Tuesday, January 16, 2007

NYT Opinion By Glen Reynolds

On the plus side the NYT somehow let an opinion piece by Glen Reynolds of Instapundit through their filter ("What? We published an article that doesn't endanger American troops or call for the execution of Bush? What were we thinking?") :

A Rifle in Every Pot

Knoxville, Tenn.

IT’S a phenomenon that gives the term “gun control” a whole new meaning: community ordinances that encourage citizens to own guns.

Last month, Greenleaf, Idaho, adopted Ordinance 208, calling for its citizens to own guns and keep them ready in their homes in case of emergency. It’s not a response to high crime rates. As The Associated Press reported, “Greenleaf doesn’t really have crime ... the most violent offense reported in the past two years was a fist fight.” Rather, it’s a statement about preparedness in the event of an emergency, and an effort to promote a culture of self-reliance.

And it may not be a bad idea. While pro-gun laws like the one in Greenleaf are mostly symbolic, to the extent that they actually make a difference, it is likely to be a positive one.

Greenleaf is following in the footsteps of Kennesaw, Ga., which in 1982 passed a mandatory gun ownership law in response to a handgun ban passed in Morton Grove, Ill. Kennesaw’s crime dropped sharply, while Morton Grove’s did not.

To some degree, this is rational. Criminals, unsurprisingly, would rather break into a house where they aren’t at risk of being shot. As David Kopel noted in a 2001 article in The Arizona Law Review, burglars report that they try to avoid homes where armed residents are likely to be present. We see this phenomenon internationally, too, with the United States having a lower proportion of “hot” burglaries — break-ins where the burglars know the home to be occupied — than countries with restrictive gun laws.

Be sure to read the rest here.

Ultramontane, 4:23: This reminds me of a clip from John Stossel's Myths, Lies and Straight Talk that I watched last night in which he interviews felons who tell him that they're not afraid of the police or guard dogs or anything as much as they're afraid of people who own guns. He also mentions that guns are used two to three times more for defensive purposes as they are to commit crimes!

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