This may be old news, since the study was published in 2005, and I’m just stumbling across it now, but imagine my surprise when I found this American Prosecutors Research Institute’s paper entitled “Drugs and Guns: Examining the Connection” by Paula Hoffman Wulff.

The entire paper reads as a treatise on why we need to decriminalize ASAP, because we will clearly see a dramatic decrease in gun violence literally as soon as we do. The papers thesis is that guns and violence are linked in many ways:

  1. The illegal drug trade is traditionally regulated by firearms violence.
  2. Firearms are used to protect shipments, intimidate competitors, collect or enforce debts, maintain turf, resolve disputes, and silence informants.
  3. Illegal drug purchasers use firearms as protection during drug transactions.

Note that these apply to illegal drug transactions, and obviously not to running to the pharmacy to pick up some Extra Strength Tylenol, which is not illegal. The illegality of the substance is what causes the gun connection. Then the paper continues:

Both buyers and sellers involved in simple possession justify their need to carry firearms as protection against being robbed…unable to report their grievances to law enforcement or seek relief in court, individuals involved in drug sales gone bad often view violence as the only means of recourse.

Makes complete sense to me. A well regulated and government sanctioned marijuana trade, for example, would have none of these problems. Business people will always have disputes that need arbirtration. Where better than a civil court of law to resolve these problems? There’s more:

Firearms have become an essential tool of protecting the drug trade….Unlike legitimate businesses, illegal drug dealers can not openly bid for sales regions or customers. Turf competition, whether for a street corner or a neighborhood, frequently becomes aggressive and is often regulated by the use or threatened use of firearms.

Well, I’m sold. Decriminalization is clearly the way to go. Read the rest of the paper, and you’ll find even more reasons to end this so called War on Drugs.  And kudos to the National District Attorneys Association, which funds the Prosecutors Research Institute, for finally starting to see the light…