There are a lot of anti-gun proposals flying around right now. Most have already been addressed, to be sure. However, they’re still out there, and it seems we need a more scientific approach to addressing them.
Luckily, someone at the Rand Corporation decided to take a look. They went through thousands of studies, literally, to take a look at the available evidence, just to see if the 13 most popular gun control proposals would actually accomplish anything.
Out of those thousands of studies, they really could only use a handful. Most weren’t designed to identify causation, which was a key component necessary for Rand’s evaluation. That left 62 studies that worked. What did they find?
Rand found moderate evidence that dealer background checks may decrease firearm-related homicides. Of course, federal law requires every firearms dealer to conduct a background check on everyone purchasing a firearm. Rand deemed evidence concerning the effects of private-seller background checks on firearms-related homicides to be inconclusive and found limited evidence that background checks reduce violent crime and total homicides.
Rand identified “moderate evidence that laws prohibiting the purchase or possession of guns by individuals with some forms of mental illness reduce violent crime, and there is limited evidence that such laws reduce homicides in particular.” As such, Rand recommends states should include prohibiting mental health histories in their background checks records and recognizes that the “The most robust procedures involve sharing data…with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”
In other words, dealer background checks and an improved mental health records component of the background check system are two steps that can reduce violent crime and homicides. Rand notably found inconclusive results linking any of the most popular proposals from gun-control advocates with a reduction on violent crime.
Of course, part of the problem with mental health records are patient privacy concerns, which would need to be addressed.
However, it’s funny how out of 13 gun control proposals, so few of them had any impact, and even those two measures that did only had a “moderate” impact.
Why is that?
Well, for one, most of the violence in this country tends to be either gang or drug related (and those two are linked). These are people already engaged in criminal activity and, as such, have access to illegal guns. They’re buying them off the street. They’re not getting them from a gun store. They’re obtaining them through illegal means, which means new gun laws won’t have much, if any, impact.
This is why we labor so hard to tell people that gun control doesn’t work. It’s because, at best, you get a “moderate” impact on crime and often a massive impact on the rights of the law-abiding who are not and have never been the problem. It doesn’t stop the gangbangers and drug dealers from gunning down entire neighborhoods if they want to. These are people who, even if they haven’t been caught before, are getting guns from the black market and not the local gun store.
But gun control advocates will keep pushing, keep pretending that gun control works despite this study showing that it doesn’t.