Geof Stone Responds to Gun Control Opponents

The Gun Debate
Geoffrey R. Stone
The Huffington Post
January 7, 2013

My recent post on gun control generated more than 1,500 comments. At least 80 percent of them were from people who oppose gun control. Some were pretty scary. The rest, as a group, made five arguments that deserve a response:

First: Gun homicides in the United States have decreased dramatically over the past twenty years even without any significant gun control. This proves that the regulation of guns is unnecessary. It is true that the gun homicide rate has declined significantly over the past 20 years. But this fact alone is misleading. In fact, the gun homicide rate has merely returned to what it was in the early 1980s -- roughly four people out of 100,000 are murdered by guns in the United States every year. But from the early 1980s until the early 1990s, there was a huge increase in violent crime in the United States and gun homicide rates more than doubled. This was due largely to the crack epidemic. Since then, as our incarceration rates have climbed to the highest in the world, the gun homicide rate has returned to 1980 levels -- which is almost twenty times higher than in other "advanced" nations. The recent decrease in the gun homicide rate is certainly good news, but it still leaves us with a profound national challenge.