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Post Heller and gun crime

After Heller, an interesting thing happened:

The D.C. police department’s aggressive gun recovery efforts and the office of the attorney general’s coordinated emphasis on prosecuting gun-related crimes are showing strong results: In the past year, robberies with guns have decreased 12 percent; assaults with guns have decreased 14 percent; and overall violent crime has decreased by 5 percent in the District.

Golly, gun crime and overall violent crime went down. Police actually had to start finding criminals and putting them in jail.

Via triggerfinger, who says:

It looks like arresting criminals and putting them in jail works, and gun control doesn’t.

Who would have thought?

11 Responses to “Post Heller and gun crime”

  1. John Murdoch Says:

    Question: is there any evidence of, post-Heller, a law-abiding citizen defending him- or herself with firearms?

    The drop in crime robberies and violent crime would seem to coincide with the tangible threat of an armed victim–but most criminals aren’t likely to focus on hypotheticals. “Based on the recent Supreme Court decision, perhaps we might re-focus our criminal endeavors…” doesn’t sound quite as plausible as “you hear what happened to Murphy? Broke in on a place and the lady shot him….”

    Once a few of those stories sink into the collective consciousness of the hoodlums you would expect to see violent crime fall. (They’re hoods–but they’re still rational economic actors.)

    Have any such events actually occurred?

  2. Cemetery's Gun Blob Says:


    Golly is right.

    Who woulda thunk?

  3. Thomas B. Says:

    Murdoch; You are correct in that little evidence of a victim defending him/herself with a gun has showed up.

    However, as many military and police folks have told me, “It’s not about creating evidence-it’s about making sure that no evidence needs to be created”.

    Basically, the reason there is “no” evidence is that there have been very few, if any, cases where a criminal was stupid/drunk/deranged enough to continue attacking a gun-wielding, competent citizen.

    Frankly, I prefer it this way, at least from a proffesional standpoint. It’s going to take a few more repetitions of stupid gun-control laws before the point gets across (I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first read the actual ban), but this is an awesome first step, especially since the gun-crime drop happened so rapidly.

  4. Barium Enema Obama Says:

    It’s not the effects of Heller. It’s because president Bambi is in charge now, and he’s giving out hugs instead of drugs! Hopey Changey.

  5. SoupOrMan Says:

    Do such incidents have to occur to make it directly responsible, or is the threat of a greater likelihood of occurrence enough? Rumor isn’t the best add-on to strategy but it can help bolster an image. I guess you could think of it as a little extra psychological warfare.

    The only other thing I can think of that has a similar preventative effect is traffic safety laws: even if you know a guy who knew a guy who got trapped in his burning vehicle due to a seat belt, using one still outweighs not using one in case of a collision. Sure you don’t expect to collide with someone else at the local posted speed limit, but the seat belt increases your chances of surviving most collisions. They’re not perfect analogues to one another, but they have preventative defense (or whatever lawyers would use for such a phrase) in common.

    DUI laws are also similar: if one drinks and drives and gets caught, that person is in a lot of trouble. If one breaks into a home (decides to drink and drive) then one may get shot (getting caught by the local constabulary). Regardless if it -will- happen or not, it’s a deterrent for a majority of drivers, and similarly criminals. Some will break the laws anyway. That’s what the traffic safety laws and the Heller decision are there to address. Like I said above, it’s not a perfect comparison.

  6. Mark Buehner Says:

    It’s fairly meaningless without examining the long term trend. On the other hand, the simple fact that DC hasn’t turned into Escape from New York pretty effectively demolishes the gun grabber argument, which is ultimately more important.

  7. TexasMarty Says:

    This is DC! They know how to get things done and repair things with a pencil. My bet is that most of the “improvement” is as a result of a new classification system where crimes that were once counted are no longer included. For example, “he said he had a gun but I didn’t see it,” used to be counted as a “gun” crime but no longer is.

  8. TriggerFinger Says:

    In all honesty I don’t think this drop in crime is necessarily statistically significant or caused by the results of the Heller case. There are too many conflating factors — including the change in enforcement tactics (probably the main one), possible seasonal variations, the presidential election, and lots more than I can think of offhand.

    I think it’s worth commenting on because it will be a long time before we get any real studies on the actual effect of Heller, and until then, this is something to point at every time someone tries to claim that the streets of (DC, Chicago, etc) will run red with blood if handguns are allowed.

  9. JIMV Says:

    The entire raison d’etre for any gun law is to reduce violent crime. If the law does not do what it was intended to do, why have it? Conversely, if a lack of law results in more freedom and does not result in higher violent crime, should we not embrace that concept?

  10. rasqual Says:

    The fun part for gun control logicians is this: If they continue arguing that gun control reduces crime (and liberalized gun laws increase crime), then they’d have to go with the clear implication of this reduction in crime: the baseline of gun crime had Heller not been decided as it wasa would have been far, far lower still, and it’s only worse than that because Heller was decided as it was.

    In other words, gun control advocates should be asked “Hey, what caused DC to become almost utopianly safe with regard to gun crime, inasmuch as had Heller not been decides as it was, these stats would look dramatically better still?”

    I mean, that IS their assertion, right? That liberalized gun laws are so terribly bad? I certainly wish ’em luck coming up with the explanation for all this, then.

  11. countertop Says:

    Measures focused on gun offenders are critical because studies show that gun offenders pose a high risk of recidivism, and their subsequent arrests are more likely to involve crimes of violence. Perhaps most significant is the finding that previous gun offenders are four times more likely to be arrested for homicide than other offenders.

    Remove “gun offender” and replace it with criminals – and I’d probably agree with Nickles.

    But of course, haven’t Republican’s been saying the same thing for years???? Why isn’t the ACLU going after this guy for . . . . the injustice of it all . . . . criticizing criminals.