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Epic Fail: New Study ‘Proves’ Link Between Weak Gun Laws and Gun Violence

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(Photo: John Locher / AP Images)

(Photo: John Locher / AP Images)

The Center for American Progress released a study last week that suggests a link between “tough” gun laws and a reduction in “gun violence.” Right on cue, the New York Times ran a story on the left-wing think tank’s findings, assuring its readers that “a growing body of evidence… supports the link between gun restrictions and a reduction in violence.” There’s just one problem: according to the researchers themselves, their findings don’t prove anything.

The study uses a third-party metric to assign each state a score based on the “strength” of its gun laws. It then considers rates of “gun violence” in those states using a variety of categories including homicides, suicides, accidental deaths, etc. After compiling the data, the study concludes that the ten states with the strongest gun laws have lower rates of “gun crime” than the ten states with the weakest laws.

And voila! Restrictive gun laws keep people from killing other people (and themselves) with guns.

Right?

Not exactly.

According to the researchers themselves, “there are an interconnected web of social and economic issues that can have an impact on rates of violence in a community, such as persistent poverty, lack of employment and educational opportunities, and a breakdown in the police-community relationship that imperils community safety.”

In other words, lots of factors affect how much violence a state experiences in a given year. Those factors would have to be considered in tandem with gun laws before any real conclusions could be drawn.

And the researchers admit as much. Hidden in a short paragraph towards the end of the study, they include this statement: “In this regard, correlation does not prove causation and this report does not conclude that gun violence is solely explained by weak gun laws. Nonetheless, a strong association, measured by the correlation coefficient, does suggest a potential causal relationship.”

A “potential causal relationship.” The Center for American Progress can’t say that strong gun laws lead to a reduction in crime because they simply don’t know. They’ve complied two sets of statistics and placed them together in the same report, but they haven’t managed to prove that one causes the other.

I’m not a statistician, so I’ll leave the technical analysis to someone who knows what they’re talking about. (I do have questions about how they determined which states have “strong” and “weak” gun laws, and why they didn’t consider the remaining 30 states between the extremes.) But even reading this report as a layman, I found so many backtracking and conditional statements that I had a hard time taking it seriously. The Center’s study strikes me as more of a political stunt than serious research, designed to fool people who don’t understand the difference between correlation and causation.

In any case, the principle still holds true: laws target the law-abiding. Criminals will carry loaded firearms whether state law permits them or not. The same holds true for universal background checks and “assault weapon” bans. Restricting the right to self-defense doesn’t make anyone safer—it simply makes the law-abiding more vulnerable to criminal action.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • ONTHE WALL October 25, 2016, 4:46 pm

    No matter what their study says all you have to do is go to the FBI internet site and look up the statistics for different cities and the number of legally owned firearms the cities have. In every city that has a high ownership of LEGAL firearms the number of crimes with or without firearms is always at least 75% lower than cities with high ownership of illegal firearms. Here is 1 glaring example. Go to The New York City Police Department internet site look up the tables for ALL violent crimes. Now make your own table of all violent crimes together then separate the crimes by race as do the Police what you find is this, in NYC between 87% and 93% of all violent crimes are committed by blacks and or hispanics. I ran the same statistics on a few other cities and I gave up because the figures for the cities with high crime rates are eerily similar.

  • BR549 October 21, 2016, 8:22 pm

    The REAL issue here, behind the actual gun violence, is what is causing it, and what it comes down to, time and time again, is the level of citizen disenfranchisement from the system as politicians spend their time padding their own nest instead of taking care of their constituents. These politicians are classic examples of individuals failing to believe in something larger than themselves, and the positions to which they have been entrusted by their voters wind up stealing their souls.

    Had these overpaid chair stuffers been doing their jobs, people in the lower echelons of society would be able to freely navigate upward towards a level of higher self-empoerment. Unfortunately, what we seeing today is an extension of the abandonment of the slaves after the Civil War. That was because the emancipation issue was an afterthought to the rich northern bankers; the War was always about economics and power; the slavery issue, not unlike invading Iraq, just gave the power politics of the moment some semblance of legitimacy.

    The REAL issue is that these “abandoned cells” within our societal host body have been forming festering boils for a long time, just waiting for that idiot brain to realize that something is wrong with how it is deciding to care for those cells which ultimately care for the brain. That “brain”, and I use that term loosely when referring to our politicians, is now faced with these cells going feral, so to speak and using whatever it takes to stay alive. Yet rather than address the REAL issues behind this massive difference in wealth and prosperity, our legislature, the courts, and what douchebag puppet has been decided to man the WH will continue to take an allopathic approach to this sickness; cutting off or poisoning the offending part instead of holistically recognizing how we are ALL in this body together. Only then will we be able to thwart the onslaught of the globalist invasion. This is why George Soros, David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, et all, have been so successful at carving this country up ……. because the members of ALL these “body parts” have felt too isolated to remember they were once a part of something much larger.

