“Prohibitions” – There is much to recommend a scientific research publication that covers topics from drug-use to boxing, from firearms to the nexus of alcohol-prostitution-and-pornography, and even includes Advertising along with the subject of human body-parts for transplantation.
The ‘nanny state’ has expanded in recent years. Politicians and bureaucrats have increasingly sought to restrict what individuals are permitted to do with their own bodies on their own property. Prohibitions is a corrective to the prevailing support for such authoritarianism.
This collection examines the outlawing of the manufacture, distribution, sale or provision of particular goods and services by consenting adults. It begins with an overview of the economics of prohibition and subsequently analyses particular prohibition issues including gambling, prostitution, recreational drugs and trade in body parts.
The authors find that in most cases prohibition imposes significant costs on individuals and society as a whole and produces few benefits in return. Prohibition places markets into the hands of criminal enterprises and criminalises people who would not otherwise come into conflict with the law. It makes risky behaviour even more risky, increases public ignorance and often encourages the behaviour it seeks to prevent. Given the substantial costs and minimal benefits, it is clear that prohibition is bad public policy.
Students of firearm legislation maybe particularly interested in the chapter on firearms which states (p. 110):
This review of violent crime trends in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada found that in the years following the introduction of British-style gun laws, despite massive increases in governmental bureaucracy, total homicide rates either increased or remained stable. Similar trends were observed in total violent crime. Importantly, in not one of these countries did the new gun laws appear to result in a decrease in total homicide rates despite the enormous costs to taxpayers. The situation is even clearer in the Republic of Ireland and Jamaica, where violent crime, particularly murder, became much worse after the bans in both countries. Clearly, the factors driving the increasing rates of violent crime, for example organised crime or terrorism, were not curtailed by British-style gun laws.
The failure of British-style firearm laws to influence the total homicide rate in any of the jurisdictions examined here is suggestive but not conclusive. The causal link remains unproven. The British Home Office argues that crime would have increased even more rapidly had the gun laws not been imposed. That explanation is problematic, given the failure of British-style gun laws in other countries.
These trends contrast with the situation in the United States, where there was an impressive drop in the American homicide and violent crime rates…
Whatever the reason, the upshot is that violent crime in the USA, and homicide in particular, has plummeted over the past fifteen years.27 This chapter merely scratches the surface in attempting to understand the link between firearm laws and crime rates. But the study corroborates American research that has been unable to identify any gun law that had reduced violent crime, suicide or gun accidents (Hahn et al., 2003; Wellford et al., 2004).