freedom1

There’s a study getting some traction out of the Bloomberg funded Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research that claims Connecticut’s handgun law is saving lives. In fact, it’s the same study Congressional Democrats are using as justification for their proposal to license all handgun buyers. The problem with making claims about the efficacy of different laws: there isn’t a good way to massage the data to make that determination. There are a huge number of variables that go into the crime rate, and usually the applicable laws don’t have an appreciable impact. However, as an article in Newsweek proclaims, this time they have proof! Here’s the claim . . .

A decades-old gun law in Connecticut requiring residents to have a permit before purchasing a handgun is credited with helping to reduce the state’s firearms-related homicide rate by 40 percent, according to a new study.

The “decades old gun law” in question is the firearms owner licensing requirement in Connecticut. Anyone who wants to buy a handgun must have a permit prior to purchase. The sales are tracked. This of course only applies to law abiding gun owners, as criminals are legally exempted from registering their firearms. How exactly did they come up with this claim of staggering effectiveness?

They compared Connecticut’s homicide rates in the decade before the adoption of the law, to the expected numbers 10 years after its implementation, had it not passed. For data within the decade after the law was approved, researchers analyzed three states with homicide rates that closely mirrored the numbers in Connecticut—California, Maryland and Rhode Island, Webster tells Newsweek. Those three states and Connecticut also had other similar types of gun policies.

So, issues.

First, the overall firearm homicide rate has been declining across the country over the last four decades. In fact, the overall decline in the murder rate corresponds very neatly with the time period that the study studied. So if they were comparing the homicide rate prior to the implementation of the law with the homicide rate in the years thereafter, there’s already a strong trend downwards even without the new laws. Keep in mind that the overall rate includes states that didn’t adopt such draconian laws, like Texas and Pennsylvania.

Second, predicting the homicide rate given a “what-if” scenario such as the non-passage of that same law is about as accurate a science for making solid assessments as phrenology is for detecting psychological illness. When you’re looking at something as complex as the homicide rate, there are a ton of factors at play that can influence that number that frankly we still don’t understand at all. So when someone posts a study claiming that they have isolated all the variables and make concrete claims, my BS meter starts to ping. Loudly.

The Johns Hopkins study claims that, definitively, the gun control law reduced the number of murders by a significant number. Given the source and the lack of hard statistics, I’m doubtful. I think there’s something that they aren’t seeing driving that number, especially since New York has an identical law and their murder rate has dramatically increased.

Correlation does not equal causation. And correlation based on bogus data is about as useful as runway behind you, altitude above you, and air in your fuel tanks.

42 Responses to Bloomberg Funded Gun Control Study: CT’s Handgun Law Reduces Firearms Deaths. Or Not.

    • Ya, the douche, looks like something out of TOOLS’ “Sober” video.

      Has he taken even a penny of foreign $ to battle our 2nd Amendment (taken foreign $ to overthrow our Constitution)? There’s a name for that.

      T H E – – F R E A K S – – C O M E – – O U T – – A T – – N I G H T

      Sunset on Obama years is only going to have cr_p like this coming out of the woodwork.

  1. So a Bloomberg University study proves that Bloomberg can buy a university. Since that little putz bought New York City (three times, and actually bought his way out of term limits too), I’m not surprised that he can buy a school named after a famous liquor salesman.

    • This is the first thought that occurred to me as well. Maybe a panel of criminologists should write a peer-reviewed article evaluating the statistical integrity of the Johns-Hopkins study. Thereafter, a panel of economists could write an article pricing the cost of – what now passes for – research by Johns-Hopkins. The Board of Trustees of that institution ought to know whether they are getting full dollar for their reputation.

      • Where is Kellerman hanging his hat these days? Seems like it’s been a while since we’ve heard from him.

  2. Bloomberg’s mouth should be licensed and assessed $500 M in fees every time he talks about gun control.

  3. There are only two ways to keep bad guys from getting guns. One is to put them in prison. The other is to put them in a cemetery. Of course, Bloomberg types think that would be unfair to the bad guys.

    • The 3rd way is to deny ‘bad guys’ exist (no problem!) – no one actually does this
      the 4th way is to deny good guys exist (we are all bad guys) = outright confiscation; “the goal”.

