August 14, 2012
John Lott Dissects
HuffPo Gun-Crime Article
(GunAuction) -- John Lott, writing on this personal blog johnrlott.blogspot.com, commented that there has been a lot of discussion about Australia's gun control laws. He cites a piece at the Huffington Post.
A decade-long examination of the program in the journal "Injury Prevention" concluded that "chances of gun death in Australia dropped twice as steeply" after the program was implemented. A study by Harvard University in the Spring of 2011 suggested that the program helped reduce, either causally or directly, firearm deaths, gun-related suicides and accidental shootings. The Washington Post, summarizing many of the studies, concluded that there was "strong circumstantial evidence for the law's effectiveness." . . .
Lott says, "Of course, the Huffington Post ignores that more sophisticated research finds no benefit from these laws. A paper by Lee and Suardi in Economic Inquiry in 2009 does an excellent job of looking at the issue.
"Here is the actual data from Australia. First note that homicides didn't fall until eight years after the laws. It is not clear what theory they have for why the
long delay would occur. Nor can I even find an acknowledgment of that long lag in the cited literature."
Crime can change for lots of reasons besides changes in gun control laws, Lott said. "One way to get a handle on this is to see how Australian homicides are changing relative to other crime rates. A single continuous crime data series isn't available, but the two diagrams below show how homicides is falling almost continuously as a fraction of violent crime. If anything, the drop in homicides relative to overall violent crime was biggest in the 1970s," he wrote.
Some notes on claims about Australia's crime rates can be found here.
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