Gun control advocates can’t sway the public toward their point-of-view by proving the effectiveness of their “solution.” Because it isn’t. A solution, that is. Instead, they continuously wail about how terrible the “gun violence” problem is, demanding that something must be done. That something: gun control!
To that end the Urban Institute has released a study called A Neighborhood-Level Analysis of the Economic Impact of Gun Violence. Funded entirely by Everytown for Gun Safety (which is in turn entirely funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg), the study seeks to illustrate how “the scourge of gun violence” impacts more than just the perpetrators and victims. The Urban Institute claims it drives down home values, businesses and even individual credit scores.
The problem: the study documents the cost of “gun violence” in only six carefully selected cities: Baton Rouge, LA, Minneapolis, MN, Oakland, CA, Rochester, NY, San Francisco, CA and Washington, DC. Notably absent from the list: more notorious locales such as Chicago, Baltimore, St.Louis, Memphis and Detroit…cities which immediately spring to mind when the phrase “gun violence” is uttered.
Another problem: the results were generated by interviewing — again — carefully selected “homeowners, renters, business owners, and representatives of neighborhood associations and other nonprofit organizations.” Notably absent among the interviewees: anyone else.
The survey said! . . .
Analysis of gun homicides in 2014 and home values, home ownership rates, and credit scores in 2015 demonstrated that each additional gun homicide in a census tract was associated with the following outcomes:
A $22,000 decrease in average home values in Minneapolis census tracts and a $24,621 decrease in Oakland census tracts.
A 20-point decrease in average credit scores in Minneapolis census tracts and a 9-point decrease in Oakland census tracts.
A 3 percent decrease in homeownership rates in Washington, DC, census tracts and a 1 percent decrease in Baton Rouge census tracts.
People don’t want to live or work in an area where there’s been an incident of gun violence. That’s a conclusion about as obvious and useful as Donald Trump’s views on exercise.
At face value, the conclusion sounds problematic. If gun violence drives down home prices and credit scores in an area, it makes those living there less capable of moving out, trapping them and leading to a perpetuation of violence. But I have a couple questions.
Which came first: the poverty or the gun violence?
Correlation never specifically equals causation. Proving that the decrease in credit scores and home values is a direct result of the gun violence is nearly impossible. In fact, the same data could well indicate that poverty is a predictor of gun violence and that lower credit scores attract gun violence to an area.
Is it specifically “gun violence” or just violence in general that’s allegedly at fault?
The study focuses on “gun violence” because there’s clearly an agenda at work here — demonizing individual firearms ownership and trying to show that guns create poverty. In reality, crimes involving a firearm are a fraction of the total violent crime in any locale. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics only 22 percent of all violent crimes were committed by an offender wielding a weapon (gun, knife or other object). The remainder of violent crimes — 78 percent — did not involve a firearm.
Removing the impact of the other forms of violent crime — and isolating the effects of “gun violence” — on an area is impossible. How much of the reduction in credit scores was specifically due to gun violence and how much was due to the other 78 percent of crimes committed in the area? The study doesn’t say because the methodology assumes that gun violence is the cause of any negative outcomes in the surveyed areas, ignoring other factors.
Blaming the outcome (economic poverty) on a single relatively small variables (“gun violence”) is the same as blaming Hillary Clinton’s loss solely on misogynistic white males. Sure some of them voted for Trump. But focusing on the “redneck issue” is a bad landing at the wrong airport; it ignores larger issues and keeps Democrats from taking effective corrective action. [ED: thankfully]
To find a solution to “gun violence” you have to understand the whole picture, including factors such as housing, education, cultural considerations, socio-economic data, policing practices and the criminal justice system. But that’s something Michael Bloomberg and his paid shills won’t do. Something they can’t do. Because no matter how many studies they gin up, the facts simply don’t support their anti-gun rights agenda.