I posted an article about gun control and violent crime. I said there was no correlation between the rate of violent crime and state laws restricting gun ownership. That article came out on October 4th.
On October 6th, Professor Eugene Volokh wrote that there is “Zero Correlation Between State Homicide Rate and State Gun Laws”. He writes in the Washington Post.
“But since people have been talking about simple two-variable correlations between gun laws and crime, I thought it would be helpful to note this correlation — or, rather, absence of correlation.”
Rob- Here is a thought experiment for you. Do you think the media would be chanting for more “gun-free zones” if the murderers were attacking newsrooms rather than schools? I think they would start carrying at work.
Nolte- Strictly for partisan political purposes, the media is telling America that unless the federal government passes stricter gun control laws, these school shootings will continue. Other than fuzzy lip service about mental health, the media does not allow any other solution to the next school shooting to become part of our National Conversation.
If over the last few years 12 newsrooms had been targeted by mass shooters, you can bet your life CNN and MSNBC and The Washington Post and your local newspaper and radio station would be armoring up with effective security protocols and trained good guys with guns.
There have been a lot of claims thrown around after the murders at the Umpqua Community College in Oregon. President Obama and the anti-rights groups have been quick to call for more firearms prohibitions, more gun control laws. I wondered if “gun control” works. I looked at the data, and I’d say “gun control” fails.
I put the term “gun control” in quotes for a reason. There are some 23 thousand gun control laws. I doubt that each and every gun control law is equally effective at reducing crime. I don’t know how to weight the importance of each law. I also don’t know how to compare similar laws between states. For example, is hunter education a part of “gun control”, and is it as effective as “mandatory waiting periods” in reducing violent crime? I appealed to the experts to answer that question.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence issues a scorecard each year. They rate the gun prohibitions in each state. I used their system to put the states in order from strict gun laws to lax gun laws. The data is from their state scorecards for the end of 2013. I used FBI crime data from 2012 since it takes time for new laws to change the crime rate. It seemed unfair to judge the effectiveness of a law that had been put in place that same year.
What should we expect to see from the data? If gun control worked, we would see a decrease in criminal violence in the states where criminals gave up their guns due to strict gun control laws, and an increase in crime where gun control laws were lax. If gun control really made a difference, then we could predict the crime rate based on the gun control laws. The graph should look something like this.
What would the data look like if gun control was ineffective? If criminals didn’t care about gun laws and the states were otherwise very similar, then we would see very similar rates of violence in each state. That says gun control is not a real factor that determines the crime rate. Knowing how a state ranks in gun laws would not predict their crime rate at all. A statistician would say crime is not correlated with gun control.
Now let’s look at the real data. We don’t see results like my two examples. Instead, the rate of violent crime varies by a factor of about 6-to-1 between the different states. That means there are factors that influence the rate of crime. I put the states in order of their Brady rank and then plotted the rate of violent crime. In contrast to their claims, the Brady Campaign’s rank of gun control laws in each state has almost nothing to do with the rate of violent crime. You can’t predict a states crime rate if you know their gun control laws. For example, the states with the lowest and highest crime rates had similar scores by the Brady Campaign.
Maybe the effects of gun control are hidden. Maybe gun control works to control some violent crimes, but not others. I also looked at the rates of aggravated assault and forcible rape to see if they were effected by state gun laws. I put the states in order again and plotted their crime rates. The strictness of a state’s gun laws does not predict the rate of forcible rape or aggravated assault. Neither of those violent crimes shows a strong correlation with their ranking by the Brady Campaign.
What do these results tell us? The data tells us that the gun control laws as weighed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence do not control crime. Other laws and public practices might control crime. We see large differences from state to state. Whatever controls crime, it is not those gun laws.
We have seen laws and social trends change with time. Gun ownership has increased by over 60% since the mid 1990s. We would expect crime to rise if guns caused crime. In fact we see the opposite effect. According to FBI data, the rate of violent crime has fallen almost 50 percent over the same time period.
I’ve had anti-gun spokesmen tell me that gun control stopped crime and saved lives. Now that I’ve seen the data, I’d say gun control has very little effect on criminal violence. I’d say the anti-gun spokesman lied to me.
So did President Obama.
Chris Mintz is the brave army veteran who charged the Oregon college murderer yesterday. Chris was unarmed. He would have been expelled from school if he’d carried on campus. The administrators at Umpqua Community College barred students and staff from carrying their licensed firearms even if they have a permit. They disarmed the honest citizens like Chris. They did not disarm the murderer.
The college provided no physical security on the campus to ensure the safety of their disarmed students. None. There were neither security gates nor armed security guards patrolling the campus.
Oregon already has mandatory firearm registration. The murderer was a legal gun owner. Those gun laws failed to stop the murderer, but they stopped Chris from carrying on campus. Firearms prohibition passed by the Oregon legislature is dangerous. It made students more vulnerable, not less. Shame on the Oregon voters. You did this.
Thank you, Chris Mintz, for moving toward the gunfire.
