The Corner

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Public-Health Study: Universal Background Checks Increase Homicide

Okay, I’m being a little facetious. But no seriously, that’s what a new study from a group of anti-gun researchers says.

Basically, this crowd has been beating the drum for “permit to purchase” laws — in which local cops get to decide who can own a gun — for a long time; two of them were also on the team behind that ridiculous claim that Connecticut’s law reduced gun homicides by 40 percent. This time, they put together data on more than 100 urban counties from 1984 to 2015, and checked to see if various laws correlated with higher or lower homicide rates. These included permit-to-purchase, universal background checks, right-to-carry, stand your ground, and a ban on gun ownership by people with violent misdemeanors.

The results do show a 14 percent reduction in gun homicides from permit-to-purchase. Two of the other findings came back “wrong,” though, suggesting that universal background checks and violent-misdemeanor prohibitions actually increase gun homicides. Ruh-roh!

But rather than rethinking their entire approach — or, heaven forbid, their views on the effectiveness of gun control — the researchers subjected the results that “were in the direction opposite to our hypotheses” (their words, I kid you not) to additional scrutiny. They performed an extra analysis of preexisting trends on those results but not the others, which were just fine the way they were, thank you.

Science, ladies and gentlemen!

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