Hey Drew, read this!

There goes Fountain's vote, damn it

There goes Fountain’s vote, damn it

Reader Publius sends in this link to a study from Harvard (Harvard!) on guns and violence, “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?  The conclusion of the authors: it would not. This wouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with Massachusetts’ own experience with strict gun laws which, enacted in 1998, were as severe as those just passed here in Connecticut and enacted with the same enthusiasm and hope for change. The reason proponents of Connecticut’s “common sense” laws maintained a deadly silence on the Massachusetts experiment was that those laws, while causing legal gun ownership to plummet, also saw murders almost double (65 in 1998, 122, 2011), armed robbery increase 20.7% and armed assaults rise 26.7%.

But enough about failed experiments of the past, what do these Harvard academics think now? Here are some excerpts:

So it would not appreciably raise violence if all law‐ abiding, responsible people had firearms because they are not the ones who rape, rob, or murder. By the same token, violent crime would not fall if guns were totally banned to civilians. As the respective examples of Luxembourg and Russia suggest individuals who commit violent crimes will either find guns despite severe controls or will find other weapons to use.

Startling as the foregoing may seem, it represents the cross‐national norm, not some bizarre departure from it. If the mantra “more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death” were true, broad based cross‐national comparisons should show that nations with higher gun ownership per capita consistently have more death. Nations with higher gun ownership rates, however, do not have higher murder or suicide rates than those with lower gun ownership. Indeed many high gun ownership nations have much lower murder rates. Consider, for example, the wide divergence in murder rates among Continental European nations with widely divergent gun ownership rates.

The non‐correlation between gun ownership and murder is reinforced by examination of statistics from larger numbers of nations across the developed world. Comparison of “homicide and suicide mortality data for thirty‐six nations (including the United States) for the period 1990–1995” to gun ownership levels showed “no significant (at the 5% level) association between gun ownership levels and the total homicide rate.” Consistent with this is a later European study of data from 21 nations in which “no significant correlations [of gun ownership levels] with total suicide or homicide rates were found.”

III. DO ORDINARY PEOPLE MURDER?

The “more guns equal more death” mantra seems plausible only when viewed through the rubric that murders mostly in‐ volve ordinary people who kill because they have access to a firearm when they get angry. If this were true, murder might well increase where people have ready access to firearms, but the available data provides no such correlation.

Thus both sides of the gun prohibition debate are likely wrong in viewing the availability of guns as a major factor in the incidence of murder in any particular society. Though many people may still cling to that belief, the historical, geographic, and demographic evidence explored in this Article provides a clear admonishment. Whether gun availability is viewed as a cause or as a mere coincidence, the long term macrocosmic evidence is that gun ownership spread widely throughout societies consistently correlates with stable or declining murder rates. Whether causative or not, the consistent international pattern is that more guns equal less murder and other violent crime. Even if one is inclined to think that gun availability is an important factor, the available international data cannot be squared with the mantra that more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death. Rather, if firearms availability does matter, the data consistently show that the way it matters is that more guns equal less violent crime. 

23 Comments

Filed under Right wing nut rantings

23 responses to “Hey Drew, read this!

  1. BigMike

    Not defending Drew at all.
    He’s a little windy weasel.

    But

    Hey, Chris:

    “Read THIS”

    http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/GHS-student-commits-suicide-after-first-day-of-4767997.php

    It’s still a problem Chris!!!!!!

    • Well if we’re in the recommended reading mode, try pages 690, 693 of the report I link to.

      Consider the data about European nations in Tables 5 and 6. Sweden, with over twice as much gun ownership as neighboring Germany and a third more gun suicide, nevertheless has the lower overall suicide rate. Greece has nearly three times more gun own‐ ership than the Czech Republic and somewhat more gun suicide, yet the overall Czech suicide rate is over 175% higher than the Greek rate. Spain has over 12 times more gun ownership than Po‐ land, yet the latter’s overall suicide rate is more than double the former’s. Tragically, Finland has over 14 times more gun owner‐ ship than neighboring Estonia, and a great deal more gun‐related suicide. Estonia, however, turns out to have a much higher suicide rate than Finland overall.

