Gun Control Does Not Reduce Crime

1248 words - 5 pages

Gun laws are a subject many people feel strongly about, and as with any subject people feel strongly about there are no shortage of data and statistics that seem to support either side. I decided to look into any correlation I could find between gun laws and deaths in the US. Just like with political parties and deficit spending I didn't really have any expectations, but would probably guess that there wasn't much correlation.

Before I go any further I'll pretend like it is necessary to give a brief background on my stance on guns in general. I've never owned a gun, and don't really have any strong desire to own one. On the other hand I was in the Marines for 4 years and certainly am not uncomfortable around guns (I literally slept with a rifle for 22 days straight). I am opposed to gun laws as I believe the largest threat to our society is government itself. A well armed populace will be harder to subjugate. A slight increase in deaths would be worth adding a layer of protection of our basic freedoms. I'm also a big fan of personal freedoms, and I think people should be free to make decisions for themselves. I think most of the opposition to guns in general comes from people that simply don't like guns because they are scared of them, and not because of any rational reason.

I've seen both sides of the gun control debate claim statistics support their side. I'd like to think I'm being as impartial here as possible (as opposed to most people, who think they are biased). I decided to do this comparison after I read this web page, which implies a correlation between Brady score and murders. The Brady Campaign is an anti-gun group; they give each state a score 0-100 based on how strict its gun laws are. I'll use their scores as a gauge of how strict gun laws are. It is simply the only convenient measure I can think of, and I think it is likely to fairly accurate.

The first problem though is what to compare the score to. This is likely the first place people looking to make statistics support their cause will diverge. There are a number of different stats that could be used, all of which would appear similar to a causal inspection. Deaths from guns are sure to higher in states with more guns. Deaths from X are sure to be higher in states with more X. On the other hand it is no secret that the upper New England states have both some of the laxist gun laws and lowest crime rates out of any states in the Union.

It is important to remember the old adage: "Correlation does not imply causation". If it turned out that states with less gun laws tended to have less crime it wouldn't necessarily mean that the lack of gun laws caused the lesser crime. Rather, it could be that the lesser crime caused the lack of gun laws, or that some third unknown variable caused them both. Of course, it could be that the lack of gun laws did cause the reduction in crime. The point is that if you do discover a correlation it is a starting...

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