Harvard Publication On Gun Laws Resurfaces As Talks About Firearms Continue

A study comparing international gun laws shows that getting rid of firearms might not be the solution to reducing overall violence.

By | Boston Daily |

As Boston—and the country as a whole—looks for ways to reduce gun-related deaths and violence, a study from 2007 published in a Harvard University journal is suddenly regaining increased attention for its claims that more control over firearms doesn’t necessarily mean their will be a dip in serious crimes.

In an independent research paper titled “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?,” first published in Harvard’s Journal of Public Law and Policy, Don B. Kates, a criminologist and constitutional lawyer, and Gary Mauser, Ph.D., a Canadian criminologist and professor at Simon Fraser University, examined the correlation between gun laws and death rates. While not new, as gun debates nationwide heat up, the paper has resurfaced in recent days, specifically with firearm advocates.“International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths. Unfortunately, such discussions [have] all too often been afflicted by misconceptions and factual error and focus on comparisons that are unrepresentative,” the researchers wrote in their introduction of their findings.

In the 46-page study, which can be read in its entirety here, Kates and Mauser looked at and compared data from the U.S. and parts of Europe to show that stricter laws don’t mean there is less crime. As an example, when looking at “intentional deaths,” or murder, on an international scope, the U.S. falls behind Russia, Estonia, and four other countries, ranking it seventh.  More specifically, data shows that in Russia, where guns are banned, the murder rate is significantly higher than in the U.S in comparison. “There is a compound assertion that guns are uniquely available in the United States compared with other modern developed nations, which is why the United States has by far the highest murder rate. Though these assertions have been endlessly repeated, [the latter] is, in fact, false and [the former] is substantially so,” the authors point out, based on their research.

Kates and Mauser clarify that they are not suggesting that gun control causes nations to have higher murder rates, rather, they “observed correlations that nations with stringent gun controls tend to have much higher murder rates than nations that allow guns.”

The study goes on to say:

…the burden of proof rests on the proponents of the more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death mantra, especially since they argue public policy ought to be based on that mantra. To bear that burden would at the very least require showing that a large number of nations with more guns have more death and that nations that have imposed stringent gun controls have achieved substantial reductions in criminal violence (or suicide). But those correlations are not observed when a large number of nations are compared across the world.

The paper resurfaced at a time when Boston itself has been looking for ways to combat gun violence, and gun-related deaths, after a sharp uptick in shootings in the city this year.

As of July, more than 100 people had been impacted by shootings in Boston in some way, and more than 17 people had been killed in the city by someone with a firearm. The increase in incidents showed a nearly 30 percent increase in gun-related deaths compared with the same time period in 2012. That number has gone up slightly since then.

In order to quell the violence, officials have been mulling a gun buyback program, and increasing community outreach, but based on Harvard’s latest findings, that may not be the answer.

While the research published by Harvard may show a direct correlation between lower gun-related incidents and less stringent laws, and Boston, specifically, is experiencing an alleged gun crisis, overall, stricter rules on firearms in Massachusetts has seemingly led to fewer deaths, according to the latest data available, putting the state in the second to last slot for the lowest number of reported fatalities nationwide.

But when it comes to examining nations as a whole, the Harvard study suggests otherwise. “If more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death, areas within nations with higher gun ownership should in general have more murders than those with less gun ownership in a similar area. But, in fact, the reverse pattern prevails,” the authors wrote.

August 30, 6:00 p.m.: A previous version of this story labeled this study as "new," when in fact, it was first published in 2007. The study has regained the attention of gun advocates in recent days and is being used as an argument for less stringent laws in the U.S.

  • Guest

    caught without one by someone else. This is where the change needs to take place, make it so its just as bad being caught by police with a gun. And even this might only stop some of the accidental deaths. The laws we have now need to be enforced and with greater punishment.

    • Bowserb

      As you say, “The laws we have now need to be enforced and with greater punishment.” If that were done with all criminals, the prisons would be overflowing, but crime would be drastically reduced, since MOST violent crimes are committed by prior offenders who are out with our pitiful catch and release justice system. Enforcement of existing immigration laws would also help many things: unemployment, high welfare costs, AND high crime rates.

  • Bevin Bell

    Guns are just a tool. Criminals will use whatever is there. Most gun crimes are committed by those who shouldn’t even have guns. We need to focus the punishment for breaking the laws not infringing on law abiding citizens. I have heard more than once that these criminals would rather be caught by the police with a gun than caught without one by another criminal. This is where the change needs to take place, make it so its just as bad being caught by police with a gun. And even this might only stop some of the accidental deaths. The laws we have now need to be enforced and with greater punishment.

  • sundog50

    This study has been available for eight years. Despite its obvious validity and relevance, the anti-gun proponents continue to repeat their flawed mantra of “more guns=more crime”. It is refreshing to see a media outlet actually examining this issue factually rather than emotionally.

    • Guest

      As opposed to it being an obviously flawed “study” without any validity or relevance (gun ownership and genocide in third world Africa is not relevant to our society and its particular issues with guns, sorry.)

  • Lawrence

    The study just didn’t look at nations as a whole. It looked at states, cities and counties and found the same result, gun control does nothing.

  • ohio man

    Correlation does not equal causation, and this is a right-wing argument, not a peer-reviewed study. It is published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, which describes itself as “one of the most widely circulated student-edited law reviews and the nation’s leading forum for conservative and libertarian legal scholarship.”

    There are a million places where you can find substantial criticism of this study and its methodology if you take 2 mins, as well as solid, peer-reviewed Harvard studies finding very different results. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/

    You should retract this piece in full, not just correct it to note that the study is old. It does a major disservice to your readers and is damaging to Boston Magazine’s brand as an intelligent news source.

  • lorimakesquilts

    You’re citing a partisan paper written by two people who are ardent gun enthusiasts that is based on false assertions. This paper was published in a conservative/libertarian student journal (not a publication of the University) that is not peer-reviewed and it shows. It is clearly partisan and has pulled data to support that viewpoint.

    Guns are more widely available in the U.S. and gun ownership is much higher than any other Western country despite what they say in the paper. Homicide rates are substantially and consistently higher in the U.S. than in the rest of the Western world. Gun homicides display an even larger gap. The only way this paper justifies it’s statements is by pointing to Russia — a country not considered part of the Western world.

    Serving as an example of biased and generally poor scholarship is the only thing this paper is good for.

    • Mind_Blown

      “The only way this paper justifies it’s statements is by pointing to Russia — a country not considered part of the Western world.”

      The study, in fact, uses all western European countries. For example, Norway has the highest gun ownership rate in Europe but has one the lowest crime rates. It uses Russia as an example of a country that has no guns but has extremely high murder rates. Apparently, and maybe I’m crazy, it seems you can murder and kill without a gun???

      “Guns are more widely available in the U.S. and gun ownership is much higher than any other Western country despite what they say in the paper. Homicide rates are substantially and consistently higher in the U.S. than in the rest of the Western world.”

      The Paper does not dispute this fact. It is simply stating that gun ownership rates have no correlation to murder and violence. The evidence they present backs these claims. You should read it.

      • Weblin

        Russia has no guns…..? I think that statement alone destroys any credibility to your argument.

        • Mind_Blown

          Did you read the paper? There is a major section that discusses homicides and violent crime in Russia. Guns were banned during the Soviet days yet murders were astronomical. Since the end of the Soviet Union gun ownership is only 8.9 per 100 people yet they have an extreme amount of violent crime. They have way fewer guns but way more murders. Plus it is illegal to own a handgun in Russia…they have the toughest gun control regulations in the world!! Norway and Sweden have the highest gun ownership. Roughly 30 per 100 but have the lowest violent crime rates in Europe. There is example after example to prove the main point of the paper….More guns do not equal more crime. Until we get past the ridiculous notion that somehow guns create crime we will never be able to have a ‘grown up’ conversation to resolve our crime problems.

          • https://twitter.com/mne__povezlo G L

            Well, Norway and Sweden also have a working legal system, whereas there has been virtually no rule of law in Russia in the 1990s. It’s easier to commit crimes if you can buy yourself out of prison. It’s easier to kill if there is no police to go after a murderer.
            I don’t know how many guns there are in Russia, but I know there are plenty of criminals. A lay person cannot possess a gun, but a policeman can. So what happens is you buy a fake policeman ID and get a gun.

  • Beel

    Steve Annear, changing the title from “Harvard Gun Study…” but leaving “Harvard” in for its cachet is still disingenuous at best. The “study” was done by a member of the National Firearms Association and published in a campus journal run by conservative and libertarian students. Now that you know the answer to four of the “Five Ws” for responsible journalism, perhaps you might ask yourself “Why?” though I suspect that, too, is pretty obvious (even for you).

    • Mind_Blown

      Why don’t you read the study? Just because it challenges your beliefs you instantly dismiss it? If you do indeed read the study you will find it cites similar study’s that reach the same conclusions. You see, criminals don’t care about gun laws. They don’t care about laws because they are criminals! Gun violence and violent crimes are a reflection of societies…you could ban every gun and confiscate every gun from every law abiding gun owner and gun violence would not change in the USA. Why? Cause guns have been invented…the cat is out of the bag. Drugs are illegal, yet drugs are everywhere. Crime is increased by our dumb drug laws. If you outlawed guns you would have similar results. This is common sense people…..

      • Beel

        When you assume it makes one of u not me. Read it long ago and it’s mostly cherry-picked nonsense, including using the higher murder rates (genocide) in Africa (lower individual gun ownership) as pretense for why fewer guns in America might not mean fewer murders. It also is irrelevant for gun control today is directed at the types of guns available for legal purchase and registration, not how many. I hunt and own five.

        I also know it’s best not to engage those who childishly, and, yes, lamely attempt to make a case for not having laws because people break them, so after this you may have the last word.