We’ve had another multiple-victim murder in a gun-free zone. This one was on a college campus with one unarmed security guard. The murderer asked the victims to name their religion before he shot them. Early reports say the murder killed 9 people. Predictably, President Obama called for more gun control.. for us, but not for him.
-Former US Marshal Art Roderick says gunman at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College likely chose his target by knowing it was a “gun free zone.” Source: Former US Marshal: Umpqua Gunman Chose ‘Gun Free Facility’
My friend David Cole said “There is no such thing as a gun free zone”. Dave is right.
15 people were murdered in Chicago this last week. Did you hear cries of outrage over that?
The broad spectrum of gun-rights activists were at this years Gun Rights Policy Conference. The crowd who traveled to Phoenix Arizona are the same ones who stand up in court. They testify before the legislature. They also collect signatures at county fairs. Here they were sitting side by side. They are the leaders and the boots on the ground supporting the right of armed defense.
There was a lot of material for everyone. One of my friends who attended for the first time called it drinking from a fire hose. This conference is the fertilizer for the grass roots of self-defense activism. Here are the highlights.
• Professor John Lott reminded who needs self-defense. The inner city poor are the most likely victims of violence. They also face the highest fees and strictest regulations if they want to defend themselves with a firearm. They face the highest bureaucratic barriers to protect themselves at home and on the street. Areas like Watts and Compton in Los Angeles need concealed carry, not Hollywood with its gated communities. The Bowery needs concealed carry more than Manhattan.
• Rashad Gray spoke about the urban outreach program scheduled in Cleveland.
• Cheryl Todd and Carrie Lightfoot spoke about women in the gun culture. We see women in gun stores and training classes. We have women at the range but we need more women at the podium. We need more women testifying in front of the legislature and in front of civic groups.
• Jim Irvine talked about training hundreds of schoolteachers for armed self-defense. Let’s face it, school boards and school administrators are managers rather than pioneers. At first, the school board says they can’t try something new.. like armed defense of their students and staff. Then they meet a superintendent who already has armed staff in his school district. Next they send an observer to a training class. Then they send one teacher and a supervisor to take the training and report to the board. Typically, they send two teachers and a local trainer so they can build their own program. This is the creeping progress of common sense.
• Doug Ritter from Knife Rights talked about the 60 thousand honest citizens who are arrested each year in NYC for having a pocket knife. The good news is that a judge said the city has to defend those absurd laws.. after a four year court battle. Doug gave us the line, “All knives matter.”
• In the lobby, I heard “Give guns a chance.”
• The New York SAFE act disarmed the Amish because the Amish don’t have picture identification cards. Also, the Amish don’t go to court. They will now, or their friends will go for them.
• Lobbying- You go to your elected representative, and he calls you a special interest. Think about that for a minute. A special interest asks for money. As citizen-lobbyists for the right of self-defense, we ask the state to leave us alone. A politician is elected by 20 to 25 percent of the adult population.. at most. Contrast that with gun owners where half the homes in America have a gun. When you talk to your legislator, which of us is a special interest, and which one is truly defending the public interest?
• Bob Young from Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership talked about mental illness and violence. When they are treated, the mentally ill are less violent than the average population. When they are treated with medication, the mentally ill are less violent than the average population. It isn’t that the drugs make people violent. It is that we’re treating the violently mentally ill with drugs. It is the disease talking, not the medication. Psychiatrists can’t determine who will be violent.
• I also met more doctors who want to be able to protect themselves as they go to and from work. 10 percent of workplace violence happens in healthcare facilities.
• There are lots of gun rights groups preparing candidate information. Thank you, Firearms Coalition and Jeff Knox.
• AWR Hawkins received the journalist of the year award. He is in excellent company. Previous recipients were Emily Miller, David Codrea and David Workman.
• Mark Walters won the gun rights defender of the year award. Those are big shoes to fill. Otis McDonald received that award in 2011.
• Governor Jim Gilmore from Virginia was there. Governor Gilmore is running for President. There were about 200 armed citizens in the crowd as the governor spoke. There were no magnetometers or security staff patting us down as we entered the room. The governor was in the safest room in America.
800 people attended the conference, but we live-streamed the event. It is up on Youtube and I have the links here along with a list of speakers for each segment. Thank you to SAF and the sponsors for putting on the conference.
See you next year in Tampa, Florida at GRPC 2016.
I had the pleasure of sitting in with Mark Walters last Sunday on Armed American Radio. We were both in Phoenix for the Gun Rights Policy Conference, and Mark broadcast his show from a conference room in the hotel. I also got to sit next to Dave Workman as Mark did his recording. You can imagine there are quite a few comments whispered off air. Mark delivered the show with a straight face despite our clowning around behind the scenes.
I was on during the second hour and Dave Workman was on for the third hour. It was an easy conversation after coming from that great conference and recording face to face. We interviewed AWR Hawkings from Breitbart News. AWR was given the journalist of the year award at the conference. Mark Walters was awarded the gun rights defender of the year award. Both awards are well deserved. The links to that show are here.
Mark and I also talked last Wednesday on his weekday show. Give Mark a listen.