A study was released recently in the Applied Economics Letters journal that comes to some interesting conclusions. It states that “… states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level.” That’s from the abstract, and on the surface it sounds pretty good. But there’s an issue.
This is the same problem that we run into with gun control advocates: they mistake correlation for causation. Point in case is the old chestnut about being more likely to kill yourself with a gun if there’s a gun in the home. It’s like saying you’re more likely to be killed by an alligator if there’s an alligator in the home. It doesn’t say anything about whether the gun makes you more likely to die, just that one specific cause of death is more common. Gun control advocates mistake that for proof that guns cause death, and we’re in danger of doing the same thing here.
The study in question is being paraded around as proof that restrictive gun control measures increase the crime rate, but that’s not really a conclusion we can draw. The measures may have been reactive instead of causative, or maybe there were much more important factors that were not examined. We probably will never know. So while it’s a solid report, the conclusions being drawn from the results aren’t necessarily valid.
What we can do, however, is disprove the opposition’s position. Gun control advocates claim that restrictive gun laws prevent crime and make us safer, but the study pretty conclusively shows that restrictive gun control measures do not reduce crime. In fact, they might increase the crime rate instead. We can’t necessarily accept the hypothesis presented by the report, but we can definitely reject the hypothesis presented by the opposition.