        • Mind_Blown

          Thanks for the last word..You shouldn’t engage in talks with people who exercise common sense…Get real Beel! Criminals will always have guns and will always be able to get guns…I guess supply and demand is ‘lame’ and ‘childish’…. how many murders do you think were committed with legally bought handguns in Chicago or Detroit? ..Here is a fact for you…more people are killed every year, in the USA, from hammers and clubs than so called “assault rifles”. Do you think federal background checks and confiscations of hammers would reduce the number of hammer deaths every year?? I think we should do that…I mean if we could save just one life by it’s worth it…right? Common sense approach..right? Now you tell me who’s childish?


          • Beel

            “You shouldn’t engage in talks with people who exercise common sense” – Here, I didn’t.

            Despite FBI numbers actually showing guns are used to kill over 14x the number of people as all blunt objects, had I engaged one with common sense, he’d realize hammers and frying pans are objects of convenience. They are not weapons of choice for mass killings, etc.

            Sorry, but even after a month I couldn’t let such foolish reasoning masquerade as common sense, but just so you still have the last word:

            “Do you think federal background checks and confiscations of hammers would reduce the number of hammer deaths every year? …Now you tell me who’s childish?”

  • David F

    In 2009 Massachusetts ranked fifteenth in the US for rates of homicide by firearm. The Brady Campaign ranks MA as number 3 in the country for best gun laws. Of the 14 states with lower firearms related homicide rates, two of them get a 0 from the Brady Campaign. Only four of them manage a score above 10, (Best being 100) only two of those score above fifteen. California has the best score from the Brady Campaign, 81. They also beat the National firearms related homicide rate of 3.7, CA’s rate of homicides with a firearm is 4.0. Go to the CDC and check for yourself.

    So how would you go about making the argument that more gun laws equal less gun crime?

    It’s a very simple fact; more guns do equal less crime.

    • Beel

      No, that’s a very simplistic analysis of a small bit of data. You don’t even provide any information about the number of guns, let alone a causal relationship between more guns and less crime.

      • David F

        From November 1998 to August 2013, there have been 1,770,932 NICS checks run in MA.

        That’s a rate of roughly 26,646 per 100,000, in just MA. That of course does not account for guns already in the state prior to fall of 1998.

        In just the past 15 years alone, enough guns have been sold to arm 26% of the MA populace.

        The average rate of homicides in MA from 1999 to 2010 was 1.5 per 100,000 according to the CDC.

        So you could say that very roughly 0.006% of guns purchased in MA over the past 15 years were used in homicides in MA. However you would be wrong, John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence says: “Boston Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives report that over 65 percent of guns traced to crime in Massachusetts come from out of state.”

        So with those new numbers we now know that less than 0.002% of firearms legally purchased in MA over the past 15 years were used in homicides.

        Are those the numbers you were looking for?

        • Beel

          It’s a start, but then those high numbers only further refute your claim that it is a simple fact more guns equals less crime. Especially given you also stated Massachusetts has very high gun crime. That’s even before you have shown a causal relationship. Regardless, none of this is simple, hence why it is so hotly disputed, and I say this as an honest gun owner. It just isn’t.

          • David F

            I never said “Massachusetts has very high gun crime” I said we were 15th in the nation for firearm homicides.

            This should further clarify:

            The Brady Campaign ranks each state by how strict it’s gun laws are, best possible score is 100, not one state achieves it. MA scored a 65 in 2011 and is the third highest ranked state, behind California and New Jersey.

            New Jersey’s rate is 2.6 per 100,000 firearm homicides.

            California with the best score from the Brady Campaign of 81 (and the only one with 4 stars) has a rate of 4.0 firearm homicides per 100,000 (the national average is only 3.7.) So passing more gun laws clearly is not the answer.

            Which 14 states have lower rates of firearm homicide than MA? I’ll list them along with their Brady Campaign score in order of lowest rate
            of firearm homicides to highest:
            New Hampshire 6, North Dakota 2, Vermont 6, Alaska 0, Hawaii 50, Idaho 2, Iowa 7, Maine 7, Rhode Island 44, South Dakota 4, Wyoming 4, Minnesota 14, Utah 0, Oregon 15.

            The Brady Campaign only gives a score of zero to three states; two of them have lower firearm homicide rates than MA. All three have lower rates of firearm homicides than California. Apparently criminals haven’t gotten the message about stricter gun laws meaning less gun crime.

          • Beel

            Okay, I stand corrected, substitute my “gun crime” with “gun homicides” and obviously my point still stands. And you still haven’t made the leap from this “Brady Score” (which is probably more PAC nonsense anyway) to the number of gun homicides.

            Edit: I looked into this “scorecard” and it also appears rather arbitrary, simplistic, open to much subjectivity, and even has “extra credit” points. In other words, it is virtually worthless for anything other than as a political tool and fund-raising. Find something with at least some statistical validity – on both sides of the equation.

          • David F

            MA Alcohol-Induced Deaths
            In 1999 it was 5.6/100,000
            In 2010 it was 7.4/100,000
            Average from 1999-2010 6.1

            MA Homicide by discharge of firearms
            In 1999 it was 1.1/100,000
            In 2010 it was 1.9/100,000
            Average from 1999-2010 1.5

            Which is the greater problem?
            Which one has prompted 65 different pieces of legislation pending in the State House this year alone?

            I say this as a collector and honest owner of 13 various bottles of single malt scotch. Which I’m also not about to give up my right to purchase.

            More laws will not fix the problems.

          • Beel

            Don’t ask inane questions. It isn’t either/or – they are both problems that need to be addressed (and your drinking yourself into a stupor doesn’t cause me to die of liver failure, nor does it mean we should abolish our laws against DUI because you drive in such a state).

            The “more laws will not fix the problems” is also a too simplistic and weak assertion to use as your summary statement. While no law can “fix” problems, the right laws can, and do, lessen them.

            P.S. I am a bourbon man myself.

          • David

            Beel, there is overwhelming proof that heavily regulating firearms lead to much more crime. The ironic thing here is majority of gun related murders are black on black, majority of gun murders are gang related and the majority of gun murders used illegally obtained firearms, and snoop dog, someone whos made millions promoting such culture, wants to get rid of guns. All that aside anti-gun rather than attacking handguns go after long rifles which make up a drop in the bucket to gun homicide.

          • William G.

            Your premise begs the question for while I’d welcome (scientific) proof, there is no convincing evidence, let alone “overwhelming” proof. When making a valid point, one needn’t resort to lying – but even this article uses sophism (“Harvard publication”) to suggest an unbiased, valid study when it most certainly was not.

            And disregarding your lack of understanding of what “ironic” means, “gang on gang” violence and “criminals break the law” is not an argument for having fewer laws, let alone fewer gun laws.

            I’d also like to see the evidence backing your claim that a majority of gun murders are by illegally obtained guns – not that it’s a valid argument for no new gun laws (it isn’t), but because I’m a curious gun owner. All deregulation would do would be to ensure gun murders are more likely committed with a gun legally obtained (i.e., a slap-head ridiculous argument for no further regulation of firearms).

            And, as for “long rifles” vs. “handguns,” background checks apply to both, as do registration so that argument is invalid. And, were it true, irrelevant anyway. To use another analogy, just because excessive speed is a drop in the bucket compared to all other traffic fatalities, including driving too slow, it is not a valid reason for doing away with “long” speed limits.

            Please use logic when engaging what you think might be considered “commons sense” explanations and comparisons.

          • Debbie Lass

            so when someone works out every day but still cant drop that last 30 pounds they wish to drop, should they just stop working out? will NO EXERCISE bring those pounds off? no…is working out daily dropping those pounds they want to lose? no…but whats lacking in the data is….if they stopped working out how many additional pounds would they obtain as a result? people claim gun control doesnt work because they say data says they still have higher murder rates than states with less gun control…and what if those cities and states alreayd had higher murder rates to begin with? then even a decrease in their rates may still result in a higher murder rate in the state than other states…..and it doesnt mean the number of murders wouldnt be higher if they had no gun restriction…..sure one can review past numbers in the states before gun laws and also those after and try to make a causal link but as anyone who has basic statistics understanding knows, when more than one variable is acting on something you cant say just one variable is the cause of something…..people often try to assert data showing that after gun restriction laws murder rates didnt go down…but many factors affect crime rates in a city or state…..and those factors all need to be ruled out as having no impact on murders by guns before one can say gun laws are the causal link….

  • Ron A.

    One reader commented (in part) that the issue in this decade is not anti-gun but gun control, and that the current issues are directed at the types of guns available for legal purchase . . .” I agree with him that whether more gun laws reduce certain crimes is irrelevant. I also believe that whether restricting certain types of guns, magazine capacities, etc., would reduce crime and innocent deaths, etc., is also irrelevant because the Constitution prohibits the government from imposing such restrictions even if they would reduce crime, save lives, etc. Bear with me, read on.

    The “gorilla in the room” that people seem not to want to talk about is one of the REASONS the Founders of our country put the Second Amendment in the Constitution, i.e., to ensure that “The People” will always have the right to keep and bear arms so that they will have the ability to effectively “fight tyranny,” i.e., overthrow, their own government if it became tyrannical. The basic theory was that as long as the government knows that it can be overthrown by the People, it will be less likely to become tyrannical or dictatorial. That being the case, it logically follows that the Founders did not intend the government to have the authority under the Constitution to limit the types of arms the people may own to the extent that the People’s weaponry would be inferior to those carried by the typical government soldier and to thereby give itself an edge if the People tried to abolish the government by force. Plain ole’ common sense.

    If your knee-jerk reaction is to think that I’m full of crap, consider this. In the Heller decision the U.S. Supreme Court stated that the Constitution must be interpreted today to mean what the Founders intended it to mean, not what modern-day politicians and others would like it to mean, and thus contemporary judges do not have the authority to rewrite it for the Founders. Therefore, anyone who wishes to voice an educated opinion on what the Founders intended would have to have seriously studied the history of the Second Amendment, otherwise their opinion is essentially worthless. If anyone has the intellectual curiosity to delve into the subject, a well-researched book to read to start such a study is The Founders’ Second Amendment by Stephen P. Halbrook.

