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The Science of Gun Policy

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Science of Gun Policy

The Rand Corporation, a “research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier, and more prosperous,” released an ambitious review of existing firearms-related research earlier this month. This was the culmination of two years and a million dollars of effort. 

The “Rand researchers evaluated thousands of studies to assess the available evidence for the effect of 13 common gun policies on a range of outcomes…” 

Read that again: “Thousands of studies.” If you’ve read any of the major newspapers, you would have been led to believe that there has been no research on anything related to firearms since the Dickey amendment prohibited tax dollars being used to advocate for gun control, yet Rand managed to find thousands of studies that had been published since 2003 or had been cited at least 70 times. Well-known gun violence researchers Philip J. Cook and John J. Donohue published an article in Science last December that acknowledged that a lack of government funding research isn’t the obstacle to research some gun control proponents claim. They noted, as did NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, that the National Institutes of Health spent more than $11 million on “gun violence-related” projects between 2014 and 2017 – and that certainly did not fund even a fraction of the studies reviewed by Rand.  

After excluding studies that were not designed to identify causation (a necessity when studying the effect of a specific policy), the researchers identified 62 studies that met their realistic criteria. Most of the studies were excluded on the basis of their design or for other methodological concerns. Let’s examine some of their key findings and recommendations. 

Rand found moderate evidence that dealer background checks may decrease firearm-related homicides. Of course, federal law requires every firearms dealer to conduct a background check on everyone purchasing a firearm. Rand deemed evidence concerning the effects of private-seller background checks on firearms-related homicides to be inconclusive and found limited evidence that background checks reduce violent crime and total homicides. 

Rand identified “moderate evidence that laws prohibiting the purchase or possession of guns by individuals with some forms of mental illness reduce violent crime, and there is limited evidence that such laws reduce homicides in particular.” As such, Rand recommends states should include prohibiting mental health histories in their background checks records and recognizes that the “The most robust procedures involve sharing data…with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.” 

In other words, dealer background checks and an improved mental health records component of the background check system are two steps that can reduce violent crime and homicides. Rand notably found inconclusive results linking any of the most popular proposals from gun-control advocates with a reduction on violent crime. 

 

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Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

Friday, December 7, 2018

Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

On December 5th, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a group backed by out-of-state elites, announced it will pursue its most extreme anti-gun legislative agenda to date during the upcoming 2019 Washington Legislative Session.

More Proof That Being a “Celebrity” Does Not Make You Smart

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

More Proof That Being a “Celebrity” Does Not Make You Smart

In a November 30 tweet, Tom Arnold, famous for being married to Roseanne Barr and making a few really bad movies, has proven that he knows nothing about guns, gun owners or firearm misuse.

Guns and Taxes

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Guns and Taxes

David Hogg wants a federal tax on firearms and ammunition. He has repeatedly broached the idea, including multiple times on Twitter, and only sometimes suggests a use for the tax revenue. Hogg’s tweets on a ...

Stealing Rights and Property in Steel City? Pittsburgh Reportedly Considering Sweeping Gun Control

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stealing Rights and Property in Steel City? Pittsburgh Reportedly Considering Sweeping Gun Control

The NRA has received copies of what are reported to be draft ordinances being considered by the Pittsburgh City Council to enact sweeping gun control measures within the city.

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

The U.S.’s republican form of governance is predicated on co-equal branches of government that check and balance each other in order to preserve individual liberty. The system does not work when one branch simply ignores ...

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

As we’ve noted recently, much research purporting to demonstrate connections between access to guns or right-to-carry laws and increases in crime is seriously flawed.  Often it's an attempt to curtail or eliminate Americans’ rights under the Second ...

Warning to New Mexico Gun Owners: Expect Unprecedented Attacks On Your Second Amendment Rights During The 2019 Legislative Session

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Warning to New Mexico Gun Owners: Expect Unprecedented Attacks On Your Second Amendment Rights During The 2019 Legislative Session

While the New Mexico Legislature will not convene for its 60-day Regular Session until January 15, lawmakers can start prefiling bills on December 17. 

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

News  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

Engineering Professor Shares Thoughts on Constitutional Law, Calls for Handgun Ban

News  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Engineering Professor Shares Thoughts on Constitutional Law, Calls for Handgun Ban

In a recent piece for the Bangor Daily News ironically titled, “Why banning handguns makes sense,” Associate University of Maine Electrical Engineering Professor George Elliott struggled to argue why the tools of self-defense have no ...

Anti-Gun Researchers Undermine the Anti-Gun Narrative

News  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Anti-Gun Researchers Undermine the Anti-Gun Narrative

We have good news from a joint effort between the Violence Prevention Research Program at the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Johns Hopkins University.  

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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.