Monday, July 23, 2012

Lowering Gun Violence through Economics

As I noted yesterday, all the outrage over the role played by high-powered weapons in the latest massacre (last Friday in Aurora, Colorado) will ... as it always does ... gradually die away and we will go on as before until the next terrible massacre, when the whole sad kabuki dance will begin again, run through its useless life cycle, and then gradually die away until ... well ... you know.

The extraordinary power of the gun lobby*, fueled by irresponsible hyperbole about The Terrible Government That Exists Only to Send Out Armies of Jack-Booted Thugs to Trample on Your Rights, will ensure that no new laws are enacted and that the laws already on the books are kept as ineffective as possible. So is there a new, creative way we can reduce the level of gun violence?

As it turns out, there is!

My friend Bob sent me an e-mail the other day suggesting a novel approach to the problem: instead of gun control, why not institute bullet control?

This could be done by keeping guns at their current price level, but raising the cost of bullets to ... say ... $5,000.00 apiece.

Here are some of the advantages of this approach:

1. No problem with violating our Second Amendment rights: a person could own as large an arsenal of guns as he wants, but the cost of bullets would make the use of that arsenal without extreme provocation and serious forethought economically infeasible.

2. Fewer innocent bystanders would be injured or killed.  If bullets cost $5,000.00 apiece, murderers will aim more accurately in order to minimize the expense.

3. Cost/benefit analysis would play a major part in reducing the number of gun murders: "I really hate this guy, but is it worth $20,000 to shoot him four times, or is once enough? Or should I just hit him with a rock, or write him a nasty letter?"

3. Murderous anger becomes unaffordable. Consider this hysterically angry rant: "Man, I would blow your freaking head off, if I could afford it! I'm gonna get me another job, l'm gonna start saving some money, and you're a dead man! You better hope l can't get no bullets on layaway!''

4. Medical expenses and the strain on hospital emergency rooms would be reduced. Even if you get shot by a stray bullet, you wouldn't have to go to a doctor to get it taken out, because whoever shot you would want that $5,000.00 bullet back ("Excuse me, but I believe you got my property.").

Making bullets unaffordable. A possible way to reduce gun violence. Any other suggestions?

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Remember: guns don't kill people, people kill people. And people with guns kill more people at a time, more quickly.


Big Sky Heidi said...

This is a great idea! I have one also: threaten gun-lovers image of masculinity. continue to sell guns, but color all pink!

Dave Hess said...

I don't understand what is so precious about the second amendment. I'm happy to live in a country with no constitutional right to keep and bear arms - and that in a country that knows something about Jack-Booted government thugs, historically speaking.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

The full text of the Second Amendment mentions the necessity of a well-organized militia. That would be interpreted as the Second amendment justifying a National Guard. Therefore, if you want to exercise your SecondAmendment rights, then enlist in the state National Guard!

Oh, and you need to keep your rifle or cannon in the armory.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

This is being tried on a smaller scale with regard to the taxes on cigarettes or other "sins."

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I couldn't agree with you any more.
My husband was a hunter growing up in Central PA. He was a member of the NRA. Then everything as he puts it "changed" they no longer represented him. He quit. They called him and he told them why. They laughed and said, the liberals got to you huh? His response was no common sense did. They hung up.
He tells me you don't need a semi-automatic to hunt a deer.

Now I don't get hunting now that we have grocery stores but that's another issue all together. I just hate that the fringes of our society are ruling and taking over. gun rights - a-ok - womens right - no way. the ability to love whomever you wish - oh hell no....the ability to kill whomever you wish - it's your right.

Bilbo said...

Heidi - good idea! It might be an improvement over the matte black shade.

Dave - German and American history, traditions, and expectations of personal rights are very different. Nevertheless, I can only recall a single instance of a mass murder using firearms in peacetime Germany.

Angelique - the "well-regulated militia" argument has been lawyered to death over the years, and I wouldn't even pretend to understand all the legal (and puncuational) issues involved. The Amendment as historically interpreted allows everyone to "keep and bear arms," which needs to be the starting point of any discussion.

Elvis - good point; even though the post was meant to be satirical, I hadn't looked at it in this way.

Peg - Yep. Noted.

Duckbutt said...

At the very least, have people go through a long process of filing paperwork regarding purchase of ammunition.

Seriously, outlaw assault rifles, hollow point ammunition, and handguns above .22 caliber.

Mike said...

Good post good comments. I agree with everyone.