Robert VerBruggen writes:
In a new Voxsplainer on gun violence, Dylan Matthews claims:
Protestations of gun rights supporters aside, public health researchers who study firearms generally agree that increased firearm ownership rates are associated with higher rates of homicide. … Developed countries with more guns generally have more homicide; states within the US with more guns have more homicide…
The two assertions at the end are not true, and the first sentence explains why: If you want to give a good account of a debate about gun statistics, you don’t treat the consensus of “public health researchers” as gospel. The field is notorious for its anti-gun bias, and there’s a whole literature of work outside of it.
It’s true (as Matthews notes) that there are some studies showing guns to be associated with increased homicide once other factors have been statistically “controlled” (a highly subjective process that can be manipulated, even subconsciously, to make the data say whatever the researcher wants them to say). But there is no simple relationship between gun ownership and homicide rates as such, either among developed countries or among states in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »
Ronald Bailey reports: Quinnipiac University economist Mark Gius has published a new study, “An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates,” in the journal Applied Economics Letters. From the abstract:
The purpose of the present study is to determine the effects of state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons laws on state-level murder rates. Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. The results of this study are consistent with some prior research in this area, most notably Lott and Mustard (1997).
For more background: The most recent Reason-Rupe poll reports that 63 percent of Americans don’t believe that stricter gun laws would keep weapons out of the hands of criminals.
Awr Hawkins writes: Since 1998, John Lott‘s seminal work More Guns, Less Crime has been used to show that areas with the highest gun ownership in America experience the least crime on a per capita basis.
It now appears that what Lott discovered as true for the U.S.A. is true for the world as well as.
Delusional Guardian Op-Ed Writer Plots Fantasy Invasion of U.S.A., Under Guise of ‘Humanitarian Emergency’, Begs U.N. SupportPosted: September 22, 2013
American gun use is out of control. Shouldn’t the world intervene?
Perhaps still upset by the anti-Monarchial outcome of the Revolutionary War, in a breathlessly-sincere royal snit fit, The Guardian Observer’s Henry Porter reveals how deeply alarmed he is about America’s out-of-control “gun” problem, and calls upon civilized world powers to mount an intervention! ‘America, come to your senses, and impose much stricter gun-control measures! ‘ appears to be his prescription. Even though the evidence proves stricter gun control laws don’t work, they don’t reduce murder rates, and in fact may increase violent crime rates–or as Cam Edwards said: “If gun control laws worked, Chicago would be Mayberry“–alas, the former colonists are just a little too wild for Porter’s delicate sensibliites. Using the same misleading statistics all pro-control activists like to repeat, Porter whips up a righteous fury.
Revealingly, Porter’s original article mistakenly said that Edward Kennedy was shot in 1968. This has since been corrected. If this is any indication of the author’s grasp of basic historical facts, the reader will know what to expect. We hope some of his other errors are corrected soon, too.
Example: reference to this study “high gun ownership makes countries less safe, study finds” — but when you get to the conclusion, it weasels out with “Although correlation is not the same as causation, it seems conceivable that abundant gun availability facilitates firearm-related deaths…” (note: studies such as this intentionally make no distinction between homicides and suicides, masking them beneath the singular term “gun deaths’, to enable the less observant reader to more easily conclude that each death represents a violent murder) Perhaps Porter should take note of the more recent Harvard Gun Study, which, like all credible studies on the subject, concludes that Gun Bans Don’t Reduce the Murder Rate.