If guns were banned, would criminals still have them?

If guns were banned, would criminals still have them?

When it comes to whether we should have stricter gun laws or even an outright ban of guns, the first, and best argument that gun rights advocates bring up is that all gun laws will do is prevent law abiding gun citizens from guns, but criminals will still have them. If in fact that argument is true, then it is a very good one, and anyone who supports a ban on guns or stricter gun laws should be able to counter it.

So is it true? If, for example, we banned all guns, obviously law abiding citizens would turn in their weapons because they are law abiding. But what about all the non-law abiding criminals? Would they turn in their guns? I don’t have the conclusive answer to that question because that would require us to actually enact a gun ban and see what happens (see “Why Banning Guns Would Save Thousands of Lives”).

But that doesn’t mean gun control advocates should just give up on the point. One reason that immediately comes to mind is I think it is a mistake to generically say “criminals will still have them”. That is because the term “criminal” is broad and the distinction between which criminals would still have guns or not have them is an important one. If we banned guns, confiscated them, banned the sale and import of guns and ammunition, then it would take quite a bit of resources for someone to get a weapon and ammunition.

By way of example, plenty of nations around the world have strict guns laws, but at least according to Hollywood movies and popular opinion, organized crime still have them. Assuming for the sake of argument that would be true here as well, doesn’t that still make a gun ban a good idea? If a gun ban will keep guns out of the hands of everyone, including common street thugs but not including organized crime, wouldn’t that still reduce unnecessary deaths and suffering?

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