By Robert B. Young, MD
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership member Mark Hamill, MD recently let us know about his team’s newly published paper on how firearm sales across the states correlate with violent crime. (Short version — they don’t.) Specifically, “Legal Firearm Sales at State Level and Rates of Violent Crime, Property Crime, and Homicides” will be published in the January 20023 edition of the Journal of Surgical Research.
It should be available online through November.
Dr. Hamill is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha specializing in critical care and trauma surgery. He’s one of those physicians who puts victims of “gun violence” back together. Yet he’s managed not to be infected by the public health virus and has been objectively looking at gun laws, the consequences of gunfire, and the realities of gun ownership including carrying firearms.
We reported on his earlier study “State Level Firearm Concealed-Carry Legislation and Rates of Homicide and Other Violent Crime” that appeared in the January, 2019 Journal of the American College of Surgery. In that article, his team showed conclusively that relaxing concealed carry laws makes no significant difference in violent crime rates.
Hamill and his co-authors do a similar service in their latest study showing that there is no “association between increased lawful firearm sales and rates of crime or homicide.”
These are not casual conclusions or simple correlations based on artificially constructed controls, like so much agenda-driven work that tries to undercut the value of gun ownership. Hamill et al stay reality-based, using consistent, deep statistical analysis based purely on solid official statistics compiled state by state over decades.
Robust analysis does not identify an association between increased lawful firearm sales and rates of crime or homicide. Based on this, it is unclear if efforts to limit lawful firearm sales would have any effect on rates of crime, homicide, or injuries from violence committed with firearms.
Please read the abstract (and the paper, if you can access it via a subscription or institutional affiliation). This is the kind of work that is incontrovertible no matter what your politics may be. It underlines the fact that the thesis that restricting legal gun ownership and use would reduce crime, death, or injuries is null.
There is actually reason to believe that individuals keeping and bearing arms, as protected by the Constitution, really reduces those tragedies. But all that is really necessary is to prove that doing so doesn’t cause or increase them, which many studies like these, expert panels, and good surveys support.
With no societal utility for infringement on the right to keep and bear arms, there’s no case to be made for it.
With good work like this, Dr. Hamill and his co-authors, of course, risk being tarred by the “mainstream” medical and media establishment as being beyond the pale. That’s the same neighborhood where Dr. John Lott, Jr. resides in their fevered imaginations.
It’s not a comfortable place to live, but the integrity and quality of their work makes such ostracism a badge of honor. Like Lott, Hamill has the courage of his convictions and the strength to stand tall by them. Thank you, Mark.
DRGO Editor Robert B. Young, MD is a psychiatrist practicing in Pittsford, NY, an associate clinical professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
This article originally appeared at drgo.us and is reprinted here with permission.