Stolen guns represent a significant issue in American society. For one thing, people whose guns are stolen are deprived of property they paid for. For another, those guns end up in criminal hands.
This is a legitimate problem and we all know it.
However, there’s not a lot of legislation that can really tackle this sort of thing.
Some, however, would like for you to think otherwise.
A new report has linked a change in a Missouri firearm law with an increase in the value of stolen firearms reported in the state — an indirect measure of an increase in the number of stolen guns.
The study published Monday by researchers at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning public policy group, analyzed federal data 12 years prior and 12 years after the state’s 2007 repeal of the requirement to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun. Researchers used federal data showing the values of stolen firearms reported to law enforcement agencies as a way to estimate the changes in the number of stolen firearms.
Although the law’s repeal didn’t garner a lot of attention at the time, researchers have pointed to that one piece of legislation as a catalyst for the state’s deregulation of gun laws and have tied it to impacts on gun violence.
“(The study) shows that permit to purchase laws not only prevent gun suicides and homicides, but also contribute to gun thefts and the easy movement of guns across the state and beyond state,” said Eugenio Weigend Vargas, director for gun violence prevention at the Center for American Progress.
No, seriously, if you’re going to make a claim about how the repeal of a purchase permit requirement led to more guns being stolen, you’d better damn well be able to show your work.
After all, there’s absolutely no mechanism in any purchase permit requirement that will impact firearm thefts. You might be able to argue that mandatory storage might reduce gun thefts, but that’s a separate policy that has nothing to do with purchase permits.
This is a prime example of how correlation doesn’t equal causation.
Or, it would be if the correlation wasn’t questionable.
See, the problem is that they’re using a supposed valuation of stolen guns as a proxy for actual numbers. The thing is, how can you accurately gauge the value of stolen guns without knowing the number of guns stolen.
Further, even if you somehow had an accurate valuation, one particularly expensive firearm can skew those results.
After all, the theft of one Alvin White’s Colt New Frontier’s (retailing for around $28,500) has a much higher valuation than 1,000 Hi-Points, yet which is more likely to be a problem on our nation’s streets?
Frankly, using the valuation of stolen guns is a bad metric anyway, but I suspect I know what it was used here. It was used because it allows the Center for American Progress to use numbers that aren’t easily rebuked or refuted to make their case.
None of which, however, has any impact on the fact that requiring people to have a permit in order to buy a gun has any relevance on whether that firearm is later stolen or not. It just doesn’t.
Especially since it wasn’t exactly difficult to get a permit to buy a gun in the first place.
For an anti-gun organization, I expect something that should at least sound plausible. This ain’t it.