Will a Harvard man listen to Harvard research?
Probably not, if the Harvard man is Barack Obama, and the research finds flies in the face of liberal pieties – and misconceptions and lies – about gun ownership, gun violence and gun control in the United States.
Like the recently reported CDC study about gun violence Obama commissioned himself, the message to gun grabbers is clear:
A study released in the spring in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy – to virtually no media attention – focused on the prevalence of gun ownership in the United States versus those strict gun-control countries in Europe the left is so fond of talking about.
It was called, with disarming bluntness, “Would banning firearms reduce murder and suicide?”
Its answer was: “No.”
Looking at historical patterns in the United States from the colonial and post-colonial days, and in Europe going back to the time before guns were even invented, two researchers came to a clear conclusion:
“Nations with higher gun ownership rates … do not have higher murder or suicide rates than those with lower gun ownership.”
That’s just a fact, even in those European countries the U.S. left is so fond of citing.
Heavily armed Norwegians, where gun ownership is highest in Western Europe, have the continent’s lowest homicide rate, researchers Don Kates at the Independent Institute in Oakland and Gary Mauser of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, wrote.
Russia, where the civilian population was virtually disarmed by the communist government for 80 years, has one of the highest homicide rates in Europe – and one four times higher than in the United States.
In the United States, homicide rates were relatively low, despite periods when firearms were widely available – the colonial era, when Americans were the world’s most heavily armed population, the post-Civil War years, when the country was awash in surplus guns and filled with men trained to use them.
Homicide rates in the United States didn’t increase dramatically until the 1960s and ‘70s, which correlated with a rise in gun purchases, but Kates and Mauser point out that fear of crime could just as easily have sparked a rise in gun purchases, rather than more guns causing more crime.
Communities where gun-ownership rates are highest are where the homicide rates are lowest, Kates and Mauser wrote:
“Where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense violent crime rates are highest.”
That’s not what the gun grabbers want to hear.
And the two researchers know it. In their conclusion, they launched a pre-emptive defense, quoting another researcher who found similarly unwelcome (to the left) results when he studied crime in the United States versus gun-restrictive Canada:
“If you are surprised by [our] finding[s], so [are we]. [We] did not begin this research with any intent to ‘exonerate’ hand‐ guns, but there it is — a negative finding, to be sure, but a negative finding is nevertheless a positive contribution. It directs us where not to aim public health resources.”
The study takes up 45 pages in the journal’s spring issue.
But when it comes to gun-grabbers, the whole thing can be summed up in two words:
Correction: And earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Don Kates and Gary Mauser as “Harvard researchers.”