A new study from researchers at Harvard University obliterates nearly every single NRA talking point about guns. Not only do more guns not equal less crime, but the study shows that more guns equals more crime, including more firearm robberies, firearm assaults, and homicides by firearm.
The Harvard study goes further, looking at the overall homicide rate in states with the highest number of gun owners, compared to those with the lowest. Researchers found that the rate of all homicides is two times higher in states with the highest number of gun owners. The research destroys another common NRA talking point, which claims that if people don’t use guns to kill, they’ll just use something else.
The new study, which will be published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, compliments a 2013 study, which found that increased gun ownership corresponds to an overall increased rate of non stranger homicides. While the number of stranger related homicides remains virtually the same in states with high gun ownership, the number of people killed by someone they know was shown to increase dramatically, as the number of gun owners increased. The Harvard study also supports the conclusions of a 2014 Boston University study, which showed that the overall homicide rate increased 0.7 percent, for every one percent increase in gun ownership.
The Harvard study found that states with highest numbers of gun owners had 6.8 times more firearm assaults, when compared with states with the lowest numbers of gun owners. Firearm homicides were 2.8 times higher. Additionally, the rate of firearm robberies was found to increase, point by point, in correlation to an increase in gun ownership.
Researchers who worked on the study also wanted to know which came first, higher crime rates or higher numbers of gun owners. The right wing hypothesis that people respond to high crime by buying more guns to defend themselves was also shown to be wrong. Researchers found that increased gun ownership preceded the increased crime rate.
While study researcher David Hemenway, the director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, would not go as far as to say that research proves causation, the results clearly suggest that it’s not increased crime that leads to more gun ownership. Instead, it is increased gun ownership that leads to more crime.
In summing up the research, Michael Monuteaux, an epidemiologist and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, who also participated in the study, said:
“We found no support for the hypothesis that owning more guns leads to a drop or a reduction in violent crime. Instead, we found the opposite.”
Hemenway told Live Science:
“This study suggests that it’s really hard to find evidence that where there are more guns, there are less crimes, but you can easily find evidence that where there are a lot more guns, there are a lot more gun crimes.”
The Harvard study is just one of many studies that have shown a correlation between increased gun ownership and increased crime rates, in recent years. A study released by Stanford University last year looked at data from 1999 to 2010, specifically analyzing information from areas that had relaxed gun laws at the urging of the NRA. The Stanford research specifically showed that relaxed gun laws led to an increase in crime, instead of a decrease, in spite of NRA predictions that the opposite would happen.
As David Pakman discusses in the video below, NRA talking points center around one piece of research, which was conducted before gun rights advocates managed to deregulate firearms in many areas of the US. Thanks to the NRA, about the same time that firearm regulations were gutted, Congress cut off funding for further research on the impact of these lax gun laws (surely just a remarkable coincidence -ed.).
While an executive order, signed by president Obama two years ago, directed federal agencies to resume research on the impact of gun ownership on society, the GOP congress has refused to release funding for any new research.
In spite of the right wing’s efforts to keep the public in the dark about the consequences of lax gun laws on society, new studies are emerging. Each new batch of research published destroys another NRA
talking point lie, just as the organization and their hacks in Washington knew it would, when they worked to cut off funding for these types of studies, almost a decade ago.
When you have nothing but lies to offer, your only option is to try to suppress the truth. As the old adage says, sooner or later the truth will always come out. In this case, the real question is; How many innocent lives will be lost while we’re waiting?