Jeff Soyer on 03 Apr 2013 06:16 am
A “report” being issued today by a liberal group (from statistics collected by liberals at Harvard) says that states that have the weakest gun laws have the highest rates of gun violence. From the NY Times:
Many states with the weakest gun laws have the worst rates of gun violence, ranking high on numerous indicators, like gun homicides and suicides, firearm deaths of children, and killings of law enforcement officers, according to a report to be issued Wednesday by the liberal Center for American Progress.
That’s the lead paragraph and you can just see all the gun control advocates rushing to call their state representatives or congress critters and insisting on more gun laws. That certainly is the intention of the authors and touters of the report.
But, notice that once again the report relies upon suicides to reach its tenuous conclusions. Now, is a gun suicide a violent way to take your own life? Yes. But it isn’t a crime against another person (at least not in a legal sense) and none of the following gun control measures can prevent it:
An “assault weapons” ban won’t prevent gun suicides.
A “high capacity” magazine ban won’t prevent gun suicides.
Even “universal background checks” won’t prevent gun suicides except in very rare cases where the person has a record of commitment that was reported to the FBI NICS database.
Subtract suicides from the gun violence statistics and suddenly the chart is turned nearly upside down. Study the chart at the bottom of this Guardian article. Those are 2011 FBI crime statistics.
What stands out is that states with few gun control laws have some of the lowest gun murder rates (i.e. actual gun violence against victims) and, in fact, gun crimes in general. These states include Alaska, Montana, Vermont, N.H., Maine, Oregon, North and South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, etc.
So, how come the New York Times isn’t publishing an article that touts that states with the fewest gun control laws are the ones with the lowest rates of gun CRIME? Because it doesn’t fit their agenda.
Statistics only tell you so much if you only present them one way. Are there states with strict gun control that have low gun murder rates? Yes; Hawaii comes to mind. Are there states with few gun control laws and high gun crime? Yes; Louisiana for example.
Left out of these gun crime statistics are state demographics. I’m not saying that that is the real cause, but it is a contributing factor.
But, contrary to the misleading report being heralded by the Times, if I were choosing a place to live based solely upon how safe I would be from gun crime, I’d choose one with a pro-gun mentality.