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From the NRA-ILA . . .

Up until 2018, deep blue Vermont was a model for sensible gun laws. In other words, they had few and politicians on both sides of the aisle understood the tranquil state didn’t need any. Vermont was the original Constitutional Carry state, as the Right-to-Carry without a permit was affirmed in a 1903 state supreme court case. In 2017 Vermont ranked 49th in violent crime – ahead of only Maine.

Then in 2018, Vermont lawmakers rejected the state’s independent tradition to become just another province of New York. That year politicians enacted a ban on commonly-owned firearm magazines and criminalized the private transfer of firearms (sometimes inaccurately termed “universal” background checks). The legislature also instituted “Red Flag” gun confiscation orders that deprive a person of their Second Amendment rights without due process.

This year, the Empire State’s Green Mountain colony to the north enacted a 72-hour waiting period on firearm purchases. The move provides gun owners with further evidence — as if they needed it — that gun control advocates intend to build ever more restrictions on top of any private transfer restriction scheme.

According to CDC fatal injury data, the total number and crude rate of “violence-related firearm deaths” (which includes suicides) has increased in Vermont from 2017 to 2021. Both the total number and crude rate of “violence-related firearm deaths” fell during the same period in neighboring New Hampshire. In Vermont, from 2017 to 2021 “violence-related firearm deaths” among kids ages 0-26 increased 40 percent.

According to FBI data, the violent crime rate increased in Vermont from 2017 to 2020. From 2017 to the first full year of Vermont’s 2018 gun control measures (2019) the violent crime rate rose by nearly 20 percent. Over the same period, New Hampshire’s violent crime rate fell by 19 percent. Maine’s violent crime rate also fell over this period. For 2021, Vermont slipped to 48th in violent crime, with New Hampshire taking the 49th slot and Maine taking the 50th spot.

So, are Vermont’s ridiculous gun control laws making the state less safe? To the extent these laws inhibit the ability of law-abiding individuals to defend themselves, yes they are.

Is the data presented above strong evidence that gun control is making Vermont generally less safe? No. At best it’s mildly indicative of what common sense would dictate – that Vermont’s gun control measures had no salutary impact whatsoever in the already peaceful jurisdiction.

The point of laying out this information is to draw attention to how political advocates and the media can manipulate data to construct whatever preexisting narrative they want. While in this case accurate statistical information was used to concoct a pro-gun narrative, gun control advocates and their media lapdogs use the same tactics to argue the reverse.

Above is an example of bivariate analysis, where only two variables are compared. In this case, years pre- and post-gun control are compared with firearm injury and violent crime data. Such analysis doesn’t consider the myriad other variables that could be having an impact on firearm injury and violent crime. Some might include criminal justice and law enforcement practices or changes in economic circumstances.

Further, starting and ending points for statistical analysis and what variables to highlight can be cherrypicked. This is particularly problematic in smaller or more peaceful jurisdictions, as when the small total number of firearm-related incidents vary by year, the percent increase or decrease in total and the rate of such incidents per 100,000 population will vary wildly.

However, this doesn’t mean that the more sophisticated statistical modeling that comes out of the academy is of any use either. More sophisticated models offer further opportunities for cherry-picking and other manipulation.

mad scientist statistics black board calculate

Concocting sophisticated statistical models presents a nearly endless array of choices, and each decision leads to other different choices. This concept is sometimes presented as the “garden of forking paths.” In practice, this means that different researchers presented with the same exact data will come to wildly different conclusions.

A 2022 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences titled, “Observing many researchers using the same data and hypothesis reveals a hidden universe of uncertainty,” illustrated this point.

To construct their experiment, the authors assembled 161 researchers in 73 teams and provided them with the same data and hypothesis to be tested.

Explaining the results of the experiment, the authors reported . . .

Results from our controlled research design in a large-scale crowdsourced research effort involving 73 teams demonstrate that analyzing the same hypothesis with the same data can lead to substantial differences in statistical estimates and substantive conclusions. In fact, no two teams arrived at the same set of numerical results or took the same major decisions during data analysis.

In other words: Much of social science is of dubious value, even before trying to account for political bias. Of course, when it comes to guns the academy favors more control.

In 2022, Reason Magazine did an excellent job of exposing almost all “gun violence” social science for the junk science it is by producing an accessible video explainer on the topic.

Drawing on the expertise of statistician and New York University and University of California at San Diego instructor Aaron Brown and a 2020 analysis by the RAND Corporation, the video explained that the vast majority of gun violence research is not conducted in a manner sufficient to offer meaningful conclusions. An article accompanying the video, written by Brown and Reason producer Justin Monticello, noted . . .

A 2020 analysis by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, parsed the results of 27,900 research publications on the effectiveness of gun control laws. From this vast body of work, the RAND authors found only 123 studies, or 0.4 percent, that tested the effects rigorously.

Reason and Brown examined the remaining 123 studies from the RAND analysis and offered the following,

We took a look at the significance of the 123 rigorous empirical studies and what they actually say about the efficacy of gun control laws.

The answer: nothing. The 123 studies that met RAND’s criteria may have been the best of the 27,900 that were analyzed, but they still had serious statistical defects, such as a lack of controls, too many parameters or hypotheses for the data, undisclosed data, erroneous data, misspecified models, and other problems.