      There is simply no relationship evident between the extent of suicide and the extent of gun ownership. People do not commit suicide because they have guns available. In the absence of fire‐ arms, people who are inclined to commit suicide kill themselves some other way. Two examples seem as pertinent as they are poignant. The first concerns the 1980s increase in suicide among young American males, an increase that, although relatively mod‐ est, inspired perfervid denunciations of gun ownership. What these denunciations failed to mention was that suicide of teenagers and young adults was increasing throughout the entire industrialized world, regardless of gun availability, and often much more rapidly than in the United States. The only unusual aspect of suicide in the United States was that it involved guns. The irrelevancy of guns to the increase in American suicide is evident because sui‐ cide among English youth actually increased 10 times more sharply, with “car exhaust poisoning [being] the method of suicide used most often.” By omitting such facts, the articles blaming guns for increasing American suicide evaded the inconvenience of having to explain exactly what social benefit nations with few guns received from having their youth suicides occur in other ways.

      … Fijian women of Indian ancestry commit suicide without using guns, perhaps because guns are unavailable. About three‐ quarters of these women hang themselves, while virtually all the rest die from consuming the agricultural pesticide paraquat. The recommendation of the author whose article chronicles all these suicides is so myopic as to almost caricature the more guns equal more death mindset: to reduce suicide by Indian women, she recommends that the Fijian state stringently control paraquat.

      Guns are just one among numerous available deadly instruments. Thus, banning guns cannot reduce the amount of sui‐ cides. Such measures only reduce the number of suicides by firearms. Suicides committed in other ways increase to make up the difference. People do not commit suicide because they have guns available. They kill themselves for reasons they deem sufficient, and in the absence of firearms they just kill themselves in some other way.

      • BigMike

        We’ll never know if he would have.
        Guns are a lot tougher to screw up.

        Just load, bite and pull.

        There are tons of failed suicides with other measures.
        Sure there is that feeling of even lower failure (I can’t even kill myself)
        But I know plenty of people who have failed, and are sure happy they did.
        Alive and well and flourishing today.

  2. BigMike

    I said I know plenty, (3 to be exact) which is plenty enough for me.

  3. BigMike

    Is it the hunting Chris you can’t let go of?
    Maybe try fishing?

    Really tough to off a room full of competing realtors with a fly rod

    🙂

  4. Chief Scrotum

    Aren’t more folks hurt and killed by drunk drivers than guns?

    • I dug up those statistics and posted them here last winter when the gun control battle was waging but yes. 35,000 motor vehicle deaths,(aprox) majority of which involve alcohol use by at least one driver. Toss in deaths from alcoholism in general and alcohol causes more deaths by a factor of 10, or more. I also dug up the statistics for alcohol and suicide and regardless of the method (guns, bridges, etc.) alcohol is usually present. Then start in on domestic violence and you know where to start your “let’s make the world safe for everybody” campaign.

  5. Publius

    I can’t let go of the Second Amendment. Silly me, the Bill of Rights, #2 right after the freedom of speech, which I am exercising.

  6. JamesR

    Leftys are all in favor of suicide, as long as its “physicial assisted” right? So let’s just get an Affordable Care Act, IRS Oversight form, for them to fill out, and have stamped by their MD, and with their universal background checked weapon, everyone is happy!

  7. JamesR

    Since they passed concealed carry in Florida, over 900,000 people have been approved, and sure enough, “gun violence” has skyrocketed and JUST like the opponents predicted, every intersectional road rage incident has turned into “a wild west shoot out!” Oh wait, that didn’t happen. Never mind.

  8. Anonymous

    I really don’t see the need to make this child’s suicide into a political statement.

    • The post certainly didn’t start out that way (it was written before news of the poor boy’s death was public). Unfortunately, as we saw after Sandy Hook, people are only all-too-eager to turn horrible, sad events into political statements.

  9. Anonymous

    Where’s Marzullo’s screed against African American ghetto males between the ages of 15 – 44?

    Oh that’s right his party and their ideology created that problem so they would have clients, justification, purpose, and power.

  10. Marco

    I expect my comment will not be posted but here goes…

    This isn’t a Harvard study. It is a paper co-written by a pro-gun marketing professor (Mr. Mauser) and conservative think tank lawyer (Mr. Kates), neither of whom have anything to do with Harvard, which was published in a “student edited law review of conservative and libertarian legal scholarship”. Might want to mention these details…

    And, for what it’s worth, I do not think this paper would stand up to peer review.

  11. Republican

    Hi Chris,
    Not defending this Marzullo fella but he is a Democrat and we know his viewpoints on gun control. However Tesei and Dave “I vote exactly as my boss tells me ” Thies joined Marzullo in voting to join Mayors against illegal guns. Tesie and Theis publically came out against such proposed legislation and then flip flopped and joined Marzullo.