Perhaps nowhere are statistics and studies used as misleadingly as they are in the gun control debate. As in other areas, scientists and – more importantly – those who fund the scientists, bring their own agendas to the table before conducting their research. Ill-defined parameters are used, flawed methodologies are employed, and studies end up providing exactly what was needed to prove the hypothesis.
Florida State University’s Gary Kleck decided it was time to do a survey of the surveys. He sorted through 41 gun studies that attempted to link gun prevalence and homicide rates. “All research is flawed,” Kleck said, “but that does not mean we cannot distinguish the less flawed work from the more flawed, and draw tentative conclusions based on the best available research conducted so far.”
To determine which of the 41 studies were properly conducted, Kleck subjected them to three criteria. One, he looked for an acceptable definition of gun ownership. Two, he looked for how many variables the study took into account and whether they had controlled for those variables. Three, he made sure the researchers eliminated the possibility that increased crime was the cause of increased ownership rather than the other way around.
The Original Studies
If Kleck had not bothered to apply these methodologies, accepting instead these studies as flawless, the findings would have played well for gun control activists. The 41 studies combined showed that in 90 separate findings on gun ownership and crime rates, 52 percent linked ownership and homicide.
With the Criteria
Once Kleck’s criteria were applied, the landscape changed dramatically. Only three studies met all three of Kleck’s criteria. And of those three, none of them could make a link between gun ownership and homicide. In other words, as Kleck himself put it, “the more methodologically adequate research is, the less likely it is to support the more guns-more crime hypothesis.”
Science has been overrun with liberal bias, shoddy research, and studies conducted for no other reason than to back up a predetermined view of the facts. The criteria Kleck used were not random. They were scientifically-rigorous criteria that every single published study should have adhered to. The scientific method only “works” when you apply this kind of rigor. Otherwise, you’re just creating propaganda.
Both in academia and in real life, the fact remains that more guns do not equal more crime. The vast majority of lawful gun owners are never involved in violence except in rare cases of self-defense. Coming up with laws to restrict the freedoms of these gun owners in the hopes of solving crime is like trying to lose weight by eating with your eyes closed.
Criminals, with or without guns, are a problem.
Law-abiding gun owners are not.