When a publication does a point-counterpoint kind of thing with dueling op-eds, the writers don’t really know what the other person is going to write. They’re given a general topic and they get to work.
Which is why sometimes, the whole concept doesn’t make a lot of sense when you read it. Each side brings up completely different points and may not even touch on arguments rebutting what the other said.
But every now and then, the stars align to create a rather beautiful thing.
At The Virginian-Pilot, they did one of these things on the topic of guns. The gun control advocate they got hit the typical talking points, arguing:
If we want to avoid needless death and devastation like our nation has already experienced this new year, we’ve got to follow the data and pass stronger gun safety laws in every state.
Analyzing 2023 Gun Violence Archive data shows firearm homicides fell much faster in states with the strongest gun laws, while states with the weakest gun laws saw marginal improvements to public safety, if any. Of the 300 largest U.S. cities, those in states with the strongest gun laws experienced 19.4% fewer gun homicides in 2023 compared to the previous year, while cities in states with the weakest gun laws saw only 5.1% fewer gun homicides.
When it comes to gun violence, we’re now seeing two different scenarios play out. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Ohio recently passed permitless carry laws, meaning that in most U.S. states, almost anyone can now carry a concealed handgun in public without a permit. On this side of America, such laws are resulting in increased violent crime, firearm robberies and mass shootings while also making it harder for law enforcement to solve cases. Still, some elected officials continue to buy the gun lobby lie that more guns make us safer, putting politics over people.
On the other side of America, states that already have strong gun laws are continuing to bolster their public health approach to gun safety. Last year, Illinois passed an assault weapons ban, New York increased access to victim compensation and services for gun violence survivors, and Maryland now requires gun owners to secure their firearms around children.
Strong gun laws save lives. Not a single state that received an A grade for gun law strength from the Giffords Law Center last year saw an increase in their gun homicide rate in 2023. Colorado saw a 19% reduction in gun homicides last year. Rather than become complacent, the state legislature passed additional life-saving laws, including raising the minimum age to purchase guns, enacting waiting periods and increasing access to justice for survivors. Colorado was the most improved state on Giffords gun law rankings, moving from a B to an A-minus.
Of course, the vast majority of states regardless of their gun laws saw a reduction in their “gun homicide” rate from 2023.
One exception, though, was Mississippi, which the author cites to prove his point.
However, he specifically notes four states that passed permitless carry and claims the result was an increase in violent crime.
Yet in the counterpoint op-ed, some guy named Cam Edwards has some interesting thoughts that, while written independently, address this guy’s claim.
There may be no tenet of faith so fundamental to the cult of gun control than the idea that more guns equate to more crime — a theory that was soundly disproven in 2023. Just four years after the biggest recorded one-year spike in our nation’s homicide rate, it looks as if the United States may have just gone through the biggest one-year decline, an impossibility according to gun control activists.
There are millions more guns around than there were four years ago, yet the vast majority of cities reported fewer homicides than they did in 2020. That includes several cities where permitless carry recently took effect. Atlanta reported a 22% decline in murders. Toledo, Ohio, saw a 34% drop in the homicide rate, almost identical to the 33% decline in Oklahoma City. The mayor of Miami boasted that the city had the fewest homicides since 1947, even though gun-control activists predicted the state’s permitless carry law would lead to more violence when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it into law last year.
Wait…Atlanta and Toledo? Those are in Georgia and Ohio respectively, two states the first author singled out for the sin of passing constitutional carry laws.
The fact they saw huge dips in their respective homicide rates sure looks interesting in light of the anti-gunner’s premise that only strong gun control laws can do that.
What’s more, while that author seems fond of looking at how gun control works, he’s ignoring a key fact regarding gun control in general, one Cam did not miss or ignore:
Those same advocates also asserted that the demise of “may issue” concealed carry laws, which required applicants to demonstrate a justifiable need to have a firearm in self-defense, would also lead to more dangerous cities. There’s no evidence that the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen had any detrimental effect on public safety last year. Indeed, in the first full year that “shall issue” concealed carry was in place, Baltimore recorded fewer than 300 homicides for the first time in nearly a decade. At the same time, Los Angeles and New York saw 10% declines, even as more citizens were lawfully carrying firearms in self-defense.
So every place being cited as evidence that strong gun laws work is a place where more people can get carry permits, thereby putting more guns on the streets.
In other words, Cam successfully negated the entire premise of the other guy’s op-ed without having a single glimpse at what was being written.
Then again, it’s not like it’s difficult to figure out what a gun control advocate intends to say. They’re routinely citing things like the grades a state gets from Giffords and they hope you forget all about how the Bruen decision changed those states without legislation.
The truth of the matter is that there are more guns in private hands than ever before. More people are able to carry firearms than ever before. Either of these would be enough to send masses to the county morgues, according to anti-gunners.
With both of these happening, though, we’re seeing homicides decrease in most places, including massive drops in cities in new constitutional carry states.