Here Are 8 Stubborn Facts on the Drug War in America

The reason for my unusual title will quickly become evident.

Since the horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead, some conservatives have compromised on the issue of gun control. That should come as no surprise since some conservatives compromise what little principles they have on a regular basis. Many conservatives, however, have been resolute in their defense of gun freedom in spite of the ferocious Democrat, liberal, and progressive onslaught—including some conservatives at the Heritage Foundation.

The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. It claims to be the nation’s “largest, most broadly-supported conservative research and educational institution” and “the bastion of the American conservative movement” since its founding in 1973. Its mission is to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”

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I have sometimes criticized Heritage for its hypocrisy and support of the welfare/warfare state, but have also commended the organization for its valuable studies on free trade and the free market and critiques of the minimum wage, government regulations, welfare programs, and Obamacare.

I come now to do both.

In a recent article titled “Here Are 8 Stubborn Facts on Gun Violence in America,” two Heritage writers—John G. Malcolm, director of Heritage’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, and Amy Swearer, a visiting legal fellow at the Meese Center—“supply facts so that policymakers and professionals can fashion solutions based on objective data rather than well-intended but misguided emotional fixes.”

Here are their “eight stubborn facts to keep in mind about gun violence in America”:

  1. Violent crime is down and has been on the decline for decades.
  2. The principal public safety concerns with respect to guns are suicides and illegally owned handguns, not mass shootings.
  3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.
  4. Gun-related murders are carried out by a predictable pool of people.
  5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.
  6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.
  7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.
  8. Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.

Each fact “is firmly based on empirical data.” For example: “A person is more likely to be bludgeoned to death with a blunt object or beaten to death with hands and feet than to be murdered with a rifle.” “Here Are 8 Stubborn Facts on Gun Violence in America” is a valuable resource on the subject of gun control.

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Just don’t look for a valuable resource from the Heritage Foundation on the subject of the drug war. Most conservatives throw the Constitution, federalism, limited government, individual liberty, property rights, personal responsibility, and the free market out the window when it comes to the federal government’s war on drugs.

So, since we can’t rely on the Heritage Foundation to supply us with facts about the drug war, here are 8 stubborn facts on the Drug War in America:

  1. The war on drugs is not authorized by the Constitution, just like the DEA, the national drug czar, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy are not authorized by the Constitution.
  2. The war on drugs is an illegitimate purpose of government.
  3. The war on drugs has failed to prevent drug abuse, keep drugs away from teenagers, reduce the demand for drugs, stop the violence associated with drugs, and help drug addicts get treatment.
  4. The war on drugs has financial and human costs that far exceed any of its supposed benefits.
  5. The war on drugs has ruined more lives than drugs themselves.
  6. The war on drugs has militarized and corrupted law enforcement.
  7. The war on drugs is senseless since alcohol and tobacco are far more deadly.
  8. The war on drugs is a war on personal freedom, private property, personal responsibility, individual liberty, personal and financial privacy, and the free market.

These facts on the Drug War are based on objective data found in my book The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom and the many articles on the subject that I have written since the book was published in 2012.

If they really believe in the Constitution, federalism, and limited government, conservatives should oppose drug control just as much as they oppose gun control.