A review of 130 research articles on the effectiveness of gun laws in multiple countries was just published in Epidemiologic Reviews, an important, peer-reviewed public health journal. Not surprisingly, the review concluded that the numbers of gun deaths, both homicides and suicides, declined significantly in countries that implemented comprehensive packages of gun control laws.
It may get your juices flowing to learn that research centered on Missouri is included:
One study, for example, looked at Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its law requiring a permit to purchase a firearm (essentially, it had reduced background check requirements). This study found that after 2007, Missouri’s homicide rate jumped by 25 percent. No other changes in law or circumstance appear to be able to explain the increase.
So, given the prevalence of this type of data what do you suppose Missouri lawmakers are proposing to do? According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, they’re going for broke in the other direction and two laws from the plethora initially filed that propose to loosen gun restrictions are likely to make it through the legislature:
As the legislative session enters its final two weeks, the House and Senate are considering making it legal for people to carry concealed weapons without a permit anywhere they now can carry guns openly.
And, the Republican-led majorities also are considering an expansion of Missouri’s self-defense laws by allowing a person to use deadly force in public places if they believe a reasonable threat exists.
You may be surprised to learn that the review concluded that specific types of gun regulation affect specific subtypes of gun violence. For instance, the survey article found that strong gun permit requirements, a control that would be loosened significantly under proposed Missouri legislation, are significantly associated with “lower rates of intimate partner homicides and firearm unintentional deaths in children, respectively.” Remember how the GOP got on the “No to domestic violence,” bandwagon before the last election? You might suspect that if any of our state-level pols were subscribing to this women-friendly rhetoric, they didn’t really care after all.
The research review also found that claims supporting concealed carry and stand-your-ground laws that are extended in pending Missouri legislation likely to be blessed by lawmakers don’t stand up to scrutiny:
By contrast, laws favored by the National Rifle Association (such as concealed carry or stand your ground), when implemented, either had no effect on gun deaths or increased gun violence. And Santaella-Tenorio found this by considering not just studies that reached this conclusion, but also studies that supported loosening gun laws.
Most of the studies that supported these laws were written by a handful of authors, like Florida State’s Gary Kleck and independent scholar/Fox News columnist John Lott. Scholars who reexamined their conclusions, sometimes even using their own data, generally came to the opposite results.
But hey! Don’t worry about what happens when any angry, ignorant Tom, Dick and Harry, who may or may not have the savvy to use a gun correctly, can, as they say on TV, pack heat – and can legally shoot you with no repercussions if you accidentally say “boo” to him and he gets scared. Missouri’s Rep. Eric Burlison (R-133) has it all figured out; “we do it in a responsible way,” he asserts, “we aren’t letting citizens carry in a place where they can’t carry today.”
I guess that makes it alright then – increase our already considerable risk as long as you do it in a “responsible” way.
N. B. Digby notes signs of a relationship between states where the gun culture is strongest and the current uptick in suicides. Whodda thought?