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December 2012
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Guns and drugs

Ilya Somin, at Volokh Conspiracy, nicely expands on Dan Kahan’s notion that gun violence could be reduced by legalizing drugs.

As an extra bonus, this approach to reducing gun violence doesn’t threaten anyone’s civil liberties or Second Amendment rights. It would actually increase protection for civil liberties by cutting back on the many abuses associated with the War on Drugs, such as bogus asset forfeitures and paramilitary police raids that often kill or injure innocent people, and the erosion of the Fourth Amendment. And, unlike stepped-up gun control or “zero tolerance” policies of the sort we got after Columbine, it would actually save the government a great deal of money by reducing expenditures on enforcement efforts and prisons. Drug legalization would also help promote family values in poor communities, which is both good in itself and might help reduce violence still further.

As a bonus at the link above, Ilya rebuts Mark Kleiman’s response.

It’s important to remind people that this doesn’t mean reducing gun violence is the reason to legalize — it is merely a potentially favorable side-effect of legalization.

Also in guns and drugs…

Mexican observers have wondered where all the desire for gun regulation was when Mexicans were dying.

Link

A Dec. 17 editorial in the left-leaning daily La Jornada called proposals for tightening US gun regulations “hopeful,” but said it was “illuminating that the society of the neighboring country, shocked by the nearly 30 murders carried out [in Newtown], isn’t able to react, on the other hand, to the tens of thousands of homicides committed in Mexico in the past six years with arms sold in the US. Washington demands that Mexican authorities monitor and block the passage of illegal drugs to the north of the common border, but until now hasn’t shown the political will to proceed in the same way with the firearms, including high-caliber weapons, that proliferate in the Mexican market.” (LJ, Dec. 17)

“It is shocking how the debate over gun control in the wake of the Newtown massacre has avoided mentioning gun violence south of the border,” National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) professor John M. Ackerman wrote in the Huffington Post on Dec. 19. “The 20 children gunned down at [Newtown’s] Sandy Hook Elementary School can now be added to the excruciating list of at least 1,200 North American children who have been violently killed since the beginning of the US-backed militarized ‘drug war’ in 2006.” Ackerman also criticized the US government’s failure to prosecute the British bank HSBC for allowing money laundering through its Mexican branch. “The body count will inevitably rise as banks will be able to continue to help drug cartels transfer money freely to purchase assault weapons in the United States without risk of criminal prosecution,” he wrote. (Huffington Post, Dec. 19)

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21 comments to Guns and drugs

  • From Thomas Frey’s blog- The Futurist

    http://tinyurl.com/d6h6o4t

    “Four Unexpected Macro Trends for 2013 and Beyond”

    /snip/

    4.) The Legalized Marijuana Movement – Nudging the Snowflake that Started the Avalanche

    The legalization of marijuana will cause the U.S. to rethink its entire “war on drugs” policy, a war that has resulted in far more casualties than most wars. This will result in an abrupt shift in enforcement, legal and justice policies, incarceration rates, and related kinds of legislation.

    Remember, any human act is only illegal if humans say its illegal. As history has shown, we often change our minds, and this is one of those times.

    /snip/

    Here are a few tidbits:

    270,000,000 civilian guns in the US

    The rate of private gun ownership in the United States is 88.82 firearms per 100 people

    In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, the United States ranked at No. 1

    In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 179 countries, the United States ranked at No. 1

    The defence forces of the United States are reported to have 3,054,553 firearms

    Police in the United States are reported to have 897,4004 firearms

    Ending the drug war would mean ending the need for a lot of senseless violence. It would also mean ending the need for a lot of needless expenditures in our Government
    budgets for drug wars south of the borders and abroad, and at home in the US. It would mean not padding the budget of every government agency to do their fair share of the war against drugs.

    Ending the war on drugs and drug users would end the need for people in our country to shoot at each other and cut off the violence wrought by prohibition at its source.

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  • claygooding

    “”In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, the United States ranked at No. 1

    In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 179 countries, the United States ranked at No. 1″”

    This sounds like a good recipe for “Don’t Tread on Me”.

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  • primus

    As a deterent, lots of guns is great, however this has lead instead into US diplomacy; “Better do what we want…we have a lot of really big guns.”

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    • claygooding

      But that is the entire history of nature,survival of the fittest,it is a basic part of life and no amount of “reason” will replace it.

      Attempting to remove guns from our society or “dialing back” gun laws when the guns are already in circulation will result in the same outcome that prohibition of marijuana has caused,,criminals will take over the distribution and if necessary the manufacturing. We will spend trillions of dollars and our prison system will continue to grow.

