It was entirely predictable: liberals are trying to exploit the Connecticut school shooting
to demand stricter gun control laws.
This horrible shooting, like all the similar ones in memory, was the result of a deranged individual who had apparently planned, schemed and prepared for the deed. These were not spur of the moments shootings with guns that happened to be lying around.
In fact there is good social science evidence about what will deter these kinds of shootings, and reduce the casualties when they happen. But the policy is something liberals don’t like: concealed carry laws.
Years before the current spate of shootings, a scholarly study by John Lott and William M. Landes showed that concealed carry has a substantial effect. From the abstract of their paper
Few events obtain the same instant worldwide news coverage as multiple victim public shootings. These crimes allow us to study the alternative methods used to kill a large number of people (e.g., shootings versus bombings), marginal deterrence and the severity of the crime, substitutability of penalties, private versus public methods of deterrence and incapacitation, and whether attacks produce “copycats.” The criminals who commit these crimes are also fairly unusual, recent evidence suggests that about half of these criminals have received a “formal diagnosis of mental illness, often schizophrenia.” Yet, economists have not studied multiple victim shootings. Using data that extends until 1999 and includes the recent public school shootings, our results are surprising and dramatic. While arrest or conviction rates and the death penalty reduce “normal” murder rates and these attacks lead to new calls from more gun control, our results find that the only policy factor to have a consistently significant influence on multiple victim public shootings is the passage of concealed handgun laws. We explain why public shootings are more sensitive than other violent crimes to concealed handguns, why the laws reduce the number of shootings and have an even greater effect on their severity.
Anybody with a taste for the stupefying array of numbers that adorn social science papers should download and read the study
The bottom line: Lott and Landes used a wide range of controls for possible confounding factors, and found results that were highly statistically significant.
Ultimately, the demand for gun control by liberals is not based on sound policy reasoning, but rather on cultural bias. Liberals don’t like guns, especially guns carried by white guys who live in rural areas, drive pickup trucks, listen to country music and shop at Wal-Mart. These are the guns they particularly want to take. The guns of Republican-voting suburbanites would be nice to take too.
But hassling inner-city youth who carry guns is not something they would feel happy about.
Labels: cultural bias, gun control, Gun Violence, Liberals, school shootings