Ever since the gun-control movement decided that the United States was the only country with an exceptional level of gun violence, we never question the fact that other Western countries may contain lots of guns, but somehow these weapons aren’t used to kill many people. The latest such argument was made recently by Erin Grinshteyn and David Hemenway, who found that the U.S. gun-violence rate is 25 times higher than other countries in the OECD.
The disparity between U.S. gun violence and other countries is explained first and foremost by the ease at which Americans can get their hands on handguns, as well as the degree to which such guns move from the legal to the illegal market, given the lack of background checks beyond the initial point of sale. So, for example, although the ownership gun rate in Canada is roughly one-third of what it is here, very few Canadians can purchase or possess handguns, accordingly, gun-homicide rates are a fraction of rates in the U.S. In 2016, the U.S. gun-homicide rate was 4.16; in Canada it was 0.61, or seven times less.
That being said, how do all my public health friends explain the fact that so far this year, gun violence in Toronto is up 167% over 2017? That’s right. 167 percent. Last year downtown Toronto counted a total of 34 shootings, through May of this year the number is 24, and through May 31st of last year, the total number of shootings was nine. So in the two police precincts that cover the downtown area, Divisions 51 and 52, shootings are up far beyond anything experienced in the last five years.
How can this be happening in a country where private handgun ownership is virtually unknown? According to endless and countless public health research, the more gun laws you have, the more gun violence is supposed to go down. If you don’t believe me, take a look at a study published in 2013; here’s another study which says exactly the same thing. And here’s a third study which claims that gun violence will be reduced if the process of purchasing a handgun is made more strict. So what happens if you can’t buy a handgun at all? Shouldn’t that mean that there won’t be any gun violence?
Not only do the conclusions from all these studies fly in the face of what is going on in Toronto, but the public authorities in Canada don’t have the faintest clue as to why, all of a sudden, the streets of their capitol city are so unsafe. So what are the authorities doing to figure out a solution? They’re conducting a ‘study’ by interviewing some kids and young men between the ages of 15 and 30 who have been locked up for criminal behavior involving guns. And how many subjects have they interviewed? Exactly ten. And what have they learned from these interviews? Exactly what every public health researcher in the United States has learned from the same type of research, namely, that people walk around with illegal guns because they believe having a gun will protect them from getting shot.
Know what’s funny about all those public health studies which find that guns are carried by kids and adults who end up using the gun to shoot someone else? They all say that their gun was being carried for self-defense. None of them ever admit (nor are they asked) whether maybe, just maybe they are carrying a gun to help them commit a crime.
Let me tell you something about those street punks who promote the completely phony idea that they ‘need’ to protect themselves with a gun. Funny, but the kids who don’t get into trouble and don’t commit crimes, which happen to be the majority of kids living in high-crime neighborhoods, don’t believe they need to carry a gun. And these kids come from the same, disadvantaged backgrounds which produce the kids who walk around with their ‘self-defense’ guns. Any chance my public health research friends will ever figure that one out?