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Brady Campaign "Grades" The States

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

More Ridiculous With Each Year That Passes
Brady Campaign (Handgun Control, Inc.)
"Awards" Latest "Grades" for State "Gun Control" Laws

Every year since 1997, the group has "graded" the states on their gun laws. It released its 2003 grades on Jan. 8, 2004. Since Brady`s pretense with the grades is that there aren`t enough "gun control" laws, it ignores the fact that federal gun laws apply in every state.

Brady`s rhetoric about crime, and about firearm-related deaths among "children" (which the group defines to include not only children, but also juveniles and young adults through the age of 19), is only for show. As indicated in the table on page 2, there is no correlation between Brady`s grades and those issues. Brady`s approach is simple. It is a gun-prohibition group, it wants gun prohibition laws and those that inch closer to gun prohibition, and it gives out its "grades" on solely that basis.

Brady gives 31 states an "F" or a "D" for having too little "gun control" (including low-crime states like Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming). But less gun control coincides with less crime. Since 1991, the number of guns in America has risen by more than 60 million, the number of Right-to-Carry states has risen from 17 to 37, and the violent crime rate has decreased every year, 35% overall, to a 27-year low (FBI).

Brady also demonstrates either a fundamental misunderstanding about the American system of government, or contempt for it. For states that have "shall issue" Right-to-Carry laws, that provide for carry permits to be issued to applicants who meet uniform statewide standards established by the legislature and signed into law by the state`s governor, Brady says that the state "forces police to let people carry hidden handguns in public." (Emphasis added.) Perhaps Brady would prefer a state in which the police make the laws (by definition, a "police state"), but police officers and nearly everyone else in America would oppose such a scheme.

Finally, in the midst of its state-level gun laws grading gimmick, Brady claims "crime could rise" after the federal "assault weapons" ban expires in September. The ban has no effect on crime, of course. A study for Congress, follow-up studies, police reports, and felon surveys have all shown that the guns are used in only a fraction of violent crime. Moreover, there is nothing functionally different between those guns and millions of other guns. And the ban, after all, bans only gun attachments, like angled grips, adjustable stocks, and flash suppressors, which have nothing to do with crime.

There is no correlation between Brady grades (thus, "gun control") and either state violent crime rates or firearm-related death rates (incidents per 100,000 pop.) among persons ages 0-19. In the table below, the data are the most recent available: crime, 2002 (FBI); firearm-related death, 2001 (National Center for Health Statistics). For consistency with the data, Brady`s 2002 grades are used. They are almost identical to its 2003 grades.

Ages 0-19
Ages 0-19

Violent

Total
Firearm

Brady
Crime
Murder
Firearm
Accident
2002
"Grade"
Rate
Rate
Death Rate
Death Rate

Maryland

A

769.8

9.4

5.4

0.13

California

A-

593.4

6.8

3.7

0.14

Connecticut

A-

311.1

2.3

1.7

0.00

Hawaii

A-

262.0

1.9

1.5

0.00

Massachusetts

A-

484.4

2.7

1.5

0.06

New Jersey

A-

374.5

3.9

1.1

0.04

Illinois

B+

620.7

7.5

4.9

0.17

New York

B+

496.0

4.7

2.6

0.12

Nebraska

B-

313.9

2.8

3.8

0.20

Rhode Island

B-

285.2

3.8

2.2

0.00

Iowa

C+

285.6

1.5

3.4

0.25

Kansas

C+

376.6

2.9

4.7

0.38

Minnesota

C+

267.5

2.2

2.6

0.00

Wisconsin

C+

224.9

2.8

4.0

0.46

Delaware

C

599.0

3.2

1.9

0.00

Missouri

C

538.7

5.8

5.9

0.25

North Carolina

C

470.2

6.6

3.8

0.31

Colorado

C-

352.4

4.0

4.2

0.24

Oregon

C-

292.4

2.0

1.8

0.11

South Carolina

C-

822.0

7.3

3.9

0.54

Virginia

C-

291.4

5.3

4.0

0.15

Florida

D+

770.2

5.5

2.7

0.12

Michigan

D+

540.3

6.7

3.7

0.14

New Hampshire

D+

161.2

0.9

2.3

0.00

New Mexico

D+

739.5

8.2

4.8

0.36

Ohio

D+

351.3

4.6

2.7

0.19

Pennsylvania

D+

401.9

5.1

3.2

0.19

Tennessee

D+

716.9

7.2

4.2

0.45

Washington

D+

345.4

3.0

2.3

0.06

Arizona

D

552.9

7.1

5.1

0.38

Arkansas

D

424.4

5.2

4.2

0.66

Georgia

D

458.8

7.1

4.5

0.28

Nevada

D

637.5

8.3

5.0

0.00

North Dakota

D

78.2

0.8

1.2

0.00

South Dakota

D

177.4

1.4

3.6

0.00

West Virginia

D

234.3

3.2

2.9

0.68

Alaska

D-

563.4

5.1

9.0

0.47

Indiana

D-

357.2

5.9

3.3

0.28

Oklahoma

D-

503.4

4.7

4.3

0.71

Texas

D-

578.6

6.0

3.6

0.22

Utah

D-

236.9

2.0

3.5

0.00

Vermont

D-

106.7

2.1

1.9

0.00

Idaho

F+

254.9

2.7

6.3

1.20

Alabama

F

444.2

6.8

5.2

0.64

Kentucky

F

279.0

4.5

3.2

0.65

Louisiana

F

662.3

13.2

7.1

0.45

Maine

F

107.8

1.1

1.6

0.00

Mississippi

F

343.3

9.2

4.1

0.58

Montana

F

351.5

1.8

5.2

0.40

Wyoming

F

273.5

3.0

6.4

0.00

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