Kevin Baker has posted another reply on his own blog. In all honesty there isn't a huge amount to see - it follows his normal practice of saying all the things that have been comprehensively debunked many times before, but saying them LOUDER!!!! (For the uninitiated, that's an affectionate tribute to one of his many delightful catchphrases.) The main gist is that it doesn't matter a damn that the UK with its strict gun control regime has a much lower homicide rate than the US, because the gap used to be wider still, but has "converged" even as successive British governments have introduced progressively more stringent restrictions on gun ownership. But just one problem (the same one as usual) - where is the remotest rational basis for believing, as Baker does, that this "convergence" has actually been caused by the changes in the law? Let's not forget that Baker's first proposition is that the huge difference in murder rates between our two countries can't possibly have anything to do with gun laws or levels of gun ownership, but must have everything to do with the vague, all-purpose explanation "culture". But, by contrast, he simultaneously believes that increases in the British homicide rate over the years can't possibly have anything whatever to do with "cultural" changes (of which there have of course been plenty), but must have absolutely everything to do with the strengthening of the gun legislation. That, as I've now pointed out umpteen times, is magical thinking on an industrial scale.
This is the true position :
Gun control legislation was at one time minimal in the UK, for the very good reason that there wasn't really a gun problem. Rates of gun ownership were always a tiny fraction of what they were in some other countries, especially the US. To listen to Baker's account of what happened, you'd think there was once a US-style gun free-for-all in Britain which coincided with a golden age of peace and harmony. Then those dastardly socialist politicians took all the legal guns away, and all hell broke loose. 'Fraid not, Kevin. Gun control has been progressively strengthened in an attempt not to reverse a former prevalence of gun ownership, but to maintain as far as possible the status quo of a society that is largely unarmed, and in which gun violence is a rarity. It's been like swimming against the tide, unfortunately, and the increasing number of illegal weapons has meant that the legislation has at times felt like damage limitation rather than a comprehensive solution. But the idea that the damage has not in fact been significantly limited, and that the problem would not now be much, much worse if the legislation had not been in place, simply doesn't stand up to the remotest scrutiny.
Now briefly to a couple of Kevin's random jibes -
"But hey! At least they're not killing each other with GUNS! Because somehow that makes a difference."
Kevin, this is really not a hard concept to understand, so just for you, I will try one more time to explain. You're correct that the weapon typically used to commit violence in a society wouldn't matter if the same number of people were going to die anyway, but I'm afraid that isn't the case. Self-evidently there are murders in Scotland (as there are in every country in the world), and those murders are largely carried out with weapons other than firearms, but they are also dramatically fewer in number than would be the case if more violent offenders were armed with guns. That is the relevance of a comparison between the homicide statistics in Arizona and Scotland, two jurisdictions with broadly similar population sizes, but very different rates of gun ownership.
"Back when I wrote What We Got Here is ... Failure to Communicate, I noted that Thomas Sowell pointed out one major difference between those who believe humans are perfectible and those like me who believe human nature doesn't change. Those who believe in human perfectibility believe in solutions. Those like me see trade-offs."
And I pointed out to you at the time that you were ascribing to me a belief in "human perfectibility" that I do not hold, but it seems you had your fingers firmly stuck in your ears on that day as well.
"Hey, maybe he's right. Maybe if the Scots had guns they would kill each other at astronomical rates. Given their obviously hyper-violent culture ...."
Now, the truly frightening thing is that you honestly believe that's a joke. I doubt it would exceed the astronomical US levels of gun murder, but by European standards we could well be facing carnage. Many a true word spoken in jest, Kevin. Still, maybe it wouldn't be so bad - as long as we had crack suicide squads of "young men with rocks" on every street corner, what harm could guns do us?