The purpose of science is to allow us to understand things better. We understand the world through study and experimentation. We do the same when we want to understand people, at least as best as we can.
Experimenting on people is tricky.
On the subject of guns, experimentation isn’t a great idea, admittedly. However, study could well be useful.
The problem is that the scientific community has continually and consistently failed us on the subject of guns, gun rights, and gun control.
Well, more specifically, that’s one problem.
The other is that a lot of people like to try and come off as experts because they believe what they’re told and don’t know how to evaluate the information themselves.
Take a recent op-ed seeking to debunk the claim that gun control doesn’t work.
In his Dec. 22 letter, ‘The fallacy of gun control,” William Aherin repeats without qualification certain assertions he made in a similar letter in June 2022 — namely, that gun control “doesn’t work.” As in the previous letter, the writer does not actually present evidence to this effect.
Indeed, this is because he cannot: the available evidence conclusively demonstrates the opposite, namely, that gun control measures reduce gun violence and save lives. An overview of the data showing how gun regulations reduce gun violence can be found in the May 26, 2022 issue of Scientific American (www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-is-clear-gun-control-saves-lives/).
First, that link leads you not to a study about guns or gun regulations, but to an editorial. That isn’t a study, that’s an opinion piece shaped in part by the studies presented in Scientific American.
Now, the editorial above does link to some studies, but let’s think for a moment. Who typically decides what gets published at a publication. That would be the editor. This is the same editor who is citing anti-guns studies that seemingly share his view on guns, that they’re bad and we need more gun control.
Maybe it’s just me, but that might not be the dunk the author imagined.
But here are some of the other sources for reputable evidence to support implementing common-sense gun controls. A 2016 meta-study published in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews conglomerated evidence from 130 studies comparing 10 countries to show that implementing restrictions on gun purchasing and ownership tends to be followed by a drop in gun violence. Countries that have gun restrictions have far fewer incidents of gun violence than the United States, including our peer countries.
There’s no link to the meta-analysis the author tries to cite, so we can’t really evaluate that definitively. However, we need to understand the principle of “garbage in, garbage out.”
First, most gun control studies are worthless. There’s a lot of evidence of pronounced bias in these studies, which should raise questions.
Yet I’m sure people like the author would ask why there aren’t a bunch of pro-gun studies to counter this. After all, if we’re right, there should be evidence.
Except, we also know that researchers will self-censor by not trying to publish research that doesn’t fit political narratives.
Going back to Scientific American, for a second, do you think that a study that found constitutional carry was linked to a reduction in violent crime would get a fair shake? I mean, it’s possible, but we already know where the publication stands on the issue of guns.
If you were a researcher, you might not even bother trying to publish such a study. We know this definitively.
A clear data visualization showing how our country is an outlier in the world when it comes to gun violence can be found at www.healthdata.org/acting-data/gun-violence-united-states-outlier.
And in many of those cases, we also have more non-gun homicides than they have in total.
What we’ve seen here is someone who cites studies without understanding them. The scientific community has never really sought to educate people in how to evaluate “science” in general, particularly on a topic like guns.
Here we have someone pontificating on a subject, trying to cite “science” to bolster his position, all without understanding the limits of literally anything he’s claiming as evidence of his position.
Not only do we not have a fair and impartial effort to research the issue, we have a scientific community that has failed society as a whole on just helping them understand science.