Debunking Conservatives: "U.S. Gun Control Doesn't Work!"

 

Thumbnail photo: JustFacts.com/guncontrol.asp

 

Opponents of gun control will argue that within the United States, strict gun laws have failed to reduce crime and gun violence—instead causing it to sharply increase and thus being counter-productive. Chicago and Washington D.C. are the key examples of this failure that they point to. As I show here, their portrayal of the data on this subject is extremely misleading.

In D.C., the gun homicide and suicide rate actually declined after a gun ban was passed—only spiking 12 years after its passage at the onset of the crack epidemic. And the vaunted decrease in gun violence after the repeal of the gun ban was simply the continuation of a 17-year trend. The Chicago gun ban also coincided with a slight reduction in the murder rate—and once the crack epidemic wore off, homicides were almost at half the level that they were before the gun ban. The continued presence of guns in areas with strict gun control is facilitated by the loose gun laws of neighboring, Republican states and regulatory loopholes.

Only selectively examining and sharing the data that appears to support your position—and ignoring everything else—is no way to reach a rational conclusion on the subject. Many counter-examples exist where the passage of strict gun laws has reduced gun violence rates—and where the loosening of gun laws has increased gun violence. In fact, looking at nationwide data on this question makes absolutely clear that the stricter a state's gun laws, the lower its rate of gun deaths, gun suicides, and mass shootings. In short, gun control within the United States is actually very effective—and only by ignoring the facts and misrepresenting cherrypicked data can you reach a different conclusion.

When talking about this subject, the first thing to be aware of is the conservative tendency to only shine a spotlight on the few examples where the data appears to be supportive of their position. Although I will examine the validity of the arguments that they make about their go-to locations within the United States—namely, Chicago and Washington D.C.—it's important not to fall into the trap of exclusively engaging them on this subject on their chosen territory, because doing so can cause you to miss the big picture and make it seem like this question is much more debatable than it actually is.

A broad overview of this subject using data from the entire country leads us to the very clear conclusion that more restrictive gun laws lead to fewer gun deaths. A number of different graphs and studies unequivocally demonstrate this point.

In a CNBC article by John W. Schoen, we see the following graph created using data from the CDC and the Boston University School of Public Health. The graph compares the number of firearm deaths per 100,000 people—which include homicides, suicides and accidental discharges—against the number of firearm laws for all 50 states. As we can see, the more gun laws that a state has, the fewer the firearm deaths. Conversely, the fewer the gun laws they have, the larger the number of firearm deaths.

Notice also how steep the trendline is. The states with the lowest number of gun laws have an average firearm death rate of about 16 per 100,000 people—surpassing 20 per 100,000 in some states—compared against roughly 4 per 100,000 for states with the most gun laws. This is a very sharp difference right here.

Look at Arkansas way up there at almost 24 guns deaths per 100,000. I actually visited Arkansas recently, and now I think I understand why I drove by a high school and saw that their mascot was a trauma surgeon!

"Welcome to Little Rock High School, home of The Bleeding Robbery Victims!"

We see a similar analysis in a 2013 study performed by Eric Fleegler et al.

As they write in the paper,

 

"We used state-level firearm legislation across 5 categories of laws to create a 'legislative strength score,' and measured the association of the score with state mortality rates. . . . 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."

 

They also present this data graphically, and as we can see, the higher the legislative strength score, the lower the number of firearm deaths per 100,000 people.

We also see in their paper that the higher the legislative strength score, the lower the percentage of household gun ownership—serving as further proof of my conclusion from a previous video that easier access to more guns leads to more death.

When you look at gun suicide rates, specifically, you see the same trend: the stricter a state's gun laws, the lower its firearm suicide rate. The Trace presents us with a graph on this question using suicide data from the CDC, and a gun law strictness criteria which uses rankings from the Giffords Law Center and The Cato Institute.

What does the data indicate about America's favorite past-time, mass shootings?

Paul Reeping et al explored this in a 2019 BMJ paper, using a measurement of legal restrictiveness or permissiveness that included over a dozen factors, including:

 

". . . standard firearms ownership and permit requirements; if semi-automatic, high capacity magazines, machine guns, and suppressors are permitted or restricted; if the state employs a right to self-defense, ability to conceal, ability to open and vehicle carry, ability to conceal carry in state parks, or whether a gun permittee can carry in a restaurant serving alcohol."

 

Their data clearly indicates that the more permissive a state's gun laws, the higher the number of mass shootings per million people.

