One of the things anti-gunners love to push are licensing laws. They want you to have to go and get permission from the government before you can purchase a firearm. Never you mind that they’d never tolerate such a requirement before accessing the internet to speak your mind. Never you mind that they’d never issue such a requirement for securing your home and vehicle, either.
No, it’s only the right to keep and bear arms they want to mandate licensing for.
Unfortunately for us, they have a new study that pushes the idea that licensing actually works.
Handgun licensing laws in U.S. states lead to fewer gun-related homicides and suicides, a new study finds.
These laws go beyond federal background checks by requiring a prospective buyer to apply for a license or permit from state or local law enforcement.
“So much of the gun policy discussion focuses on background checks alone,” said study author Alex McCourt, an assistant scientist at the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“We need to recognize that background checks are necessary for identifying people prohibited from accessing a firearm, but unless complemented by licensing, our research indicates they are not sufficient to reduce gun fatalities,” he added in a Hopkins news release.
To come to that conclusion, McCourt’s team assessed the effects of different gun laws in Connecticut, Missouri, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
In other words, they found a correlation and are assuming that it’s causation.
However, I’m more than a little skeptical of this. For one thing, let’s look at the idea of suicides. A person who may be contemplating suicide can still get a license, after all. They can get it and purchase a firearm and still take their own life. A license may add a step, an opportunity to rethink it, but if you’re taking concrete steps, I’m skeptical that just one step would be enough.
Plus, as the above-linked report notes, the study also found that non-firearm suicides also declined in one of the states studied. Now, it sounds to me like there were other factors going on that the study failed to take into account.
And that’s the problem with the study as a whole.
You see, if you look just at raw numbers, you can find any number of things related to guns and gun control. However, violence of any kind is far more complicated than so many researchers want to acknowledge. They look at a single gun law and then compare murder and suicide rates, but fail to account for any other factors that might have contributed.
For example, what was the regional economy like during that time? What cultural factors may have been taking hold during the period the study looked at? Also, what particular regions within a state account for the violence? For example, the study cites Missouri as having a significant increase after they repealed their licensing requirement, but how much of that was in Saint Louis?
See, that matters because if most or all of it was, then you also have to take into account the sociological impact of gang activity. Were the gangs getting along well enough before, but not after?
Honestly, there are a thousand or more variables that can contribute to a violent crime rate, none of which appear to have been accounted for in this study. And yet, this study will be cited by many who want to try and support an infringement on our Second Amendment rights, the kind they’d never tolerate on any other of their rights.