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There are no more anti-gun academic research operations than Garen Wintemute’s UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. For that reason, they’re among the most-quoted “authorities” for the mainstream media when it comes to the results of their research and bolstering the case against civilian firearm ownership.

But the results of a recent study haven’t gotten much mainstream attention. For some reason.

The two anti-gun operations released the conclusions of a decade-long study of universal background checks in the gun control utopia of California. And they found . . .

study of firearm homicide and suicide rates in the 10 years after California simultaneously mandated comprehensive background checks for nearly all firearm sales and a prohibition on gun purchase and possession for persons convicted of most violent misdemeanor crimes found no change in the rates of either cause of death from firearms through 2000.

It must have made Wintemute cringe to bang that out on his laptop. And then there’s this:

“In the 10 years after policy implementation, firearm suicide rates were, on average, 10.9 percent lower in California than expected, but we observed a similar decrease in non-firearm suicide,” said Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, senior author on the study.

“This suggests that the policies’ estimated impact on firearm suicide may be part of broader changes in suicide risk around the time that the California policies were implemented,” he said.

In other words, the decrease had nothing to do with the change in the law.

The study found no net difference between firearm-related homicide rates before and during the 10 years after policy implementation.

One more time, for emphasis.

The study found no net difference between firearm-related homicide rates before and during the 10 years after policy implementation.

So all that horse hockey we continually hear about “closing the gun show loophole” and mandating all private sales go through an FFL produces…precisely…zero…real world results.

Well, if you exclude the hassle and expense that California’s gun owners have had to endure since the law went into effect.

But wait…there’s more!

“Incomplete reporting of prohibiting data to background check systems in the 1990s, prior to implementation of the policies in California, is an important limiting factor,” Wintemute said. “In 1990, only 25 percent of criminal records were accessible in the primary federal database used for background checks, and centralized records of mental health prohibitions were almost nonexistent. As a result, a large number of people likely passed their background checks even in cases where, according to law, they should have been prohibited from purchasing a firearm. This remains a serious problem today; mass shootings have resulted from prohibited persons passing background checks and purchasing firearms.”

Wintemute writes that “the quality and completeness of the records upon which background checks are completed has improved significantly since 2000,” but doesn’t specify how much better the Golden State is now doing in reporting prohibiting information to the NICS system.

Is it 40% now? That would be a “significant improvement.” How about…60%. One thing is for sure. It isn’t anywhere close to 100%. If it were, Wintemute would have made sure to tout that fact in the press release.

So, reading between the lines, the state with the most restrictive gun laws — the one that professes to care the most about stopping “gun violence” can’t get its act together enough to reliably report criminal convictions and other relevant information to the FBI.

And if California has this many holes in its reporting system, what must the other 49 states look like?

All of which confirms what gun owners have been saying all along. The NICS system is little more than a huge, expensive exercise in security theater. A system that does little more than inconvenience and extract cash from law-abiding gun owners while those who commit actual crimes with guns in this country sidestep the system.

So to summarize, California’s onerous universal background check law has done literally nothing to reduce the crime rate or number of suicides there. And the state does a significantly incomplete job of reporting disqualifying information to the FBI’s NICS background check system.

But more gun control laws are always the answer to the “public health crisis” that is “gun violence” in America. And the next time there’s a high-profile shooting somewhere with multiple victims, all the same people with the same civilian disarmament agenda will be all over the media advocating for all the same “solutions.”

The fact that none of these prescriptions have ever been shown to work won’t make the slightest bit if difference.

Same as it ever was.

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  1. Universal background checks are then indeed useless, except as a step to the ultimate goal of either prohibition or making ownership so odious that no one is willing to jump through all of the hoops to own a firearm.

    When universal background checks don’t work instead of repealing the law and trying something else the call will always be for more gun control.

    • Because the logic will be “if this is the situation after we passed the laws, it would be a lot worse if we didn’t pass the laws”.

  2. Well, duh.

    I note that the authors of the study do not interpret this finding to suggest that we should scrap background checks but, rather, we must do more of them and more effective ones. Same as it ever was: What we are doing failed but we are sure it will work if we do it more.

  3. “Study By Anti-Gun Researchers Finds Universal Background Checks Do Nothing to Decrease Violence, Suicides”

    Why would they? Registration is their sole purpose.

    • Well said. That’s the joke of all of these laws — ‘to protect children,’ etc. No. They couldn’t give a damn less about who dies from whatever cause. They want us disarmed, and there is not a ‘fact’ or study or any common sense or logic in the world, at any time, that will make any difference to them. ‘Safety’ is a ruse. The only ‘safety’ they are interested in is their own. They want to remove all threats to their power, so then we can full steam ahead into communism.

