The costs of gun control

gun controlOn October 17th in Bryan County, Oklahoma, a 12 year old girl named Kendra St. Clair was at home alone when a 32 year old man named Stacey Jones rang the doorbell. As her parents had taught her, Kendra didn’t answer, but Jones went to the back of the house and kicked the door in. Kendra called her mother who told her to get the family gun, hide in a cupboard, and call 911. Kendra did and was on the phone when Jones opened the door of the closet she was in.

Kendra shot and wounded Jones who ran off. He was found by Police and charged with 1st degree burglary. He had previously been arrested for kidnapping a mentally disabled 18 year old girl.

In the wake of horrific incidents like those of last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut, the clamour rises in a crescendo for ‘gun control’. It is sometimes said that if we can save even one life by banning the private ownership of guns it would be worth it. It is often presented as a costless transaction, all upside and none down.

But, as the case of Kendra St. Clair shows, it isn’t. The benefits of greater gun control (fewer Newtowns) must be weighed against the costs (whatever fate Stacey Jones had in mind for Kendra St. Clair). Indeed, the gun control debate in the US all too frequently forgets the costs of gun control.

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The case of Kendra St. Clair got very little press. So, too, did the case of 92 year old World War Two veteran Earl Jones who opened fire on the three men who broke into his home in September, killing one. Likewise, the case of Teresa Barron, who was being stabbed repeatedly in the neck in August until a passerby with a concealed weapon…



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