Sunday, December 23, 2012

Harvard study: True facts about gun control and violence

Conservatives base their decisions on facts, Liberals base their decisions on politically expedient emotions and twist the facts to suit their view. Harvard can hardly be called a bastion of Conservatism, but their study supports the Conservative views on gun control.
Excerpt: International evidence and comparisons have long been offered
as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that
fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths.
Unfortunately, such discussions are all too often been afflicted by misconceptions and
factual error and focus on comparisons that are unrepresentative.
It may be useful to begin with a few examples. There is a compound
assertion that (a) guns are uniquely available in the United
States compared with other modern developed nations, which is
why (b) the United States has by far the highest murder rate.
Though these assertions have been endlessly repeated, statement
(b) is, in fact, false and statement (a) is substantially so.
Since at least 1965, the false assertion that the United States has
the industrialized world’s highest murder rate has been an artifact
of politically motivated Soviet minimization designed to hide the
true homicide rates. Since well before that date, the Soviet Union possessed extremely stringent gun controls that were effectuated by a police state apparatus providing stringent enforcement. So
successful was that regime that few Russian civilians now have
firearms and very few murders involve them. Yet, manifest success
in keeping its people disarmed did not prevent the Soviet
Union from having far and away the highest murder rate in the
developed world. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the gun‐less Soviet
Union’s murder rates paralleled or generally exceeded those
of gun‐ridden America. 

While American rates stabilized and then steeply declined, however, Russian murder increased so drastically that by the early 1990s the Russian rate was three times
higher than that of the United States. Between 1998‐2004 (the latest
figure available for Russia), Russian murder rates were nearly
four times higher than American rates. Similar murder rates also
characterize the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and various
other now‐independent European nations of the former U.S.S.R.
Thus, in the United States and the former Soviet Union transitioning
into current‐day Russia, “homicide results suggest that where guns are scarce other weapons are substituted in killings.” While American gun ownership is quite high, Table 1 shows many other developed nations (e.g., Norway, Finland, Germany, France,Denmark) with high rates of gun ownership. These countries, however, have murder rates as low or lower than many developed
nations in which gun ownership is much rarer. For example,
Luxembourg, where handguns are totally banned and ownership
of any kind of gun is minimal, had a murder rate nine times
higher than Germany in 2002.
Read full report here.

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