An interesting comparison....
Latest data for the adjacent States of Maryland and Virginia. Virginia, whose laws are gun-friendly, "is the 14th safest state in the country, improving its position for a fourth consecutive year."
Maryland, which is NOT gun-friendly, "has the second highest murder and robbery rate in the country, with Baltimore being the 12th more dangerous city in America."
I don't think your comparison of MD and VA can support an implied conclusion that restrictive gun laws have no, or little effect on crime. Look at some of the states with tight anti-gun laws (NY, NJ, IL, MA) in comparison to some with relatively gun-friendly laws (NC, FL, TN, OK, TX, SC) and any correlation is void.
FYI, I live in NC and am a gun-ghts nut.
Posted by: USAF61 at April 1, 2009 10:08 AM
For politicians the urge to "do something about crime" is very high. That what they do "appears" to deal with a problem is more important to the electorate than that it actually work. Education is the answer. That criminals don't give a rat about laws should be obvious, but that never stopped a politician from taking advantage of a "crisis." Meanwhile, law abiding gun owners' fundamental rights are ignored in the rush.
Posted by: RKV at April 1, 2009 10:44 AM
It's not a matter of whether there is an inverse correlation between rates of gun ownership and crime rates. What the data goes to show, at the very least, is that the anti-gun argument that strict gun control does anything for crime is completely destroyed. The whole "guns cause crime" thing is totally bogus, as the data shows. I'm in Virginia, a Brady Bunch hated state, due to our relatively sensible gun laws - and our crime rates are dropping and lower than most other areas. Yet the number of CCW permit holders here has gone up rapidly in the last year. And gun sales have been booming (if you'll pardon the pun). And then check out D.C. and Chicago.
The simple fact is that strict gun control or lax gun control is going to have only so much effect on crime rates. Certain people are going to commit certain crimes regardless of what is legal and what is not. It has more to do with the various socio-economic conditions and the attitudes and philosophies of the people who live there. There are too many variables to solely credit or blame gun control laws or lack of gun control laws for higher or lower crime rates. I am sure it is a factor, though. But there can be no doubt that relatively "high" levels of legal gun ownership does not, in any way, cause or contribute to increased crime rates.
Posted by: Bill at April 2, 2009 11:28 AM
As much as I would like to believe and use this correlation I can't. I live in NJ. We have crazy gun laws and Camden NJ and Newark NJ always rank in the top of the list of violent places. But right over the river, Philadelphia is experiencing a very high murder rate. Especially among Philly cops. PA is very gun friendly.
Show me more examples and I will put more credit on this one.
Posted by: Jeremy at April 2, 2009 12:21 PM
I did a correlation between Brady Campaign grades and scores by state, and state crime rates according to the FBI. I ran the numbers both with and without DC. There was no statistically significant correlation between Brady grade and crime. The sign of the correlation depended on whether you included DC (assuming an equal Brady score to California)
Posted by: Sevesteen at April 2, 2009 01:06 PM
The problem with "running the numbers" is that many of the people who provide those numbers have a vested interest in keeping reported crime down.
So we have agencies that "cannot afford to tabulate the crimes reported to the police;" other agencies that stop counting on Halloween; and various and sundry other forms of blatant fraud. Some of it is as simple as "don't tell anyone and maybe no one will notice."
You cannot compare a jurisdiction that reports 100 percent of the crimes reported to one that reports only ten percent. Nor can you compare a country that counts a homicide after the perp has been convicted and all appeals are exhausted with a country that supposedly reports all the crimes reported to the police. And that's exactly what has happened, over and over and over again.
Posted by: Stranger at April 2, 2009 06:04 PM
PA may be a gun friendly state, but doesn't Philly's have those "home rule powers" and the city itself has a number of anti-gun ordnances like San Francisco (had)?
Posted by: DirtCrashr at April 3, 2009 09:12 AM
Philly has been talking about passing such laws but they actually violate state law which says that a municipality may not pass any firearms laws which supersede state law (passed in the mid-70's if I recall to prevent confusion in relation to CCW rules...if you have a valid PA CCW, you can carry ANYWHERE in PA, no go/no go zones.) The problem with the Philly/PA analysis above is that as a STATE Pennsylvania actually has a relatively low rate of firearms violence and Philadelphia accounts for most of it. The Philly problem has mainly been created by their failure to adequately fund their law enforcement and penal systems which has led to an inability to prosecute/incarcerate many violent offenders.
Posted by: Gregory Markle at April 3, 2009 10:36 AM