A fundamental tenet of the cult of gun control is that more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms leads to safer communities. A new database unveiled by the RAND Corporation, however, should be enough evidence to create some doubt among those anti-gun activists who’ve still managed to hang on to a shred of their critical thinking skills, because it reveals that some of the safest states in the union have some of the least restrictive gun control laws.
According to RAND, researchers looked at 16-years worth of data for in-patient hospitalizations for gun injuries to determine which states had the most and the fewest cases reported, per capita. These hospitalizations include patients treated for all manner of gunshot injuries; violent crime, suicide, accidents, and negligent discharges. If gun control was really the best way to improve public safety, we’d expect that the states with the lowest hospitalization rates would have the most restrictive gun control laws.
That’s not what the data demonstrates.
In 2016, the national average of hospitalizations due to firearm injury was 10 per every 100,000 residents.
The following states had the highest average number of hospitalizations due to firearm injury, according to the report:
- Louisiana: 24 per 100,000 residents
- Tennessee: 18 per 100,000 residents
- Alabama, Missouri and Maryland: 16 per 100,000 residents
These states had the lowest number:
- Hawaii: 2 per 100,000 residents
- Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine: 3 per 100,000 residents
- Iowa and North Dakota: 4 per 100,000 residents
Of the five states with the highest rate of firearms injury hospitalizations, four of them have fairly decent gun laws. Tennessee just approved permitless carry, while Missouri has been a Constitutional Carry state for a couple of years. Louisiana and Alabama are both “shall issue” states, but Maryland, which has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, has the same rate of gun-related hospitalizations as the more Second Amendment-friendly states.
The data is even more clear when it comes to the states with the lowest rate of gun-related hospitalizations. Yep, Hawaii has some of the most restrictive laws in the country and also has the fewest number of hospitalizations per capita, but the other five states on the low end of the spectrum are all Constitutional Carry states, though Iowa just approved its permitless carry law this year.
Gun control-loving states like California and Illinois also have a higher rate of gun-related hospitalizations than Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, which shouldn’t be the case if infringing on the Second Amendment was a solid strategy to reduce gun-related injuries. In fact, California, which has the most restrictive gun control laws in the country, has a gun-related hospitalization rate of 12 per 100,000, which is actually above the national average of 10 per 100k.
I have a feeling that instead of focusing on the states with the lowest number of hospitalizations, the news outlets that bother to cover RAND’s research will highlight Louisiana and Tennessee as proof that “lax gun laws” lead to more violence, even if they have to ignore the contradictory evidence from states like Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
What the data tells me is that gun control actually has very little impact on the rate of gun-related hospitalizations. Depriving citizens of their right to keep and bear arms has never been the right way to make our communities a safer place, and now we’ve got more data to prove it.