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Brady Rankings: More Gun Laws, More Violent Crime

Friday, February 1, 2008

In January, the Brady Campaign released its annual "State Report Cards," scoring the states according to their gun laws.  

Once again, the Brady rankings clearly demonstrate that states that have the most gun control tend to have the most violent crime. 

Brady says that a state could get a perfect "100" if it would: limit the frequency of gun purchases; prohibit private transfers of firearms; require gun show attendees to sign a ledger to be provided to the police; prohibit the sale of firearms that do not engrave a serial number on fired ammunition and require registration such firearms' purchasers; license and regulate firearm dealers at the state level; prohibit handguns that do not have "smart" gun features; prohibit detachable-magazine semi-automatics and some pump-action rifles and shotguns; allow the arbitrary rejection of Right-to-Carry permit applications; allow local jurisdictions to impose gun control laws more restrictive than the state legislature; and allow the criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in legitimate self-defense. 

Since most states do not have these kinds of laws -- gun control having been rolled back and rejected at the federal, state, and local levels in the last 15-20 years -- Brady gave most states "failing" scores.  Forty-two states received 28 points or fewer, and only one state received a score higher than 63--California. 

But, as usual, Brady's scores correlate inversely with states' crime rates.  Using crime data published by the FBI for 2006, the most recent year available: 

* California, the state that has the most gun control and received Brady's highest score (79), has violent crime and murder rates that are 14% and 23% higher, respectively, compared to the rest of the country. 

* Brady didn't bother giving a score to Washington, D.C., which has more gun control than California and even higher crime rates.

* Most of the 38 states that Brady gave 20 or fewer points to, have total violent crime, murder, and robbery rates that are below the national rates. 

* For states that have total violent crime, murder, and robbery rates that are below the national rates, Brady gave average scores of 19, 19, and 14, respectively. 

* For the 10 states with the lowest total violent crime, murder, and robbery rates, Brady gave average scores of 12, 12, and 9, respectively.
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