COLUMN: Harvard researchers find: More guns, more homicide
The debate about gun control continues, renewed by the overwhelmingly tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. Public opinion has swung in favor of stricter laws, and some pro-gun Republican leaders are talking about real action. As we started to discus yesterday, the debate is riddled with facts, pseudo-facts, and fiction about guns and gun control.
What are the facts?
Today, let’s consider three facts, provided by the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers there reviewed previously published studies and analyzed data to come to their conclusions. Here’s what they report. I’ll quote each lead sentence in their report so that you know exactly what they said.
Fact #1: “Where there are more guns there is more homicide.” This is true in affluent countries, in the United States, and in U.S. regions, states, cities, and homes. More guns, more homicide.
Fact #2: “Across high-income nations, more guns = more homicide.” The Harvard researchers analyzed data from 26 affluent countries. The equation “more guns = more homicide” is true across countries, not just for the U.S.
Fact #3: “Across states, more guns = more homicide.” Some states have more guns than others. Even when you take into account poverty, urbanization, age, unemployment, alcohol use, and other factors, more guns means more firearm homicide.
Meanwhile, the user-initiated online petition at SignOn.org in support of gun control was nearing 400,000 signatures yesterday evening.
If more guns = more homicide, will fewer guns mean less?
Would strict gun control reduce the chances of another Sandy Hook?