Lies, damn lies and gun crime statistics

Self-described “libertarians” all seem to have a blind spot about gun laws.   Some of them are radically dishonest about their quasi-religious pro-gun obsessions.   American “academic” John Lott, whose multiple misdeeds are chronicled obsessively by ozplogger Tim Lambert (to such an extent that he’s been forced to split his Lott posts into no less than 7 separate categories), is the most egregious example.

But even mild-mannered and normally scrupulous libertarians like c8to seem to entirely take leave of their senses on the topic of guns. c8to’s latest post at Catallaxy illustrates the point:

Making it harder for sporting shooters to practice their sport has no effect on gun crime. This report shows roberries with a firearm doubled in the last two years.

The truth of gun laws in Australia is that Howard wants to kill off shooting sports because of his emotional hatred of guns.

In fact the report shows nothing of the kind in any but an extremely localised sense.   The article to which c8to links reports that crime in most categories and geographical areas in NSW has decreased, but that “[i]n inner Sydney, robberies with a firearm increased by 111 per cent over the last two years, robberies without a firearm went up 44 per cent in Canterbury-Bankstown“.   Given the very localised nature of the phenomenon, you don’t need to be Einstein to work out that these anomalous statistics almost certainly have nothing whatever to do with Australia’s national gun laws enacted in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre.   At a rough but educated guess, I’d suggest these figures are  largely explained by the increasingly aggressive  violent gangland activities of those “Men of Middle Eastern Appearance”  whose  ethnic origins  the ABC and Fairfax press carefully omit from stories wherever possible (for fear of inflaming “racism” aka accurate information).

The real national  figures on gun-related crime show a picture utterly at odds with the one c8to wants to paint.   This Australian Institute of Criminology report  on firearm-related deaths (including homicide, suicide and accident)  shows:

In 1991, there were 629 firearm related deaths compared to 333 deaths in 2001. This represents a 47 per cent decrease in firearm related deaths over the period 1991 to 2001.

This AIC report on firearm-related homicide shows:

Between 1 July 1989 and 30 June 2002 there has been a gradual decline in the use of firearms to commit homicide. Firearms were used in 26 per cent of homicides in Australia in 1989-90, compared to 14 per cent in 2001-02. This represents a 25 per cent decrease, and is the lowest proportion of homicides committed with a firearm since the inception of the NHMP in 1990.

These are the most recent figures published by the AIC, and they certainly don’t support c8to’s ideological claim.   The AIC also last year  published  its first comprehensive  report on the use of  weapons in robberies.   It showed that only 20% of robberies involve use of  a gun.    Being the first ever report, it doesn’t provide statistics giving trends over time for gun use in robberies.   However, comparison with the US, whose gun laws are presumably more to c8to’s liking, indicates that some 41% of robberies (i.e. more than twice  as many)  are committed with a gun in that country.   Hard to understand why that gun-hating socialist  Howard doesn’t embrace this aspect of American values too, isn’t it?

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Far Away
Far Away
15 years ago

I have already commented on the Catallaxy discussion a number of times as follows:

“Actually what the report says is that robberies with a firearm doubled in Inner Sydney.

If you take NSW as a whole, page 5 of the report says that robberies with a firearm have actually been stable for the past 24 months and declined by 10% a year over the past 60 months.
http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/bocsar/llbocsar.nsf/vwFiles/NSWSDSSD2006Qrt2.pdf/$file/NSWSDSSD_2006Qrt2.pdf

Measuring the effects of the legislation would also need to take account of the rest of Australia.”

“I think that in Australia in the past private gun ownership has been related to male suicide. ABS figures show that between 1994 and 2004 suicide rates for males fell significantly –
http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/FF573FA817DC3C84CA25713000705C19/$File/33090_1994%20to%202004.pdf

Table 4 in this publication shows that the number of male suicides with firearms has been declining since 1994, but by far the biggest falls were between 1996 and 1997 and 1997 and 1998. Overall the number of male firearm suicides has more than halved

Nicholas Gruen
Admin
Nicholas Gruen(@nicholas-gruen)
15 years ago

Ken,

One of the good things about blogging meet-ups is that one meets the people behind the monikas. This is almost invariably a tonic for me. C8to is mad as hell, but I must say I like him a lot. What else matters?

Though for the record I’m sure you’re right – C8to just wants to live in the wild west like I want to live in the eighteenth century (providing I get helicopetered into the right country, class and gender).