    • Beel

      Please, were we ever in a position that’d need to bear arms to fight our own government, we’d have bigger problems than if we were able to legally own a shotgun vs. an AK-47. That is an outlandish and far-fetched premise reserved for those who wear tin foil hats. You might as well suggest the drunk down the street have access to grenade launchers. The line obviously has to be drawn somewhere.

      Disregarding the fact that at the time the founders had in mind muzzle loaders and a newly formed government with no means to protect its citizens, reasons change over time hence why we have the ability to amend the Constitution – and have. Regardless, the document does not, by any stretch of the imagination, prevent our elected officials, or us by majority vote, from restricting the types of weapons we citizens may legally purchase and who may not.

      And if, as you say, we must defer to the Constitution as originally crafted, then perhaps we should place the restrictive clause regarding a well regulated militia back into judicial interpretation. You then would have a right to own a gun if you were a member of your state’s National Guard, otherwise owning guns, and restrictions thereof, is a privilege we give ourselves through our vote.I say that as a lifetime hunter and gun owner who eschews tin foil justifications.

      • Ron A.

        To reply to your various comments . . . Yeah, we WOULD have some pretty big problems if we had to fight our own government. Hopefully, that will never happen, and I’m not advocating that it’s time to do so now. But that doesn’t change the facts regarding WHY the Founders put the 2nd Amendment into the Constitution. Remember, we did it before, . . . that’s how we became the U.S. rather than remaining part of England. When the Founders wrote the Constitution they had just recently gotten through overthrowing British control over the colonies, and England’s government WAS “Our” government at the time . . . but it became “tyrannical.” The Founders referred to the inherent right of the people to overthrow their government when they wrote the Declaration of independence. After declaring that Governments are instituted to secure “certain unalienable Rights” and that “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” they stated “ That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to ABOLISH it,” and they proceeded to whip England. But the Founders were aware that ANY government might become corrupt, IF IT COULD, including the new U.S. government, and to prevent that from happening they gave the People the right to keep and bear arms to keep the government in check. Patrick Henry said “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. . . Unfortunately nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.” Thomas Jefferson said “. . what country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” Another framer of the 2nd Amendment said “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms. . .” And there are many mre such quotes to back-up my position.

        I didn’t follow your comment that “we’d have bigger problems than if we has a shotgun or an AK-47.” I don’t know where you live, but I’ve lived in 6 states, and owning either one (or both) of those guns was and is not now a problem. I also didn’t follow your comment that “perhaps we should place the restrictive clause regarding a well regulated militia back into judicial interpretation.” That clause HAS been judicially interpreted. In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm UNCONNECTED with service in a militia. But if the type of weapon an individual may personally own has to be one that would be appropriate if they were in a militia that could be activated in case the need arose, say, a foreign invasion (which is unlikely as long as citizens may be well-armed), that is all the more reason not to limit the types of hand-carried arms or the capacities of magazines individuals may “keep and bear.” If YOU were in a militia and were called-up to put your life on the line and fight with your own weapon (as our Founders did), what would you rather be able to purchase . . . a puny “pea-shooter” with a 10-round capacity like the “anti-gun crowd” proposed in the last gun-ban legislation, or an AR-15 or AK-47 (for ex.) with a 30 or 40 round magazine? That’s a rhetorical question, because if you have half a brain I already know the answer.

        For the reason stated in my first post, I beg to differ with your comment that “the Constitution does not, by any stretch of the imagination, prevent our elected officials from restricting the types of weapons citizens may legally purchase.” And if you were paying attention during the recent Congressional hearings on the last “gun-ban” legislation, a lot of smart folks in Congress disagreed with your view. And, since there two sides to any controversy, some folks didn’t. The Supreme Court hasn’t had an occasion to rule on that issue yet, but if they ever do, and if they read the history of the 2nd Amendment and base their decision on the law and not their own preference as to what they think the Constitution SHOULD say, they will rule that Congress cannot restrict the types of hand-carried handguns and long guns that people may purchase. The fact that a few local governments may be doing it and getting away with it (for the time-being, at least) does not make it Constitutional.

        Finally, I don’t know how or why you worked the Bible into a discussion of the 2nd Amendment, but here’s mine. Like it or not, this country was founded on Biblical principles. (Unfortunately, in my opinion, those principles are no longer taught to the extent they were when the Constitution was written.) John Adams said that “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Another signer of the Declaration said that “Without the restraints of religion . . men become savages.” The bottom line is that criminals will always have access to guns, and all of the gun restrictions in the world will not prevent criminals from committing the senseless mass killings that have been in the news for several years. (For example, I’ve read that Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws around, and they still have one of the highest gun-related crime rates in the nation). The main thing that keeps people from shooting other people is their morals, and religion is the foundation of high morals. I’ll end with a quote from John Quincy Adams: “[T]here points of doctrine . . . form the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of a God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments . . . [L]et a man disbelieve either of these articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark.”

        • Beel

          “Hopefully that would never happen” and “I’m not advocating that it’s time to do so now” is just more tin foil hat talk, and to imply such should be considered, even as remotely possible or successful today, is sheer nonsense.

          The founders spoke to a time, and in protecting and defending a newly formed nation, with a continental army and what they saw as an unruly militia, not as a future vehicle for the overthrow of that nation.

          That you would claim so is the revisionist history. In fact, the Constitution gave the government the right to maintain a standing army – in the original document. It was amended later to include the 2nd. The militia clause was seen as a first defense to repel an invasion or insurrection, not as a vehicle to overthrow our very government. So tired of hearing that rubbish.

          • OlieGoalie

            Beel, to Open the 2nd Amendment up for debate and to say that the founders spoke to “a time” would allow the gov’t to interpret the very principles this country was founded on.

            Perhaps they should revise the First Amendment? I’m sure the founders never intended to protect your right to speak freely via emails, mobile phones and the internet. After all we’re talking about protecting mussel loader tech here, right?

          • Beel

            Too funny on several counts. First, are you unaware the 2nd is itself an amendment to the founding principles? Are you also naively claiming our courts haven’t been interpreting the document from from the beginning? Perhaps you should actually research the history of Supreme Court decisions, but especially the recent two regarding the 2nd.

            Throughout our history the first clause trumped the second, which is usual in law, and had always been interpreted as a state right to maintain its own militia – “the right of the people” not “the right of the individual.” After over 200 years, along comes the activist decisions of ’08 and ’10 and suddenly the first clause is now declared meaningless. So much for your call for “originalism.”

            Are you suggesting as well those decisions were correct and the founders did not mean what they wrote even as they were creating the document? If so, what else might you think they did not mean?

            And, obviously, the 1st Amendment has been revisited and reinterpreted, as well – many more times than the 2nd. Don’t pretend that hasn’t been the case, to suggest otherwise is but the province of fools.

          • OlieGoalie

            Clearly you know you stuff. So how is it we have to revisit simple language? “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

            How is this not a right of the individual? If not the individual than who were they referring too?

            And, how can you say it’s a living document but say this implied to mussel loaders? Clearly the modern weapon at the time of it’s writing and not still cover modern guns of our time.

            But, then you go off the deep end and talk of slaves, powdered wigs and infallibility….Tin foil hats as you said earlier. I don’t see the relevance in bringing that up.

          • Beel

            Clearly you know your sophism. I’m sure you understand by now that is not the sentence, but that it is written specifically in a military context. Check out the earlier drafts, too. That should give you a clearer picture of the issue they were addressing.

            Setting aside the military context, rarely does any right granted to the people extend to each and every individual, even during the times of those who wrote the Constitution. Certainly none were extended to individuals who were black and few to those who were women.

            Incidentally, though they certainly had mussels back then, too, the guns were muzzleloaders, and the word you were looking for was “applied” not “implied.” Obviously, my mentioning the type of weapon came with the implication that, had they the weaponry of today, they might not have agreed to amend the document just to appease anti-federalists who were concerned the federal government might seek to disarm state militias in favor of a federal army. At the very least they probably would have been a bit more specific.

            Lastly, while I can play in the deep end, I don’t think you know what “tin foil hat” means or is meant to imply. They were fallible, did own slaves, and wore powdered wigs. They also were not of one mind. The process of creating and agreeing on the words and their meaning, even back then, was extremely contentious.

          • Mind_Blown

            So your saying that the 2nd amendment is the only amendment in the bill of rights that isn’t an individual right? You realize you’re saying that jammed in the bill of rights is this meaningless amendment that guarantees the rights of state militia? That’s actually amendment 10 fyi. What you failed to mention is that the term militia is defined much different than 230 years ago. If you read the federalist papers they clearly state that the 2nd amendment is for the sole purpose of individual self-defense. You have to realize that these ‘rights’ aren’t given to us by the government we are born with these rights as should every person on earth. But the bottom line is that the 2nd amendment is an individual right and has been defended in the court of law.

          • Beel

            No, my saying is, “Don’t put words in other people’s mouths.” If I didn’t believe that I might think your saying is, “When you can’t address the argument, build a straw man and take a stab at that.”

            It’s irrelevant how we define militia now, the point of the discussion is what the founding fathers intended. I suggest your read their writings on the subject. This bit was about states having the right to maintain militias at a time when some anti-federalists (states’ rights) were concerned the federal government would raise a standing army and do away with state militias.

            (and states’ rights are certainly not meaningless to those of us who believe the federal government must defer to states for anything not enumerated in the Constitution)

            Regardless, no right in the Bill of Rights hinges on any other right or rights within that document, so what other rights entail is irrelevant.

          • Mind_Blown

            The difference here is that you view the 2nd amendment as a collective right and not a individual right. My point is that the bill of rights are a list of individual rights. You’re trying to make the point that the militia is tied to the state which it is not. The militia is neither federal or state…it is completely separate. The militia is each individual citizen. The federalist papers address each item of the bill of rights in detail. Look no further than these writings to determine what the founders intended.

          • Beel

            I researched the the history of the 2nd and why it was written that way in particular. Yours is apparently mere opinion, as a (counter) point would have supporting evidence. The militia clause was tied to the states at the time – and was written for that purpose. Read the country’s founding history, and earlier drafts of the 2nd.

