While laws that prohibit gun ownership would reduce crimes perpetrated by criminals, that benefit would be more than offset by the foregone opportunities for defensive gun use by victims of crime.
That's the proposition that will be debated at the next Soho Forum, a monthly debate series held at Manhattan's Subculture theater and moderated by journalist and economist Gene Epstein. The debates are Oxford-style, meaning that the audience votes before and after the speakers and the winner is the person who sways the most people in her direction. Reason is a proud to partner with The Soho Forum, which draws around 200 people to each event. Each live debate is filmed and released as a Reason video and podcast (full archive here).
Tickets to the live event cost between $12 and $24 and must be purchased online.
Here's more information on criminologist Gary Kleck, considered the country's foremost authority of the defensive use of guns, and Paul Helmke, the former president of The Brady Center/Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, which supports stricter gun control.
Gary Kleck is the Emeritus David J. Bordua Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University. His research has focused on the topics of the impact of firearms and gun control on violence, deterrence, and crime control. He is the author of Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, which won the 1993 Michael J. Hindelang Award of the American Society of Criminology. He also wrote Targeting Guns (1997) and, with Don B. Kates, Jr., The Great American Gun Debate (1997) and Armed (2001), and, with Brion Sever, Punishment and Crime (2017). His articles have been published in the American Sociological Review, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Law & Society Review, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, and many other journals.
Paul Helmke is the former president and CEO of the Brady Center/Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and three-term mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is currently a professor of practice at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and the founding director of the Civic Leaders Living-Learning Center in Bloomington. Helmke's professional interests include law and public policy, civic education and participation, mayoral and nonprofit leadership, urban issues, and gun control. His experience on gun control issues lands him frequent mentions and interviews in national news stories and programs. Helmke received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale University and a B.A. with highest distinction from Indiana University.
Here are details about the event. The ticket price includes a buffet of light fare and access to a cash bar.
From earlier this year, here's a Reason/Soho Forum debate about whether sex-offender registries should be abolished. Details on participants and vote results here.