Nevertheless your post reminds me of the egg the CIS now has on its face for supporting some turkey who argued that all the speed restrictions and speed cameras introduced for instance by the Bracks Govt would not reduce the road toll.

Of course you can object to the increased stringency of road regulation but you’re sticking your neck out arguing that lowering and more strongly enforcing speed limits won’t lower road tolls. (See for instance here, here and here).

In fact the measures have been very successful in producing continuing sharp declines in road deaths and trauma as reported in the Age on the 27th.

Here’s the graph: 0828webst_roadToll.jpg

And here’s the Age describing it.

The toll stood at 201 yesterday, 31 fewer than last year and 23 fewer than at the same time in 2003, the year the state recorded a low of 330 deaths.

In fact, road fatalities for the past year to midnight Saturday were 314, compared with a previous five-year average of 378 to the same time of year. The biggest gains were in the 18 to 25 age group, which has long been disproportionately represented in road trauma statistics.

The 12-month figure is an astonishing 120 deaths fewer than for the same period to August 26, 2002, the first year of the State Government’s intensified crackdown on speeding, heralded by the Transport Accident Commission’s “Wipe Off 5” campaign. Serious injuries – the so-called “hidden” road toll – are also declining.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

It’s drawing a long bow to claim falling road toll figures are because of spped limits.

In the last 35 years cars have got a lot safer, tyres and roads a lot better, and driver attitudes a lot safer.

“Of course you can object to the increased stringency of road regulation but you’re sticking your neck out arguing that lowering and more strongly enforcing speed limits won’t lower road tolls.”

Sure Nicholas. There isn’t any doubt that the speed you drive at has a fairly strong positive relationship to how many crashes you have.

The logical extension of this would be to ban driving altogether, because then nobody would be killed.

Now you might believe that 40kms/hour is a reasonable speed to limit automobiles to in the name of safety but the fact is that pushbikes go faster than that.

Nicholas Gruen
Admin
Nicholas Gruen(@nicholas-gruen)
15 years ago

Like I said Yobbo “Of course you can object to the increased stringency of road regulation but you’re sticking your neck out arguing that lowering and more strongly enforcing speed limits won’t lower road tolls.”

Thereafter, you argue my point perfectly.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

Nicholas: The first you link you pointed 2 from the CIS contains 2 opposing views, neither of which is from the CIS. The second makes the point that decreasing speed limits is not the only way to reduce road tolls, and may be counterproductive.

So I don’t know where you get the idea that they are trying to prove what you say they are.

Buckingham’s argument it that is not SPEED CAMERAS that are making the difference. He doesn’t say anywhere that speed limits are not making a difference, he is just skeptical at the effectiveness of cameras.

This makes sense to me, because if speed cameras did what they are supposed to do, then they would in fact be useless and not the cash cow they currently are.

Graham Young
15 years ago

I’m not sure that the relationship between gun deaths and gun ownership is quite as simple as Ken’s post suggests, although I’m not going to argue that banning guns completely wouldn’t significantly decrease the number of gun deaths.

What I am interested in is how much of the US’s very high rate of gun deaths is localised in the same way that Ken describes in Australia. In other words, is there a larger correlation between gun deaths and say the drug trade, than there is between gun deaths and gun ownership? What is the correlationship with ghettos?

Nicholas Gruen
Admin
Nicholas Gruen(@nicholas-gruen)
15 years ago

Thd for the corrections Yobbo, the links were grabbed in haste and I was writing from memory.

Regarding your assertion that “if speed cameras did what they are supposed to do, then they would in fact be useless and not the cash cow they currently are.” I’m afraid that’s a bit too ‘either/or’.

Booze buses have brought down the rate of drink driving, but they’re still generating lots of revenue. Ditto speed cameras. Speaking personally, the main reason I try not to speed is to avoid speed cameras – especially given that there are so few cops on the road these days.

What about you – do you occasionally give a bit of thought to those pesky cameras? Does it make you speed up or slow down?

Francis X Holden
15 years ago

I’m happy to see tougher gun laws here.

I’ve given away all my own guns. Italian Under and Over shotgun, .22 rifle, and a great little combo of .22 &.410 shottie under and over.

In the last 15 years I’ve only had a few shots at the local .22 club and a few with a mate at a pistol club.

I’m a better shot than most.

I’m not anti gun at all just like to see them harder to have around. After all from my memory the USA figures, guns are more likely to harm their owners or those close to their owners.