            “…every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.” – 2nd Continental Congress

            And this article is over a month old now, move on. I won’t be back.

          • Mind_Blown

            “Congress have
            no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible
            implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword
            is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I
            trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”


            I said before go read the federalist papers they explain everything. You have
            this idea that the militia is the national guard. This argument has been made
            over and over and just simply isn’t fact. To be frank, it’s just backwards
            thought from illogical people who wouldn’t know truth if it was slapping their
            momma. Since you won’t be back I’ll leave you with this….The District of
            Columbia vs. Heller has basically settled the argument and the 2nd amendment is
            an individual right….game over…Cheers!

          • Beel

            Alright, you wooed me back. Obviously you have never read the Federalist Papers as that wasn’t in them, nor did the British sympathizer and firearms dealer, Tench Coxe, write them.

            This, in fact, is in the Federalist Papers (No. 29 to be exact, and the capitalism is preserved from the original document):

            “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, RESERVING TO THE STATES RESPECTIVELY THE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS, AND THE AUTHORITY OF TRAINING THE MILITIA ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLINE PRESCRIBED BY CONGRESS.”

            That’s what was meant by the super-ceding clause, which the second clause depended on. Now, one can argue, strongly, that there may have been no separate individual right expressly stated in the Constitution because, heck, that’s the way it always had been and nobody thought that aspect might become an issue one day. What they did think about, and were concerned with, was State and. Federal power – and that was what they were addressing.

            Now, you won’t get me back again, even with more sophism.

          • Debbie Lass

            Bravo Beel, I bet he had to look up the word” sophism”

      • Bob in Boston

        Chances are most people reading this are *already* in the militia. You’re choosing to misinterpret “militia” as the ‘organized militia’, which has morphed into the National Guard, but if you read documents from the time like the Federalist/anti-federalist papers and the constitutional ratification debates, it’s crystal clear that the founders were talking about the UNORGANIZED militia, which to this day is still defined in the US code as everyone between the ages of 18 and 45. So if you want to limit it to “militia” that’s fine with me – I’m already a member by default. Oh, and after you do some reading you’ll also come to realize that “well regulated” means they know how to use their weapons – it has nothing to do with government regulations.

        • Beel

          As opposed to you choosing to redefine what both “well regulated” and “militia” meant both then and now – and, no, it has not morphed into the National Guard.

          There were then, as now, those who argued over the idea of an armed populace. What is crystal clear is you haven’t read the documents of the time, including the Federalist Papers. You might start with #29.

  • Nick
    • K1985

      Many of the links did not present any studies. Any that did could not find any reductions in violent crime due to gun laws and they could only claim more guns leads to more GUN crime. The reduction in non firearm homicides more than offset any increases in firearm related homicides.

      Is it better for your friend to be beaten or stabbed to death than shot to death? If there are more guns in a community it would be rational that when the desire to murder arises a gun would be used more often but it is not the gun that creates the desire nor give the ability achieve it. The human body is fragile and any tool or physical attack is more than adequate to kill. The rare instances where using a gun is the only way to commit a homicide are far offset by defensive gun use which is between 300 thousand and 2.5 million times per year.

      The reduction in non firearm homicide rate more than
      compensates for any rise in the firearm homicide rate

      Firearms can help make a place safer, provide immense recreational opportunities, and help preserve liberty.

      • Charles Vincent

        Don’t forget the CDC study it refutes anti-gun rhetoric as well.

      • Leonidas

        If I may interject, the notion of crime or more specifically homicides isn’t something that is preventable with a simple ban. However, consider the scenario you have presented about a friend being beaten or stabbed to death. In the unlimited scenarios where this event was to take place, what sort of variables can affect the outcome. The friend, potentially could have a better chance at defending themselves, or perhaps someone else could step in to help defend against the attacker(s). When a gun(s) is added to the equation, the probability of either self defense or outside assistance is less likely. If we consider the same scenario where the attacker and the victim were to both have guns, then the element of surprise is the real variable that would most often determine the outcome. It is a simple as rock, paper, scissors, only you can not always account for the element of surprise. Of course, the element of surprise exists in all scenarios with or without guns or knives, so what other ideas must be considered? How about the innocent bystander? Again, with the unlimited scenarios, which form of battery do we expect to generate more unintended consequences? In the scenarios where weapons of any kind are not involved it seems as though there would be less unwilling participants (the original victim(s) aside) than if a gun(s) were involved. The reason I make this assertion, is because individuals that are not directly involved in the event can choose to insert themselves into a potentially fatal situation. In those scenarios where a gun(s) is involved, the same can be true, but also the opposite is true too. So since crime cannot be prevented, why no attempt to reduce the probability of other unintended consequences that often arise in crime with guns? Of course, I am interested in anyone else’s thoughts on the matter.

      • Debbie Lass

        “they could only claim more guns led to more crime” isn’t that the point? the argument is that MORE guns doesn’t lead to LESS deaths…..why would they need to show gun control laws lessen gun crime? because to do that you have to factor in the increase in population, as more people in a country will possibly increase more deaths naturally…..so numbers will increase even if gun control laws due lessen the number of deaths caused by guns….just as inflation will always increase despite what things may be done to keep down prices of things….. heres an analogy to show how this works….if someone works out every day and never lose a pound, would we say “see working out doesn’t cause one to lose weight” and then stop exercising? fact is while they may not drop a pound of what they already have, they could in fact be prevented additional pounds being added by working out. Once they stop and see how much weight it increases when NOT working out can we see the true effect something is having. But only if you control for all variables. The problem with statistics and issues like gun control is so many variables come into play that could be causing changes in numbers. Unless all variables are accounted for and factored in one cannot ascertain a conclusion of cause and effect on just one variable…..to say a reduction in non homicide crime rate lowered after more fire arms were acquired is not entirely factual….have they accounted for all factors that could also have occurred at that time, such as laws in states and federal laws or police forces increased etc that may be contributing to why a drop in crime happened? is the data being analyzed differently or by a different means than it was when the previous data was analyzed…..sometimes different methods of analyzing data will reap different results so it must be analyzed the same way for both sets of numbers in a comparison to also be accurate…..if in 2005 they used one way to analyze and in 2014 another way to analyze death rates by guns etc this could have skewed results…as one way may factor something differently…thus changing the outcome….

  • Michael

    Harvard should know better than to publish rubbish research without researching!
    Private gun ownership is NOT Banned in Russia! As an American living in Russia, I can attest that not only are guns allowed, but they are in use. I spent a recent weekend shooting skeet with a beautiful 12 gauge pump shotgun… at a public range with many others.
    A more useful statistic is that UK has less than 3% per population of gun related homicides than the US… one cannot dismiss this fact, unless it is paid to do so by gun lobbies.

    • Mind_Blown

      There’s plenty of research in the study and there are many more studies that reach similar conclusions. You cannot own a handgun in Russia…that’s a fact! Russia has some of the most harshest gun control laws. And stop mentioning England as an example of gun control laws working because they’re not! Go chart the murders in the last 30 years. It hasn’t changed much. This ‘England Example’ has zero logic because it’s based on the myth that fewer guns means less violent crime and murders. Norway has the highest gun ownership in Europe yet has some of lowest crime and murders. That don’t fit the ‘England Example’ does it? The US has higher non-gun violent crime too. Guns did not make the U.S. a violent country and taking guns away will not change that. The facts and logic do not support gun control advocates.

      • Debbie Lass

        so your contention is that murder rates have remained the same in the UK despite gun control laws increasing in the uk? has the population increased? as we know when population increases, usually crime rates do also…so the fact that the murder rate stayed the same all this time, despite the population increasing which would increase numbers of possible murderers…..then this means gun control laws did work there…..otherwise you would see increase in murder rates signficant with increase in population numbers……you cant just manipulate statistics to fit what you want as the outcome….cripes…people, including you, really dont get statistics do they…..

        • Mind_Blown

          What statistics do you refer to? You might want to do some research before running off at the mouth. In fact, the UK experienced their highest murder rates following their gun ban laws. So what stats did I manipulate? And what is this huge population increase the uk has experience? Oh yea that’s it…you solved the riddle!! Haha!

          • Debbie Lass

            First of all mind blown, I come from a family of mathematicians, engineers and statiticians, as well as have a masters degree myself so I think I have a grasp or handle about statistics to know what I am talking about. Here is factual data(maybe you should do research before YOU run off at the mouth.) The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world. There were 0.04 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. Gun homicides accounted for 2.4% of all homicides in the year 2009. In in 2011 there were 146 homicides due to fire arms. The last record of number of firearms owned by civilians was over 4 million. Compared to the US at the time who had 300,000,000 civilian guns owned. Statistics suggest that the gun bans alone did not have an immediate impact on firearm-related crime. Over time, however, gun violence in virtually all its guises has significantly come down with the aid of stricter enforcement and waves of police antiweapons operations. So dipshit, this is what I was referring to about people who “try” to analyze statistics when they don’t know what they hell they are doing. You look at a date when gun control laws went into effect and gun deaths at the time and then gun deaths right after they went into effect and if the number is higher then you claim those gun control laws had no impact. When in fact since that time it HAS gone down in the time frame from the laws implemented to now. Certainly making a law and NOT implementing it will render a law useless so the key will be enforcement and other factors that help support gun control. First you say the murder rate stayed virtually the same, now you contend that it went up after gun control policies…..so you change your story to suit the outcome you want. The point is statistics can be analyzed or read in different ways to give someone an outcome they want. If they leave out a factor their numbers look better than if they factored something in. It is important when you go to a website and look at data that’s ONLY put out by gun advocates lets say, that chances are they have worked the statistics to suit what they want to prove….but unless you have an understanding of statistics and how data should be analyzed correctly, you as an average reader wont be able to understand the data you read is in fact not entirely accurate…..a chart may show increase in murder rates after gun laws implemented but not break down murders by gun versus other means…therefore one cant say gun murder rates went up after gun control laws…..etc…thats the type of misleading statistical analysis I am referring to. In the UK half the guns used in crimes are air guns…..so does crime exist yes, is it as likely one will be hurt by air guns versus real guns, no, but it is important to know that half their incidences of crime with “guns” were by air guns when discussing crime statistics etc….there are many factors in data that people leave out. Or they assert something erroneously from the data…..The population of UK has increased over 3 million people from 2004 to 2014. I would say an additional 3 million into the population is a significant increase in number of people. here is some data for you. Uk has 3 times as many civilian owned guns as Norway. So how is it you claim Norway has the highest percentage of guns own in Europe? Where are you getting your data from?http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/compare/192/number_of_privately_owned_firearms/136

          • Mind_Blown

            Oh this is some really good stuff here.

