Every year the Brady Campaign to steal our Freedom (okay, they call themselves the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, but I call them as I see them) comes up with a “scorecard” of how well various states conform to their proposed “common sense gun laws.” The claim is that we need these “reasonable restrictions” in order to reduce crime and violence.
Well, some years ago I took the time to gather up the numbers on violent crime for the various States and their Brady Scores. Plug them into a spreadsheet and chart the results:
Notice something here? There’s no discernible trend of reduced violent crime with greater implementation of the Brady Campaign’s “wish list” either overall or for most of the individual violent crimes. While I originally did this some years ago the overall results have not noticeably changed.
The Brady Campaign keeps talking about “common sense gun regulation.” Yet one has to wonder what’s “common sense” about regulations that don’t do anything about the problem they are supposed to address, namely violence. If you look at the chart, you can see quite clearly that increased gun regulation has little, if any, effect on the commission/attempt of violent crime (NB: crimes that were stopped in progress would still be counted in these statistics so long as the attempt was reported to the police).
Now, I’m sure someone will grab onto the yellow triangles which do show a clear downward trend with increasing Brady score. However, that’s a classic example of a spurious correlation. Firearms are involved in only 6% of rape cases and the State to State difference in the rate is large enough that it must come from other causes. If anything, it illustrates how little “gun control” affects actual crime rates. Other factors are dominant.
If one crunches the numbers, one can see a very small negative correlation between Brady Score and violent crime–very small. However, many random data sets will also have correlations. The correlation is not “statistically significant” which means that we cannot tell with 95% probability that it’s due to anything other than the random variation in the data–i.e. it’s the smallest correlation that we can reliably say “there’s something there”, let alone being large enough to matter in any meaningful way to the chances of a person on the street meeting with violent crime. This correlation is not significant either statistically (the low bar) or practically (the high bar). The only one of those that has a “significant” (not expected by the random variations within the data) is the one for rape, but we’ve just disposed of there being a direct causal link in that one.
This, of course, is the point where gun control proponents come back with the claim that relaxed gun control doesn’t reduce the incidence of violent crime, and they’re correct that this data does not support such a contention (while not eliminating the possibility that other, more extensive analyses can support such a claim–such analyses are beyond the scope of this post). However, there is no need to show that. The burden of proof is on those who want to restrict individual rights and the data shows that their simply isn’t a justification for doing so.
Thus, the available evidence indicates what pretty I pretty much already knew–that Gun Control has no appreciable effect on violent crime. But in particular, that the Brady Bunch’s “common sense gun regulation” is worthless when it comes to crime control.
So how, you might ask do gun control proponents keep coming up with claims for the results of gun control? Well, leaving aside outright lying, there are a number of tricks they use. One is “gun violence” vs. violence. That is summed up in “would you rather they was pushed out of windows, little girl?” Instead of using a gun they use a knife, or poison, or a baseball bat. or gang up on an individual, or… The murdered person is still murdered, the robbery victim is still robbed, and the rape victim is still raped, just using different means. But that’s actually a small effect. The big one is including suicide victims as part of “gun violence”. You see the presence or absence of a gun has no bearing on whether a person is suicidal or not. But if a suicidal person has a gun they are more likely to use that (rather than jumping from a high place, stepping in front of a moving bus, taking poison, hanging, run their car in a closed garage, or any of a host of other ways a person may choose to end their life) than a person who doesn’t have a gun. So the more people who have guns, the greater number of the suicides that would happen anyway would use guns rather than other means.
It comes down to the simple fact that the justifications given for restricting private ownership of firearms, either in general or of some specific type, do not hold up under examination. While the average gun control supporter “on the street” is simply uncritically accepting what they are told by the Brady Campaign or other such groups, the people behind such groups know full well that their arguments are utter and complet nonsense.
In short, people, you’re being lied to.