Why Most Economists Oppose Gun Control Laws
From the Mises Institute:
We see car bombings in the news almost every day, but mass shootings are so rare that we remember them all. We remember the Columbine shooting, and we will remember the Virginia Tech shooting. Why do we remember these things? Because they are so rare! However, we don't remember how many people were killed in Iraq this week, or last week, or the week before. Why not? Because there are so many car bombings that we are nearly immune to news of them. Mass shootings are extremely rare, which makes them news.
However much some people might yearn for gun control, it seems unlikely that it would have prevented Cho from achieving his ends. He had substitutes available (like a car bomb), he had more than one means available to achieve his ends, and he plotted long enough to hit upon other means — especially since those other means are described in detail on TV, in the newspapers, and on the Internet every day.
Economists recognize the relationship between means and ends, including the role played by substitutes. Economists understand that when government restricts one market, consumers merely move into another market, and when government tries to foreclose one means, individuals will simply shift into other means to achieve the same ends.