Policy center's gun study marred by omissions, flaws

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Policy center's gun study marred by omissions, flaws


Post by NHGF [Feed] » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:36 pm

ImageIN its efforts to advance gun control measures, the Violence Policy Center compiles data to bolster its policy positions. We have no problem with that. But in doing so, the center has connected dots that don't line up while obscuring key data that undermines their positions.
In its recent report, “U.S. Gun Death Rate Jumps 17 Percent Since 2008 Supreme Court District of Columbia v. Heller Decision Affirming Right to Own a Handgun for Self-Defense,” the Violence Policy Center examines gun-death data for all 50 states.
The report says gun deaths in the United States “have jumped 17 percent since the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is a right to keep a handgun in the home for self-defense …”
Nationwide, the center reports, the overall gun death rate (including suicides, homicides and unintentional shootings) increased from 10.21 per 100,000 in 2009 to 11.96 per 100,000 in 2016.
The report ranked Oklahoma fifth in the nation in gun death rates. Oklahoma's firearm death rate in 2016 was 19.52 per 100,000 people, compared with 14.46 per 100,000 people in 2009.
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand declares, “In the years since the Heller decision, gun policy on the federal level and in too many states has gone in the wrong direction. These numbers show that as a nation we are facing an escalating gun crisis.”
That the gun-death rate has increased, both nationally and in Oklahoma, is worth noting and deserving of study. But for the Violence Policy Center to suggest the court ruling in the Heller case somehow played a role is a real leap of logic.
In the Heller case, the Supreme Court said citizens have a constitutional right to own a firearm for personal protection. The case centered on a law in the District of Columbia that made it illegal to have a legal, loaded firearm in your own residence.
In other words, the court ruling was in line with the long-understood meaning of the Second Amendment. And the case only struck down a gun control measure applying to the inside of one's home. To suggest this somehow caused mayhem on the streets makes no sense.
That's not the only problem with the center's analysis. The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action notes “the longer trend line reveals some truths that the VPC would like to ignore. Total firearms-related death rates were higher through nearly all of the 1990s than they were in 2016.”
The NRA-ILA also points out another fact that undermines the Violence Policy Center's central argument.
“One should also notice that the total firearms-related homicide rate continued a marginal and pre-existing downward trend after Heller, moving from 4.28 per 100,000 population in 2006 to 3.45 per 100k in 2014,” the NRA-ILA states. “A trend that directly contradicts the misleading headline touted by the Violence Policy Center.”
In other words, since the court upheld the right of citizens to own a gun in their home for self-defense, the firearm murder rate has declined. How is that a bad thing?
Locally, Tulsa Police Deputy Chief Dennis Larsen told the Tulsa World police would like lawmakers to increase the penalties for repeat offenders who illegally possess or misuse firearms. That approach makes much more sense than treating all law-abiding gun owners as if they are poised to go on a killing spree.

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