            “I come from a family of mathematicians, engineers and statiticians”

            The apple has certainly falling far from the tree haha! Norway has 33.1 guns per 100 residents…a little higher than Canada 30.8 and a little lower than Irag 34.2. This is COMMON knowledge…just Google it! More guns does not equal more violence. Is this that difficult to understand! The uk has declining violence across the board. Less robberies and deaths. This is not the result of their gun laws but more to do with their ‘aging population’. It seems when people get older they tend to do less crime. This has happened in the US too. Since the 1980′s overall crime and murder has decreased. Why? well the baby boomers have aged out. The US is getting older. These are cold hard facts. You keep believing all the propaganda that is being fed to you. Please do some research and look at ALL the facts. More guns does not equal more murders! Anyone who analyzes statistics would look for a pattern to make a conclusion. The fact that countries like Switzerland, Finland and Norway have high rates of firearm ownership yet very low crimes committed with guns totally debunks everything you believe. The data does not support your argument. You call me a ‘dipshit’? Oh btw…The UK has roughly 6,2 firearms per 100 residents yet still has far more crimes committed by firearms than Norway and the other countries listed above. How is this possible!!! Guns kill people not people!!!

          • Debbie Lass

            Youre telling someone to google it lol…increasing guns does not show less crime either, and you cannot accurately claim less crime is ONLY attributed to more guns in the areas that show less crime but have more guns….as again anyone with basic knowledge of statistics knows that you cannot say ONE variable is the causal effect when other variables are also acting on something…without controlling for the effect those variables have on it…..for cripes sakes THATS COMMON knowledge. Yes I call you a dispshit because you are claiming the mere fact that Norway and finland and Switzerland have high gun ownership and low deaths by guns as a basis to say that increased gun ownership lowers crime and death rates by guns. You have not factored any other variables in there that impact the death rates …….because according to your flawed logic if the us owns 50% of the firearms in the world, and increased gun ownership lessens death rates by guns, then the us should have 50% less deaths than other countries with lower gun rates do…..we have similar number of gun deaths as many south American countries whose civilians own far fewer guns than we do…..so by the same chart we are reading where you try to contend that a few countries with high ownership of guns have fewer deaths, well the us has high ownership too and 900 times as many deaths as those countries you named…..this is what I am saying about how one can analyze or read data to suit their argument which is what you did….it does NOT mean youre analyzing data correctly….again here is data regarding fire arms and deaths for each country………so your stating that since England has 6.1 guns per 100 people versus norways 30.1 guns per 100 people that more guns means less crime……because norway has less deaths than England…..41 deaths for England to 2 deaths for Norway…….of course England has 3 times as many people as Norway…thus why when one is saying a percentage per 100 people the number will be less when there is more people…..Norway has 1/3 fewer people so if they own a lot of guns in Norway then of course number of guns per 100 people will increase…as the numbr of people gets bigger the number of guns per person shrinks….what you aren’t factoring in is how many people own guns…those numbers you questioned and that I just mentioned only go based on an average of guns per person for every 100 people based on number of guns owned and number of people… it does not go based on the number of guns owned by those who own guns…,.the majority of guns owned could be a small number of people with a large arsenal…the data doesn’t account for distribution of guns….for example americans own 300 million guns but may only be owned by 50 million people….increasing the number of guns among the same 50 million people isn’t going to impact crime rates or be a deterrent more………and contending increased gun ownership ina country means it went to more people rather than the same gun owners buying more guns is false…without showing that indeed was the case..which you have NOT shown with data is the case…..so your making assertions from this chart erroneously without accounting for all factors……..the data on gun control and gun ownership versus death rates is inconclusive….for as many studies as you want to post(mostly done and backed by NRA money im sure) that contends more guns equal less crime, there is also data that shows in countries that more guns don’t equal less deaths by guns…the US being the biggest example….the point is, be careful when analyzing data based on one aspect as it may be erroneous in its conclusion because you aren’t accounting for other variables that impact the data………..http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/jul/22/gun-homicides-ownership-world-list

          • Debbie Lass

            more guns most certainly can cause more deaths to increase depending how you look at the data. If we examine data for gun deaths after taking out all deaths by gang activity or black on black crime, the data may well show increase in deaths of suicide, accidental shootings in homes, and mass murders for the last ten years. However, if you just do a sweeping look at all deaths by guns with the gang deaths in there also you may say death by guns has decreased….well yeas death by guns in black on black crime may have decreased…so because that’s factored into the data it makes one think that death by guns decreased with increase gun ownership. However, you haven’t factored into that data of black on black crime that more incarcerations, bigge rpolice forces etc may have caused death by guns in black on black crime to go down despite increase in guns owned in us……then put those deaths in with all gun deaths and you want to make the assertion that means increased guns cause less deaths by guns. Really? yet mass shootings have increased since gun ownership has increased…that’s a fact…..while it may not be large numbers of deaths, the fact mass shootings have been increasing despite increased gun ownership is a concern….and one could then claim just looking at that data alone, without any other factors in it, that more guns increase mass shootings…see how this works? so if we cant make that claim that more guns increases mass shootings based on those two numbers only, you cannot claim that increased gun ownership and decreased death by guns overall means increased gun ownership causes death crimes to go down…..

          • Debbie Lass

            you just stated my point for me, that other factors affect decrease in crimes . yet you were contending that increased gun ownership was what was causing the decrease. You now have stated what I have been advocating and showing proof of in all my repsonses, that when analyzing data people need to look at ALL factors and not take one chart and say ok these three countries have more guns but less crime therefore more gun ownership means less crime ……there are many factors that play into data….and why rates increase or decrease and all must be factored in. Most studies you find done or analyzed by gun advocates will leave out the other factors as a cause and try to convince people with swayed data analysis that more guns equal safer better and less crime….which isn’t true when all factors are factored in in many cases. as we both have stated it is a complicated issue because of this reason….so you just verified much of what I was saying but then claim im the one who doesn’t get it…..when you are the one claiming the misleading analysis means increased guns means decreased crime…..to which I was refuting with facts and explanations of factors you left out in your data you used to support your claim…..

          • Debbie Lass
          • Debbie Lass

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation we agree correlation doesn’t mean causation yet you contended that high gun ownership and low death by guns in a country means that more guns in society is better as it decreases crime…don’t look now but you just asserted that correlation of those two factors equaled causation……

          • Debbie Lass

            “Norway has the highest gun ownership in Europe yet has some of lowest crime and murders” Italy and England have more guns than Norway and their death rate is higher also….http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/jul/22/gun-homicides-ownership-world-list

          • Debbie Lass

            This shows more reported gun ownership from 1991-1994 than now…and that after 1994 the numbers dropped some and stayed fairly constant….until 2012 when newton happened and the NRA was making everyone panic that the government was coming for their guns…which only managed to make the NRA and gun makers richer., not our society safer……so lower percentage of people owned guns from 1994-2011 yet the crime rates went down…..murder rates by guns went down….kind of throws a wrench in the NRA and conservatives claim that increased gun ownership caused those declines………..not to mention that while the amount of guns owned may have increased, it doesn’t necessarily mean a huge leap in numbers of people who own guns…..according to the NRA 60 million people own 300 million guns…..that’s an average of 3 guns per person…….http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/self-reported-gun-ownership-highest-1993.aspx

          • Debbie Lass

            When someone works every day and never loses a pound, should they contend that working out doesn’t work as it hasn’t lowered the pounds on their body? while one may not drop a pound by working out, it very well could have been preventing them GAINING weight. Same with gun control laws. You contend that the murder rates in UK stayed the same despite gun control laws…implying they didn’t go down because of gun control laws. The factors you aren’t factoring into your data analysis is that 1.) the population increased 3 million but murder rate stayed the same according to you…when in fact increased numbers of people would naturally increase crime rates…so therefore since crime rates didn’t rise according to you, one can say gun control may have contributed to that 2.) Gun control laws may not drastically drop the current rate of deaths by guns but well could prevent an increase in those numbers….as working out can prevent additional gaining of pounds. Background checks could be preventing some who shouldn’t have a gun form having one and avoiding issues that way…..so one cannot say that a murder rate remaining the same after gun control laws implemented is evidence they don’t work…as you aren’t examining all the data….any studies done must be reliable and valid and have a statistical significance to make assertions as true….ther eis much data out there that is not reliable and valid and statistically significant…sample sizes small, or data that contradicts other data that shows maybe other factors weren’t considered. this debate is difficult because most studies cannot control for all factors that may affect rates of crime or gun deaths when they do them and therefore the outcomes aren’t entirely factual…as anyone knows in basic statistics…if you have more than one variable acting on something, you cannot say definitively that one variable is the cause unless you control for all other factors and make sure they are NOT impacting the data results….and that’s almost impossible to do regarding guns and deaths by guns because there are laws, police enforcement etc that are different state to state and country to country and how those impact certain demographics of people make a difference also…

          • Mind_Blown

            There is zero evidence of anti-gun laws having an impact of gun crimes! It’s difficult to have a conversation like this with irrational and emotional characters like you. All your points above are based on assumptions…not evidence. Crime is a complex subject. Their is no magic bullet to solve this riddle. But the overwhelming evidence suggest that more guns does not equal more gun violence. So let’s stooping wasting energy on this subject. And criminals will always have access to firearms no matter what laws the gov’t implements. If a person is going to the gym everyday and does not lose weight then they should stop stuffing their fat face with biscuits and washing it down with a coke….cheers have a nice life…ya fascist fatty.

