by Craig Masters
From a source most democrat politicians trust more than any other document comes a serious international study on the relationship between restrictive gun laws and murder rates. The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (Vol.30, no.2) has published an exhaustive study by two criminologist, professors Don Kates and Gary Mauser. The study is especially insulting to Colorado democrat legislators who too often cite European countries as models for enacting socialist programs here in Colorado. Denver’s mayor is currently touting his fact sharing trip to the dope capital of mainland Europe to help Denver better develop the marijuana industry.
So this major study of murder and suicide rates which included most of Europe is a major loss to their already empty quiver of anti-gun talking points. But the study published by Harvard was nearly unreported compared to headlines given a report authored by Mark Gius and released by the Department of Economics, Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. The Gius report was a definitive examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons ban on state-level murder rates. Gius focused only on the United States. Kates and Mauser focused mainly on international laws and crime. These two very diverse studies from two very different universities using very different methodology arrived at the same conclusion; when the law-abiding adult population of a society owns more guns per capita, their lives are safer – without any doubt.
The Harvard study which asked if banning firearms would reduce murder and suicide, reviewed mainly international evidence. This study compared all murders; not just those involving guns. The idea is to compare overall safety of citizens. In Russia, for example, where private weapons are almost non-existent, the murder rate is four times higher than in the United States and twenty times higher than the murder rate in Norway where gun ownership is the highest percentage in Europe. But in Russia most murders do not involve a gun so when anti-gun advocates want to discus low “gun” murder rates, Russia is always a shining example for the case to disarm the public. Death from being beaten or stabbed or choked will leave you just as dead as being shot. Regardless of what Colorado democrats claim, our chances of staying alive are at least 4 times better in the U.S. than in Russia.
Moreover, those survival rates go up dramatically in the states with the least restrictive concealed weapon carry permit laws. That is the emphatic conclusion drawn by the Gius examination where his data and results are included in a table titled, “fixed effects regression gun-related murder rate.”
Understanding that Gius focused only on data of related to gun related murders, two numbers from his table got most of the headlines. When the federal assault weapons ban was in effect between 1994 and 2004, the murder rates went up 19.3%. The second statistic is that in those states with more restrictive concealed carry laws the murder rates are at least 10% higher than the average rate over the study period from 1980 to 2009.
Gius drew his data from an exhaustive list of references including the recently released book by John R. Lott, Jr. More Guns, Less Crime. Lott’s book reviews an 18 year study of data from all 3,054 counties in the U.S. for the years 1977 to 1994. The book includes a significant case study of “multiple victim public shootings” such as one in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in 1988 where 4 children and a teacher were killed by two school boys. Lott explained in an interview published by the University of Chicago that he gathered statistics related only to multiple victim shootings not otherwise related to a second crime such as a robbery.
In the 18 years of the study, the effect of enacting laws which allowed law abiding adults to receive a CCW permit was to reduce multiple-victim shootings like the Aurora theater shooting by a staggering 84%. Lott further discovered that “deaths from these shootings plummeted on average by 90% and injuries by 82%.
These are not he-said-she-said religious points of view for ideology debate. These studies, all of them, are not political opinion talking points. They are facts. Legislators who insist on denying the truth about gun control must be held accountable for these excessive deaths.
The second Amendment to the U.S.Constitution was not an afterthought. Thomas Jefferson wrote it his way; “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government. So let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so that the second will not become the legal version of the first.”