Harvard study proves gun-grabbers’ argument dead wrong

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.

gunstudyLike the recently reported CDC study about gun violence Obama commissioned himself, the message to gun grabbers is clear:

They’re wrong.

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.

And today?

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:

You’re. Wrong.

Correction: And earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Don Kates and Gary Mauser as “Harvard researchers.”


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Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].


155 thoughts on “Harvard study proves gun-grabbers’ argument dead wrong

  1. shawn_von_socialist says:

    a couple of conservatives at-harvard did a research paper woopti-do

    i can use numbers to prove anything

  2. Eirik Kjalnes Sørvik says:

    Somebody needs to go to Norway. Not even our police have hand-guns. I seem to recall Faux News going mental over the fact that so few people have guns and that this allowed Breivik’s rampage. Which is it going to be, you can’t have both?

  3. Randall McCann says:

    what ‘gun grabbers’ are you talking about? no one is trying to grab anyone’s gun. this entire article is spent knocking down a straw man argument. there have been efforts to restrict access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines, yes…but how is that ‘gun grabbing?’

  4. anthroscientist says:

    Did not take long for the disgusting racists to crawl out of their holes.

  5. Charles Cramer says:

    It’s interesting to note that not only are the Countries mentioned with higher gun ownership also have higher education but those countries mentioned with fewer guns have a lower standard of education. Guess parts of Africa where everyone owns a gun and also has a low standard of education wasn’t mentioned in this study.. Or maybe they forgot to study Japan and their successes in Gun safety laws, where the standard of education is higher.. I’m not saying one way or the other on the Gun issue but.. I do know if you throw oil on a fire it doesn’t go out.. Which is a semantic way of saying, tossing more guns on the pile of the untrained usually leads to bad things. I’d like people also to keep in mind that limiting Military grade hardware from the streets is not really a bad thing either. I can’t think of any time I’d need an 60mm under-attachment launcher for my 12g.. Yet I’ve seen such things being sold as ‘Hunting’ Equipment..

  6. Gary Wolfenbarger says:

    Don’t try to confuse the issue with a bunch of FACTS! Because unless facts support the liberal agenda, they are wrong! Who needs facts when one already has one’s opinion?

    It’s the same with jobs, if Obama says giving trillions to banks and Wall St creates jobs, it does! And if the unemployment facts show very little job creation occurs giving money to banks, they are wrong too! NOW SHUT UP AND BLAME BUSH !!!

  7. zendog13 says:

    Except this is NOT a Harvard “study.” It’s an non-peer-reviewed article
    written by a couple of libertarians that absolutely no association
    whatsoever with Harvard. Worst of all, the authors’ use of FALSE DATA
    (the Luxembourg data is incorrect) and bad methodology has been well
    documented. (And it’s not recent. It’s from 2007.) Several ACTUAL
    Harvard studies have reached the exact opposite conclusion. More guns =
    more homicides. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/

  8. jerseydevil says:

    Do I hear the Lame Stream Media reporting on this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8E_zMLCRNg

    The United States is 3rd in Murders throughout the World.

    But if you take out Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, and New Orleans, the United States is 4th from the Bottom for Murders.

    These 4 Cities also have the toughest Gun Control Laws in the United States.

    ALL 4 Cities are controlled by Democrats.

    However; It would be absurd to draw any conclusions from this

    1. Lemmie says:


      City of Chicago – 431 murders in 2011
      Population – 2,703,713

      City of Detroit – 344 murders
      Pop. 713,239

      City of New Orleans – 200 murders
      Pop. 346,974

      City of Washington, D.C. – 108 murders
      Pop. 617,996


      14,612 murders and non-negligent manslaughters in 2011.

      Once we deduct the murders from those cities (1,083) from the total we’re left with 13,529

      US Population in 2011 was 311m.

      Once we take the Population of those 4 cities off we’re left with 306.6m

      The murder rate, per 100k population, for the whole country is 14,612/3110… 4.7 per 100k

      The murder rate, per 100k population, for the country excluding those 4 cities is 13,529/3066… 4.41 per 100k


      Scroll down to the ‘data summary’ and click the header, ‘rate’ twice. It will set to show the highest murder rates first. Scroll down to 4.4 and see how many countries are still below that rate. Pretty much all western industrialised nations have murder rates from 0.7 – 1.7 per 100k.

      There are 45 Countries and States listed for Europe. 23 of them (over half) have a rate of 1.2 per 100k or fewer (around one quarter of the US rate).

      To make it clear just how wrong this is, you would need to assume that over 10,000 of the 14,612 murders in the US took place in these four cities to bring the murder rate for the rest of the country down to a level you would expect to see in an average western industrialised nation.

      It’s laughably wrong.

  9. Lemmie says:

    “The murder rate in Russia, where handguns are banned, is 30.6; the rate in the U.S. is 7.8.”

    Fair play, the US rate has dropped down to 4.7 since this report was written, clearly some years ago. That said, although the Authors are comparing the US with Russia, they included a table on pg 652 which shows the murder rates for a number of European countries in 2001-2004 (Including wildly incorrect data for Luxembourg). It reflects poorly on the US.

    The report repeatedly compares various European countries against each other, but doesn’t include the US in those comparisons. I’d gladly accept that rates of gun ownership aren’t the only factor in levels of gun crime, but it seems to be the central argument in the early section of this report… as long as you don’t compare the US to most of Europe… but do compare it to Russia and her ex-satellites.

    “The U.S., which is so often labeled as the most violent nation in the world by gun control proponents, comes in 7th–behind Russia, Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania, Belarus, and the Ukraine–in murders. America also only ranks 22nd in suicides. “

    Let’s go for more recent data shall we?



    USA Homicide rate – 4.7 per 100k
    Russia – 9.7 (under 1/3 of the rate 8 years earlier)
    Belarus – 4.9 (2009 on a long term downward trend)
    Ukraine – 4.3 (2010)
    Estonia – 4.8
    Latvia – 3.1 (2010)
    Lithuania – 6.4

    Of the 45 Countries & States listed within Europe the US still comes in 7th overall. 33 of those 45 have a rate of 1.8 per 100k or lower, and 23 of them (over half) with a rate of 1.2 per 100k or lower (around one quarter of the US rate).

    The report singles out both Norway & Finland as shining examples of countries with high rates of gun ownership, so let’s look at their rates for 2011…

    Norway – 2.3
    Finland – 2.2

    Everyone who reads this page knows that there are gun restrictions in place in England & Wales so let’s check their rate for 2011…

    England & Wales – 1.0

    Using the logic of the Authors of this report, this supports the contention that among the nations listed here, those with less gun control tend toward higher death rates.

    This report is a joke, and everyone that buys into its brand of BS is the butt of it.

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