Thomas Sowell

Like so many gun control advocates, Mr. Simon cites countries with murder rates much lower than that of the United States -- and then takes a flying leap to the conclusion that gun control laws account for the difference. But you could have picked different countries and reached the opposite conclusion.

Brazil and Russia have stronger gun control laws than the United States -- and much higher murder rates. In Statistics 1, they usually point out that correlation is not causation. In this case, there isn't even correlation.

There are simply arbitrary choices of which countries to use for making comparisons.

Unfortunately for Mr. Simon, he included Switzerland among the countries with low murder rates. But gun ownership is very widespread in Switzerland, as it is in Israel -- and both countries have very low murder rates.

The cold facts back up what common sense should have told us: It is people who choose to kill. Fortunately, guns can also prevent people from killing. Indeed, the highly publicized shootings in schools and elsewhere, which gun control advocates exploit repeatedly, all came to an end when armed policemen arrived on the scene.

In addition to the underlying assumption that there are solutions, rather than trade-offs, too many people assume that members of the general public lack common sense and so must be tightly controlled by some anointed elite like themselves. It is a very self-flattering vision and therefore one that the anointed are unlikely to give up.

In this vision of the anointed, ordinary people cannot be trusted with guns or cars or even with their own choices of shower heads and toilets -- the last two now being prescribed by the federal government. Those who think like this seldom have the facts to back up their sweeping assumptions.

Worse yet, they don't see the need to check the facts.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate



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