Is there a single person here who can genuinely say they're surprised by the fact that providing easier access to a wider assortment of guns that people can carry in more locations makes it more likely that people are going to die by guns in that state? This legitimately has to be one of the least surprising findings of all time, right up there with the recent scientific discovery that jumping in front of trains is not good for you.

Now you might be saying, "Hang on a sec, Anton: Maybe other things about these states lead them to have such different gun death rates; perhaps the gun laws aren't necessarily the cause?"

I think it's pretty obvious that there is a causal linkage between gun deaths and gun laws in a state. It doesn't seem very wild to assert that having more of those things that shoot and kill people in your state would lead to more people being shot and killed in your state. But let's say it is something else about these states that leads them to have fewer gun deaths. This still gets the conservative nowhere.

If you map the political affiliation of all 50 states onto this firearm death graph, you find that the blue states tend to have the lower firearm death rates whereas the red states have much higher rates. So if you're a conservative trying to argue that other confounding variables are at play here, given that the blue states are the ones that perform so much better, you really lose either way, because you'd basically be arguing that it's some other left-wing policy that leads them to have such superior outcomes to the red states in this area.

If I were to say that the people making this argument are shooting themselves in the foot, I'd be right twice. They're like: "No, you don't understand: Our states are terrible because of these other Republican policies." Brilliant rebuttal.

"Pfft, look at these liberal pansies, not dying from guns. Oh, you want some soy to go with your lack of gunshot wounds?"

What about the relationship between gun control strictness and state crime rates? Conservatives are quick to describe the value of using firearms to deter crime, so by their logic, one would imagine that states which provide easier access to guns have lower levels of crime.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any data that directly compares these two variables. But we can do our best to approximate such a comparison by comparing statewide crime rates against the toughness of gun control in those states.

SafeHome.org provides a map of the US which colors states according to the stringency of their gun control. The criteria used here came from the 2015 Brady Campaign State Scorecard. The stricter a state's gun laws, the darker red it's colored on the map. Let's compare this map of gun control strictness against nationwide crime rates, which are graphed in an article by Laura Allan on Motovo.com using FBI crime data.

There doesn't really appear to be any clear association here. So while this data doesn't allow us to make the claim that looser gun laws lead to more crime, it does allow us to reject the claim made by conservatives that easier legal access to guns will act as an effective deterrent against crime. If they were correct about this, you would expect to see that the states with the most restrictive gun laws have the most crime. The data does not bear this out.

I should also point out that even if conservatives were correct about this—which they're not—but even if more guns did lead to lower crime rates, gun deaths are the much more significant metric, and it's abundantly clear that easier access to more guns leads to more death. It would be a very strange person who thinks that less crime outweighs more death, like "Sure, I might be lying dead on the pavement riddled with bullet holes, but at least somebody didn't steal my wallet at gunpoint!"

So how does the conservative grapple with all of this nationwide data that we've just examined? From what I can tell, they don't grapple with it; when they write or talk about the subject, the data that I've just showed you goes completely unmentioned. I'm beginning to think they legitimately can't hear me when I make these points, perhaps because their ears are still ringing from their trip to the gun range?

Instead of taking a comprehensive look at this question to reach a serious conclusion, conservatives instead prefer to simply cherrypick data from one or two isolated locations to make it appear like the evidence supports their viewpoint. Within the United States, their go-to locations are Chicago and Washington D.C.

Here's what Ted Cruz has to say about the subject in his book A Time For Truth—a very fitting name for a book that's riddled with lies and distortions:

 

"It's also worth noting that gun control laws are notoriously ineffective. Facts matter, and cities with the strictest gun control regularly have among the highest murder rates. Thus, D.C. and Chicago have for decades had horrendous crime rates, even though both have been at the extreme vanguard of taking away their residents' gun rights."

Source: p. 245, A Time For Truth, by Ted Cruz. Jun 30, 2015.

 

I'm gonna create a game show called "Smiling Or Crying," where contestants have to look at pictures of Ted Cruz from the nose up, and decide whether he's smiling or crying in them. (My caption for this picture is "I just pooped my pants and I kind of liked it.")

Let's begin by pretending that they were completely correct about this, that Chicago and D.C. have some of the toughest gun laws in the country, yet gun violence and crime rates are off the charts. Even if this was the case, data from two cherrypicked cities doesn't override clear nationwide trends—are you don't reach rational policy conclusions by selectively examining only the locations that are favorable to your position.