          • Debbie Lass

            evidence and correct statistical analysis of data also shows that increased gun ownership in countries doesn’t make deaths by guns or crime decrease as a factor all by itself….at all….and calling names indicates youre the one being “emotional” lol as for assumptions versus evidence…I gave the evidence with links provided and explained how analysis of data is skewed and how , depending how one analyzes something might sway the results to be what they want when leaving out factors. I also provided evidence that showed what you stated in some cases was wrong…if you choose to ignore facts that’s your choice, but makes you look foolish to those who do look at facts…..I know it must burn your butt that an educated white girl from a strong middle class catholic family may disagree with you about your assertion of increased gun ownership decreases crime…..I am sure you had hoped I would be some uneducated unemployed minority disputing you so you could some how make me fit into some stereotype you have about those who disagree with you……so mind blown, what do you do for a living? what degree did you achieve from what university? and lets see your picture. or are you ashamed of what you look like? its a coward who hides behind his words of attack…..without revealing himself…..

          • Mind_Blown

            I have not promoted an increase in gun ownership! Stop putting words in my mouth! I have simply stated the fact that high gun ownership does not equal higher gun violence. I have produced overwhelming evidence that supports this hypothesis. You have not proved your point…I don’t even know what your point is??? You have not refuted this evidence and have made gross assumptions. What facts have you produced? You have made assumptions and produced zero facts.

            “I am sure you had hoped I would be some uneducated unemployed minority disputing you so you could some how make me fit into some stereotype you have about those who disagree with you”

            This is what I am talking about! You’re delusional… And keep dreaming that I would ever describe anything about my private life to a person of your character.

            Remember this…there is a difference between education and intellect. You’re a perfect example of this difference.

          • Debbie Lass

            Oh, you mean like when you put words in my mouth by claiming I stated that gun control caused current crime rates to decrease? That’s what one calls a hypocrite. You put words in my mouth then turned around claiming I did to you. Pot meet kettle. The facts I presented are numerous, and certainly more facts than you have presented here by far. Remember this…a person who hides behind a screen insulting others while hiding factors about themselves is a coward. If you are an expert between what is intellect versus education, why not start showing some of it in your own writings instead of merely insulting someone you disagree with. Truly intelligent people can read what you typed and see absolutely no facts or data with links to this data supporting what you have been saying, because all you have been doing is putting words in my mouth, and giving your opinion and insults….nothing intellectual about that……

          • Mind_Blown

            I never put words in your mouth that you did not put there yourself…

            ‘claiming I stated that gun control caused current crime rates to decrease’

            You have made this assumption over and over…it’s in your posts. You defend it…and then claim I ‘put words in your mouth’…disturbing to say the least. I never advocated increased gun ownership as a means to decrease gun violence. Yet you repeated this lie in multiple post.

            ‘giving your opinion and insults….nothing intellectual about that’

            You have done nothing but insult me from your very first post and every post thereafter. Don’t sling mud at someone and then cry because they sling mud back at you. You seem like a troubled person so I will leave it at this….best of luck to you in the future!!

          • Debbie Lass

            now I am done with this nonsensical banter to nowhere. so ramble if you must to get your last “dig” in like angry self loathing hateful people do……but I shall not continue dancing with a man/woman who cannot dance.

      • Mgooboo

        Im from the UK and live in NYC, there has been more accidental shootings of innocent people by POLICE in the last year in NY than there has been shootings in the entirety of the UK.

        Norway is a very economically well off (per capita) and very sparcley populated country with very little crime in general that encourages responsible gun ownership and does not have the mad culture that persists today in the USA. The problem isn’t necessarily the guns themselves but the USA deffinently has a problem, and the majority of gun owner are in complete denial.

        There is a huge gang problem in this country (the US is the highest consumer of illegal drugs), there is an arrogant culture around guns where people treat them as toys or the same as a power tool and are unwilling to accept any responsibility. Your health care system is messed up compared to the UK and Norway, mentaly Ill people get denied care and are overly prescribed drugs. People are so arrogant in this country around guns they are unwilling to even restrict criminals getting guns and refuse to properly enforce and respect the laws that are already in place! There are far too many loopholes.

        It is too easy for a child to get a gun in this country, it is too easy for a mentally ill person to get a gun in this country and it is too easy for a criminal to get a gun in this country. (It’s not like this in Norway). There is vastly more poverty in the USA (than in norway), a huge black market and everything i listed above, paired with easily accessible guns and you’ve got the situation we’re in now, the wealthiest country in the world with one of the most shameful homicide rate in the western world. Yet even when 20 children are slaughtered people are STILL in complete denial that there is a problem at all.

        Seriously no one needs an arsenal of weapons and to have one on them 24/4, your creating this wild west senario which is spiralling worse and worse and screaming about freedom, grabbing the pitchforks and torches when anyone talks about responsibility, its almost impossible to talk to anyone pro gun on this topic.

        My solution isn’t to ban guns, but to close the loopholes that persist today, enforce gun laws on a federal level and take steps to restrict access to guns to the wrong people while eliminating this idiotic arrogant gun culture that persists today – a gun is NOT a toy! Too many people are burying there head in the sand, There IS a problem with guns in this country and it needs to be addressed!!

        • Mind_Blown

          I absolutely agree with most of what you’re saying. The US has a distinct gun culture. But someone owning an arsenal isn’t a bad thing. That is their right and the vast majority aren’t harming anything but their bank accounts. Most gun owning people are extremely responsible gun owners who do not treat weapons as toys. Now, I won’t deny that some do…but the exception is not the norm.
          Does this gun culture feed the gun violence in the US? I don’t think so..poverty and drug laws have more of an impact. I believe certain criminals will always have access to guns no matter what the law says. Because of this, the people should be allowed to defend themselves…the cops won’t…they just show up and rope off a crime scene. The mental handicapped should never have access to firearms. This needs to be addressed. People found in possession of an illegal firearm should face mandatory and lengthy federal sentences. And last, complete and total reversal of all current drug enforcement laws. These laws have created great violence in our cites and have destroyed millions of lives. These are good starting points…I just think it’s a waste of energy to try and tackle the US gun culture…a lot of work and all it would do is disarm law abiding people…

          Now I will make an analogy that may make some people angry. Pointing a finger at the NRA or blaming gun owners because of what these lunatic killers do and then blaming the ‘gun culture’ is no less bigoted then a white man blaming ‘black culture’ because a black guy stole his wallet.

          • Mgooboo

            Yes i agree with what you said about drug laws and so on but disagree that gun culture is completely innocent in this. To use you’r analogy about black culture again (I’m mixed raced) there ARE problems with certain elements of black american culture that contribute towards crime, (mainly the idiotic ideal of aspiring to be an ignorant “gangster”) just as they are problems with certain elements of Pakistani culture (of marrying 13 year old girls) and mexican culture and white American culture and so on

            Culture is a good thing but they are certainly bad elements to all cultures around the world and i don’t think American gun culture is exempt from this – there is an ignorant and arrogant side to gun culture – Obviously not every gun owner is but these are the ones that are stifling progress, the ones who are fighting against any form of responsibility, fighting against the closing of loopholes, fighting for guns being to be sold in every super market, fighting against any form of licensing, background check or registration, fighting for almost all weapons legalised and scream that your un-american and trying to claw there guns away if your suggest any form of responsibility. We want to close a loophole to prevent straw purchases for criminals thats facilitating the market for illegal arms? BUT I WANT TO BE ABLE TO BUY A NON REGISTERED GUN! why?!?! it doesn’t make sense! no responsibility at all!

            Countless other industries are regulated and registered more than the firearms industry – they do need to be regulated more than they currently are. Thats not taking anyones guns away, but ensuring they don’t get into the wrong hands. We shouldn’t just accept mass shootings as the norm – and hope a citizen is there with his gun and Clint Eastwood reflexes to hopefully take him down, more on prevention needs to be done. It depresses me how theres armed guards and metal detectors in schools.

          • Mind_Blown

            I would disagree that firearms are not regulated. You cannot buy a pistol without a mandatory background check and waiting period. Yes, even at gun shows. We have a gov’t agency that is entirely focused on guns….its called the ATF. I don’t understand the registration argument. When you buy a firearm you have to fill our paper work that is submitted to the state. That’s how the newspaper in New York published the records of firearm owners…so technically you are a REGISTERED gun owner. All gun types are NOT legal in the US. You cannot own a fully automatic firearm and that type of firearm has been illegal to own since the 1930′s. I don’t hear anyone saying that type of firearm should be legal. In fact, many anti-gun people try to make it sound as if that’s what a AR-15 is. AR-15′s and other so called assault rifles account for so few deaths that’s it’s a complete waste of energy. Hand guns are by bar the most used weapon in murders.
            I still believe that the best means of tackling gun violence is ENFORCING the current laws. Harsh punishments for those who supply illegal guns and harsh penalties for those who carry illegal firearms. Why should we add more regulations when the gov’t does not enforce the current ones? It’s like complaining about a diet that’s not working because the person isn’t even trying to stick to the diet. And then saying…this diet doesn’t work so i’m going to try another diet….so is the folly of gov’t. Bottom line…we need to get the illegal guns and their distributors off the streets. Where are you ATF.

  • pacohope

    It seems to me that one question not answered by this study is what would happen if stricter laws were imposed. It talks about violence levels now and the laws in place now. It does not look at the levels of violence in these places before and after the laws were enacted. If we are using this information to inform our own debate about enacting laws, we should not look at simple numbers, but rather numbers that changed (or didn’t) in response to laws that were enacted. What if a place had a horrible amount of violence, enacted laws, and the violence went down? They might still have a total amount of violence worse than the US in per capita terms, but the laws they enacted would have been a good thing. What we wouldn’t know, from simply looking at a single number, is whether the violence went down in response to the law. Likewise, there could be a place where there was a moderate amount of violence, they enacted strict laws, and the violence didn’t change much at all. If they had less violence per capita than us, it would actually be an argument against the effectiveness of the laws. I don’t think this study helps us debate the value of gun laws very much. We need before and after studies, not snapshot-in-time studies.

