I don’t begrudge Giffords grading states for what gun control laws they pass. They’re a gun control organization, after all, so like the NRA grading lawmakers, it’s in their interests do do something of the sort.
What I do begrudge is this idea that some in the media have that Giffords and their grading system actually means anything.
Now, I get that no matter what, an organization that grades anything is going to take those grades fairly seriously, but the media likes to tout itself as no longer just reporting facts but the truth, but a recent editorial celebrating Minnesota’s new gun laws touts that “improvement” in their grade.
While it may not make tourism brochures just yet, new Minnesota gun laws have boosted the state’s ranking in gun safety.
The DFL-controlled government last year passed a so called red flag law as well as expanded background checks and tougher sentences for illegal gun sales and other crimes.
The red flag law that allows a court to prevent people from buying a firearm or temporarily confiscating firearms from people considered a danger to themselves or others brought Minnesota in line with 20 other states, including conservative states like Indiana and Florida, according to a report in Minnesota Reformer.
Minnesota’s red flag law restricts who can file the so called Extreme Risk Protection Orders to family, law enforcement, a city or county attorney, guardian and people in relationships with the threatening person. It also requires a hearing if the firearm is to be confiscated for more than 14 days after an emergency request is granted.
Gifford Law Center moved Minnesota up from a C+ grade to a B and from 18th to 15th in overall gun safety, citing the red flag law, the expanded background check law and investments in violence prevention programs. The Everytown for Gun Safety group also boosted Minnesota’s ranking from 17th to 14th citing passage of the same laws.
The problem is that those grades are meaningless. They’re about what laws passed and literally nothing else.
We talked about this recently when Giffords first released their report on the grades.
While it’s a good indicator if a state is pro- or anti-gun, they don’t correlate to actual public safety. California, for example, has a long history atop the grading scale for both Giffords and Everytown. Yet it’s far from the safest state in the nation.
And no, I’m not going to lump in suicides with homicides and decide a state is less safe than it is. While suicide is an issue, it’s also not an issue that will be resolved by gun control.
Unfortunately, this editorial board doesn’t seem to understand literally any of that.
The rankings are noteworthy, but the greater impact of the new laws will be a reduction in homicides, suicides and other gun violence. Everytown research has ranked every state on 50 gun law policies and compared it to the state’s rate of gun violence. Minnesota’s ranking shows it had a 53.5 ranking out of 100 on the policies with a below average gun death rate of 9.7 per 100,000 people.
And yet, states like Idaho and Wyoming have far, far lower homicide rates than California or New York yet score lower on the grading scale for groups like Giffords or Everytown.
So no, a higher grade doesn’t correspond to a reduction in so-called gun violence.
Even if it did, though, would it correspond to a lower violent crime rate in total? I’m sorry, but this focus on guns and not the violence is downright obscene, and yet, it’s touted as somehow a good thing to focus on the tool and not the tool using it.
See, at the end of the day, the grade has nothing to do with violence or violent crime. It’s simply about which states sided with these organization to restrict the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Pretending it’s literally anything else or corresponds to literally anything else is either a sign of extreme stupidity or an effort to sell people on extreme stupidity.