Zero correlation between state homicide rate and state gun laws (Read 1349 times)

Flapp_Jackson

Zero correlation between state homicide rate and state gun laws

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There’s been much talk recently — including from President Obama — about there being a substantial correlation between state-level gun death rates and state gun laws. Now correlation obviously doesn’t equal causation; there may be lots of other factors that are the true causes of both of the things that are being measured. But if we do look for now at correlation, it seems to me that the key question should focus on state total homicide rates, or perhaps (for reasons I describe below) total intentional homicide plus accidental gun death rates. And it turns out that there is essentially zero correlation between these numbers and state gun laws.

To begin with, here’s why I focus on total homicide, rather than gun homicide or all gun deaths. First, few people care much about whether they are stabbed to death or shot to death. And even if gun restrictions do decrease gun homicides, that effect may well be offset (or more than offset) by an increase in other homicides:

    Some killers would kill with knives or other weapons instead of guns.
    To the extent that today some attempted killings are stopped by defenders who have guns, those attempts might succeed if the guns become harder enough for defenders to get.
    To the extent that today some potential killings (or attempted robberies, rapes, or burglaries that lead to killings) are deterred by attackers’ fear of running into a gun, it might be that fewer will be deterred if guns become harder enough for defenders to get.

If — put together — these effects mean that tighter gun laws will mean 100 fewer gun homicides in a state but 100 more homicides with knives or other weapons, the net result would hardly be a gun law success.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/10/06/zero-correlation-between-state-homicide-rate-and-state-gun-laws/?tid=ss_tw
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