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Joyce Foundation's Investment In Violence Policy Center Yields Poor Return

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Joyce Foundation gives millions of dollars to the two or three radical anti-gunners that make up the Violence Policy Center, to put together white papers vilifying everything related to guns and gun owners. But after VPC's latest effort, Joyce might want to reconsider whether it's getting its money's worth. 

This week, VPC came out with one of its most trite and superficial bits of gibberish to date--an extraordinarily brief piece pointing out that Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, and Nevada are the five states that have the highest firearm-related death rates, and among the highest rates of gun ownership and "weakest" gun laws. 

Anti-gun groups rely heavily on "rankings," because rankings make for good soundbites that the anti-gun media will latch onto at the drop of a hat. But anytime you rank states, no matter what the subject, one will come in first, another second, and so on. Therefore, rankings are usually next to useless for anyone trying to get to the bottom of a complex issue. 

Despite its affection for rankings, however, VPC forgot to rank the District of Columbia, the murder capital of the country, whose firearm-related death rate is higher than that of any state. And, it forgot to mention that Maryland, one of the states with the strictest gun control laws, ranked higher than Florida, which VPC regularly berates for its Right-to-Carry law. And, it forgot to mention that California, the state with arguably the most gun control, ranked higher than Vermont, which has among the least restrictive gun laws in the country. And, it forgot to mention that Illinois, despite Chicago's handgun ban, ranked higher than Maine, New Hampshire and North Dakota. 

VPC also failed to mention that Alaska and Nevada were among the top five largely because of their high suicide rates.  Yet study after study has shown that suicide rates are not affected by gun prevalence. For example, Japan has virtually no guns and a much higher suicide rate than the U.S. 

VPC also failed to mention that Alaska's non-gun murder rate is higher than its gun murder rate, despite widespread gun ownership in the state, and that Louisiana and Nevada also are among the highest five states in terms of their non-gun murder rates. 

There is no correlation between state gun laws and crime rates; some higher-crime and lower-crime states have relatively tough gun laws, and some have relatively less stringent laws. And, studies by and for Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, the CDC, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institute of Justice and others have found no evidence the gun control reduces crime in this country or abroad. 

Additionally, the FBI reports that crime levels are determined by factors relating to population, transportation, the economy, culture and family, climate, law enforcement agencies, the criminal justice system, and citizens' attitudes toward crime and the police. 

The bottom line is, since 1991 federal, state, and local gun control laws have been rescinded or made less restrictive; the number of gun owners, guns, and Right-to-Carry states has risen to all-time highs.  And the national murder and total violent crime rates have declined over 40% since 1991; to 43- and 35-year lows, respectively. More guns has coincided with, and perhaps contributed to, less crime. 

Ultimately, VPC's purpose is to argue for stronger gun laws, but it has a hard row to hoe in that regard, no matter how much money Joyce wastes on VPC's handful of squeaky anti-gunners. 

To the folks at Joyce, spend your money however you want, but we think the money would be better spent on a playground for some neighborhood kids, than on nonsensical propaganda slapped together by Josh Sugarmann, Kristen Rand, and whoever may sweep up their office after 5:00.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.