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      • War Vet

        Maybe we will learn our lesson. Since the creation of a Controlled Gun Act (CGA) would bring about a massive gun black market, while the removal of the CGA would dramatically reduce the gun black market, meaning that the CGA (like the CSA) is synonymous with the black market, which makes the CGA (like the CSA) the black market herself, which is illegal to pass a law that both demands, creates and protects the black market. Right now we now that the Controlled Substance Act (since it was signed by Nixon and Okayed by Congress) was a Declaration of War against the United States of American as proved in the drug money financed attacks of Beirut, NYC World Trade Center Bombing, 1996 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, the U.S.S. Cole and 9/11. According to the section of the U.S. Constitution addressing Letters of Marquee, it is evident that the U.S. congress paid the terrorist to be mercenaries (through the CSA) in waging war against Americans and civilians worldwide, which is illegal since congress doesn’t have the authority to hire mercenaries to kill Americans and non-Americans during peacetime . . . its only legal when we are at war or going after international criminals who violate U.S. (and even foreign) laws, but the U.S. Marines in the Barracks in Lebanon were not criminals, nor were they at war with America, yet Congress illegally hired Hezbollah and Hamas through the CSA to bomb them (since it was a consequence to the CSA law). Again, Congress illegally hired Al Qaeda and the Taliban (through the CSA) to attack or arrest citizens in American and globally when said citizen (9/11 victims, innocent Muslims) was not an international criminal nor at war with America since it can be proven that the CSA was set up to create a black market (as evidence in supporting that the removal of the CSA removes the black market –hence the CSA is the black market). Of course the above is specifically stated in the U.S. Constitution. What do you think Master Obiwan-Clay Kanobi?

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        • claygooding

          Let me load up a pipe on that and consider the possibilities,,,how do we end any of these corporate driven federal policies,,,by votes by the people and not for legislators that promise reform and give us status quo but initiatives just as with marijuana legalization,,any issue that legislators can be removed from the equation forces them to the will of the people versus wants of the banks and corporations.

          When/If that fails then perhaps it is time for a “Tea Party”.

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  • just as drugs aren’t “evil” neither are guns. Put them on a table and they’ll sit there, not moving. The harms come from humans’ abuse…

    This isn’t about guns, it’s about people and their relative sanity/insanity. For this nation – born from the gun, grown from the gun and profiting today from militarizing the world with weapons produced both large and small – to cry about violence disturbing domestic tranquility is hypocritical at best. It’s that old karma thing, what goes around comes around.

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    • War Vet

      Actually Allan, you are just a wee-bit wrong on the whole placing a gun on the table part and it doing nothing: what if the gun is a Deceptacon trying to harm you . . . and Herby the Love Bug proved to us the possibility of an inanimate object to be inhabited by the soul of another and if that ‘other’ wanted to do you harm, then that untouched gun will do you harm. But 99.9999999999999% of the time, yes, the drug or gun left on the table won’t do you any harm.

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  • Servetus

    Responding to the militarization of the police in preparation for the drug war, the firepower on the city streets went from zip-guns and switchblades to fully automated Uzis and AKs. Certain people can always be expected to imitate their government.

    Putting the gun genie back in the bottle requires transforming warlike cultures that glorify and profit from violence. The transformation can sometimes involve losing a war in a really big way and being forced to start over again. The finalized loss of the American drug war by law enforcement would be a defeat that makes a difference, however large or small.

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  • ezrydn

    Some still think of me as a “killer” due to my VN service. I’m sure some of you get the same. While the government taught us to kill and kill effectively, I constantly have to remind people we also learned two more important ideas, “When” and “Why.”

    And now the Prez gives the chore of gun control to the Vice-Troll who also wrote the CSA. This oughta be interesting.

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  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    The Mexican body count and the reaction that the U.S. is at fault for supplying the guns reminds me of the “City Under Siege” days in the DC Metro area. That hysteria started shortly after the death of Len Bias during the so called crack “epidemic” and continued for a few years until the press found other hysterical rhetoric to promote.

    There really was a show named “City Under Siege” and it was on 5 nights a week. I used to watch it myself because it gave lots of helpful hints about which neighborhoods were good places to go buy ready rock and which ones to avoid because they had caught the attention of the police. The best were neighborhoods which were “cleaned up” by law enforcement after LE decided to whack a different mole.

    One major component of the hysterical rhetoric that was being sold on TV in the guise of crack related crime was the fact that homicides had increased by some ungodly factor, and it was all the fault of the Commonwealth of Virginia because a substantial percentage of the guns were being purchased in Virginia whether directly by the crims or by utilizing straw man buyers.

    While there’s no doubt that a substantial percentage of the guns used in the D.C. crack retail distribution chain came from Virginia, the gun violence perpetrated with those weapons belonged to D.C. No one ever bothered to explain why the murder count in Arlington VA could be counted on one hand with fingers to spare, when the D.C. murder count was approaching 500 for the year. If you’ve never been to the DC area Arlington VA and DC share a border and it’s a short ride on the subway from one to the other. I can’t even put into words how ludicrous it is to conclude that Virginia was the cause of the D.C. homicide rate. In fact Virginia gun thugs preferred to commute to D.C. to do their dirty deeds.

    I mentioned a couple of days ago that I got shot in a robbery in 1987. The fact that it was illegal for that man to own that gun because of his previous felony convictions didn’t make it hurt any less.

    Until someone can explain why the amount of gun violence is inversely proportional to the gun control laws I’m going to continue insisting that the cause of that gun violence is the gun laws themselves, by taking weapons out of the hands of the law abiding and assuring the criminals that they’re not likely to get themselves shot because their target can’t defend himself. It’s really very simple. Just explain why Vermont is almost bereft of gun violence when that State is practically without any gun control laws.

