Gun Control in Vietnam and why it works

I live in a somewhat slummy area of Hanoi. Most of our neighbors are very lower class and the houses are pretty much thrown together. We always lock our doors at night or whenever we leave because a break in may indeed occur. However there is one thing I am never worried about, gun violence. I would actually extend this to armed crime of any kind. This is quite different from America indeed, there was more than one occasion when I was riding the ā€œLā€ in Chicago last summer when I would have felt safer if I were armed. Even Ann Arbor has a handful of armed robberies every year.

Gun laws are very strict in Vietnam, if you get caught with a gun, you go to jail. I have only seen two guns that were owned by civilians here and that was deep in the northern mountains. Here I am with one of the guns.


This gun was a flint lock variety and over 100 years old. I highly doubt the thing is very accurate over 10 yards, but the family still had to keep it hidden because if it was found by authorities, they would have gone to prison.

As many of you know, I am of the firm belief that gun control in the US is a failed cause. Anyone who has any doubts about this, please look at the south side of Chicago, Detroit, DC or any other large city that has strict gun laws. The south side even has a ban on handguns, though you wouldn’t know it with all the kids getting murdered by gangbangers. There are two reasons why gun control won’t work in the US (and neither one has to do with the 2nd amendment, but since few of our politicians seem to care about the constitution anyway, the point is really moot), 1) there exists a thriving black market for guns in the US that will not go away even if all guns are banned for civilian use, and 2) the justice system in America is screwed up to the point that enforcing gun laws correctly is nearly impossible.

The latter point is something I want to expand on. In Vietnam, justice is swift and merciless. If you commit a crime, and are caught, you will be in prison within the month. If a cop says you did something, that is that and the cops can’t be found to have handled evidence wrong. So unless OJ bribed someone, he would have been guilty. Part of this swiftness is also due to the lack of frivolous lawsuits tying up the system, most people here don’t know what the hell a lawsuit is. Granted, if you are actually innocent, you are pretty much screwed, but the fact remains, the kind of crime that exists in America does not exist here. The fact also remains that in the US, for every one accused person that is innocent, there are at least 100 who are guilty.

The gun crimes that do occur in Vietnam also quite unlike the ones that occur in the US. In Vietnam it is usually rich people killing rich people, not poor people killing poor people. Why is it that way? I am not really sure, it may be because rich people feel they will be able to bribe someone if they get caught, and poor people think it is too big of a risk, especially considering there are huge incentives for turning someone in (you usually get some kind of kickback for your information).

Something that I am slowly learning is that ideology blinds people and stops ideas from being fully realized. Here is a great example of how gun control actually works, but liberals in America will never promote this model because in order for it to work, all the laws that they have enacted in the name of keeping innocent people out of prison would have to be destroyed. Those on the right would be opposed to this model because it takes away their guns, yet they still stand up for police officers who use excessive force and complain about crime in the inner cities being out of control. Libertarian folk will be against this model because they actually do read the constitution and will say this model is a violation of liberty all around, but what they cannot say is that it doesn’t work.

While I certainly sympathize with the libertarians on this issue, I also like living in a big city without worrying about a gun getting stuck in my face. So I guess I really don’t mind how they do business here.


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