On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights will hold a hearing “Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence: Protecting Our Communities While Respecting the Second Amendment.” Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is Chair of the Subcommittee, and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is the Ranking Member. The Subcommittee has solicited letters from the public. My letter is below.
Feb. 8, 2013
Dear Senator Cruz:
I am submitting this letter for the Feb. 12, 2013, Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing “Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence: Protecting Our Communities While Respecting the Second Amendment.”
To begin with, the Subcommittee should acknowledge that crime reduction policy has been a great success in the United States in recent decades. For example, in the early 1980s, the U.S. homicide rate was more than 10 per 100,000 population. Today, that rate has fallen by over half, to under 5. This is comparable to the early 1960s. Overall rates of violent crime have also fallen sharply since their peak of several decades ago.
There are many causes for this progress. Perhaps one of them is that today, 41 of the 50 states respect the constitutional right to bear arms, so that a law-abiding adult can obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm for lawful protection, or even carry without a permit in a few states. In contrast, in the early 1980s, only about half a dozen medium or small states provided a fair system for licensing the carrying of firearms.
Second, the exploitation of the Newtown murders as an occasion to impose a plethora of new anti-gun laws is unwise. Professor Gary Kleck, of Florida State University, is by far the most eminent worldwide scholar on quantitative data about firearms, and the [...]