More Gun Laws = Less Gun Deaths… JAMA

Gun Crime MP45a1 33

There is one absolute when it comes to the defense of gun rights by the vocal gun enthusiast community…more guns mean a safer America. I have heard it put another way, “An armed society is a polite society.” – Robert A. Heinlein, Joseph McCarthy apologist and author of Beyond This Horizon.

In principle it sounds right…and it works out well in science fiction, in movies were the script is crafted to support the perception. But how does it work in reality? How does the philosophy of guns fare when placed under the harsh spotlight of statistics, historical trends and analysis?

Would a study, over time with the objective to evaluate whether more firearm laws in a state are associated with fewer firearm fatalities draw the conclusion that “An armed society is a polite society” or that a regulated population was statistically safer. It should be pretty easy since statistics are available for murder and aggravated assault from all 50 states and the laws and regulations governing firearms are also available from each state.

The Journal of the American Medical Association this week released a four year study [2007-2010] of both gun regulations in all fifty states and a statistical analysis of gun violence data from those same states during that same time period. The study BOTH takes into account the total gun violence [murder, injury, suicide] AND gun violence confined to murder and gun injuries.

The JAMA study, through research from Boston Children’s Hospital drew the following conclusion…

“A higher number of firearm laws in a state are associated with a lower rate of firearm fatalities in the state, overall and for suicides and homicides individually.”

fatalities chart2

If the JAMA study was alone in its conclusions you could possibly draw a conclusion that either their analysis was flawed or the data was not representative of factual reality. So, let’s look at another study, from The Atlantic which drew the following similar conclusion…

“While the causes of individual acts of mass violence always differ, our analysis shows fatal gun violence is less likely to occur in richer states with more post-industrial knowledge economies, higher levels of college graduates, and tighter gun laws. Factors like drug use, stress levels, and mental illness are much less significant than might be assumed.”

JAMA Map

Once we have reviewed both the JAMA study and The Atlantic study we begin to see a well established pattern…that tighter gun regulations instituted in states have fewer gun related violence. We see this internationally, when comparing gun violence in the United States against countries such as Germany, Japan, Canada, Great Britain or Australia, where gun deaths per 100,000 are as low as 1/100th of the US homicide rate by firearms.

Homicide Rates

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.

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