I’m not sure armed robs figures are all that matters. There are many reasons why armed robs might be down – improved bank security, improved cash transport security, decrease in use of cash (there are virtually no cash payrolls to rob these days), improved surveillance (videos etc)leading to increased detection and arrest. From what I can see disturbing trend over the years seems to be the use of guns for (relatively) minor targets / hauls – milk bars, service stations, wallets.

Nicholas Gruen
Admin
Nicholas Gruen(@nicholas-gruen)
15 years ago

Btw, of two nations with the highest gun ownership in the West, one has one of the highest gun homicide rates and the other has one of the lowest. No prizes for guessing the first country. The US. Any guesses as to which the second country is?

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

“What about you – do you occasionally give a bit of thought to those pesky cameras? Does it make you speed up or slow down?”

Unfortunately unlike your good selves I am not old enough to have ever lived in a world without speed cameras and RBTs. So it’s hard for me to say what effect they have had on my driving habits.

I will say that I definitely speed less now at 30 than I did at 18, but I am sure this is normal for most people.

A high speed crash on the Mitchell freeway when I was 18 did a fair bit more than any cameras did to stop me speeding – although my high speed at the time was due to the fact that I had fallen asleep at the wheel and my foot was stuck on the pedal -not because I was a hoon.

According to police reports I was doing 160 km/h when I hit the barrier and the car rolled 7-8 times before coming to a stop. The car was totalled but I walked away without a scratch so I was very lucky.

I rarely speed nowadays but I drink and drive at least twice a week every week. Unfortunately when you live in the suburbs there are sometimes no other options. (Although I only drive about 3km each way between my house and the cricket club along back streets, so the danger of either causing an accident or getting caught is quite small).

Sometimes it is impossible not to speed, eg while overtaking or accelerating to create a gap behind you to allow someone into your lane.

Some speed limits are simply too low to allow efficient traffic movement on certain roads. Some speed limits are nothing more than deliberate traps – In the middle of the main freeway in Perth the speed limit drops from 100 to 80 at random intervals for no apparent reason, and guess where they put the cameras?

That is the problem I have with speed cameras most of all – there are sometimes good reasons to exceed the speed limit. In the old days if a cop pulled you over, if you had a good explanation for your speed he would let you off with a warning (for instance, if you were overtaking a road train on a single-lane highway). There is no explaining to a speed camera.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

I should also point out the same problem with the RBT system – before the breath test came out police would perform a simple sobriety test. If you were capable of performing the test then you were considered “not drunk”, regardless of what your BAC would be.

I can tell you for a fact that the BAC measure is an absolute farce.

I’ve been breath tested by police after drinking for 6 hours (and been quite drunk) and blown 0.04 (after their standardising calculations). On a different occasion I had about 5 cans of beer and was basically stone cold sober and blew 0.051 and was booked.

The readings dont seem to have any relation to how much the level of alcohol in your body is affecting your reflexes as far as I can tell. There are probably all sorts of factors that determine what reading you give when you blow.

As far as I am concerned if you are not drunk then you should not be penalised for driving drunk. A 70kg man can blow over 0.05 after 3 beers, but very few people would experience much effect on their faculties from that.

Having just finished a hard day’s work or being up past your bedtime is just as likely to cause you to drive badly as a BAC reading of 0.05 is. Both brain reaction time and muscle reaction time are slowed when you are tired.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

Ken:

Firstly, that page only compares murders by *handguns*. Handguns have never been legal here, most guns used in robberies or murders are (sawn off) longarms or shotguns.

Secondly, Switzerland as far as I can recall has about a 50% higher overall gun homicide rate than Australia, but its total homicide rate is still lower than Australia’s is. So a greater percentage of the murders that occur there involve guns (and I’m guessing less involve knives and cricket bats) but really if you are murdered you are still murdered, who cares what they did it with?

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

“You’re more likely to survive/successfully defend your self against an attack by someone wielding a knife or cricket bat than someone with a gun.”

And on the flip side, you are more likely to survive an attack on yourself if YOU are the one with the gun. The whole benefit of guns is that anyone can learn to use them effectively in a relatively short period. On the flip side, it would take years of training to learn how to properly defend yourself with a knife or a blunt weapon. This is pretty academic anyway because you aren’t allowed to defend yourself in Australia with anything except your fists or you go to jail.

What the figures never show is how many crimes were prevented by guns. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to measure.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

You can read about the sickening Timothy Nam case in more detail here: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,20000238-662,00.html

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

Note that despite the heading of that story “Killer Of Gangster Freed”, dated August 3rd, Nam is STILL waiting to be released from prison.

rog
rog
15 years ago

Deaths by gun might be down but deaths by stabbing are up, its the quantum of homicides that is important.