That said, since these are such common right-wing talking points, let's take a closer look at Chicago and D.C. to determine whether the conservative arguments here withstand scrutiny.

Aaron Bandler wrote a Daily Wire article entitled "7 Facts On Gun Crime That Show Gun Control Doesn't Work."

By the way, this guy has written dozens of articles that follow this same boring format: 7 Facts On Gun Crime, 9 Things You Need To Know About Climate Change, 5 Reasons Getting A Boner During A Ben Shapiro Speech Doesn't Make You Gay—this guy's just so predictable! His titles are predictable, his arguments are predictable, I mean you could replace Aaron Bandler with a robot that simply repackages crappy conservative arguments and churns them out in these formulaic articles, and it'd probably take 3 months before anybody at The Daily Wire even noticed!

They're like, "Hey, have you guys noticed Aaron's been acting kind of weird lately?", and they look over and see the AaronBot2.0 short-circuiting in front of the water cooler.

In his article, he writes the following:

 

"D.C. still has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and consequently is one of the most dangerous places in the country to live, but the facts clearly show that homicides in D.C. rose after the ban was implemented and then subsequently declined after the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional."

 

Notice the language of the first part of this sentence: "D.C. . . . has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and consequently is one of the most dangerous places . . . to live." Here he's clearly asserting that having easier access to guns makes people more safe.

On what grounds does he reach this conclusion? As I showed in a previous video, higher gun ownership correlates with more gun death—and as we've seen here from nationwide data, stricter gun laws lead to fewer gun deaths, and there's no clear association between gun law stringency and crime rates. Aaron Bandler is completely reversing the facts when he claims that more gun control make people less safe.

There was a comment on my last video about gun control by JumpinJimmie which says

 

"To be a Republican, just take facts and flip them directly on their heads."

 

It's really quite amazing how accurate this is on so many different issues.

Here's the timeline and sequence of events in D.C. that Bandler presents us with:

 

". . . homicides in D.C. rose after the [gun] ban was implemented and then subsequently declined after the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional."

 

As we will see, this is an extremely deceptive account of what took place.

First we need to understand the history of the gun policies in question in Washington D.C. As we read on JustFacts.com,

 

"In 1976, the Washington, D.C. City Council passed a law generally prohibiting residents from possessing handguns and requiring that all firearms in private homes be (1) kept unloaded and (2) rendered temporally inoperable via disassembly or installation of a trigger lock. The law became operative on Sept. 24, 1976. On June 26, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 ruling, struck down this law as unconstitutional."

 

So what were the homicides trends over this time period? JustFacts presents us with a graph on this question that uses FBI crime data. As we can see, after the handgun ban is put into place in 1976, homicide rates do indeed begin to rise—in 1988, 12 years after the ban was implemented!

(Highlights added by me)

This timeline does not at all support the conservative narrative. What they would lead you to believe is that after the ban passed, criminals ramped up their violence because they no longer feared people using guns to defend themselves. Look at the sequence of events, however, and please explain to me how this would've worked: Criminals learn about the passage of the gun ban, and they're like: "Yes! At long last: Freedom to commit crime without fear of getting shot. So here's the plan: I'm gonna wait 12 years, and then I'll start committing more crimes." This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

The fact that it took so long for the homicide rate to spike after the passage of the gun ban makes pretty clear that other factors are responsible for this increase. What other factors, you might ask? How about the crack epidemic that took place starting in the late 1980s?

As Jacob Fenston writes in a WAMU.org article,

 

"When crack hit the streets of D.C. in 1986, suddenly users could get high for just $5 or $10. Demand surged, and for street entrepreneurs, business was booming."

 

And with an increase in black-market drug sales would also come an increase in the crime and violence that goes with it. Note the timeline of events here: crack hit the streets of D.C. in 1986, and the huge spike in homicides that we see in D.C. starts pretty much exactly at that time period.

(Highlights added by me)

Conservatives might concede this point and step back from the claim that the gun ban was the cause of the spike in homicides. They might go on to argue, however, that the fact remains: Guns were banned in D.C., yet gun violence continued and eventually even increased, proving the futility of gun control. As their logic often goes, criminals will find a way to get their hands on guns even if they're heavily restricted or outright banned.