      • Exactly right Peter. They deny the bad guys exist because they are all just misunderstood, disadvantaged or came from the wrong side of the tracks. It is the GUNS fault, not the person pulling the trigger. The guy pulling the trigger can get out on a plea bargain and go right on killing. Why not, as it is not his fault anyway ? Placing the blame on the weapon instead of the Perp allows them to continue this sham.

  4. This man wants to control ever phase of our lives. From what we eat to how we defend ourselfs. A truly sick man.

  5. I’m glad you included that link to Haynes v. United States — that decision should be much better known than it is.

    I tell non-gun people all the time that criminals are exempt from having to register their illegal guns. “But how can that be?” they ask. It seems impossible. “The Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination,” I reply. And suddenly it all becomes clear.

  6. As soon as i read this i began playing with the UCR crime data.

    Comparing the average yearly murder rate (because dead is dead, be it by gun or other means) for the period 1985-1994 versus 1996-2005 on a state by state basis, Connecticut’s decline was 35% (From 5.3 to 3.5) good for 7th place, so better than average but certainly not an outlier.

    Here’s the top ten
    New York -55%
    Texas -48%
    Oregon -44%
    Florida -42%
    New Hampshire -38%
    California -37%
    Connecticut -35%
    Massachusetts -35%
    Michigan -35%
    Georgia -33%

    • So the study is saying that because Connecticut’s crime rate at -35% is lower than California’s crime rate at -37% that the handgun law is successful. Uh huh.

      • And worse than Texas’ decline of 55%, so the Connecticut gun law isn’t as good as what Texas did in the mid-90s.
        I forget…did Suzanna Hupp respond to the Luby’s massacre by pushing the legislature to ban guns and license gun owners? Or did she push them to go the other way?

  7. They compared Connecticut’s homicide rates in the decade before the adoption of the law, to the expected numbers 10 years after its implementation, had it not passed. Sounds like a hard numbers study. The expected numbers are pure vapor and it is scientific as spectral evidence in the Salem Witch Trials.
    researchers analyzed three states with homicide rates that closely mirrored the numbers in Connecticut—California, Maryland and Rhode Island, Webster tells Newsweek. Those three states and Connecticut also had other similar types of gun policies. So we cherry pick three states that have similar gun policies and their crime rate goes down and Connecticut’s crime rate goes down and that is supposed to prove something?

    • It’s actually worse than you are stating. If you read the study, what they did was tune their “synthetic control” so that the pre-1995 data of their control states (not all other states, they excluded 10) lines up with Connecticut’s rate. What this means is that not all states’ data are weighted equally; they turned the knobs until numbers lined up. Conspicuously missing from their discussion of their methodology is an estimation of the uncertainty in their model. i.e. how sensitive are the post-1995 results to variations in the control state’s weighting values. This is incredibly critical to the analysis, because it gives you at least a rough idea of what could be considered “noise” and what might be a real trend. Keep this in mind, given the following:
      “Summing the differences between Connecticut and its synthetic control from 1996 to 2005, we estimated the law to be associated with 296 fewer firearm homicides during this period, a reduction of 40% relative to the counterfactual”

      That is an average reduction of ~30 homicides a year. It is worth noting that the year-to-year variations can be huge. For example, from 2012 to 2013, firearm homicides dropped from 112 to 60. And that is not the only year such things have happened. Between 2009 and 2010 homicides increased by 27 from 70 to 97. It’s also worth noting that according to their model, there were 24 fewer nonfirearm homicides. I’ll let you try to figure out how that would work.

      But here’s the real kicker: why did they stop at 2005? Certainly we have data since then. If we look at the UCR, we get a good indication of why: firearm homicides increased dramatically from 2005 to 2012, before dropping by 50% back to 2005 levels in 2013. Of course, this would blow a pretty large hole in their argument.

      My question is, were the reviewers and editors asleep? Or is this what passes for research in public health? Honestly, I suspect it’s the latter.

      • It seems pretty clear that this was research bought and paid for. What is shocking is that Johns Hopkins would allow its reputation to be sold so transparently.