Ban all knives?

http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/cfi/cfi108.html

ABL
ABL
15 years ago

What I said on c8to’s post over at catallaxy:

“Comparisons between nations are completely meaningless – so far all they mean is that gun laws have no effect on crime – hence the disparate results. They are not statistics – they are simply datum.

A meaningful analysis would be some kind of time varying cross sectional study like a panel data regression – examining cultural factors and the impacts of drug laws, education levels etc.”

And this “gem”

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-switzerland.htm

That website is basically the world’s largest left wing troll site. Read everything the guy says – he thinks America will make the great leap forward if they just jack up their income tax rates to 90%.

I’ve had Lambert say as much on catallaxy whilst debating Lott, that at worst, guns do not affect crime rates, and at best there is a small level of deterrence.

i.e there is no justification for banning guns. It is the “libertarians” who call other people “libertarians” who have the blind sopt – they can’t analyse data and as I said above, don’t know the difference between datum and statistics.

c8to
c8to
15 years ago

nice try parish, but what my post shows is that many anti-gun people don’t read what the argument is, but instead simply assume a straw man argument and imagine certain claims.

all i claim is that theres no correlation between laws that fiddle with legal gun owners and violent crime, a fact completely supported by the international evidence, and a claim made by Tim Lambert himself.

i totally agree that gangs account for the recent rise in sydney, where do i say elsewhere or try to use the statistics in any other way.

you just assumed i was saying something i wasnt.

so you should retract your statements, as they are completely without foundation.

Far Away
Far Away
15 years ago

C8to

What your original post shows is that it is you who didn’t read the source you quoted, which for NSW shows the exact opposite of what you said – robberies with a firearm in NSW were stable over the previous two years but have fallen significantly over the past 5 years on average.

In addition, as the links above show the murder rate with guns in Australia has been falling rapidly over the past 5 years, at least halving since 2001, and the number of male firearm suicides has more than halved over the past 10 years.

None of this establishes causality, but it looks to me like what I would call a correlation.

I was also surprised by some of the arguments about the trends in road fatalities. Obviously cars, tyres and roads have improved over the last 35 years and these are important contributing factors to lower road deaths, but the pattern shown in the chart of a rapid decline in the first half of the 1990s doesn’t seem consistent with a “improvement in technology” argument. It looks like a change in behaviour that followed the intensification of random breath testing. (More analysis would be needed to prove this of course.)

Also people’s driving behaviour has changed and become safer, but this likely to at least in part to be a consequence of the various changes in the law and the pattern of enforcement. I lived in England for a while in the early 1990s, when it was not compulsory to have seat belts in the back seats of cars. I can remember my shock the first time I saw a 3 or 4 year old standing up in the back seat of a moving car. This was not particularly common but subsequently they changed the law and that sort of behaviour became even less common.

With both guns and cars (and lots of other things), it is certainly true that one would have to do a lot more analysis to establish what is going on, whether the trends will last, and what the explanatory factors are. But to simply assert that changes in laws have no effect on behaviours looks like a preference for personal ideology over regard for facts.

c8to
c8to
15 years ago

wrong far away…i didnt say anything about NSW or australia…

being based in sydney i was implicitly referring to the sydney data…and the source i cited (NOT QUOTED) was the sydney morning herald article and not the lawlink report linked from that article.

so before you shoot off your mouth, don’t assume that people are saying something they are not.

c8to
c8to
15 years ago

just to be totally explicit for those obviously without the care to even read the article i linked, just parish’s fantasy interpretation, the headline of the article is “Sydney gun crimes double”

i cant be held responsible if you dont follow a link and read all the way through, or even the headline.

shock horror, i didn’t mean NSW, or australia, or the US or switzerland or Mars…any of these would be mere unbased assumptions.

Andrew Leigh
15 years ago

I’m surprised no-one has yet mentioned the best economic evidence on the topic – Mark Duggan’s Journal of Political Economy paper More Guns, More Crime.

(But wait, you’ll say, John Lott has a paper by the title “More Guns, Less Crime”

Thomas the Tout
Thomas the Tout
15 years ago

I will be very saddened if Ken retreats from the blogosphere. I have been following this site since its infancy, and enjoy the serious tone. Time is short today, so I made a mental note to go back to his post on the Speluncean dilemma. Then I reached this section. Stay in there Ken, the cyber-nation needs you!

