Nicolas Kristof writing in the New York Times cites some inconvenient gun facts for liberals and does so with surprising honesty. I say “surprising honesty” because Kristof is himself very much a liberal. Just being liberal is usually a prescription for mendacious propaganda rather than honest commentary. One may take a wide range of opinion and still be engaged in honest commentary. One must respect those facts which are reasonable to believe and also reasonably well established. Kristof does that, for the most part:
We liberals are sometimes glib about equating guns and danger. In fact, it’s complicated: The number of guns in America has increased by more than 50 percent since 1993, and in that same period the gun homicide rate in the United States has dropped by half.
That fact, that the increase in the number of guns has been accompanied by a decrease in gun homicides, is one most liberals just cannot process. It is reasonable to believe it and not just reasonably well established. It’s established with certainty in the FBI Uniform Crime reports for those years. One could suspect it to be true even if it were not substantiated by empirical evidence. It makes sense that if more law-abiding citizens have guns to defend themselves from criminal attack the homicide rate will go down.
Kristof then reverts to his liberalism e.g., using the phony term “assault weapon” to describe an AR-15 rifle. While for the most part acknowledging that liberals have been all wrong about guns, he insists that conservative weres also:
Move on to open-carry and conceal-carry laws: With some 13 million Americans now licensed to pack a concealed gun, many liberals expected gun battles to be erupting all around us. In fact, the most rigorous analysis suggests that all these gun permits caused neither a drop in crime (as conservatives had predicted) nor a spike in killings (as liberals had expected). Liberals were closer to the truth, for the increase in carrying loaded guns does appear to have led to more aggravated assaults with guns, [This is risible lie, CCW permit holders are the most law-abiding citizens in America] but the fears were overblown.
He cannot acknowledge that liberals were not at all “closer to the truth” and in fact were dead wrong. He cannot find any fault at all with the liberal mantra without falsely claiming Second Amendment supporters were wrong as well. Here his commentary breaks the bounds of honesty. That more guns mean less crime is one of the most well established facts we know today. It’s not only intuitively true. John Lott’s well researched book More Guns, Less Crime is in its third edition and while heavily criticized by liberals not one critic has ever been able to show that Lott’s statistical modeling with regression analysis is even suspect, much less wrong. Lott shows conclusively that the increasing enactment of “shall issue” concealed carry laws in the states has led to a reduction in violent crime in those states. The level of reduction is not dramatic, being in the range of 5-15%. Nevertheless, it belies Kristof’s assertion that more CCW has led to an increase in aggravated assaults with guns.
Further reason to believe that Kristof is wrong is that CCW holders are perhaps the most law-abiding group in America. A CCW permit will be revoked the first time a permit holder uses a gun in any way that is illegal. Consistently, only 1-2% of concealed carry permits are ever revoked for any type of misconduct. Many times a revocation is for conduct that did not involve a gun.
I have no idea where Kristof gets his information that CCW permits are increasing aggravated assault with a gun. It is totally false. Once in a while a CCW permit holder will present a firearm out of genuine fear, but under circumstances that do not make that fear reasonable. It’s wrong and illegal to do that and can cause a permit to be revoked. It is never called aggravated assault. That’s a crime barely less serious than murder and can carry penalties almost as severe.