The Corner

Politics & Policy

Connecticut’s 1995 Gun-Permit Law (Still) Did Not Reduce Firearm Homicides by 40 Percent

(Jim Young/Reuters)

Cory Booker made that claim yesterday. As CNN notes, there’s a 2015 study backing him up.

Since the day it came out, that study has been driving me insane.

Basically, what the study does is compare Connecticut’s gun-homicide rate with the rate for synthetic Connecticut — a statistical abstraction based on other states with similar homicide trends. The problems are that (A) synthetic Connecticut is mainly just Rhode Island; (B) Rhode Island had a big homicide spike right after Connecticut’s law went into effect that wasn’t seen elsewhere in the country; and (C) the researchers needlessly cut the data off in 2005.

A 40 percent drop in gun homicides really ought to be visible in a simple comparison of Connecticut’s trend with the national one — but it’s not. It’s purely an artifact of the way the analysis is set up.

Here is a chart from the study itself. Do you really believe that, but for Connecticut’s permitting law, which went into effect at the time shown by the vertical line, the state would have had an abrupt reversal in its crime decline a couple years later — at a time when crime was still falling at an impressive clip nationally? Or does it seem more plausible that Connecticut’s crime trend would have paralleled the national trend (All control states, which the study limits to the 39 with no permitting law as of 1995) . . . which is in fact what it did, even with the law?

And here’s a chart I made myself for The American Conservative a few years back presenting the data differently and extending them in time. There was a brief period in the early 2000s — half a decade after the law went into effect — where Connecticut’s gun homicides dipped (and its non-gun homicides rose) relative to national trends. But this washed out starting in 2006, conveniently the first year of data not included in the study. Connecticut has always been a pretty safe state, with homicide rates that are typically half to three-quarters the national ones, but nothing earth-shattering happened in 1995 to change this.

ctchart

I have long admitted I’m something of a squish on universal background checks, though I am not at all a fan of the discretion-laden permitting systems that some stricter blue states, such as Massachusetts, have. If we’re going to build a case that certain restrictions are effective, though, we’re going to need to do a lot better than this nonsense.

Most Popular

Elections

Put Up or Shut Up on These Accusations, Hillary

Look, one 2016 candidate being prone to wild and baseless accusations is enough. Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Hillary Clinton suggested that 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was a “Russian asset,” that Republicans and Russians were promoting the Green Party, and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More
National Review

Farewell

Today is my last day at National Review. It's an incredibly bittersweet moment. While I've only worked full-time since May, 2015, I've contributed posts and pieces for over fifteen years. NR was the first national platform to publish my work, and now -- thousands of posts and more than a million words later -- I ... Read More
Culture

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Defense That Doesn’t Work

If we’ve learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it’s that the “perfect phone call” defense of Trump and Ukraine doesn’t work. As Andy and I discussed on his podcast this week, the “perfect” defense allows the Democrats to score easy points by establishing that people in the administration ... Read More
Elections

Democrats Think They Can Win without You

A  few days ago, Ericka Anderson, an old friend of National Review, popped up in the pages of the New York Times lamenting that “the Democratic presidential field neglects abundant pools of potential Democrat converts, leaving persuadable audiences — like independents and Trump-averse, anti-abortion ... Read More
PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More