We’ve been watching as gun control activist bazillionaire Michael Bloomberg has been setting up a new project called “The Trace.” The claim is that this new website will provide “balance” to the gun control discussion, and is being portrayed as an independent news source without any biases. That would be all well and good if it were actually true. The very first article they published proves that their claims about accuracy and fair reporting are about as hard and fast as a bowl of Jell-O . . .
A Gallup poll taken last October found that around 63 percent of Americans believe that having a gun in the house makes their home safer. It’s a perception in keeping with a constant refrain from the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights proponents, who have steadfastly pushed the idea that a society with more guns leads to less crime, and that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
But those arguments, however persuasive on the surface, do not withstand empirical scrutiny. Instead, the most reliable academic analysis consistently shows that gun ownership is more often a catalyst than a deterrent to crime.
Here we go again. The biggest problem for gun control activists these days is the fact that most people disagree with the basic premise of their activism and believe that guns make people safer. Step one for enacting more gun control is to reverse that trend and force people to believe that guns are dangerous and evil talismans of doom. What better way to prove that than a long debunked line of thinking!
According to the “More Guns, Less Crime” hypothesis, states with higher levels of gun ownership would expect to see lower crime rates in those categories. By contrast, the study found that states with the lowest rates of firearm ownership (Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, California, Florida, Illinois, and Maryland) had significantly lower rates of firearm-related assault and robbery, firearm homicide, and overall homicide.
States with the highest gun-ownership levels (Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, Arizona, West Virginia, North Dakota, Idaho, Mississippi, and Alabama), meanwhile, had 6.8 times the rate of firearm assaults, 2.8 times the rate of firearm homicides, and twice the rate of overall homicides than states with the lowest gun-ownership levels.
In the category of robbery with a firearm, the relationship between gun ownership rates was less clear: The study did find that robbery rates rose with gun-ownership rates, but in some states the increases were not statistically significant.
The Trace then goes on to dismiss the basic tenant of statistics that correlation doesn’t equal causation, and demands that the reader take the results at face value. Even if we accept the results of the study (which I don’t), there’s more worrying things to examine about the analysis. The problem is that this one slice of a study doesn’t tell the whole story.
The reason that firearms are more likely to be used inn a crime in places with higher gun ownership is exactly that: there are more guns, so guns are more likely to be used. Saying that places with guns have more gun related crime is the same as saying states like Florida which have more alligators are more dangerous because more people are attacked by alligators there than states with strict alligator control laws. It doesn’t tell you anything about the overall crime rate, only the relative rate of crimes involving a specific item.
You might be more likely to be killed with a gun where there are more guns available, but that doesn’t say anything about how likely you are to be killed in general. New York’s strict alligator control laws aren’t the reason why there are so few alligator attacks there.
Hold on a second, did you catch that last bit? Are they trying to claim that gun filled states like Wyoming and Montana have a murder rate twice as high as gun free paradises like Maryland? Bullshit.
Maryland: 6.4 per 100,000
Wyoming: 2.9 per 100,000
Montana: 2.2 per 100,000
So even in their most basic analysis, the study they cite is demonstrably wrong.
When you focus on one specific thing, you lose sight of the big picture. You may be more likely to be killed by a gun in places that have more guns, but that doesn’t mean you are more likely to be killed in general. The Trace wants the reader to ignore the idea that correlation doesn’t equal causation for one reason: that’s the only way they can get away with pulling the wool over the reader’s eyes and getting them to believe that guns cause crime. Even in their closing paragraph they tried to make that exact claim.
“Our findings refute the argument that gun ownership deters strangers from committing homicide,” Dr. Siegel explained. “Instead, these findings suggest that gun ownership actually increases the risk of violent death.”
No. You proved no such thing. You looked at firearm related murders to the exclusion of all other kinds. Therefore it is scientifically impossible for you to make that claim, doctor. You examined the homicide rate of one specific weapon, which excludes all others and eliminates the ability for you to make that judgement. And even if the murder rate were higher, you didn’t prove that the availability of firearms was the reason for that increase. If guns caused crime, then the murder rate in Texas should be higher than the murder rate in Illinois. But it isn’t — Texas has less crime, despite the “lax gun laws.”
Please, can someone start a lending library program for these people? Start with high school statistics textbooks, and then move into civics. They might learn something.