Sunday, May 29, 2022

Evidence Based Social Policy - Guns, "The Atrocity Of American Gun Culture" by Jelani Cobb in The New Yorker 05/29/22

Two years ago, a study published in the journal Justice Quarterly examined the effects of gun laws in every state. Emma Fridel, an assistant professor of criminology at Florida State University, looked at gun-ownership rates and the proliferation of concealed-carry laws between 1991 and 2016. State lawmakers pushing for laxer laws have tended to argue that a more broadly armed public would serve as a deterrent to violence. Fridel found the opposite: gun-homicide rates in states with more permissive carry policies were eleven per cent higher than in states with stricter laws, and the probability of mass shootings increased by roughly fifty-three per cent in states with more gun ownership.

The most obvious indicator of the absurdist thinking on this subject can be seen in the fact that the latest massacre happened in Texas, a state that has more than eight thousand gun dealers, and where an estimated thirty-seven per cent of the population owns firearms. Last year, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that allowed most Texans to carry handguns without a license or mandatory training. This legislation did not prevent the Uvalde carnage any more than previous legislation allowing easier access to guns prevented the 2019 shooting that killed twenty-three people at an El Paso Walmart, or the 2017 attack in the town of Sutherland Springs, which took the lives of twenty-six worshippers in a rural church.

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