Monday, March 13, 2006

San Francisco penalizes gun ownership

Voters in San Francisco stripped their fellow citizens of the right to own firearms recently. Now the Board of Supervisors, who run the city, has passed penalties to go along with the ban. Gun owners can go to jail for up to 6 monts and pay a $1000 fine.

Such laws can only penalize people who are not criminals, not likely to become criminals and who merely own weapons for self defense. The typical crime committed witha firearm already has penalties far in excess of these. If such severe penalties do not inhibit criminals why is it thought such light penalties will. In addition the use of firearm in a crime usually ups the penalties severely.

So the only people who are effected are law-abiding individuals. Criminals already show a contempt for law. And know that their potential victims are probably disarmed only emboldens them.

The United Kingdom passed restrictive fire arm laws in 1997 and saw massive increases in crime following. Jurisdictions that loosen gun laws tend to see reductions in violent crime. But any decent economist should understand this. Armed "victims" substantially increases the cost of committing a crime against them thus reducing the demand, i.e. reducing crime. Disarming victims reduces the cost of crime thus increasing the demand. See the attached chart showing the crime spree that followed restrictive guns laws in the UK.