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Long overdue, but needs to consider all homicides (or all violent crime), not just gun-related homicides

Posted by skyhighsmile on 20 Aug 2013 at 16:24 GMT

An unbiased, statistical/mathematical approach to this issue is welcome and long overdue. However the goal needs to be determining the impact on the rate of all homicides - or ideally all violent crime - not just gun-related homicides. Pro-gun advocates claim that in locations where guns are heavily restricted, the rate of gun homicides may go down, but the rate of non-gun homicides and other violent crimes goes up to compensate (or even overcompensate). This argument, at least on the surface, makes some sense - gun ownership likely causes some reduction in the incidences of non-gun homicides and other violent crime. The ideal analysis should consider the effects of gun availability on all violent crime, not just homicides. But even if you limit the study to homicides only, the goal, both from a mathematical analysis standpoint and a policy standpoint, has to be the reduction of total homicides from all sources, or the argument will hold no value with a large majority of the population (and the policy makers), and the conclusion may cause more overall harm than good (greater total homicides).

No competing interests declared.

RE: Long overdue, but needs to consider all homicides (or all violent crime), not just gun-related homicides

Probablyist replied to skyhighsmile on 13 Sep 2013 at 17:03 GMT

I second this critique. The change in firearms-related homicides or deaths is not a very interesting or useful measure from a policy perspective. The changes in overall homicide rate or the broader violent crime rate are much more valuable. The manner in which a homicide is committed is fundamentally unimportant compared to whether a homicide is committed. If this method were applied successfully to the overall homicide rate, that contribution would be substantial, but studies of any particular method are much more useful for political purposes than for humanitarian progress.

No competing interests declared.