Statistician: Typical Gun Control Recommendations Won’t Make A Difference

Statistician: Typical Gun Control Recommendations Won’t Make A Difference

Leah Libresco drops a piece at the Washington Post, which is reprinted at a few other outlets, that sets the gun grabbers off

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

The piece obviously, keeps going on for a bit, and is worth reading it all. She hasn’t become pro-gun, she doesn’t want one in her home, but, she can’t endorse policies drafted by “people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.” She does think there should be policies which are very specific, like for potential suicide victims.

Or, how about banning bump-stocks? I’m good with banning them. Anyway, she ends with

We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.

In other words, we should not violate the Constitution Right of the law abiding. Instead, we should go after the criminals, while also seeing if there are specific things we can do for potential suicides.

This has enraged Vox’s German Lopez, who decides to do a bit of mansplaining to Leah. It’s a long, long, long boring article, attempting to say that things Democrats recommend will totally work, but, still misses the mark

But despite the article’s headline and author Leah Libresco’s data journalism credentials, the column is surprisingly thin on studies and data. In fact, it cites no specific studies on gun control whatsoever.

The opinion piece was not about slapping up tons of data from someone who spent three months researching. Interestingly, German forgets that all the policies that Democrat gun grabbers trot out fail to tell us exactly what will occur if implemented. For instance, they all want the so-called “universal background checks.” OK, if implemented, what is the expected reduction in crimes that use guns? How many lives will be saved?

Banning assault rifles: again, what is the reduction in the use of guns in crimes? The previous one did not make a difference. Why would a new one change the results?

What German does spend time on is saying that the more guns there are, the more shootings. Which studies show is wrong. Essentially, German is going for the gun grabbing/banning method. He fails to produce any evidence that all the policies that Democrats propose, such as universal background checks, would reduce crimes using guns. All he wants is gun grabbing.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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