Re: gun crime economy

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Sat May 27 2000 - 17:24:27 MDT

"" wrote:
> The National Center for Policy Analysis makes (march, 1999) the argument
> that guns contribute a significant benefit to society. Given the strong
> arguments deployed on both sides of the gun debate, an accurate cost &
> benefit analysis would make a useful objective contribution.
> STATS (april, 1999) took the National Center figures, re-worked them to
> include full long-term values and applied tests to see how sensitive the
> data were to certain factors. Conclusions:
> * If 2.5 million crimes are prevented each year by defensive gun use,
> there is a clear and substantial (over $1 billion) net benefit to society
> from the use of guns.
> * If civilians kill 3,000 criminals a year, there is a clear net benefit
> to society.
> * If the Justice Department figure of 483,000 crimes per year committed
> with guns is correct, there is a clear net benefit to society.
> * However, if you accept the Justice Department figures for crimes
> prevented and criminals killed, there is a clear and substantial net cost to
> society.

Which most people acknowledge are baseless due to their disregard of
most gun uses. Most defensive gun uses are not reported, or are
unmentioned by local police in their reports, when the gun is not fired.
Justice department figures only count instances where guns are fired.
Defensive gun use involves far more than actual firing of firarms. I've
known many people who have used their guns defensively by merely
brandishing the gun, even in instances where the criminal was similarly
armed because many times criminals cannot afford or legally cannot buy,
ammunition for their guns.

> * If a median figure for crimes prevented each year (764,000) is used,
> then there is a clear net cost to society (from $33 million to over $1
> billion) unless over 2000 criminals are killed each year.

However, they don't clearly delineate the difference between suicide
(and whether suicide costs or benefits society. Cearly suicide
eliminates any social security or other government entitlements for the
normal period of retirement) and other gun violence. Since over half of
homicides are actually suicides, this should have a significant impact
on the calculations.

Mike Lorrey

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