    Interestingly enough the District’s strict gun control laws were struck down as unconstitutional a few years back. The District is looking at finishing 2012 with the fewest homicides since 1963. While correlation doesn’t prove causation, causation most certainly does produce correlation.

    BTW everyone here does know that Mexico has some of the “toughest” gun control laws in the world, right?

    /snip/
    The right to keep and bear arms was first recognized as a constitutional right under Article 10 of the Mexican Constitution of 1857.[7] However, as part of the Mexican Constitution of 1917, Article 10 was changed[8] where-by the right to keep and bear arms was given two separate definitions: the right to keep (derecho a poseer in Spanish) and the right to bear (derecho a portar in Spanish).[9] The new version of Article 10 specified that citizens were entitled to keep arms (own them) but may only bear them (carry them) among the population in accordance to police regulation.[10] This modification to Article 10 also introduced the so-called …[arms] for exclusive use of the [military]… (in Spanish: …de uso exclusivo del Ejército…), dictating that the law would stipulate which weapons were reserved for the armed forces, including law enforcement agencies, for being considered weapons of war.

    In 1971, Article 10 of the present Constitution was reformed[11] to limit the right to keep arms within the home only (in Spanish: …derecho a poseer armas en su domicilio…) and reserved the right to bear arms outside the home only to those explicitly authorized by law (i.e. police, military, armed security officers). The following year, the Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives came into force[12] and gave the federal government complete jurisdiction and control to the legal proliferation of firearms in the country; at the same time, heavily limiting and restricting the legal access to firearms by civilians.

    As a result of the changes to Article 10 of the Mexican Constitution and the enactment of the Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives, openly carrying a firearm or carrying a concealed weapon in public is virtually forbidden to private citizens, unless explicitly authorized by the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA). For purposes of personal protection, firearms are only permitted within the place of residence and of the type and caliber permitted by law.
    /snip/
    linky

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  • I think it important to add that suicides-by-gun outnumber homicides-by-gun by around 2/3…

    and as far as I can tell (please edjumicate if wrong) there is neither an accurate number of guns owned in the US nor how many are sold annually. The known numbers seems to be solely in the annual background check requests.

    Some reading:

    a week ago in CNN: NRA laid groundwork against new gun laws

    Josh Horwitz (Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence): The Truth About Gun Sales

    Guns in America: A Statistical Look

    I tried to see the ATF stats but the pdf files wouldn’t open for me…

    another interesting highlight I found… humanitarian aid to 3rd world countries is less than weapons sales to 3rd world countries.

    Gil Scot-Heron in his song We Beg Your Pardon (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDCfEkopryo) appropriately says (over 35 years ago):

    “And America was ‘shocked’
    America leads the world in shocks
    Unfortunately, America does not lead the world in deciphering the cause of shock”

    and that pretty much sums it up for me… we need to talk, to discuss and debate many subjects – violence, climate, drugs, sex… yet I sincerely doubt we will. Even tho’ our survival depends on it.

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    • Freeman

      Loved the Gil Scot-Heron speech. Thanks for the link!

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    • Windy

      Another little factoid usually left out of death-by-gun statistics is the number of shooting deaths that were committed by cops. But those deaths are nearly always included in the overall statistics reported.

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    • Maria

      The suicide aspect of guns and hand guns in general is one that complicates the issue. It’s often said, after and article about someone overdosing or shooting themselves, that “if only they didn’t have access to the gun or the drug!” This raises the point that a lot of violence (be it against others or yourself) is squarely related to mental health and emotional issues.

      (What isn’t?)

      The subtext of these “if only XX wasn’t easily accessible” is that somehow by banning XX then people would be stopped from taking their own lives. That somehow banning physical items will resolve deep seated individual and social problems.

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  • Freeman

    As a bonus at the link above, Ilya rebuts Mark Kleiman’s response.

    Nice bonus! Oh-oh, wait a minute, what’s this?

    The extremely limited evidence cited by Kleiman gives us little if any reason to believe…

    Now hold on right there. Evidence? Evidence? He don’t need no stinking evidence! He’s Mark A.[lways] R.[ight] Kleiman! Faith in the guru is sufficiently persuasive!

    All rib-poking aside, [ Oh, hi Mark! Have a seat over here. Have a cigar — I’ve been saving it for a special occasion. It’s mostly Maui Waui, plus it’s got some Labrador in it! ]

    What was I saying? Oh yeah. Kidding aside, I’ve been reading a bit from the considerable body of top-shelf scholarly work available at Kahan’s site and I’ve become fascinated with his writings on illiberal cognition and the concept of expressive overdetermination as a rhetorical means of minimizing it. Amazing stuff if you’re into the psychology of political science.

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  • Servetus

    Holiday travel in Mexico is experiencing the lingering effects of prohibition as the drug war continues to spearhead a culture of crime in remote areas of Latin America.

    People visiting Mexico are choosing to form armed convoys to transport Christmas gifts and themselves within cartel controlled territories.

    http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/christmas-convoys-mexico

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