by David Franke
Recently by David Franke: LRC Faux Poll for the Weekend
Americans are being bombarded with an immense propaganda campaign that says we need tougher gun-control laws in order to reduce the number of gun murders. The evidence is just the opposite. The states with the toughest gun-control laws have 60% more gun murders than the states with the least restrictive gun laws.
And that evidence, ironically, comes from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence — one of the nation's leading advocates of tougher gun laws.
I consulted Wikipedia to find how states rank in terms of murders per 100,000 population. I found that information in a chart that also provided gun murders per 100,000 population, plus Brady Campaign scores for each state's gun laws. A score of 100 would be the most restrictive gun law possible, and a score of 0 would be the least restrictive.
Intrigued, I decided to see how the states with the toughest gun laws compared to the states with the least restrictive gun laws. Following the "logic" of gun-control advocates, including the Brady Campaign itself, tougher gun laws should result in fewer gun deaths. Just the opposite was the case.
I compared the eight states with the toughest gun laws with the eight states with the least restrictive gun laws. The only reason I chose eight instead of the more popular 10 is because a number of states were tied for ninth and tenth places, complicating the math. But it was easy to compare the eight "toughest" with the eight "least restrictive," and that would work just as well to compare the results in the two camps.
States With the Most Restrictive Gun Laws Top 8 Brady Campaign score Gun murders per 100,000 population District of Columbia “N/A” (See end of article) 16.5 California 80 3.4 New Jersey 72 2.8 Massachusetts 65 1.8 New York 62 2.7 Connecticut 58 2.7 Hawaii 50 0.5 Maryland 45 5.1 ~ ~ 35.5 total Average of 4.4 gun murders per 100,000 in each state States With the Least Restrictive Gun Laws Top 8 Brady Campaign score Gun murders per 100,000 population Alaska 0 2.7 Arizona 0 3.6 Utah 0 0.8 Idaho 2 0.8 Kentucky 2 2.7 Louisiana 2 7.7 Montana 2 1.2 Oklahoma 2 3.0 ~ ~ 22.5 total Average of 2.8 gun murders per 100,000 in each state
Average of 4.4 gun murders per 100,000 in the eight states with the most restrictive gun laws, as measured by the Brady Campaign.
Average of 2.8 gun murders per 100,000 in the eight states with the least restrictive gun laws, as measured by the Brady Campaign.
States with the most restrictive gun laws have 60% more gun murders per 100,000 than the states with the least restrictive gun laws.
About the District of Columbia
As is common practice, I list the District of Columbia as a state for the purpose of these comparisons. After all, it is a separate unit of government like the states, and it has more population than Vermont or Wyoming.
The Brady Campaign does not give a "score" for the District of Columbia, instead giving it the designation "N/A," denoting "not available." They might say this is because it is a federal district, not a state. A conspiracy theorist might rather suggest that they want to keep it in as low a profile as possible, given that it's the sorest sore thumb in their theory that tougher gun laws equal fewer gun deaths.
Wikipedia has no problem listing it in "Gun laws in the United States by state." And a comparison with the 50 states leaves little doubt that it has one of the most restrictive set of gun laws, if not the most restrictive gun law, to be found.
Bear in mind that in D.C. you need a permit to purchase both long guns and handguns (the firearms registration process also serves as a permitting process); all firearms must be registered with the Metropolitan Police Department, with a background check, training, and testing of the gun owner required; "assault weapons," .50 BMG rifles, and magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition are prohibited; concealed carry is prohibited; open carry is prohibited; automatic firearms are prohibited; and possession of unregistered firearms are prohibited for both residents and non-residents (the "peaceable journey" provision).
Wikipedia also notes that D.C. law "also prohibited the possession of handguns, even in private citizens’ own homes, unless they were registered before 1976. However, the handgun ban was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller. The Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment acknowledges and guarantees the right of the individual to possess and carry firearms, and therefore D.C.’s ban on handguns was unconstitutional.
"Following the Heller decision, the Washington D.C. City Council enacted a set of rules regulating the possession of handguns in citizens’ homes. In addition to each handgun being registered with the police, the rules require that D.C. residents undergo a background check and submit fingerprints. The firearms registry photographs the applicant. Residents must take an online gun safety course, and pass a written test on the District’s gun laws. Residents must also declare where it will be kept."
In other words, D.C. government did everything it could to nullify — in effect — the Supreme Court decision, treating would-be gun owners more like criminals.
Compare all these gun restrictions in the District of Columbia with those of California, which gets a score of 80 (out of 100) from the Brady Campaign, and it is disingenuous, to say the least, for the Brady Campaign not to give a score higher than 80 to the District of Columbia.
David Franke [send him mail] was one of the founders of the conservative movement in the 1950s and 1960s. He is the author of a dozen books, including Safe Places, The Torture Doctor, and America’s Right Turn.