A very important question to ask, however, is: Where have these criminals been getting their guns from? Many of them were trafficked into D.C. from other states with more relaxed gun laws! As Jeffrey Anderson writes in a Washington City Paper article:

 

". . . for most cities in this data set, the recovered guns came from their home states, whereas roughly half of the guns recovered in D.C. traced back to states along the Iron Pipeline, a 10-state gun smuggling corridor that follows I-95 from the Mid-Atlantic to Florida."

 

The Iron Pipeline, huh? I got your Iron Pipeline right here, baby. (And then she peppersprayed me.)

(Highlights added by me)

So yes, even if you impose strict gun regulations, criminals still might find a way to get their hands on guns—but they often get their guns from states with much looser gun laws! Presumably if all states had similarly strict gun laws, it would be much more difficult for criminals to acquire these guns.

Anderson outlines a few other ways that guns enter the illegal supply chain, including

 

"Straw purchases, where a person buys a gun from a licensed gun dealer on behalf of another person,"

 

and gun show purchases. In case you're unfamiliar with it, here's how The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence describes the gun show loophole:

 

"The Gun Control Act of 1968 requires anyone engaged in the business of selling guns to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and keep a record of their sales. However, this law does not cover all gun sellers. If a supplier is selling from his or her private collection and the principal objective is not to make a profit, the seller is not 'engaged in the business' and is not required to have a license. Because they are unlicensed, these sellers are not required to keep records of sales and are not required to perform background checks on potential buyers."

 

So conservatives point to the continued, illegal supply of guns as proof that gun control is ineffective, but a closer look at the subject shows you that criminals are acquiring these illegal guns by exploiting areas of weak gun control. The solution, therefore, is to close these well-understood loopholes and to tighten gun laws all around the country. What they point to as proof of the futility of gun control is actually proof that we haven't done enough gun control.

And if you look at gun death rates before the crack epidemic, you find that contrary to what conservatives argue, gun homicides and suicides actually dropped following the gun ban. A 1991 study published in The New England Journal Of Medicine by Colin Loftin et al set out to investigate this question. Evaluating data from 1968 to 1987, they found that:

 

"In Washington, D.C., the adoption of the gun-licensing law coincided with an abrupt decline in homicides by firearms (a reduction of . . . 25 percent) and suicides by firearms (reduction . . . 23 percent). No similar reductions were observed in the number of homicides or suicides committed by other means, nor were there similar reductions in the adjacent metropolitan areas in Maryland and Virginia. There were also no increases in homicides or suicides by other methods, as would be expected if equally lethal means were substituted for handguns.

. . . Our data suggest that restrictions on access to guns in the District of Columbia prevented an average of 47 deaths each year after the law was implemented."

 

So the gun ban actually effectively reduced gun homicides and suicides by about 25% during the decade or so after it passed—and only after the crack epidemic began did gun violence in D.C. increase.

Let's look at the second part of Bandler's misleading account of gun violence in D.C.:

 

". . . homicides in D.C. . . . declined after the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional."

 

Technically he's correct, although once again, he's being extremely misleading. As we can see in this graph, the homicide rate did decline after the ban was struck down—but this was simply the continuation of a trend that had already been going on for over 15 years! There is no excuse for omitting this key piece of information. The gun ban was eliminated in 2008, but the homicide rate began declining in 1991, 17 years before the Heller decision. So clearly other factors were causing the drop in homicides.

(Highlights added by me)

(Highlights added by me)

The way Bandler presents this information is incredibly oversimplified and completely misleading. The implication of what he writes is that the gun ban caused the homicide increase, and the repeal of the gun ban caused the homicide decline. In fact he doesn't even just imply that the gun laws are the causal factor here; he states it outright when he says that "Washington, D.C.'s gun ban worsened the city's homicide rate."

Either Aaron Bandler is being intentionally deceptive, or he's completely fucking clueless.

The final thing we'll look at are crime rates in D.C. from before, during and after the gun ban.

Here's what Marco Rubio said about the subject after taking a very large drink of water:

 

"'Washington, D.C. had some of the strictest gun laws in the country . . . and when they passed them, violence skyrocketed.'"

 

A 2014 paper by David Mazeika includes a graph showing both property and violent crime rates in Washington D.C. For your viewing pleasure, I've also plotted the passage of the gun ban, the onset of the crack epidemic, and the repeal of the gun ban.

(Highlights added by me)

As we can see, after the passage of the gun ban, violent crime and property crime rates did sharply increase over the next 5 years, just as Rubio claimed they did. The part he left out, however, was that over the next 5 years after that initial spike, they declined almost back to the pre-ban levels. The NRA claims that this subsequent drop is the result of a 1982 D.C. law which introduced mandatory penalties for using a gun during a violent crime.