    • Mind_Blown

      I see your point but the main focus of the study is to illustrate that more guns does not equal more crime. There is no correlation between guns and crime. This is for policy purposes. Murders have been in decline for two decades now…this is more to do with population changes. i.e. the baby boomers (biggest population surge in our history) have aged out. But we still have too much violent crime. How do we solve this? Some think it’s simply guns and that is the only answer. This study shows that guns do not make a society more prone to violent behavior. Out politicians try to ban assault rifles which only account for less than 500 murders a year.


      There are numerous study’s that reach similar conclusions.


      This would lead to a rational conclusion that guns are not the problem. Again, this is for policy purposes. These and similar study’s should guide lawmakers in the proper direction to confront problems. The burden of proof is in the gun-control advocates to show that gun control does work. Our violent crime problem is much more complex than simply guns. Maybe, as a society, we don’t value lives as much as we think we do.

      • K1985

        There are far fewer than 500 modern rifles (“assault rifles”) deaths annually. The FBI figures show only 323 rifle murders a year and modern rifles or only a portion of rifles meaning that there is at most 200 modern rifle homicides a year.

        Modern rifles represent over 10% of firearm sales and only involved in less than 2% of homicides which shows they are one of the safest firearm category in existence. Demonizing and banning firearms based solely on cosmetic features is bad policy. Certainly lacking in common sense.

        • Debbie Lass

          lets analyze data by removing the murder rates and gun violence rates of those crimes that are gang related or black on black crime…. remove those then analyze data about how many numbers are kille din mass murders because of rifles…yes rifles may only account for 2% of murders by guns when you include gang action, remove gang action, what is the percentage? and how are numbers of those killed by rifles compared to numbers of those killed in acts of crime unrelated to gang on gang shootings…….you will see a drastic difference in data….especially after 20% of mass shootings in america occurred just in the last year 2013……

          • Mind_Blown

            I guess the evidence doesn’t fit the imaginary world you live in. Brain dead illogical liberals fight reality everyday. But their is hope for you…educate yourself! If you want to eliminate mass killing…banning an ar-15 is the worst place to start. Why doesn’t president pass an executive order or demand the FBI investigate the medications these killers were on? All theses mass killers have something in common…they were mentally disturbed. Doctors fed these guys meds that change their chemical ballance. Then they run off and shoot up a bunch of people and the liberal morons blame the gun? It makes no sense. Oh wait it does…big pharma is a much more difficult target than the NRA. There interest is not to stop mass killings but to demonize law abiding citizens. They have mindless puppets, such as you, to go along the ride with.

          • Debbie Lass

            all you do is insult and repeat sound points you hear from those advocating for everyone to own guns. You call someone you don’t know a liberal, based on what? an assumption that if someone disagrees with your stance about guns that they MUST be liberal…that’s not based on facts. You don’t provide factual evidence or cite sources you simply insult and then call someone else emotional lol…psychologists would say the person who gets so riled up in a discussion to call people names and insult and belittle are the ones with the emotional instability in the discussion and who are the ones being “emotional” lol. You claimed that “Norway has the highest gun ownership in Europe yet has some of lowest crime and murders.” and I provided factual evidence available on the google you like so much that showed you were incorrect about that. That many other countries in Europe had more guns than Norway and you feel you know your facts while refusing to accept the true and factual facts presented with evidence to go look it up yourself. lol that’s the mindset you deal with. Then you tried to claim well yeah but norways shows to have 30.1 guns per 100 people…sure and 30 guns could be owned by ONE Norwegian in that 100 persons….versus a country that has 30 people who own one gun per 100 people…..you didn’t account for that variable or factor…..the bottom line is…Norway owns a lot fewer guns than other European countries and has fewer deaths…those euro countries with more guns have higher death rates than Norway, so your supposed logic more guns lowers death rates by is debunked by that data alone and analyzing the data the same way you are….without factoring in any other variables that may impact decreasing deaths by guns….such as police, laws, etc…..by your own flawed analysis the data in the chart I shared debunked your argument anyway lol…….yu mentioned people need to look at patterns…ok heres a pattern for you…..Norway has 1 million and some people who own guns and 2 deaths by guns reported……Italy civilians owns 7 million guns with 417 deaths…….England has 3 million 400,00 civilians who own guns with 41 deaths…..so so far we have those with fewer guns had fewer deaths and those with more guns had higher deaths in Europe….yet 25 million german civilians own guns with 150 some odd deaths reported…….spain has 4 million civians that own guns and 90 deaths….Switzerland has 3 million 400,000 civilians who own guns with 57 deaths…..so the pattern appears to be in euope majority of countries with more guns have more deaths….youe trying to claim that smaller countries with smaller populations who own more guns have fewer deaths lol…fewer people may mean fewer deaths anyway despite gun ownership…..you haven’t accounted for that factor…..secondly the ratio of 45.1 guns per 100 as used to indicate fewer deaths exist because there are 45 guns per 100 people…doesn’t factor into the fact that all 45 guns could be owned by one person not 45 people which isn’t increasing gun ownership over a population, it merely shows increase in gun ownership of the same persons….which wont be what deters crime….another factor you haven’t counted in…youre the one contending that increased guns lower crime and deaths by guns, I contend that you cant claim without evidence that gun controls haven’t prevented crime rates from increasing…I never stated they would make current rates decrease….but you provided no factual evidence to say they aren’t preventing increase by being in place…..

    • K1985

      Great article that shows the sharp rise in crime after Massachusetts stringent gun control law of 1998. It is the very time series data you were looking for and shows while the rest of the country and Massachusetts neighboring states saw dramatic reductions in homicides Massachusetts saw a significant rise.


      Rather compelling that both time series and cross sectional analysis show that less gun control and higher firearm ownership rates are tied to lower crime.

      • https://twitter.com/mne__povezlo G L

        I don’t see how it is compelling. Data analysis is not just about plotting one variable against the other, it’s also about understanding the processes that determine the relationship between the variables.

        Once again, it’s virtually useless to compare murder rates across countries or states without controlling for income levels, quality and amount of policing and similar factors that definitely have impact on crime rates.

        In the same vein, there is no point in comparing MA crime rates before and after gun laws were introduced. The reasonable question is ‘would the murder rate in MA in 1999 (and later) be higher if the gun control laws had not been implemented?’. It requires some counterfactual analysis which quality would depend a lot on the discretion of the researcher. But in any case such analysis hasn’t been performed, and the analysis mentioned (Kates and Mauser or Lott) is incapable of either refuting or supporting any reasonable hypothesis relating gun control and crime rates.

      • BaconMakesItBetter

        Not sure I’ve seen anything compelling in either direction. I can say this for sure, I grew up in a small town in the midwest, had relatives and friends in many other small towns.

        In most of these towns you had anywhere from 500 to 30000 folks living together. I’d guess nearly every single household had firearms, not sure, can only go by people I met and spoke with.

        Most of these towns had maybe one homicide every ten years or more.

        Something other than just firearm ownership rates is in play in this country, for sure.

  • Dennis M

    What is being touted as a “Harvard Study”, is not a research study done by Harvard University. It is an article (if you read it you see the authors themselves call it an article) that was published in 2007 in The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy which is published by the Harvard Society for Law & Public Policy, Inc., an organization of Harvard Law School students. Neither author has any affiliation with Harvard, whatsoever. It was not peer reviewed, and they are pro-gun ideologues, neither of whom have ever published a peer reviewed study on the effect of guns.
    Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser try to disprove what study after study has shown, that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns mean fewer deaths. They attempt to do so by cherry-picking and conflating data out of context then adding some falsehoods.
    Calling their article pseudoscience would be a generous description

    The REAL HARVARD School of Public Health, Harvard Injury Control Research Center has numerous peer reviewed academic studies published in a variety of professional Journals contradicting most all of the conclusions Kates, Mauser, Lott, Kopel et al present as facts.


    • Charles Vincent

      AND the CDC Study Obama ordered contradicts these “The REAL HARVARD School of Public Health, Harvard Injury Control
      Research Center has numerous peer reviewed academic studies published in
      a variety of professional Journal” and supports these “conclusions Kates, Mauser, Lott, Kopel et al present as facts”

    • Bill

      All that but not one concrete example, pulled directly from the work, of the “pseudoscience” or “data out of context?”

  • GDS

    Also, the evidence is mainly based on per capita murder statistics from Luxembourg, a country with a smaller than the city of Philadelphia. The sample size is far too small to make any real comparisons with the United States(population 580 times that of Luxembourg). Examining the results of the gun ban in Australia would be far more telling and would yield far different results. The Journal of Law & Public Policy should enlist the help of anyone who took at least 1 statistics class in highschool before publishing an article with any numbers in it at all.

  • jr023

    since most of the mass shootings / bombings have been done by either people who were in contact with mental health,police or homeland security, collage adm, military and they did nothing i think a relook at the procedures when there is a contact with a troubled person.
    and familys can help if you have a family member remove the weapon from the troubled person and in domestic when a protection order is issued do not voluntarily let someone violate it and arm yourself

  • osbjmg

    increased attention for its claims that more control over firearms doesn’t necessarily mean their will be a dip in serious crimes. … “their” ?

  • pickedupapencil .

    If you compare Massachusetts to Massachusetts of yesteryear, it’s clear that all our crime is up since 1998 when our stricter firearm laws were passed. Check out the data for yourself. It’s sad. They blame it on the other states around us with lax gun laws, but their crime isn’t up.

  • Benjamin Gunnells

    Hmm…how about this correlation…the more news time we give the names and faces of the assailants…the more shootings we get. Maybe stop giving them their 15min?

    • Kurt Carver

      Very well said .