The gun issue aside, the problems inherent in the type of modeling presented here, the academy’s obvious political bias, and the replication crisis have led to increasing doubts about whether large swathes of the social sciences have any value at all.

So how is a normal gun owner supposed to wade through this statistical and social science “sea of trash?” Meet any data presented by gun control advocates and their servants in the academy and media with the utmost skepticism. Moreover, recognize that law-abiding Americans have a right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that is independent of the professed “benefits” of any gun control measure.


This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.

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  1. NEVER trust DIMS. Creating gat control for no reason. I guess when you have a leading communist / apparatchuck as yer senator the rest makes Dimsense©

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  2. What happens over and over when Gun Owners fail to Define Gun Control according to its History. The Gun Control democRat Party comes marching in and out goes the rights of law abiding citizens. It’s along the lines of the Gun Control military wing of the democRat Party known as the kkk marched in and disarmed and denied Black Americans their rights…And it’s along the lines of gutless wonders who sat silent and allowed it to happen.

  3. The act of taking everyone’s guns or otherwise banning them will not make people safe. If safety were the goal then the response should be to lock up the animals and keep them in their cages. The fact that the left refuses to do that very clearly says to us all that safety is not what they are after.

  4. Probably has more to do with VT welcoming in all sorts of trash from out of state.

    Same thing that’s hurting NH and ME.

    Laws are just words. People are actions.

      • As a Vermonter, tell me how we control the trash coming here from NY and Mass? The local working people vote sensibly but when we are now outnumbered by rich out of state vacation-homers who somehow get to vote here too…what do we do?

        • Burn down the McMansions, build a wall and string up Massholes.

          They need to know they aren’t welcome. The locust will spread until fumigation is taken seriously.

        • “but when we are now outnumbered by rich out of state vacation-homers who somehow get to vote here too…what do we do?”

          strike hard and fast, and be gone before the target hits the ground then send an anonymous message to the media to put out…”rich out of state vacation-homers, leave now and don’t come back. don’t make me say it again.” It won’t take long for them to get the message.

          (ok, I’m joking 😅)

  5. As a life long Vermonter, the answer is a resounding yes! With all the carpet bagging New Yorkers coming here and populating our state and local political offices, they’ve succeeded in keeping guns out of the hands of folks who in years past would’ve had their weapon of choice that day………and advertised to their former constituents in the cities that Vermont was not as dangerous as it used to be to ply their trade

  6. Didn’t Vermont leg@lize weed and h0m0sexual marriage before any other state? That’s usually how it works. Then they go after your guns. And the rest of your civil rights.

    It’s a trade the soft things in exchange for the hard things.

    • They did have a pro gun crossdresser in the legislature at one time. But not anymore.

  7. These new studies don’t matter anyway. Hindsight is 20/20. Solving the problem of violent crime isn’t some new, uncharted territory. We have a very recent history of solving that problem while gun ownership increased. Anyone who ignores that should be laughed out of town.

  8. Hang on a minute “among kids aged 0 to 26” is of course BS. Never let the left define anything. Ever. A kid, normally called a child is someone under the age of 13, someone 13 to18 is a teenager, and over18 is an adult. The statistics work against the leftists when you don’t include the ages commonly associated with gang violence, thus they have to make someone old enough to have graduated college with a masters back into a child.

  9. Texas wants to arm schools..

    Texas: A State Willing to Do Whatever is Necessary to Protect Its Children.

  10. Deprive the citizens of the tools and ability to use them to protect themselves from the criminals and crime went up. You mean disarmament or restrictions on firearms didn’t usher in some sort of Marxist utopia? All those with evil/criminal intent didn’t disarm and stop being evil/criminal?
    Must be because they didn’t write enough restrictions on the law abiding into the laws. Yeah, More laws and restrictions. That will work.

  11. I have a cousin. He’s a Florida Cracker by birth, but also a Navy brat. Though he ended up in the Army 101st, Europe for a few years and finished up in the Honor Guard. Point is, he’s lived around. He ended up in Sharon, MA. A suburb of Boston. A year, or two ago he bought a summer house in NH. Lake, mountains on the horizon, a few acres, etc. He has moved his residence to NH. The house in Boston is only used to overnight when he and Nancy are flying in/out of Logan. The Left wonders why people flee their states with their money.

  12. Vermont and Florida had very bad luck with two RINOs named Scott at almost the same time.

    • Gregory, no experience with the New England variety. Have to agree with your assessment of the Florida. Scott. was the lesser of two evils. That’s a poor choice.

      • Our Vermont Scott is rino puppet with the democrat legislature pulling most of his strings. He says just enough to get ignorant conservative voters to keep giving him a check mark while dancing to the left’s beat.

  13. The theme of this article is applicable to any “statistical” analysis; everything depends on the data set selection, and the wording of the hypothesis.

    Except for statistical modeling of climate change; that is settled science.

  14. Human rights are not dependent on the whims of society. I’m sure society would be safer if government implemented a strict 9:00 PM curfew for everyone. We could probably eliminate all unwanted pregnancies and the crime that comes from broken families if we required government approval to have children.

    None of these restrictions are permissible in our republic.

    The public safety issue is an argument designed to distract the weak-minded from the real cause of liberty. The cost of freedom is the risk of less than perfect security.

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