Gun Control

Would Letting More People Carry Guns Reduce Crime?: Debate in NYC, 9/13

The next Reason/Soho Forum Debate pits criminologist Gary Kleck against former Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence President Paul Helmke.


Soho Forum

"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 up for debate at the next Reason/Soho Forum debate, which takes place in New York on Thursday, September 13. Tickets cost between $12 and $24 and must be purchased online.

Go here for details.

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.

The ticket price includes a buffet of light fare and access to a cash bar.

Cash bar opens at 5:45pm
Event starts at 6:30pm
Subculture Theater
45 Bleecker St
NY, 10012

Buy tickets.

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  1. Would Letting More People Carry Guns Reduce Crime?

    It lessens crimes where the victim is present as they can use a gun to protect themselves and their property.

    1. Public schools ground one lesson deep into my bones: Bullies don’;t pick on the strong, at least not a second time.

      1. I lost almost all schoolyard fights, but I never gave up, never surrendered or cried uncle. I remember one or two where I ended up just hanging on to the guy’s ankles and he finally stopped beating on me in disgust.

        For some reason, I didn’t get in many schoolyard fights. I think it was just too embarrassing to the bullies.

        1. That was a strategy, alright.

          1. I was too damned young to have a strategy. I do think I realized what was happening after the first or second time, but it was just being a kid who thought bullies were stupid and I wasn’t going to cave in.

          2. I had a navy chief, same sort of reaction. Guy was a waste of skin, sat around all day drinking coffee with his buddies, not doing a lick of work, not even filling out the simplest paperwork, getting in the way, and decided one day that I, on the night shift, was going to make him fresh coffee for the morning. I on the other hand, had already learned how the game worked, and made it like mud (gee, Chief, I don’t drink coffee, I don’t know what its’ supposed to taste like) or tea (gee, chief ….) and he finally realized he could either write me up for insubordination or stop pushing me to make coffee. Even the division officer thought he was an idiot, so he stopped pushing the coffee.

            I really hate bullies. Some kind of instinct going on there. I’m probably lucky to never have been mugged.

            1. Give me your lunch money, faggot.

        2. I lost almost all schoolyard fights, but I never gave up,

          So did I, until about 5th grade.
          We moved around so often, so I was always the new kid.

  2. Interesting debate, but irrelevant.
    The constitution has had this debate, and individual rights won. All that is required is a Supreme Court that can read, and a US Attorney willing to arrest and try politicians that conspire to violate the constitutional rights of the citizens.

    Whether you choose to use arms to defend your self does not affect your right to keep and bear those arms. I do not forfeit my free speech rights because I am not on a street corner screaming this instead of typing it poorly.

    1. True, but it takes popular opinion, and the will to push it, to make that happen.

  3. Good lord. Talk about hostile ground.

  4. How about this: for everyone except military and police – you know those who have been PROPERLY TRAINED – guns are illegal to own.

    Boom there goes your gun crime.

    1. OBL does the parody thing better.

    2. Amen – I can’t believe that people make this whole thing harder than it needs to be. Just pass laws against problematic things and problematic actions and the problems go away. Guns, drugs, crimes, abortions, gay marriages, Nazis who won’t bake cakes for gay marriages – make them illegal and that’s the end of that.

      1. “Guns, drugs, crimes, abortions, gay marriages, Nazis who won’t bake cakes for gay marriages – make them illegal and that’s the end of that.”

        You forgot burning anything with carbon in it, improper pronouns and the killing of innocent animals.

        Fucking Nazis!

    3. “Boom there goes your gun crime.”


    4. Sounds good, Crusty.
      Delete your account, and go to journalism school to get properly trained in posting, apply for your free speech license, get a background check, pay for fingerprinting, pay your fees, and if the local sheriff allows it, we will welcome you back into the fold and follow the new account that is in your true name stated on your license.


  5. >>While laws that prohibit gun ownership would reduce crimes perpetrated by criminals

    fake news. because nobody stole a motherfucking thing before guns.

  6. It necessarily lessens crime in that it makes carrying a gun no longer a criminal offense. They should probably use a word other than “crime” there. It’s like asking, “Will repealing laws against miscegenation lead to a decrease in interracial marriage crimes?”

    1. “Will repealing laws against miscegenation lead to a decrease in interracial marriage crimes?”


