A Tale Of Three States: California’s Gun Laws Aren’t The Cause Of Its Low Gun Homicide Rate

It Was The Blast Of Times...

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Photo Credit: Emma Tucker and Priya Krishnakumar, CNN

https://everytownresearch.org/rankings/compare/?states=MD%2CCA

If you click on that link, (I know you don’t want to, but it’s instructive) you’ll see that Minnesota and California are quite different when it comes to gun control laws, but remarkably similar in rates of gun homicide. If you change Minnesota to Maryland, however, you’ll find that the inverse is true. Almost exactly the same gun laws, yet half again as many gun deaths. Why is this relevant?

Well, if you’ve been watching the news recently amidst all the commotion surrounding the new “Assault Weapons” Ban bill, lots of legislators are touting California’s relatively low gun homicide rate as evidence that its draconian gun regulatory scheme works. A smorgasbord of soon-to-be-challenged in court restrictions on carry, ownership and manufacture of guns, as well as various scary features make California the forefront of legacy gun control, and the latest absurdities CA and others are cooking up in response to recent SCOTUS rulings.

Maryland shares borders with Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Viginia, where gun laws are much looser, which the anti-gun lobby often touts as explanatory, but California borders famously pro-gun Arizona, and Nevada -and hell even Oregon is a libertarian guntopia by comparison- and nobody seems to point that out for some reason.

Whatever the proffered explanations, the simplistic argument that “gun laws reduce gun deaths” is demonstrably false. You can find plenty of other counter-examples on Everytown’s own site, and if you find yourself in a discussion on the topic, The Other Guy is more likely to take such a source at face value, so use their data against them!

We aren’t proposing to know why CA, MN, and MD have such similar yet disparate rankings on this topic, but if one believed that gun laws predicted gun violence, this would be heavy evidence to the contrary. Correlation is not causation, no matter how much one might wish it were.