregon, or Arizona, which is silly because it is already easier to buy guns there.
Sure they can. Their goal is to totally eliminate civilian gun ownership. They want (and I quote Atlanta's former mayor, a member of HCI's board of directors, the late and unlamented Fat Fu*k Jackson) "A society where only the police and military are armed."
Anything that erects a barrier to gun ownership just advances their cause. Waiting periods, background checks, gun rationing, FOID cards, etc. don't afffect crime in the slightest, nor are they meant to. They simply add more barriers for citizens to own guns which is exactly their intent.
Just as an aside, his late corruptness spent $490,000 tax dollars annually on his personal security detail. So his fat hide was protected by the Atl police department at great expense to the unprotected citizens in Atlanta.
22,000 gun laws on the books and not a ONE is designed to be Constitutional, ethical, logical, or effective in doing anything but creating more victims.
I say we "eliminate" gun control. And those that advocate it as well if need be.
Well, that clears one thing up -- for years I had been laboring under the false impression that I needed to buy one gun a month. I have been struggling for years to meet the quota. At least I have a dandy collection. The only dilemma now is deciding which one to take to the Crusades. Decisions, decisions....