      • A very astute point, public safety interests are merely stepping stones to restricting freedoms. Just like how the commerce clause has been used to establish federal supremacy over the states.

      • I’m pretty sure communism is not the goal, here, what they’re seeking is a dictatorship. The country does not need any particular economic system so long as all the money is mine.

    • And then.. . If laws can’t stop crime and suicides from gunz, well then we just need to ban gunz. The data shows laws don’t work. First the semi autos, then the repeaters, then the single shots, then cartridge fed until we are standing next to our President holding a fake musket. It seems a repeat of the Bill Clit on regime with lessons learned.

      • Hands will be involuntarily amputated before any statist has an epiphany.

        The Clinton years, S&W hasn’t been the same since……

  4. Um, except for one thing….California does not rely exclusively on NICS, but has its own independent database at the DOJ that is checked as well as NICS. Which Wintemute may or may not have known. So holes in NICS (which gathers data from all fifty states) is not an indication that there are deficits in reporting to the state system for state prohibitions by the courts or by the mental health system for involuntary psychiatric holds (for which there is a ten year ban, used to be five) or involuntary admissions (lifetime ban).

    Another defect in the study, an unavoidable one, is that there were already any number (millions) of firearms in California, all legally owned, before 2000, and with an average “time to crime” of nearly ten years, one would have to anticipate that the crime rates would not be terribly affected by the universal background check law simply due to the large number of guns already in circulation, and the large number of stolen guns in circulation, for which no reliable statistics exist. Under the circumstances, it is a fool’s errand to try to establish any kind of reliable statistic on the impact of universal background check laws because you cannot establish any kind of a base line. The fact is, as I suspect that there are statistics to support, that most handgun crime is committed with stolen guns and straw purchases, and there is nothing but nothing a universal background check law can do about that.

  5. Universal background checks will be used as a “common sense” solution to gun violence at the federal level someday. Of course it will not work and then the solution will be registration of all firearms, including already existing ones, by federal law which is the real goal but the anti gunners know they can not start with that politically. Registration will not work either but it is all about controlling law abiding subjects and the eventual goal of enforcing future bans and possibly even confiscation.

  6. That’s because this stupid idea isn’t intended to stop these deaths. It’s intention is to create a national gun registry so the tyrants in the left and the Liberal-GOPe can confinscate everyone’s guns.

  7. Well, that’s good to know.

    I used to think a waiting period might reduce suicide rates, thanks to Mr Wintemute for collecting the data and showing that it doesn’t. I have adjusted my position on the issue accordingly.


  8. Didn’t find any emotional appeals to “reason” in the article. Therefore, it contained “data”, and maybe some logic; neither of which are of interest to gun grabbers. More likely, this article was published to demonstrate “objectivity”, earn creds with legislators that the studies from each source can be trusted.

  9. “In the 10 years after policy implementation, firearm suicide rates were, on average, 10.9 percent lower in California than expected, but we observed a similar decrease in non-firearm suicide,” said Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, senior author on the study.

    No only do “universal background checks” or gun registration not reduce either suicide or homicide, lower gun ownership rates don’t reduce them either.

    We know from the newer studies on elevation/altitude that the elevated suicide rates in US mountain region states, where people also own more guns, has been tied solely to altitude-induced chronic hypoxia (getting less oxygen) caused elevated depression rates and NOT elevated gun access rates. We know this because counties with higher elevation but no higher gun ownership rates within those mountains states have higher suicide rates.

    When you control for gender, age, employment status, rural/urban and other known and established variables, gun ownership turns out to have zero effect on suicide risk.

    We also know from new peer reviewed studies out of Europe that increasing autopsy rates increases suicide rates by 50% to 180%. Hmm. What that tells you is that in places with no guns people are committing a LOT of suicide that absent an autopsy is misclassifed as accidental self caused death.

  10. One would think that that study might show that criminal might not pay much attention to laws.

    If the goal is less crime- we need less laws to break.

    The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. -Ayn Rand

    “The police cannot protect the citizen at this stage of our development, and they cannot even protect themselves in many cases. It is up to the private citizen to protect himself and his family, and this is not only acceptable, but mandatory.” – Elmer. Keith

  11. Hmm, imagine that. Dems feel the need to do something, anything, that will stop gun deaths, yet nothing they propose does this. The ultimate goal is the outright banning of all firearms and killing the 2nd amendment.


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