Only telling us that violence skyrocketed—and leaving out the fact that it shortly afterwards ground-plummeted—strikes me as a little deceptive.

Similar to what we saw with homicide rates, when the crack epidemic hit, property and violent crime rates increased. Then in the mid 90s, they began declining, back down to the pre-ban levels in the case of violent crime and far lower than the pre-ban levels in the case of property crime. And these significant drops took place before the repeal of the gun ban.

On the specific question of D.C. crime rates, I don't really have a clear takeaway for you aside from the fact that things aren't nearly as simple as the one-dimensional narrative that you'll sometimes hear from conservatives, where the gun ban is bad, and repealing it is good.

Chicago is the other main location within the United States that conservatives claim demonstrates the ineffectiveness of gun control. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for example, said:

 

"'I think if you look to Chicago where you had over 4,000 victims of gun-related crimes last year, they have the strictest gun laws in the country. That certainly hasn't helped there.'"

 

And then she got kicked out of a restaurant—not for her political views, but because she accidentally shot a waitress.

To reiterate a point from earlier, cherrypicking locations convenient for your position is no way to reach rational conclusions on the subject. Conservatives talk endlessly about the failures of gun control in Chicago—yet we don't hear them talk about the hundreds of other cities where gun control is actually very effective. A nationwide look at this question shows that Chicago is the exception—not the norm.

Nobody is arguing that gun control will be 100% effective 100% of the time. The case for gun control is that overall, it will reduce gun violence—and you assess the veracity of this claim by examining the big-picture trends.

Notice another flaw in the conservative analysis here. Their argument is basically: "Haha! Chicago has high gun violence rates relative to the rest of the country; therefore, gun control there is a failure!'

Well no, you're actually just not thinking about this correctly. You don't compare Chicago's present gun violence rates against the rest of the country; you compare gun violence rates in Chicago from before and after the implementation of gun control to see what impact it had there. Even if current rates are high relative to the rest of the country, they could nonetheless be lower than they were before gun control in Chicago—meaning that the gun laws there actually could have been partially effective.

We're gonna look specifically at the impact of the Chicago gun ban. As JustFacts.com writes,

 

"In 1982, the city of Chicago instituted a ban on handguns. This barred civilians from possessing handguns except for those registered with the city government prior to enactment of the law. . . . In June 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5 to 4) that Chicago’s ban was unconstitutional."

 

Let's look at the murder rates in Chicago over this time period. A graph from JustFacts.com using FBI crime data shows that from 1965 to 1975, murder rates had more than doubled from about 10 to 25 per 100,000 people. Then from 1975 to 1981, murder rates fluctuated a bit, but overall plateaued at about 26 per 100,000. When the gun ban was put into effect in 1982, murder rates dropped slightly and plateaued at about 23 per 100,000.

Then they spiked at the onset of the crack epidemic, reaching about 33 per 100,000, then gradually dropped over time to about 16 per 100,000 in 2004—remaining there until the ban was lifted in 2010.

(Highlights added by me)

Looking at this data wouldn't lead me to call the gun ban a resounding success, but I would definitely describe it as much more of a success than a failure. Immediately after the ban, homicide rates dropped slightly, and then after the crack epidemic wore off—and before the ban was lifted—they dropped to almost half of where they were just before the gun ban, from about 26 per 100,000 to 16 per 100,000.

It's difficult to say to what degree we can credit the gun ban for this—especially considering that we're looking at murder rates generally, and not gun homicides, specifically—but that's what the data that I could find shows and you can make of it what you will.

Another thing worth considering is that there's no way to run the experiment again and see how much worse gun violence might have been in Chicago if there were no such gun laws in place, and instead, accessing firearms was much easier.

I would also make the same point I did about Washington D.C.: The presence of guns in an area with strict gun control isn't exactly proof of the failure of that location's gun control; it's moreso proof that people will take advantage of areas with looser gun control to get their hands on guns. So the conservative's preferred policies are to blame—not the Democrat's.

I couldn't find clear data on the source of Chicago's guns for the full time period during which the gun ban was in effect, but here's what an NBC Chicago article writes:

 

"According to the Trace Report, about 40 percent of illegally used or possessed firearms recovered in Chicago from 2013 to 2016 came from dealers in Illinois. The remaining 60 percent came from states with less regulation over firearms. Indiana accounted for about 1 in 5 of these weapons, followed by Mississippi and Wisconsin. The report says these trends have been consistent over the past decade."

