I accept your apologies, gun advocates. In quite a few posts on this blog, I've been stating the obvious: controlling the availability of guns produces fewer gun deaths.
But I've gotten quite a few comments from defenders of unfettered gun availability who ignore research proving my point. Hopefully a new study will come closer to convincing them that while they're free to believe what they want to, they aren't free to make up their own facts.
Have a read: "States with more gun restrictions have fewer deaths, study says."
As Congress debates whether to toughen the nation’s gun laws, a study from Boston Children’s Hospital found that states with the highest number of gun laws have the lowest rates of gun deaths due to homicides and suicides.
The research, published online Wednesday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed gun laws in all 50 states as well as the total number of gun-related deaths in each state from 2007 through 2010. It found that fatality rates ranged from a high of 17.9 per 100,000 people in Louisiana — a state among those with the fewest gun laws — to a low of 2.9 per 100,000 in Hawaii, which ranks sixth for its number of gun restrictions.
Massachusetts, which the researchers said has the most gun restrictions, had a gun fatality rate of 3.4 per 100,000.
“Critics of gun laws have said that gun laws don’t work, but our research indicates the opposite,” said study leader Dr. Eric Fleegler, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. “In states with the most laws, we found a dramatic decreased rate in firearm fatalities, though we can’t say for certain that these laws have led to fewer deaths.”
Cause and effect is difficult to prove when studying complicated real world social problems. Kudos to the researchers for not claiming more implications from the study than were claimable.
You can bet that if the NRA had conducted a study and found the opposite -- that fewer gun laws were correlated with fewer deaths -- they'd be shamelessly promoting the research as a solid basis for repealing gun regulations.
The online journal article describing this new research can be read here. Here's the conclusion:
In conclusion, we found an association between the legislative strength of a state's firearm laws—as measured by a higher number of laws—and a lower rate of firearm fatalities. The association was significant for firearm fatalities overall and for firearm suicide and firearm homicide deaths, individually. As our study could not determine a cause-and-effect relationship, further studies are necessary to define the nature of this association.
Absolutely. Do the research.
And let's also pass some nationwide gun control measures, such as universal background checks where the records are kept permanently -- just as they are currently for guns bought from licensed dealers.
Nothing is absolutely certain in life. Except death. It's horribly immoral and unethical to stand pat and shrug our societal shoulders while every year thousands upon thousands of people needlessly die from gun violence in these United States.
About 30,000 people a year are murdered by a gun, or commit suicide by using a gun. The study found a six-fold difference in deaths per 100,000 among the states. With the overall national rate about 10 deaths per 100,000, and the lowest state rate (Hawaii) being about 3 deaths per 100,000, arguably we could reduce gun deaths by two-thirds through stronger gun regulations.
This isn't guaranteed. But if we do nothing, we'll get more of the same: the most lax gun culture of any industrialized country in the world, and by far the highest rate of gun deaths.