The typical left-leaning politician’s response to any kind of violent crime is to pass new gun laws. The worse the violent crime, the bigger they want to go on gun control.
It doesn’t matter if there’s any connection to what happened and the laws in question–look at how people responded to the Allen outlet mall shooting with age limits, all despite the shooter being 33–only that it’s something gun control.
However, a recent study makes an interesting point. It figures that gun laws by themselves won’t cut it.
New research shows the death rate among young people from gun violence rose with the increasing level of social vulnerability within the communities where the incidents occurred, regardless of whether a state’s gun laws were more permissive or restrictive.
The analysis, published Wednesday in JAMA Network Open, examined approximately 5,800 gun violence deaths that occurred from January 2020 through June 2022 among youth 10 to 19 years old alongside a community’s classification in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index. The index, which can be used to show where more help may be needed following an emergency or disaster, reflects demographic and social factors within a community such as poverty, unemployment, crowded housing and vehicle access, as well as minority status.
The study found that communities with very high social vulnerability had a gun violence death rate among youth that was 11 times higher than the rate in communities that were the least socially vulnerable, measured at 13.3 deaths per 100,000 person-years compared with 1.2 per 100,000. In total, there were 3,565 assault-related gun deaths among young people in the communities that were the most socially vulnerable compared with 309 deaths in communities with low social vulnerability.
Now, one shouldn’t be shocked to see that the study repeats the shibboleths required in this kind of research–namely the claim that yes, gun control works and those with restrictive gun laws are safer than those without, usually without accounting for literally any other factor–but the admission that gun laws aren’t enough is interesting.
“In both the permissive andrestrictive gun law states, the death rate was 10- to 12-fold higher in the most vulnerable communities compared to the least vulnerable communities,” Nehra says. “So, firearm laws mattered, but did not level the effects on a relative scale, and the most disadvantaged communities remained disproportionately impacted across the spectrum of state gun laws.”
The study doesn’t actually provide any suggestions on what to do, which makes sense. Unless interventions have already taken place, there’s no way for research to evaluate them. Anything they offered up would likely be speculation.
Yet there’s an important takeaway here.
Gun laws won’t suddenly make life safer. That’s the line we’ve continually heard for decades, and we know for a fact that’s nonsense.
Since I started writing here, I’ve beaten the drum over trying to find the underlying causes of violent crime and addressing those rather than restricting people’s rights.
This study is suggesting something not entirely dissimilar. Sure, they think gun control is swell, but they’re saying it’s not enough and that we need to do something else, such as trying to find the underlying causes of violent crime and addressing them.
One thing the study didn’t say, though, is whether these alternatives could replace gun laws entirely.
After all, if you intervene and prevent people from committing violent crimes in the first place, you won’t need gun laws at all.
Of course, if the researchers even considered suggesting such a thing, they might find themselves defenestrated from academia with extreme prejudice.