Did Grisham's Anti-Gun Push Actually Work?

Democratic National Convention via AP

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham decided to take one for the team there in New Mexico. She took the “public health crisis” rhetoric and ran with it right into the direction we all knew it would inevitably lead. She tried to ban the lawful carry of firearms in Albuquerque among other measures.

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And that didn’t work out well for her. She was basically mocked by both sides for her blatantly unconstitutional effort. When David Hogg is calling out your anti-gun stance, you know you’ve gone too far.

But all of that was then. What about now? The big question is, did any of it work?

Despite ongoing legal challenges in federal court, Lujan Grisham recently extended the order another 30 days.

Officials reported a 7% decline in gunshots detected since the health order went into effect. In that same period, there have been 2,490 arrests and 290 guns seized.

Lujan Grisham’s administration also said 87 juveniles have been detained in gun related crimes, 24 of whom would have been released before the public health order.

“Well, the governor has been very courageous on the issue of gun violence prevention,” said Miranda Viscoli with the organization New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. “I think parts of the public health order are working and I think some parts of it aren’t.”

I’m sitting here sighing at this. Why? Because this is another one of those cases where they just throw raw numbers at people in hopes that it will impress them without providing the least bit of context.

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There are nearly 563,000 people in Albuquerque. So are 2,490 arrests and however many guns (other sources argue it’s only 219 guns, not 290) taken a good number or is that par for the course?

Is a 7 percent reduction in detected gun shots a significant percentage or is it barely relevant?

There’s absolutely no context provided, so it’s impossible to evaluate those numbers. What that suggests to me is that there’s not a whole lot of substance here. Grisham is pushing raw numbers in hopes that she can fool people into thinking her efforts are working when they’re not.

Of course, Grisham could show that I’m wrong by giving us some context. The seven percent decline in gunshots detected is the closest thing we have to that, which is probably the least impressive number on the whole thing.

Yet I find it interesting that these raw numbers aren’t accompanied by anything remotely like percentage increases or decreases. It’s not like they don’t know how to figure out percentages–they say is a seven percent decrease in gunshots detected, after all–so why not tell us how much of an increase the arrests or guns seized are over last year and/or over the period prior to Grisham’s order?

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Yet even if the context where there, the idea that Grisham’s order is why that’s the case is a great example of post hoc ergo propter hoc, or “after, therefore because of,” which an informal logical fallacy that’s basically a case of saying that this happened after that so it must have been because of that.

In other words, there are a thousand possible reasons why violent crime in Albuquerque might have gone down that have absolutely nothing at all to do with the executive order, if there actually was any difference.

As things stand, though, I see no reason for Grisham to be patting herself on the back. Then again, she probably figures that she has to show victory, even if there isn’t a win, or else her career is toast.

 

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