Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Harvard Study on Guns: My final word...maybe

Regarding the Harvard paper that says: States With Higher Levels of Gun Ownership Have Higher Homicide Rates.

Ok, first a very kind Tim Lambert, (Thank you) sent me a copy of the Harvard paper, so I could evaluate it. However, not being college educated myself, I had to resort to my own research, based in part on theirs, in order to figure out what they were really trying to say.

In their report, they made references to several studies, books and other research. And one of the items they mention is the BRFSS Survey Results 2001 for Nationwide Firearms. According to their claims, the states with the highest rate (percentage???) of gun ownership, have the highest rates of gun (firearm) related deaths. In this respect, they are correct.

I went to the site for the BRFSS study, which is at the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics. I'll grant, my "research isn't as scientific. Then again, my research wasn't funded by the Joyce Foundation either.

The states with the highest rate of gun ownership, did appear to have a slightly higher "rate" of gun death. However, typically, the physical numbers are significantly lower than those states with "lower" rates.

I ran California ,Illinois, New York, Alabama, Idaho and Wyoming through the CDC's WISQARS system. And I also got their rate of ownership numbers from the BRFSS study. In the table below, you can see my findings.

*=Death by firearm of all categories, i.e., murder, suicide, etc., etc.
**=Wyoming also has an F rating from the Brady Bunch, WAY TO GO, Wyoming!!!

You'll notice, just like the Harvard study claims, the states with the higher rates of gun ownership, have higher rates of firearms related deaths.

As our anti-gun counter parts like to point out in other examples (British and Australian crime rates since their gun bans went into effect, for instance.), percentage rates don't tell the whole truth.

In MY OPINION, I think basing this kind of research on a state level, is a mistake. It seems to me that the more sparsely populated states have a higher rate of firearms ownership. When looked at on a state wide level. It seems that county level is the best way to judge this sort of thing. However, I have to add this. I understand why they did it on a state level. The BFRSS report on gun ownership is on a state level, so I suppose they were constrained by that study with regard to their own. Still, it doesn't make their findings valid.

Then again, it's only my opinion.

And, as those of us on both sides of the gun debate are fond to quote, "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Current Mood: Amused
Current Music: Wolfe Tones - Rifles of the IRA
Current Gun: EAA Witness .45ACP

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