Gun Ban or better law enforcement and police visibility?
What prevents criminals from committing crimes? Is it More laws? Increasing penalties? Or Gun bans? By their very nature, criminals are criminals because they do not follow the laws or rules. That is why criminals are also called "law breakers." By definition they break the law.
The deterrent effect of increasing penalties and more laws has long been discredited. More laws do not deter the commission of crime. It is the act of apprehending and jailing criminals which deters them from committing crime. The most strict laws in the world will never prevent the commission of crimes if there is no effective enforcement of these laws.
There are more than enough penal laws which punish the commission of crimes. But if the police are not able to properly enforce these laws, then these laws simply are a worthless piece of paper. From 1993 when the death penalty was re-imposed up to 2004 when it was finally repealed, there was no change in the crime rate or the propensity of criminals to commit so-called "henious" crimes, which went on unabated during that period. The current penalty for murder is life imprisonment (reduced from death), but this statute has not detererred criminals from still committing murder with impunity. We note the recent Maguindanao massacre wherein 57 innocent people were lined-up and shot to death.
In the same manner, so-called gun bans are merely fancy words on paper. In reality, criminals being what they are, law breakers, do not respect nor follow gun bans. They still are able to obtain and use illegal firearms. As can be seen from the recent "total gun ban" in the Philippines, more than 730 people were shot and among these 520 were killed (as of 31 May 2010). The theory behind the gun ban was that a total gun ban would have prevented criminal acts of gun violence. But in reality, what had happened was that the gun ban did not stop criminals from carrying and using their unlicensed firearms in defiance of the gun ban, whereas ordinary law abiding citizens who did obey the gun ban, were left helpless and defenseless against these lawless elements.
Greater police visibility is likewise an alternative to gun ban. If only the police would maintain a visible presence in public, instead of ensconcing themselves in their camps, then perhaps the criminals would be less prone to committing crimes in their presence. The threat and assurance that they would be caught, is in itself enough reason for criminals to desist from committing crimes. Thus, the police beat or patrol are not simple routine jobs. Rather they are proactive means of fighting crime before it happens, not after. In other words, the more we make it less inviting for criminals to commit crimes, the less propensity there is for them to make the decision to push through and actually commit the crime.