Reasons Not to Fear the End of Gun Bans

The Supreme Court is likely to strike down Chicago's handgun ban; there may be upsides

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The Supreme Court has begun hearing a case that could pave the way to overturning state gun-control laws. The case in question, McDonald v. Chicago, concerns the city of Chicago's longstanding ban on handguns. The court is expected to strike down the law, ruling that the individual right to bear arms extends to states and cities. It's a landmark case that could undermine many state gun-control laws, as Andrew Cohen of The Atlantic explains here. While that's a scary thought for gun-control advocates, some argue there's less to fear in the ruling than it seems.
  • Gun Bans May Raise Murder Rates  At Big Government, John Lott explains the familiar, if controversial, pro-gun argument. "Everyone in DC now knows that murder rates rose after the handgun ban and fell after they were removed." Lott points to other examples of this phenomenon as well. Disarming the citizenry encourages crime, he argues, while the idea that law-abiding passers by might be armed acts as a deterrent to criminals.
  • Permit Holders Less Likely to Commit Crime Than Populace  At Reason, Jacob Sullum takes a more moderate position than Lott, stating that "the crime-reducing benefits of such policies remain controversial." That said, "the blood-soaked visions of doomsayers who imagined routine arguments regularly culminating in gunfire have not transpired in the two decades since Florida started the trend toward liberalization. In fact, data from Florida, Texas, and Arkansas indicate that permit holders are far less likely to commit gun crimes (or other offenses) than the general population."
  • Issue More Complicated Than It Seems  Blogger BooMan offers a forceful, conflicted paragraph. He's anti-Second Amendment ("an anachronism," he calls it), pro-Second Amendment compliance while it exists ("the proper way to deal with an anachronism is to amend the Constitution, not to ignore it"), and against the idea of the Supreme Court forcing these gun rights on states ("the Second Amendment... says that Congress can't restrict your right to bear arms. It doesn't say squat about the state or local governments.") But he sees merit in allowing guns in cities:
Having lived in dangerous urban neighborhoods, I do not support laws that would deny me the right to provide myself protection that the police are clearly incapable of providing.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.