 

Aaron Bandler of The Daily Wire is not impressed by this argument, as we learn in his predictably-titled article "11 Things You Need To Know About The Chicago Murder Wave"

I wonder how he arrives at these numbers, by the way? It's different for every article. Sometimes it's 8 things you need to know. Other times it's 9, or 5. Maybe he sends his articles to the editor and he's like: "Not enough facts, Aaron. I need at least 9 facts in here before I can publish this thing!"

 

"Gun control apologists like to use the excuse that the gun violence stems from firearms purchased out of state, but this ignores the fact that this is already a violation of federal law and that prison surveys reveal that most inmates obtain their firearms through 'fellow gang members, "social connections" and family members.'"

 

Pointing out that criminals obtain their firearms through gang members, social connections and family members is not a refutation of the fact that firearms come from states with looser gun laws. There's no contradiction between these two claims. How, exactly, does Bandler think gun trafficking works? The guns are just magically teleported to the criminal with no intermediate people that facilitate the transaction?

It's like I say "Ferraris are supplied from Italy," and you say: "Oh yeah? What about the fact that Ferrari owners in the U.S. purchase their cars from American dealers close to where they live?" Ok? And these American dealers are ultimately supplied from Italy.

The supply chain here really isn't that difficult to understand: Person A gets something from Location 1 and gives it to person B at Location 2. So in the case of guns, these gang members or social connections would go to another state with looser gun laws, and provide the criminal with his guns back in the location with stricter gun laws. Bandler isn't debunking anything here; what he thinks is a point of refutation is actually just a point of confusion on his part.

He also says that gun trafficking is already a violation of federal law, implying that addressing this subject through regulation has already been tried and this solution has failed to stop the problem.

Here he fails to acknowledge a couple key points. First, that several loopholes still exist which allow people to easily evade gun trafficking laws. The problem here isn't the intrinsic ineffectiveness of regulation; it's the insufficiency of present regulations.

Bandler also fails to consider that if gun control laws were consistently stringent all across the country, there wouldn't be pockets of nearby gun control laxity that traffickers could exploit. Pointing out that it's a crime for gun traffickers to exploit the loose gun laws of red states doesn't change the fact that the lax policy in these red states enables gun trafficking.

And as if the nationwide data that I've already presented doesn't make this clear, I can also present plenty of counter-examples where gun control has been effective. German Lopez gives an example in a 2018 Vox article:

 

"In Connecticut, researchers looked at what happened after the state passed a permit-to-purchase law for handguns — finding a 40 percent drop in gun homicides and 15 percent reduction in handgun suicides."

 

I can also point to specific examples where the relaxation of gun laws has led to an increase in gun violence. Take Missouri, for example. Here's what Daniel Webster et al write in a 2013 paper:

 

"This study estimates the impact of Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law on states’ homicide rates and controls for changes in poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, policing levels, and other policies that could potentially affect homicides.

Using death certificate data available through 2010, the repeal of Missouri’s PTP law was associated with an annual increase in firearm homicides rates of . . . (+23%), but was unrelated to changes in non-firearm homicide rates. Using Uniform Crime Reporting data from police through 2012, the law’s repeal was associated with increased annual murders rates of . . . (+16%)."

 

Another example is the enactment of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, the effects of which were explored in a 2017 paper by David Humphreys et al.

 

"Adjusting for underlying trends, we estimated a 75.0% . . . increase in justifiable homicides following the effective date of the [Stand Your Ground] law. After removing justifiable homicides from the overall homicide count, we estimated a 21.7% . . . increase in unlawful homicides."

 

So as we've seen, conservatives get many things wrong here. They cherrypick data to make it appear like their position is supported by the evidence, when really, they're being very selective and disingenuous in what data they pick and how they present it.

What's even more embarrassing is that when you look at the data for their chosen locations—the locations that they think best support their viewpoint—you find that gun homicides actually decreased after the passage of the gun bans, only increasing when the crack epidemic hit those cities. The post-repeal decline in D.C. homicides was simply the continuation of an ongoing trend.

The fact that guns are still abundant in areas of strict gun control doesn't prove the futility of gun control, because a large portion of these guns are acquired from neighboring regions with much looser gun policies, and by exploiting regulatory loopholes. An examination of nationwide data makes very clear that the stricter a state's gun laws, the lower its rate of mass shootings, gun homicides and gun suicides.