    2. Well, sort of. I’m sure there are a lot of people who don’t carry a gun because it is illegal who would if it were legal (or easier to get a permit).

      1. My problem is one of semantics, which are important when debating ideas. It assumes all criminal activity is bad. The land is littered with bad laws that have been discarded but at the time enacted made criminals of those who engaged in outlawed (now legal) activities.

        1. Yes, every law needs to be regularly scrutinized for conformance with truth, reality.

          To do that effectively, nonconformity with truth needs to be a crime.

          You want good laws, criminalize lying.

  7. I think more people carrying guns would initially lead to more crime but as Darwin comes into play the crime rate would begin to fall. “More crime” not necessarily due to the professional criminal class but to idiots who don’t understand the rules of lethal weapons and really shouldn’t be trusted with one. The “oops, my bad” excuse for shooting innocent people only applies to cops.

  8. I owned a gun since I was 10, a Stevens double barreled shotgun, .410 gauge. When it wasn’t in the field it lived in my closet.

    I’ve since acquired many more, and yet I’ve never shot myself or anyone else. In fact my neighbors all own guns and we somehow manage to not kill each other.

    If guns were the problem….

  9. I guess the reason for (re)posting this two days before the scheduled event is to bump it to the top of the article list.

    The original 29 Aug 2018 article and comments.

    This starts with a fallacy: “”While laws that prohibit gun ownership would reduce crimes perpetrated by criminals …”

    As the sunset of the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban approached, both the Centers for Disease Control and the National Research Council did reviews of academic research into impact of extant gun laws on criminal behavior and found no gun law with measurable impact on gun violence. I mean, academic research that would make it past the door of the American Society of Criminologists as a working paper, that would get published under academic subject code K42 impact of law on criminal behavior in a peer refereed academic journal. Not self-righteous crusader crap. not op-ed rhetoric, social justice warrior posturing, but serious research.

    What did the laws that prohibited alcohol or marijuana do?

    1. And

      1997 British Handgun Ban and British Murders and Robberies
      o Six years before the handgun ban (1991-1996):
      Total murders: 4,240, handgun murders: 176,
      Total robberies: 358,178, handgun robberies: 17,321.
      o Six years after the ban (1998-2003):
      Total murders: 5,103, handgun murders: 255,
      Total robberies: 576,218, handgun robberies: 17,047.

      Laws that prohibit guns reduce crimes perpetrated by criminals … really?

      1. It is not a choice of
        (a) prohibit gun ownership and reduce crimes perpetrated by criminals, but also reduce defensive gun use by victims of crime, or
        (b) not prohibit gun ownership by criminals and victims.

        It is a choice of (a) prohibiting legal gun ownership, which would not reduce crimes perpetrated by criminals with or without guns, but which would put potential victims who own guns for defensive use in the position of complying with or defying the prohibition.

        A Chronicle of the Rise of the British Criminal Armourer Class:
        “Home Office Research Study 298 Gun crime: the market in and use of illegal firearms” by Gavin Hales, Chris Lewis and Daniel Silverstone, Home Office Research Study 298, Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate December 2006.

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  11. Would letting more people carry find reduce crime?

    Not significantly, no.

    Even if you believe that there is some critical mass of armed civilians that would significantly reduce crime, we see that merely *permitting* civilians to carry does not do enough to reach that critical mass required to effect change.

    If you want to reduce crime through increased carry, it is not enough to allow it, you must actively encourage it.

    1. Or, you know, stop harassing (or shooting) people who do it. That might help.

  12. The debate is already lost when you relegate a inalienable right, the right to keep and bear arms by framing the question as a privilege, “Would Letting More People Carry Guns…”

  13. I think a good strategy is to focus on respecting and enforcing rights to ensure that more good people own and carry guns than bad.

    In general, the commission of crime results in forfeiting your rights. Like your liberty when you’re in jail.

    Therefore, the second amendment need not and should not ever apply to criminals.

    This requires legal background checks and making it a crime to trade guns without them.

    The other consideration must be training. Improper use of a gun is a public safety concern. All gun owners should have to pass a written and practical exam to demonstrate proficiency. People who wish to “carry” should pass regular situational testing to ensure they know and act according to the law.

    More guns is better only when they’re in the hands of good, trained people.

  14. The debate was scheduled 13 Sep 2018. What happened?

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