As for guns and speeding, nearly everyone is wrong! So there. Currently I have a client who was snapped by the speed camera just as he had overtaken a B-double vehicle (which stupid pollie let those things on the road)? He asked the police section that handles infringement notices for leniency. No way.

So we are of to Court to plead guilty and ask for a lenient penalty. What a waste of time and resources, when common sense might forgive a minor infringement.

This encapsulates Sam’s point about no discretion -no human understanding. The issue is that policing/control is being de-humanised. That is easier for the forces of detection and penalising, because there is no need to think, nor make judgements. It is the rejection of the old adage that “rules are made for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men” – when leniency is extended to us, we are ‘wise-men’ – but now we all are ‘fools’.

And for Sam’s info, I was driving pre speed cameras. Back then, my happy cruising speed was 125 kph. The fear of being caught now keeps me about the speed limit. On some roads there is little fear or being caught, so I may exceed the limit if I believe it to be safe. But I mutter about brain-dead pollies not providing safer (and faster) highways.

And I own a pistol! Same again. I bought my first one in c1977. Join Pistol Club. Pass through training course. Be approved by committee. Be checked by Firearms Licensing branch. Buy gun. Store in locked cupboard. If cease to be active Club member, then (annual) licence is not renewed.

Now we are treated as a dangerous species intent on doing harm unless strictly controlled. I shall not bore you with details of the myriad of extra regulations, but curiously this is one of the few sports where the law requires us to be active – which means we must shoot our gun a certain number of times each year, and if not we are dealt with in the same way as someone who is “not a fit and proper person…”

In short, policing has become the old game of ‘goodies and baddies’, but it no longer is a game. The police retreat to a bunker mentality, which makes life easier for the administrators. Then we are treated as dolts by the pollies when they argue in favour of the new laws with spurious arguments, or evasive ones.

Well, I have got that off my chest. And Ken – please hang in there.

Amanda
15 years ago

Best wishes for everything, Ken.

ABL
ABL
15 years ago

“I’m surprised no-one has yet mentioned the best economic evidence on the topic – Mark Duggan’s Journal of Political Economy paper More Guns, More Crime.

(But wait, you’ll say, John Lott has a paper by the title “More Guns, Less Crime”

Rob
Rob
15 years ago

All the best, Ken, and hope you will find your way back to the blogosphere in time. I will always maintain that Troppo in its heyday was the the best thing we have yet seen in blogging anywhere in Australia.

Joshua Gans
Joshua Gans(@joshua-gans)
15 years ago

I hope you’re tempted back soon, Ken. Your law posts are indispensible. The only thing wrong with them is that they’re often so thorough it’s hard to make a usefulcomment – there’s nothing to say which you haven’t already considered.

derrida derider
derrida derider
15 years ago

Nic as soon as you posted that bit about the JPE, I wondered how long before we got someone saying “But they laughed at Galileo, too …” line. I see ABL at number 30 is the first to do so.

And I bet you’re better qualified to judge the econometrics than ABL is.

Fyodor
15 years ago

What Rob said, Ken.

When you’re good, you’re very good.

Get well soon [no pun intended].

ABL
ABL
15 years ago

That’s the worst analogy I’ve heard recently DD. Still the anti-gun lobby is scared witless to debate facts, and routinely confuses anecdotes and datum with statistics.

PS My econometric skills are superb.

Far Away
Far Away
15 years ago

C8to

What you originally said is “Making it harder for sporting shooters to practice their sport has no effect on gun crime. This report shows roberries (sic) with a firearm doubled in the last two years.”

The heading on the SMH article does say that robberies with firearms in Sydney doubled, but the article says Inner Sydney. So the source of your conclusion is an inaccurate newspaper headline, not even the whole article, much less the original source that is linked in the article.

I would take it that this also means that a change in the crime rate from one year to another in a statistical sub-division with a population of about 250,000 is relevant evidence, but that the long term decline for the State as a whole is not relevant? Also that a change in a crime rate in a statistical sub-division is a test of changes in laws across the nation?

