Guns and drugs

Ilya Somin, at Volokh Conspiracy, nicely expands on Dan Kahan’s notion that gun violence could be reduced by legalizing drugs.

As an extra bonus, this approach to reducing gun violence doesn’t threaten anyone’s civil liberties or Second Amendment rights. It would actually increase protection for civil liberties by cutting back on the many abuses associated with the War on Drugs, such as bogus asset forfeitures and paramilitary police raids that often kill or injure innocent people, and the erosion of the Fourth Amendment. And, unlike stepped-up gun control or “zero tolerance” policies of the sort we got after Columbine, it would actually save the government a great deal of money by reducing expenditures on enforcement efforts and prisons. Drug legalization would also help promote family values in poor communities, which is both good in itself and might help reduce violence still further.

As a bonus at the link above, Ilya rebuts Mark Kleiman’s response.

It’s important to remind people that this doesn’t mean reducing gun violence is the reason to legalize — it is merely a potentially favorable side-effect of legalization.

Also in guns and drugs…

Mexican observers have wondered where all the desire for gun regulation was when Mexicans were dying.


A Dec. 17 editorial in the left-leaning daily La Jornada called proposals for tightening US gun regulations “hopeful,” but said it was “illuminating that the society of the neighboring country, shocked by the nearly 30 murders carried out [in Newtown], isn’t able to react, on the other hand, to the tens of thousands of homicides committed in Mexico in the past six years with arms sold in the US. Washington demands that Mexican authorities monitor and block the passage of illegal drugs to the north of the common border, but until now hasn’t shown the political will to proceed in the same way with the firearms, including high-caliber weapons, that proliferate in the Mexican market.” (LJ, Dec. 17)

“It is shocking how the debate over gun control in the wake of the Newtown massacre has avoided mentioning gun violence south of the border,” National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) professor John M. Ackerman wrote in the Huffington Post on Dec. 19. “The 20 children gunned down at [Newtown's] Sandy Hook Elementary School can now be added to the excruciating list of at least 1,200 North American children who have been violently killed since the beginning of the US-backed militarized ‘drug war’ in 2006.” Ackerman also criticized the US government’s failure to prosecute the British bank HSBC for allowing money laundering through its Mexican branch. “The body count will inevitably rise as banks will be able to continue to help drug cartels transfer money freely to purchase assault weapons in the United States without risk of criminal prosecution,” he wrote. (Huffington Post, Dec. 19)

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