Matthew Dowd tries to lay down facts, fails miserably

AP Photo/Danny Johnston File

Matthew Dowd was a former strategist for President George W. Bush. Then he switched parties and announced he’d run for Lt. Governor of Texas, only for that to fizzle out.

Now, normally, he’s not someone we’d bother to pay much attention to. However, he decided to pontificate on gun control.

Dowd said, “The last data we have available, more than 45,000 people in America in 2020 died from gun violence. That’s more people in one year died of gun violence in America that have died throughout this entire war this Ukraine. More people died in one year from America from gun violence. If you think about it, and I know this gets into a political argument and all that, the top five states for gun violence, top five, are Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, and Wyoming. The bottom five states are Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. There’s a direct correlation to where there’s lax gun laws, to where there’s strict gun laws in how much gun violence there is.”

Now, the problem here is that Dowd is failing to provide sources.

As for the number of people who died from “gun violence,” Dowd forgets that roughly two-thirds of those were suicides, something gun control is terribly at actually preventing.

But what really got me was his list of states.

Again, he failed to provide any source for this so far as I can tell. So, I went to look at what states are the most dangerous and which aren’t. After all, shooting someone is self-defense could be considered “gun violence,” but is that actually a bad thing?

Further, I refuse to accept this idea that violence committed with a gun is somehow worse than violence committed with any other implement.

So what did I find when I looked at the most dangerous and least dangerous states?

Least Dangerous

1. Maine
2. New Hampshire
3. Idaho
4. Massachusetts
5. New Jersey

So, the top three safest states are all constitutional carry states and have been for a while. If lax gun laws make a state less safe then just how did three permitless carry states make the top three safest states?

It boggles the mind.

But maybe he has a point about the most dangerous states. Let’s take a look.

Most Dangerous

1. District of Columbia
2. New Mexico
3. Alaska
4. Louisiana
5. South Carolina

Well…

Granted, the District of Columbia isn’t actually a state, but it’s worth noting that it’s not exactly a pro-gun jurisdiction, and it’s the most dangerous “state” on the entire list.

It’s then followed up with New Mexico.

Now, New Mexico isn’t exactly New York or California when it comes to gun laws, but they have universal background checks and red flag laws, meaning they’re not exactly a pro-gun state either. The description I could give that’s the most charitable to Dowd is that they’re middle of the road.

But maybe he just meant stuff like gun homicides. If so, he’s wrong again.

From the same site, the top five states for homicides:

  1. Louisiana (12.4 per 100,000 people)
  2. Missouri (9.8 per 100,000 people)
  3. Nevada (9.1 per 100,000 people)
  4. Maryland (9 per 100,000 people)
  5. Arkansas (8.6 per 100,000 people)

Maryland is very much a gun control state. Nevada, while known for machine gun tourism, is in the same camp as New Mexico, having both universal background checks and red flag laws, neither of which is indicative of a pro-gun state.

So, without knowing Dowd’s source, it sounds like the failed candidate is just naming off a number of states he likes versus doesn’t like and hoping no one would check his claims.

Well, I did.

Yet it should be understood that there are a lot of factors that go into any discussion of violent crime, particularly things like homicides, beyond any gun laws. Education, job opportunities, poverty, among others, all seem to play a role in violent crime. That goes well beyond any single legislative effort.

And since Dowd wants to tout suicide numbers as part of that, let’s remember that suicide is a mental health issue, not a gun issue. People commit suicide with plenty of other things besides firearms, so focusing on the mental health side will yield even more benefits than trying to blame guns.

Then again, Dowd wants to be a good Democrat these days, so he has to spout the right flavor of nonsense, which is all he did with this.