  • IAmRoot

    This was published in a law journal, not a peer reviewed scientific journal. It is a student run publication. What’s been published by Harvard itself says something quite different: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/policy-evaluation/.

    • Kurt Carver

      Yeah I seen that study as well and there is plenty of studies out there that will overturn that study . More gun laws ie: restrictions does not or will not mean safer streets or a Nation. It simple means more gun Laws period . A criminal does not consider laws when he commits a crime .

    • David_Smith

      The link you provided goes to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center which is directed by a virulent anti-gun nut who advocates diminishing the Bill of Rights through a “collective” (e.g. communistic) approach. The center is not interested in the discussion other than how to remove firearms from the hands of law abiding citizens (as criminals will always have them even if they have to make them from parts at the local hardware store) and the only “evidence” they provide is dedicated to accomplishing that. Fail for pretending that link was in any way neutral.

      • Lorcan Bonda

        However, they reference other studies which are conducted by experts in this field and are peer reviewed (unlike a student law journal). In addition, they are cited by hundreds of researchers in the field. Kates and Mauser do not have that anywhere near that recognized expertise (in fact, they have no expertise in this field.)

        • David_Smith

          It’s a scholarly university publication subject to editorial review that conforms with scholarship which is the body of principles and practices used by scholars to make their claims about the world as valid and trustworthy. It’s results don’t align with your political ideology and that’s the basis of your attempt to demean it. That’s all that’s occurring here

  • Tim

    This was a student publication of a paper written by two people who have nothing to do with Harvard, one of whom was a gun lobbyist.

    • David_Smith

      Even if what you say is true, it was formally peer reviewed before publication meaning the data, statistical analysis, information, argumentation, and even the thesis were all carefully and competently evaluated and verified before publication ultimately by the scholarly individuals that oversee the student publication. Nice exercise of ad hominem on your part though.

      • Lorcan Bonda

        No, it is not peer reviewed. It’s not even a scientific journal.

        • David_Smith

          It’s a scholarly university publication subject to editorial review that conforms with scholarship which is the body of principles and practices used by scholars to make their claims about the world as valid and trustworthy. It’s results don’t align with your political ideology and that’s the basis of your attempt to demean it. That’s all that’s occurring here.

          • Lorcan Bonda

            All of that may be true, but it is not ‘formerly peer reviewed’. This is where scientists of the field review your information and data to verify that it is accurate and meets scientific standards using appropriate methodology. These peer reviews occur when scientific papers are published in scientific journals.

            Harvard’s Journal of Public Law and Policy is not one of those.

            Opinions have a place in scholarly university publications, but they are not ‘formerly peer reviewed’. Nobody would claim they were, either. Peer review also does not guarantee scientific accuracy — which is why scientific studies with merit are normally repeated by another scientist who references their work.

            My political ideology has no bearing on this concept. I could publish a poem in a scholarly literary journal which claims that the sky is orange and grass is made from old sneakers. That poem might have scholarly merit, but it is not scientifically accurate. ‘Formal peer review’ is a phrase which has real meaning — in other words, your claim is factually incorrect.

          • David_Smith

            A large body of very good studies that have benefitted humanity underwent an editorial review process conforming to good scholarship instead of “formerly peer review.”

            The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy is one of the five most widely circulated student-edited law journals in the country AND since it can take a year for an article to move through the peer-review system and become published: it makes sense in many cases to bypass formal peer review for scholarly editorial review when dealing with studies this nature and level of complexity. This isn’t a study in astrophysics making assertions on Higgs boson.

            Your assertion that this study underwent scholarly editorial review instead of the lengthy formal review process is accepted.

            AND the study is fine.

          • Lorcan Bonda

            But there are scientific and medical journals which include peer reviewed studies on this exact same subject. For instance, here is a peer reviewed study on the subject:

            Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew. Firearm availability and homicide rates across 26 high income countries. Journal of Trauma. 2000; 49:985-88.

            You discount this peer reviewed study in favor of one from a Journal of Public Law and Policy. Harvard Law School Publishes 18 separate such journals. In addition to this one, their offerings include, “Harvard Journal of the Legal Left” and “Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.”

            I would wager that you don’t consider their articles as equivalent to the journal which declares itself “the leading forum for conservative and libertarian legal scholarship.”

          • David_Smith

            I haven’t discounted it simply because I wasn’t aware of its existence. A wise person wouldn’t make a false assertion that someone had discounted something without knowing if they were even aware of it’s existence. You chose not to be that wise.

            And honestly, that report doesn’t tell the real story.

            I’m looking a the UNODC data: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AonYZs4MzlZbdExSbktqRWpLMjNUMkFGVk5VODRyTnc#gid=0

            and the United States is down the list for ‘homicide by firearm rate per 100,000 pop.’ at 2.97. Compare that with say Venezuela which is 38.97 or Ecuador at 12.73 or Columbia at 27.09.

            But even that 2.97 number must be understood within the context that gun crime (including firearm homicide) has been declining in the U.S. even as gun ownership has increased.



            But let’s drill down farther:

            1. FBI Expanded Homicide Data: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expandhomicidemain

            2. U.S. Census QuickFacts: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

            3. Bureau of Justice Statistics: http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf

            How interesting. It looks like though African Americans account for only about 13% of the U.S. population they account for about 53 percent of the homicide offenders and about 50 percent of homicide victims.

            “The offending rate for blacks (34.4 per 100,000) was almost 8 times higher than the rate for whites (4.5 per 100,000) (table 1). Males represented 77% of homicide victims and nearly 90% of offenders. The victimization rate for males (11.6 per 100,000) was 3 times higher than the rate for females (3.4 per 100,000). The off ending rate for males (15.1 per 100,000) was almost 9 times higher than the rate for females (1.7 per 100,000).”

            It doesn’t make sense for the government to launch a costly unpopular unconstitutional needless war on all U.S. gun owners affecting more than three hundred million U.S. citizens because of a tiny criminal element in an otherwise law abiding relatively small demographic of a much larger law abiding population and it’s disingenuous of people like yourself to pretend otherwise.

            Deal with the tiny criminal element in the small demographic and leave the rest of us alone. Molon Labe.

  • disqus_uhhPBOWzf4

    Having a position on an issue does not mean one is incapable of being objective in finding and analyzing data on that subject and it certainly doesn’t disqualify one from presenting arguments. If having a position automatically disqualifies one from the discussion, then the only people “qualified” to comment on anything would be those who are so “open minded” that they fail to come to a positive conclusion about anything, in which case we would all probably question their ability to think. We all have bias. Taking care to recognize (and correct for) the bias in ourselves and in others helps us to engage thoughtfully with new information. Ad hominem attacks on the messenger spare us the real work of thinking and blind us to new information and the enlightenment that could result.

  • Rebecca Flynn

    More people die from car accidents and heart attacks than from guns in this country. That’s what people who want to ban guns in this country forget to mention. Criminals who want to rob you are going to get their guns unregistered and from the black market; therefore, prohibiting gun laws only hurt the citizens who buy them legally and use them for self defense. It’s common sense. Crime typically goes up in countries that don’t allow citizens to defend themselves, because criminals know their victims will be defenseless. If you want to figure out why horrible shootings happen in malls and in schools, you need to look closer at the mental health of the shooters not just the tool (the gun, knife, etc). Any tool can be used as a weapon to do harm. I find it interesting that the media never talks about how the shooter is on some prescribed anti-depressant (SSRI) which clearly says may cause increased suicidal thoughts which typically correlate with homicides. We need to examine how these drugs can effect people while on them and understand the horrible withdrawl effects they can cause. Of course, the powerful pharma companies are never questioned by the media, despite many of these drugs being banned in other countries.

    • Lorcan Bonda

      Rebbecca — those are all a logical fallacy of false analogies. There is no comparison between cars and heart attacks vs. guns.

      If cars had no other purpose than to killing (or practice killing), then they would be banned. As it is, there are 2000 some-odd regulations to make them much safer than they would otherwise be. There is no such requirements for guns — plus guns can’t get you to work, drive you to the doctor, or the hospital.

      • 613and802

        But guns serve a greater purpose than just murder, which is the only lens that liberals see them through. Guns are tools, just like a car is, and when mishandled, as a result of intent or neglect, people can lose their lives.

        • Lorcan Bonda

          Guns are designed to shoot. Period. Some are designed to shoot people, some are designed to shoot animals — but either way, they maim or kill. You can try to argue that you shoot at a range, but that is pretty close to just training to shoot people.

          So when I point a gun at somebody in anger (or lets say twenty kids in an elementary school) that’s neglect? Adam Lanza simply wasn’t properly trained?

          It is hardly comparable to a tool needed to get to work and function effectively in society. Even at that, you have to have a license to drive a car and insurance. To get the license, you have to pass a written test, vision test, and a practical test. What do you need to buy a gun? A pulse.

          • 613and802

            OK last point first. Have you ever been through the gun buying process? I highly doubt it, so I don’t think you can really comment on that. You need a lot more than a pulse.

            Second, you can’t really compare guns to cars in terms of licensing, because gun ownership is a constitutional right, driving a car is not.

            Lastly, believe it or not, but guns, in the hands of law abiding citizens, help to prevent crime every day. Gun ownership in the US has continued to rise and gun crime has continued to drop. We don’t have a gun problem in this country, we have a mental health problem and a gang problem.

          • Lorcan Bonda

            Yes, I’m aware that typically you need more than a pulse to buy a gun (although the gun show exception is still there) — sarcasm is a lost art on the internet.

            I didn’t compare cars to guns — Rebecca Flynn did in her opening post. I was responding to that comparison. However, if guns are a “constitutional right” why can’t former felons buy a gun? Don’t they qualify for “constitutional rights”? (It’s a rhetorical question — I know why they can’t buy a gun, but they can get a driver’s license.)

            Crime is dropping because of demographic changes. I’m not sure guns have an effect on crime, but I’m very sure guns have an effect on homicides. It would be nice if the NRA allowed this sort of independent research to be conducted.

  • bricko

    More cowbell