    It has been the legislature which has failed us the most in this regard.

    • ExNuke October 27, 2016, 10:43 pm

      Oh, they are trying to do something about it. HUD is trying to move more of them into YOUR neighborhood. Those malignant cells are coming soon to an area near you in the name of fairness and equality. After all you probably have better stuff than they can loot and burn in their own hoods.

  • BR549 October 21, 2016, 7:50 pm

    Not a whole lotta thinkin’ goin’ on in that so-called “Left Wing Think Tank”.

    • deanbob October 22, 2016, 1:22 pm

      BR,
      I disagree. They are constantly thinking of how they can disarm ‘the people’. For, despite thoughts to the contrary, those arms stand between the limited liberty we have today and the progressive desire for complete totalitarianism.

      • ExNuke October 27, 2016, 10:46 pm

        There is nothing Progressive about them except a self applied deceptive label. They are Repressives if they stand to gain more power or Regressives if they believe it is for their own good that they have to be controlled.

  • Larry October 21, 2016, 3:01 pm

    This is called cooking the books. Is anyone surprised that a liberal (leftist/progressive/Socialist) organization would arrive at these results?
    Trump/Pence 2016

  • Carl October 21, 2016, 12:22 pm

    Definitely a bogus study that over-reaches. Studies like this would not get published if they dealt with other topics because they are bad science and bad statistical assessment. When dealing with a multivariate problem, simple comparisons like this are not valid.
    Now, let’s look at States and Cities that have implemented stringent gun control measures. Nothing happens. The crime rates don’t change. This type of comparison is more relevant because it is closer to testing a hypothesis. One more thought – reducing crime reduces homicides involving firearms.

  • Will Drider October 17, 2016, 5:13 pm

    “and a breakdown in the police-community relationship that imperils community safety.” Look at the tip of the hat PC statement to BLM!

    What if this study was applied to States with strong and weak drug laws? Lawful people follow the law, dealers drug abusers continue their activties and the same social woes are the accepted excuse while PC initiatives neuter LE. More drug laws do absolutely nothing to deter the criminal activity. So whats the difference between gun and drug laws? Gun laws only impact law abiding citizens that comply with them. The never ending attack and chipping away Natural and Constitutional Rights will lead to noncompliance and likely resistance when the Government wants you to be their victim as well as aiding and abetting the armed criminals free reign.

  • Ross Walters October 17, 2016, 2:41 pm

    The anti-gun forces will manipulate data to support their agenda. No changing that.
    One way to ‘fight back’ may be to use their own dumb laws against them.
    In California ammo sellers are required to run NICS checks on purchasers. Other states are busy copying California’s laws.
    If virtually every gun owner/hunter/sportsman living in those states made it a practice to buy one box of ammo at least once per week it is doubtful the FBI could keep the NICS system operating with any degree of accuracy while keeping up with the volume.
    Sooner or later there would be so many questionable NICS requests they couldn’t resolve a fraction of them within the 3 day time limit. Remember, the FBI doesn’t know if the NICS request is for a gun purchase or simple ammo purchase. How many firearms would end up in the ‘wrong’ hands due to a dysfunctional NICS system with the SNAFU directly traceable to those states unreasonable ammo purchase laws? Even the liberal media would have trouble dodging the real cause of a mass murder at the hands of an unqualified NICS check recipient who was sold a gun due to an untimely NICS response by the FBI.
    I’m not advocating mass murder. Simply pointing out one way to make some of these liberal states laws backfire on them.

  • SuperG October 17, 2016, 12:15 pm

    I think the FBI stats pretty much tells the tale. When criminals are kept in prison, crime goes down. But singling out their weapon of choice does no sane individual any good, as they’ll use whatever is available at the time. Australia is the prime example of this, as when they disarmed everybody, knife crime skyrocketed. Notice the key component in either scenario is the operator of the inanimate object, and not the object itself.

    When the criminals know that the majority of the population is unarmed (California, NYC, New Jersey, etc), crime goes up in those areas. In my state of Oregon, crime is very low as the population is allowed to be armed. Except for Portland though, which is anti-gun, and their crime rate is higher. Still, when the criminals know that the likelihood that a citizen is armed is greater than not, they go elsewhere. Anecdotal proof, if you have ever watched America’s Most Wanted, more often than not, the wanted felon is usually thought to be on his way to California. The punishment there is light, and the population is disarmed.

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