        I wonder if this ought to be a case study for undergraduates on how not to compose social science research that will be seen-through so readily. Obviously, all research is to a greater or lesser extent attempting to make some case driven by either a belief system or a patron. Occasionally, this process turns out a very convincing study when a researcher is biased to look for X and is surprised by his conclusion of NOT X; or he is looking for NOT Y and comes to a conclusion of Y.

        For a research to succeed professionally he needs to publish work that will stand up to scrutiny; especially scrutiny that can point out that patronage explains the conclusion not well supported by a critique of the methodology and data.

  8. Let’s review.
    1) An uber lib University gets paid and funded to do a study by a Napolean Complex control freak.

    2) CT has had an exodus of population due to tax increases and uber left wing policies from the local level on up.

    3) Facts (those pesky things) immediately shoot down manipulated data (see #1).

    Florida has had a population increase of 2.5 Million people since tha last hurricane, (Wilma 2005).
    Yet leading the country in CCW permits violent crime is down in the Sunshine State.

    In conclusion, it’s bogus, manipulated, paid for, completely NOT impartial or without bias, has not one shred of credibility, and a complete assclown paid for it.

    Back to your regularly scheduled BS propaganda. How’s that compliance rate with registering ” evil black rifles” working in the Former Constitution State?

  9. their usage of stats and what if scenarios is like me saying, if Shannon had been faithful to Hubby #1 (the real father of the children she whelped) instead of chasing $$$ with the president of the business unit for which she was the head of communications, then Mothers Demanding (Hot) Action would be focused on eliminating 5 gallon buckets since more kids drown in buckets every year than firearms. Interesting, but not relevant

  10. Why can’t this website ever correctly compare states.

    Rhode Island’s gun laws are NOTHING like those of CT, MD, or CA.

    Fingerprints are not legally required for anything in RI.

    • RI is mentioned in the study, not the TTAG summary of the study.

      But yea… RI being in the North east, typically gets bundled in with MA, CT and NY by TTAG logic. I try not to let it bother me anymore and am thankful to live in gun-friendly Northern New England.

  11. Gaining traction? Because they are buying it?

    Seriously, CT homicide rate mirrors Maryland’s? Was that snark? Maryland’s homicide rate is about 2.5-3x CTs homicide rate, 5th worst in the US, and has only increased since MD passed it’s own version of Bloomberg’s permit law.

  12. I don’t really care what the source is, solid research is solid research. Except this research is as solid as jello. Before it goes in the fridge.

    I hope they made a nice pie with all those cherries they picked.

  13. A quick look at actual data as opposed to “what we think might have happened” shows that the murder rate in many states, including states which didn’t implement handgun licensing, dropped just as much or more than Connecticut’s rate. Hacks.

  14. Tomorrow, when Gov Abbott signs OC and Campus Carry, I’ll celebrate with a Bloomburger…two double trans-fat patties on double gluten buns and wash it down with a 64 ounce fully sugared and caffeinated soft drink…and then maybe go shoot something because…’merica and Texas!

  15. As we’ve seen in so many other instances recently, this is just another perfect example of agenda driven pseudo-science masquerading as unbiased scholarship. Yes, the Johns Hopkins crew are bought and paid for, and they have been for a very long time now. (As an aside, what are Saul Cornell and Carl Bogus up to these days?) The press and the low information voters will eat this up and say nya, nya, we told you so. That doesn’t change the fact that this “study” is pure crap and easily refuted. Just look at the Center for Gun Policy and Research’s funders if you want to see all the usual suspects that would like nothing more than to leave most of us who can’t afford a 24/7 security staff unarmed and defenseless. This is a culture war and we need to win it because the alternative is horrifying.

  16. —-just a minute—-it is true that the above mentioned publishing company is owned by him?————by the way weren’t crime stats fudged to show how safe nyc is, better real estate sales buddies———–didn’t that plan eventually fail, by losing federal monies——– —I could keep going———–

  17. I’m sickened and shocked that a university with a repuation like JHU’s (or perhaps because of it?) is reporting such shoddy statistics on their name, and with such obvious political backing.

    I sort of want to throw up now; this legitimately feels bad. I was never good enough to get into JHU, but that doesn’t mean I stopped respecting the medical research that pops out of there.

    Fucking hell.

