Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Study: Missouri Murders Spike After State Repeals Gun Background Check Law

Raw Story

I can't wait to hear what TS and the other gun apologists have to say about this one.  They're pretty creative when they find something that threatens their single-minded worldview.


  1. Well Mike, the simplest explination was one I learned on Japete's blog when the quite rightly asserted that correlation doesn't equal causation. I'm also always impressed that they always leave out part of their name in their press releases. The correct name is, "The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health", for some reason they always leave that part out.
    Or how about this, we are constantly being told that strict gun control laws work, and believe it or not, someone used Tombstone in the old west as an example. Lets say for a minute, it did work. Lets just say. Then wouldn't it stand to reason that the gun criminals affected by the strict gun control laws would tend to move to states with less strict laws like Missouri?
    The short answer is that when dealing with a population with so many variables, it is very difficult to prove causation. If we don't get to use Chicago as evidence of the failure of strict gun laws, then how do you get to use states with more lenient gun laws as proof of the failure of those gun laws?

    1. So you think the extra murders are being imported from the surrounding states and shouldn't count? That's part of the Chicago explanation, which by the way is a single city while Missouri is an entire state.

      To me this study is extremely damning to your side. And this won't be the last.

    2. As usual, this moronic "correlation does not prove causation" proves only one thing - the one saying it doesn't know shit about epidemiology, which I do.

      That being said, we know one thing for sure - without correlation, there is no causation. In this case, we have a very clear pattern of causal relationship - make a change, see a predictable effect.

    3. "Without correlation, there is no causation." Exactly. As TS and I showed, there is no correlation here.

  2. The claims here are convenient, especially since we aren't given the data to look at ourselves. Let's correct that:


    The average homicide rate in Missouri over the seventeen years presented is 6.7 per hundred thousand. In the years since the repeal of a permit to purchase system, the homicide rate went over the average 33% of the time. But in the years before that repeal, the homicide rate exceeded the average 36% of the time.

    This is why it's best not to believe something just because someone on your side claims it.

  3. No, I don’t have to get creative. It’s pretty simple actually. The first thing I do is a little bit of fact checking, which you probably didn’t do (speaking about blinding following a ‘single-minded world view’). So let’s go check the FBI UCR stats for Missouri. You can follow along with me here:


    2007: 6.5
    2008: 7.7
    2009: 6.5
    2010: 7.0
    2011: 6.1
    2012: 6.5

    First of all, we hear the gun controller sad trombone play as soon as we see that Missouri has the same murder rate now as they did when the law was repealed in 2007. Ouch. There were some higher years in there, which allows them to make statements like this:

    In the study which will be published in an issue of the Journal of Urban Health, a team of researchers led by Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Director Daniel Webster found that between 55 to 63 more people were murdered each year after Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law in 2007.

    Notice they are using total murders and not rate, so they are summing up those little spikes and dividing by the number of years, discounting population and that the current rate is the same as when they repealed the law.

    Let’s also look at this statement:

    While murders in Missouri spiked between 2007 and 2012, bordering states experienced no significant increases. And the overall murder rate in the U.S. declined by 5 percent during that same period.

    Painfully obvious here, is that Missouri is not the only state to expand gun rights in this time period. The states that border Missouri are: Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois. With the exception of Illinois (which is even going shall-issue), wouldn’t you classify all those states as ‘gun friendly’? I don’t have time to look into it now, but no doubt those states also experience repeals of gun laws in that time period as well. The nation as a whole has gone more gun friendly over this period, but this study is somehow claiming the drop in national murder rate (and a lot of pro-gun rights states) denigrates Missouri.

    We also see that when the study looked at rate instead of totals, the study was actually looking at ‘gun homicides’, the classic fall back of gun controllers where murder rates don’t look so good for them:
    In 2008, the first full year after the permit-to-purchase licensing law was repealed, the age-adjusted firearm homicide rate in Missouri increased sharply to 6.23 per 100,000 population, a 34 percent increase. For the post-repeal period of 2008-2010, the mean annual age-adjusted firearm homicide rate was 5.82, 25 percent above the pre-repeal mean. This increase was out of synch with changes during that period in age-adjusted homicide rates nationally which decreased ten percent and with changes in other states in the Midwest which declined by 5%.

    Too easy. Give me something harder next time.

    But once again, we see that you can’t seem to be consistent with your thoughts on the effectiveness of state level gun control. When I get you backed into a corner, you sometimes come back with saying that state level gun control doesn’t work because criminals can just go to another state to get guns. But then some cheap study funded by Bloomberg comes out and you’re back on the bandwagon believing tiny changes at the state level saves lives. Which is it, man?

    1. By the way, TS, when I said "Well done, SSG and Greg," I hadn't seen your masterful work yet.

      Hats off to you.

    2. Yeah, that was pretty good TS.

  4. Well done, SSG and Greg.

    As for Mikeb, although I'm not a "gun apologist" (there being nothing about guns for which to apologize), that "pretty creative" thing sounds kinda cool, but it seems, alas, that I'll not be able to avail myself of that method of bolstering my creativity, given the fact that my worldview is not even remotely threatened.

  5. Wow, David Kopel eviscerated Webster (author of this "study") in court (excerpt):

    Webster seemed challenged by some questions from plaintiffs' attorney, David Kopel. Kopel asked Webster why he studied only the sale of handguns and did not address the issue of loaning firearms.

    Webster said he examined the policy of transfer but then answered, "I don't remember."

    Kopel then asked if he got his information on trace data from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau. Webster said he did.

    Kopel asked if Webster knew there was a disclaimer on the ATF's website about the reliability of the trace data. Webster did not give a clear answer on whether he did or not.

    Kopel pointed out that the Congressional Research Center said trace cannot be used to describe the path of a gun and how it would get to an individual or a criminal.

    "I don't know what the Congressional Research Center said," Webster responded. "I don't think it is relevant."

    Finally, Kopel asked why Webster showed only what happened to the homicide rate after the repeal of the gun ban in 2007 and not for other years. Kopel showed data indicating that in 2009 the homicide rate in Missouri declined.

    Webster said the reason the declining homicide rate may have been because "there are a variety of changes in social conditions."

    After Kopel's cross examination, Grove asked whether the errors Kopel pointed out would change Webster's findings. Webster responded with a short "no."
    The defense is expected to close Wednesday or Thursday. The plaintiffs closed in the first week of the trial.

    Too bad Webster hadn't thought to talk to you, Mikeb, so he would have known to answer Kopel's last question by explaining that it's because changes in gun laws can only be expected to yield noticeable results for about a year ;-).

  6. Say, Mikeb, would you describe Missouri's gun laws as "loose," even before the 2007 repeal of the heinous "permit to purchase" law? Because if so, you've already established that further loosening already "loose" gun laws is not a "change" in gun laws. That being the case, the repeal, not being a "change," can obviously not be responsible for a higher murder rate in Missouri.