Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Simple Gun Math

"If someone wants to get a gun and shoot people, he'll (or she'll, though looking at the statistics this doesn't happen very often) do it regardless of how strict the gun laws are."

That's an argument often used against implementing stricter gun laws in this country. Even though just another 58 men and women with lives and friends and children and parents were killed for no obvious reason. With guns bought legally.

What if there were much stricter laws that would cause the price of a gun to rise from, let's say $100 today to $10,000. Assuming that you either have to obtain a license, pass numbers of tests, and get insurance, and take courses regularly to keep the license or buy the gun illegally. So, the average total cost of a gun would go up to $10,000. Plus, if you do buy a gun illegally, you add the risk of getting caught and send to prison. Let's say you could get up to 5 years in prison. And the chance of getting caught was 25%. Assuming that a year you spend not in prison is, let's say worth $100,000, we would get this:

Price of buying a gun today: $100 + 0x100,000x5 = $100

Price of buying a gun with stricter laws: $10,000 + 0.25x$100,000x5 = $135,000

Granted, this is very simplified and doesn't take into account a lot of different factors. But that's why I called it simple. I am just trying to show that the price for guns would increase and that the increase includes more factors than just the actual price tag.

Now, let's just say there are currently 1,000 people in the US who are contemplating to do a mass shooting. And 500,000 are planning to kill themselves with a gun. Each one of them is willing to risk something to do it. And let's assume for the potential mass shooters, that they are going to shoot themselves afterwards, just don't care what happens to them if they get caught, or that the "glory" of the deed offsets all punishment for them. That way, the only factors included in the price they're willing to pay is included in the equations above.

What if 90% of these 501,000 people are willing to risk $100 or more. That would result in 900 potential mass shooters out there and 450,000 suicides without stricter laws.

Only about 1% are willing to risk $135,000 and able to pay the actual price of the gun. That would leave us with 10 potential mass shooters and 5,000 suicides. Still a lot of wasted lives, but you see the difference.

Just a thought.

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