Leah Libresco is a professional statistician and journalist who spent some time working for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. During her time at FiveThirtyEight she crunched the numbers in a study of all 33,000 gun homicides that take place in the USA each year.
She went in to the effort as any typical gun-grabbing leftist might, by believing that gun control laws would make our nation safer and would stop violence from occurring. However, what she learned by studying the data and looking at the fact was that the only real effect of gun control was to make 2nd Amendment supporters upset.
If you read the story, you’ll recognize the arguments but Libresco’s work proves that our beliefs are supported by hard science.
Here’s some of what she said:
I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.
When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos…
As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them.
66% of gun-related deaths are suicides, and a large portion of the rest of these gun-related deaths are the results of gang violence in inner-city areas (in Chicago some estimate that 80% of the gun related deaths are due to gang violence). The point is that passing new gun control laws on law abiding citizens will have a relatively minor effect on gun violence in America, and Libresco’s number-crunching proves it.
Coincidentally, Libresco’s old colleagues at FiveThirtyEight have a story up, reminding their readers that gun control probably isn’t the answer for gun violence in America.
You could, theoretically, cut down on all these deaths with a blanket removal of guns from the U.S. entirely — something that is as politically unlikely as it is legally untenable. Barring that, though, policies aimed at reducing gun deaths will likely need to be targeted at the specific people who commit or are victimized by those incidents. And mass shootings just aren’t a good proxy for the diversity of gun violence. Policies that reduce the number of homicides among young black men — such as programs that build trustbetween community members, police and at-risk youth and offer people a way out of crime — probably won’t have the same effect on suicides among elderly white men. Background checks and laws aimed at preventing a young white man with a history of domestic violence from obtaining a gunand using it in a mass shooting might not prevent a similar shooting by an older white male with no criminal record.
Why do those anti-science liberals refuse to believe the “settled science”? If only they’d just be reasonable and accept the scientific data…