Obama wants to institute gun control laws. While this may seem sensible to those Americans who are naturally horrified by the mass shootings that seem to happen every other week in that wretched country, the reality (as usual) is much more complicated.

In Economics 101, there is a little thing called “law of demand and supply”. If there is a demand, there will be a supply. If demand is high and supply is low, prices go up. If demand is low and supply is high, prices go down.

Now, the government could not control the illegal sales of whiskey during the Prohibition, and it cannot contain the illegal sales of drugs today. For some reason, people think it can contain the illegal flow of guns. Maybe, but it’s not very likely.

Making guns illegal won’t make them disappear, it will only make them much more expensive, and it will benefit criminals at the expense of law-abiding citizens, since any otherwise law-abiding citizen that has a gun will become, in the eyes of the law, a criminal too.

Let’s examine the case of Brazil and compare it to the USA. The USA has 270 million guns and a homicide rate of 5.1 per 100.000 (according to Wikipedia). Brazil has about 20 million guns (data is sketchier), but a homicide rate of 21.1. Clearly, it’s not only the number of guns that matter in increasing or decreasing homicide, many other things must be taken into account. (In fact, in the last 30 years the US greatly reduced its homicide rates at the same time that the number of guns in circulation increased)

Besides, at least two thirds of Brazilian guns are deemed illegally owned, due to recent laws that maintain as strict control on legal guns, but don’t really confront the real problem, which is the illegal traffic of heavy arms. Local drug dealers have “Army-exclusive” rifles and grenades. Gun control doesn’t do much for those guys. Currently there are Brazilian gangs using dynamite to explode and rob banks, so it’s not like they are going to be affected by new laws.

America is not Latin America but it also is not Europe, where gun control may perhaps work. America is a traditional frontier land, and Americans love their guns. Outside of New York and Los Angeles, even a lot of Democrats have guns. It is interesting that the current most successful film in the US is “Django Unchained”, a violent film with a rate of one person being shoot every five minutes. Strangely enough, the same people who vibrate with every death in that movie probably claim for greater gun control.

They may institute gun control, but I don’t think that is the real problem. The problem is insane or evil people with guns, and yes, I’m in favor of taking guns away from that demographic, and also in favor of reducing the amount of violence seen in contemporary culture, but that’s probably not going to happen any time soon.