penquin wrote:Always hard to predict the future, but we can look at what happened to Kennesaw, GA.
In 1982 they passed a law similar to the one Nelson just enacted. By 2005, their overall crime rate had dropped by 50%, with a slight uptick since then.
I just looked at the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for Kennesaw, GA. They only have data back to 1985, and a few years are missing. But ... it's true. The overall crime rate (property + violent crimes) fell by about 50%, or more, from 1985 to 2010.
On the other hand, that's true for a lot of other places that didn't
start mandating gun ownership. In general, crime rates in the US have dropped by a lot
over that time period (I think the evidence is overwhelming that a lot of the decrease is due to the phaseout of lead in gasoline, paint, etc., but that's another story
...) So maybe Kennesaw's crime decrease isn't all that impressive afterall.
But on the third hand (huh?) my impression is that the decrease in crime rates has been a bit slower in the South than in the rest of the US. In fact, Georgia as a whole has seen its crime drop by significantly less than 50%, so Kennesaw's 50% decrease is more impressive when you compare it to the rest of its region instead of to the US as a whole.
Also, Kennesaw's population has increased by about 400% since the mid-80s, and in general crime rates increase as population increases, at least within a given region. So one would expect Kennesaw's crime rate to have increased (or at least not decreased as much), which again makes the actual drop in the crime rate more impressive.
On the fourth hand (we're half-way to an octopus here, folks) it's not clear to me how much effect Kennesaw's gun rule actually had. My guess is that most of the people who wanted to own guns before the rule passed already did, and those who don't want to probably just ignored it (the law is probably unenforceable and as far as I know the city has never tried to enforce it). So trying to interpret changes in the local crime rate as being informative about the effects of increased gun ownership is probably pointless.
Bottom line: overall, the crime drop in Kennesaw is real, and moderately impressive, though lots of other places around the US have experienced similar drops in the crime rate. And these kinds of laws probably don't have much effect, on either actual gun ownership rates or on crime rates, in either direction. At least that's my take on it.