February 22, 2013

Violence beat: Background checks

Sam Smith - The move towards a national universal background check for guns - aside from the fact that it steps on the Tenth Amendment and will probably ban non violent people like convicted pot smokers from owning a gun - is an example of teddy bear politics. It's something the media and folks can cuddle up next to and go to sleep. But it's not anywhere near as useful as advocates say. Consider that:
  • Two states with such checks - California and Illinois - still have gun murder rates well above the national average (Illinois' rate is about two thirds higher).
  • If you take the average of states with background checks, there are 18 other states without universal checks that already have lower gun murder rates, some dramatically so.
  • As Dan Casey notes: "There’s no hard and fast correlation between gun deaths and the permissiveness of gun laws. Maryland, for example, which ranks 47th on the permissiveness scale, has more gun deaths than Virginia, which is ranked 35th. And Vermont, which is #3 on the gun permissiveness scale, has fewer gun deaths than both Maryland and Virginia. On the other hand, Vermont has the highest gun-death rate among all the states in New England, and all of those have more restrictive gun laws than Vermont.

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