The case of Kennesaw is always cited by gun control opponents, but any social scientist will tell you there’s no evidence the Kennesaw law had any impact on crime. Overall, there’s no good way to determine from a single community the impact of a law. Here are a few reasons why you cannot make any statement, whether it be for or against gun control, related to Kennesaw:
1. Crime was already fairly low in Kennesaw when the law was passed. Minor fluctuations up or down cannot be interpreted as significant, and even if the fluctuations were large, there’s no way to tell if the law, or other factors contributed because other things were also changing at the same time.
2. Kennesaw went from being a rural community to a suburban community fairly quickly. Never was this more true than in the 80s. The rate of gun ownership in rural households generally is lower than in suburban households. If anything, Kennesaw may have had a DECREASE in gun ownership through the 80s until today due to this change in demographics.
3. The law itself was never enacted to decrease crime and is not enforced. Like RobertIII, I personally know of plenty of households in Kennesaw who do not own guns (in fact - the ONLY people I know in Kennesaw are not gun owners). These are not people who lived there when it was rural - they moved there after it was suburbanized. Again, it’s very likely the rate of gun ownership has actually decreased there since the unenforced law was passed.
4. People are fond of comparing the crime in Kennesaw to very different communities without the law (e.g., the nation as a whole or other disparate communities). This is comparing apples to oranges, especially when looking at the racial and socioeconomic make-up of Kennesaw and how it differs from these other places. We can look at the incredibly low crime in industrialized countries with incredibly strict gun control. There are few exceptions here (yes, even Switzerland has very, very, very stringent gun laws - look up the actual laws - not what you read on a blog). If you cite Kennesaw and compare it to dissimilar or even somewhat similar communities, you also have to compare the U.S. with it’s incredibly lax gun laws to somewhat similar industrialized societies with strict gun laws. You can’t have it both ways.
5. Since we really don’t know about the actual rate of gun ownership there, you could argue that criminals THINK everyone has guns and so they don’t commit crimes there (clearly they do - there’s still a good bit of crime in Kennesaw). The U.S. is the most armed country in the industrialized world, yet our crime rate is incredibly high and our gun violence is the highest. If criminals really were prevented from committing crimes because of fear of gun owners, we should have a low rate of crime. But we don’t. Presumably criminals know about our high rate of gun ownership. I mean, some criminals are stupid but most are not.
Here’s what likely happens (my hypothesis):
6. When criminals know or think someone may have a gun (as would be very, very likely in the U.S. given the 200+ million guns we have in this country), they don’t necessarily avoid that person or household (though they may proceed to wait until the house is vacant and then steal guns - this is a lot bigger problem than most people realize), but it makes them more likely to bring a gun in the first place, and more likely to fire that gun. In other words, guns might not keep criminals in check, but might actually make them MORE likely to use guns in the commission of a crime in the first place. Think about drug gangs. Do you think any of them are stupid enough to try to seize another gangs drugs without weapons? They know the other guys have guns, and more than likely, they’re going to try to outnumber the other gang by having bigger and better guns. We call this an “arms race.” And you see this in the U.S. There weren’t a lot of people defending assault weapons, high capacity clips, etc. 30 or 40 years ago in the U.S. Now, even many previously rational gun owners are buying these types of guns and fighting against any related legislation. When the majority of criminals start using these types of guns in the commission of crimes, what will 2nd amendment enthusiasts be wanting next? It’s out of control.
Bottom line: you can not make heads or tales of the Kennesaw gun law. No responsible social scientist would. If you’re going to use Kennesaw then I’m going to use a larger data set: other industrialized nations compared to the U.S.. With that data the evidence is resounding: more gun restrictions = less crime (particularly gun violence) even though the relationship is not 100% perfect. I win.
The original post also cryptically mentions how his own personal family was spared tragedy because of the presence of a gun (even though it was never aimed at someone or fired). How does he know this? Did the gun dial the police? People who cite defensive gun uses, if you really ask them specifically what happened, are often fooling themselves about the protection afforded by that gun (there stories easily unravel...). In addition, many gun owners have all these tales of how their gun protected them, yet almost every non-gun owner doesn’t have a tale of “if only I had a gun!” In some circumstances, say when we have been victims of a crime, we know that the gun would have been useless anyway (element of surprise usually wins out) or the gun would have actually made things a lot worse. I won’t even go into the research about how someone in your household will be more likely to have that gun used on them by a family member - or themselves - than have it used for protection...... While some gun owners falsely believe their gun protected them, you also have to wonder why so many other gun owners find themselves in predicaments where they needed to “defend” themselves with a gun in the first place. It does really make one wonder.
This book may help you (the author is a FReeper): More Guns, Less Crime -John R. Lott Jr.
Welcome to FR. Why did you waste your time here writing crap?
People may listen to your hypothesis when you do what John Lott did -— a massive study of every single county in this country.
We are always pleased to welcome new people to FR, but it doesn’t always go so well when someone comes here trying to change minds with a hypothesis that you pull from thin air. Or worse, from your *ss.
Rest assured, Andrew, that if you are ever being mugged, my gun and I will not intervene. I just wouldn’t want to make things worse.