Mark Gius, professor of economics at Quinnipiac University.
Days after a new Connecticut gun-control law spurred long lines of people trying to register firearms deemed to be “assault weapons,” a study from a Quinnipiac University professor has found that bans on assault weapons on the state level had no significant effect on murder rates around the country. And it also found that states with more restrictive concealed weapons laws had higher gun-related murder rates on average than states with less restricted concealed weapons.
But the study’s author says more research is needed on the issue before lawmakers run with its conclusions.
About a month ago, Gius was contacted by John Lott Jr., who wrote a study on the topic in 1997 with David Mustard that produced similar findings. He sent Lott a requested copy of the paper. (Lott’s study and subsequent work about “More guns, less crime,” have been sharply debated by gun-control advocates.)
For Gius, Lott’s interest may have helped shine a spotlight on his modest paper that taps into a hot-button topic in post-Newtown America.
Gius’ paper studied a broader swath of time, 1980-2009, than previous ones and focused on the gun-related murder rate instead of the more-general homicide rate. The results suggest to some that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. But nothing is simple in the gun debate, as Gius pointed out with another finding of the study.
“During the period of the federal assault weapons ban (which was repealed in 2004), murder rates were approximately 20 percent higher than in the nonfederal weapons period,” he said. “But even there, you have to think about the time the assault weapons ban was in effect. It was right at the tail end of the crack epidemic... early to ’mid-90s. From 1994 to 2004 and since then, there’s been a pretty dramatic decline in the crime rate, even the violent crime rate.”