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A Simple Economic Question About Guns

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Dylan Aug 14 2019 at 8:32am Why would they?  I think we can make a large list of places they don’t/haven’t targeted yet, and it doesn’t seem particularly illuminating.  Why not dog shows? Or Pokemon conventions? Or yoga retreats? I think it first makes sense to classify what seem to be the basic motivations for mass shootings as far as we understand them.  I should note that I do my best to avoid much reporting on mass shootings, so completely possible I’ve missed something here, but I think we can broadly put motivations into 3 buckets. Animus towards a particular institution or set of people.  I think a lot (but not all) school shootings fall into this

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Dylan
Aug 14 2019 at 8:32am

Why would they?  I think we can make a large list of places they don’t/haven’t targeted yet, and it doesn’t seem particularly illuminating.  Why not dog shows? Or Pokemon conventions? Or yoga retreats?

I think it first makes sense to classify what seem to be the basic motivations for mass shootings as far as we understand them.  I should note that I do my best to avoid much reporting on mass shootings, so completely possible I’ve missed something here, but I think we can broadly put motivations into 3 buckets.

Animus towards a particular institution or set of people.  I think a lot (but not all) school shootings fall into this bucket, when they are by a current or former student or employee.  The goal seems to be striking back in some way against someone or something that is perceived to have harmed them in some way.  There is also the benefit that they are familiar with the target, and maybe even the response that can be expected.
Shootings that have some kind of political message associated with them and are rightfully classified as terrorism, domestic or otherwise.  In these cases sometimes the target may be specific (i.e. church, synagogue, gay nightclub) or it may be more general and just selected for a place where they can do maximum damage and cause the most terror.
More random killings, where the goal as much as we can tell just appears to be kill as many people as possible.

Target selection only seems like a particularly interesting issue for #3 and a subset of #2.  And, if your goal is to kill as many people as possible, it seems the sensible choice is a place where there are a lot of people together in close proximity and few exits.

Gun ranges and gun clubs, in my experience, generally don’t meet the lots of people criteria.  Sure, the fact that everyone there is armed, relatively well trained, and at a shooting range is likely to have a loaded gun in hand is a big negative, why would you choose a place like that when you have millions of better soft targets available?  But the implication (maybe not yours, but certainly of other people that have raised this question) that this translates to places where concealed carry is common doesn’t seem to hold.  Certainly the recent shooting in Walmart where many customers could be expected to be packing provides at least one data point that this isn’t the case, and I’m sure someone that is more tuned in to these events could probably list other examples.

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