c8to
c8to
15 years ago

no since the evidence is that gun laws are pretty irrelevant to gun crime overall…

look at the international data, and ask Tim Lambert what he thinks…he agrees with me…in all his analysis of Lott et al, that was his conclusion to me, that the statistics don’t really show any correlation…

so either side claiming one way or the other is probably wrong, and me and Lambert in claiming theres no strong correlation are right…

i don’t really care if australia wants to ban assault rifles and semi automatic weapons, register every gun owner and ensure safe storage, or even make pistol shooters wait 1 year probationary periods – these are all fine laws that ensure legal shooters are safe shooters, and that gun accidents are kept to a minimum…

buybacks and banning certain length barrels for pistols, and centralised temporary exemptions for licenses so you can shoot at a designated range, under supervision, by people who are happy to hand you their firearm are at best stupid measures, and worst aimed at killing a legitimate international practised safe sport…

if you doubt any of this, look at the legislation that paid nsw pistol shooters to not shoot for 5 years…i’m not happy with my taxpayer money being used that way, are you?

so do your research, and look at cost vs benefit and don’t be so narrow minded…

Far Away
Far Away
15 years ago

If gun laws are “pretty irrelevant” to gun crime overall, why did you start by quoting crime figures as showing that gun laws don’t work?

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
15 years ago

Far Away
I don’t really have a dog in this fight, I’m not a sporting shooter. But don’t you see the irony in your latest argument?

Isn’t it roughly paraphrasable to:
‘if A is irrelevant to B why did you show that A is irrelevant to B?’

Why have you got so much stake in this issue that you’re resorting to a rule that essentially renders your position unfalsifiable?

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
15 years ago

what do you suggest that c8to should have quoted in support of his argument that gun laws are irrelevant to gun crimes? Parking violation statistics?

Far Away
Far Away
15 years ago

Jason and C8to

My point is that it is C8to who is making his position unfalsifiable. He quoted partial statistics on gun crimes as showing that laws have no effect on crimes (actually the source of his claim is the incorrect newspaper headline, not the underlying data). The more comprehensive statistics actually show a fall in gun related robberies in NSW. So the statistics are considered to be relevant when they support his position, but when in fact they do not support his position his argument is that is that there is still no relation between the change in the law and crime trends. So the numbers are relevant when they go up, but not when they go down (which is what has actually happened).

Personally, I think that changes in the law are one of only a number of factors that potentially have an influence on trends in fire-arm related robberies (or gun-related deaths). I do not know whether they explain 70% of the trend, or 50% or 20% or 2%. But the argument put by C8to and also by ABL is that they have zero influence. Other commentators on this thread also appear to argue that changes in road laws of various sorts do not cause the clear decline in road fatalities, but it is other things like improved cars and better roads.

To me, this is like saying that these laws (anti-gun or road safety) are a terrible infringement on freedom and they have made some people do things they do not like, but still they never achieve their stated objective of reducing gun shootings or motor vehicle deaths.

Why do libertarians argue that changes in laws have some influence on behaviour but zero influence on outcomes?

ABL
ABL
15 years ago

Why do libertarians argue that changes in laws have some influence on behaviour but zero influence on outcomes?

For example: seatbelts and cars: do they save lives? They can, but instead people use this endowment in the form of consuming more risky behaviour. As cars get safer, will the road toll fall or will we drive faster? Then there are transport studies that show people are more cautious and indeed can be safer if there no boom gates etc on level crossings and so on.

saint
15 years ago

Ken – there are few bloggers who compel me to read their every post. You are one of them. Hope we do see you back from time to time.

Stan Cloud
Stan Cloud
15 years ago

Since several of you bloggers have followed gun control issues carefully and at least one of you lives in or near Darwin (Ken Parish, I believe), perhaps someone can bring me nearer the truth.
Following the death of Steve Irwin, a columnist in my local newspaper asked what had happened to the real crocodile hunter, Rod Ansell, and then answered by quoting an article written by Dr. Miguel A. Faria, Jr. and published on the website “newsmax.com.” I’m pretty sure you remember that Ansell was shot and killed by a NT Police Constable after Ansell had shot and killed NT Police Sergeant Glen Huitson and wounded another police officer and a civilian near Darwin back in 1999. I have read the transcript of the “Four Corners” report that Peter George did on the ABC shortly after the incident and see it as a credible story of a bizarre and tragic affair.
Dr. Faria tells a completely different story of Ansell’s demise. He claims that Ansell attacked the police because he thought they intended to confiscate his gunsunder the (relatively) new gun control of 1996. He is trying to make the case that Ansell and Sergeant Huitson died only because of, and as a direct result of, gun control. This seems completely preposterous to me, but when I challenged our local columnist and directed him to the “Four Corners” report, he strongly implied that Peter George was covering up the gun control connection.
So I wonder if any of you know any more about the story than Peter George reported. Is it possible that gun control could have been the ultimate cause of Ansell’s and Huitson’s deaths?