Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Relying on Worthless Studies

E.J. Dionne, not the brightest bulb in the political pundit Marquee sign, is deep into the liberal group think: 'do something, do anything', about school shootings. Arm well trained teachers is not on his horizon. Here is his piece today. Let's take a closer look.

But it is a straight-out lie to assert that stronger gun laws make no difference. Here is the conclusion of a study released in August by National Journal: "The states that impose the most restrictions on gun users also have the lowest rates of gun-related deaths, while states with fewer regulations typically have a much higher death rate from guns."

The National Journal study is pretty much worthless. Why? Because it includes suicides in the number of "gun-related deaths" when the problem gun control addresses is gun homicides. Liberals are not bothered by suicides. They pass laws to make suicide easier to get done, for God's sake. And there are differentials in gun suicides per state just as there are differentials in gun homicides per state. Gun control alone probably has very little to do with the differential rates for suicides. What matters to the issue of what law to pass to stop gun homicides is whether gun control causes low gun homicide rates. The NJ study rated states with a letter grade (A through F) for their gun control laws and then charted the gun deaths (suicide, accidental and homicide) and, mirable dictu, got low rates for the few As they awarded.

Let's just look at gun homicide numbers per 100,000 per state. There are 9 states with a gun homicide less than 1. They are:

New Hampshire   .4
South Dakota       .4
Hawaii                 .4
Iowa                     .6
North Dakota       .6
Vermont              .8
Montana              .9
Maine                  .9
Idaho                   .9

How did these low gun homicide rate states do on the grade for gun control law excellence. Well, 6 of the 9 got Fs. New Hampshire got a D-. Iowa got a C-. Hawaii got the only good grade, a B+. So no, an emphatic no, the most restrictions on guns did not cause low gun homicide rates.

Let's look at the high end. These 6 states had the highest rates of gun homicides, all above 4 per 100,000:

Lousiana                 7.7
South Carolina       4.7
Missouri                 4.5
Maryland                4.5
Michigan                4.4
Georgia                  4.1

And let me add that the District of Columbia, which has the most obnoxious gun control laws in America, and probably would have gotten an A+ in the study, has the highest rate by a mile at 12.5. That's refutation of the NJ study's conclusion right there.

Of these strata of shame states 4 have Fs. Maryland has an A-. Michigan has a C.

How about the next tier, the states with homicide rates above 3 but below 4. They are:

Arkansas             3.7
Delaware             3.6
Indiana                3.6
Tennessee            3.4
New Jersey          3.3
North Carolina    3.2
California            3.2
Nevada               3.1

Of these nothing to write home about strata of states, 4 have Fs. California and New Jersey both have an A-. Delaware has a B-. Indiana has a D-.

There is no correlation whatsoever between the most gun control and the least gun homicide rate so no, E.J., it is not a lie of any type to say stronger gun laws make no difference regarding gun homicides. They don't. DC has the strongest gun laws and the highest rate, by far, of gun homicides. Three of the four A- states have very high rates of gun homicides.

There's more wrong about this study than including suicide numbers. There's the not including some states for low number of gun homicides. Really. Here's Hans Bader on the subject.

[I]n its discussions of “Concealed Carry” and “Background Checks,” the National Journal deletes these states from its charts comparing pro-gun and anti-gun states by “Gun-related homicides per 100,000 people, by state (2013).” It deletes Vermont, South Dakota, Maine, and 8 other states (6 of which have few gun regulations) from each chart, claiming that these states had “too few homicides to calculate a reliable rate.” 9 of the 11 states excluded broadly allow concealed carry and do not impose additional background-check requirements beyond those contained in federal law. But the National Journal deliberately excluded those states, writing, “In 2013, Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming had too few homicides to calculate a reliable rate.”

It is truly bizarre to exclude the states with the fewest gun deaths from an article about what states have “the fewest gun deaths.” This is an egregious act of cherry-picking.

Here is another not exactly true statement from E.J.:

After a psychologically disturbed man killed 35 people in Tasmania, Howard championed state bans on the ownership, possession and sale of all automatic and semiautomatic weapons by Australia's states along with a federal ban on their importation. He also sponsored a gun buy-back scheme that got 700,000 guns -- the statistical equivalent of 40 million in the U.S. -- off the streets and destroyed. "Few Australians would deny that their country is safer today as a consequence of gun control," Howard wrote in The New York Times shortly after the Newtown killings.

About the 'being safer' through gun control, things are not as rosey as former PM John Howard asserts. Gun suicide numbers dropped but total number of suicides briefly dipped and then rose past the numbers before the gun control as people chose different ways to off themselves (hanging became more popular). Gun homicides jumped up but then declined, as they had been steadily doing before the gun ban; but what about rapes, assaults and robberies? Up, down, the same? And how about the average Bruce and Sheila down under? Do they feel safer now?

Following the gun control in 1996, which the left so lauds, robbery rates in Australia nearly doubled for the next five years but then declined slowly. Rape stayed the same for a few years but then bumped up about 15% for 12 years but now is about the same again. That's a horrible price to pay for negligible changes in the gun homicide rate. The current rape rate in Australia is now 88 per 100,000. Here in America the rate is 26.6. By all means let's follow Australia's path of disarming women. (sarcasm).


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