  18. Okay, we all know it is bogus, agreed. But don’t miss this reality; People believe Bloomberg, seeing this as fact because they are done, at least in name, by a prestigious medically-based university. How could an institute of higher learning, those of high ethical and moral standards as would be at a medical school be telling outright lies? You will be confronted, what do you say? You a common gun owner is of greater integrity than those at John Hopkins University? This is the power of Bloomberg, and until the pro-Constitution People figure out a way to out-BS Bloomberg with BS or with facts, Bloomberg can sound pretty damn convincing. We need advertising campaigns, mascots, positive role models and money, to put Bloomy and company in the trash can of history where they belong. People need to understand the threat to Mom’s, families, children everywhere when persons such as Bloomberg play this dangerous propaganda game. The bloody hands must be attached securely to the correct party. And it must be done intelligently, smart, responsibly, with greatest of integrity. The insane crazy gun owner stereotype must be destroyed.

  19. HA! I saw a link to this study some taboola bullshit click-bait ad next to “5 signs she’ll bang you” or something, earlier today on a different website. Good to know what kind of dogs this tool beds down with. Liars, spammers, cons, and would be kings; lovely.

  20. Or maybe Connecticut saw a disproportionately large increase in murder in the period running up to the law, and therefore had more opportunity for their murder rate to come down in the later 90s when violent crime everywhere was decreasing…and anyway they are still above peer states if you take the timeline back a bit

    http://i62.tinypic.com/555llh.jpg

    and i only went to a state college…not some fancy place like johns hopkins!

    i think the bigger point is: you can make data say anything. there’s a reason this study will never be published in a journal

  21. “The FreedomFighter” – LOFL!

    He didn’t ‘fight salt’ – He fought against your Freedom to decide what you want to eat

    He didn’t ‘fight soda’ – He fought against your Freedom to decide what you want to drink.

    He didn’t ‘fight cigarettes’ – He drove cigarettes in NYC underground and created an entirely new high-demand black market.

    He isn’t ‘fighting guns” – He is fighting to eliminate your inalienable right to defend yourself and your family.

    Any non-Sheep human with half a brain can see with their own eyes that the truth is that he will always fight AGAINST your Freedoms to decide what you want to eat, drink, speak, or do. Because he is a high-brow big-city elitist billionaire who thinks that you are just like a 9 year old child and need to be treated as such.

    WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAAKKEE UPPPPP!

  22. BY DEFINITION there is *NO* correlation between ANY US firearms laws and long term gun homicide rates.

    NONE. ZERO.

    Just look here — toggle the RIGHTMOST column from highest to lowest. [*PER 100K POP*] (FBI)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States_by_state

    BEST: Gun friendly and high gun ownership VT 0.3
    WORST: NO LEGAL GUN Wash DC: 16.5 (a place crawling with all sorts of LE and Gov Types)
    EFFECTIVELY WORST: while they rate close to VT at 0.5 only 6.7% gun ownership rate = VERY poor results
    TOP 10: ALL Gun friendly but Hawaii
    Gun friendly VT/NH/ME safest area in US — similar gun homicide rates to Scandinavia.
    GUN LAWS: NOT a predictor.
    POP DENSITY: NOT a predictor — look at Alaska.
    WORST 10 includes 2 gun-hostile states: Maryland & Delaware.
    Being below the Mason-Dixon line IS a predictor of more violence.

  23. Unfortunately, there are far too many voters that look upon this sort of headlines alone to believe it is real, without digesting it with a healthy dose of objectivity, followed by independent research to the contrary. Unless the public starts understanding that statistics of any kind may manipulated to represent pro & con positions of any subject just as long as worst-case scenario conjecture ignoring actual events and human nature is taken as a bona fide calculable risk. It is simply an emotional manipulation of the inexperienced/naive, who usually and easily change their mind once they have personally been affected by violence of some degree or exposure to guns in a positive experience.

    So we’re talking about the inexperienced and uneducated [gun-wise], basically. I don’t see our country being serviced to adequately learn what is necessary unless we increase the volume and celebrate these victories as prime examples that gun control doesn’t work, that people are wising up faster than states can legalize Cannabis and that everyone is learning that the MDA isn’t against gun violence, it is against all guns and allowing those kinds of laws to happen will only apply to potential victims – like in NY.

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