Most of us know that studies can be made to conclude almost anything those commissioning them want others to believe, and even those that reach one conclusion can usually be twisted by others in a way to make them support a different view. However, one study in particular is coming under fire for inaccurately linking concealed carry permit holders to homicides.
A study carried out by the Violence Policy Control (VPC) center recently took concealed carry license holders to task, claiming the group has a higher homicide rate than the general population. While those who want to take away people’s gun rights were quite pleased to have this finding in their arsenal, the group Clergy in Support of the Second Amendment has been quick to point out the junk science behind it.
In fact, Clergy in Support of the Second Amendment’s Vince Warde said that not only is VPC’s claim false but that those who possess concealed carry licenses are actually 15 times less likely than the general public to commit homicide.
He said that the VPC has been caught in the past counting the same incident several times to inflate their statistics. They’ve also resorted to such measures as counting crimes that were actually committed by people carrying firearms without a license, which casts their validity into serious doubt.
Moreover, when the VPC accuses concealed carry permit holders of killing 1,259 people in the course of 10 years, they came upon that amount by choosing a span of years that would give them a four-digit number to make it seem more dramatic. Nevertheless, Warde says that even if these figures were actually accurate, it would only equate to grounding 130 homicides per year; the overall annual homicide figures for the time period in question were more than 15,000 per year.
If you do the math, as Warde did, with concealed carry permit holders responsible for 1259 of the more than 172,000 homicides during those 10 years, this group is actually responsible for fewer then .73 percent of the homicides in our country – hardly a figure worth getting up in arms over.
He suggests a far more rational approach to the question by looking at detailed statistics of more than a million concealed carry license holders in the state of Texas, a far more reliable source. In the last year for which full data was available, 2016, the national homicide rate across the U.S. was 5.9 per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, the rate among Texas concealed handgun license holders was just 0.4 per 100,000 people, meaning that such license holders have a 15-times lower likelihood of committing homicide than the general population.
This is just par for the course for the VPC, who Warde says makes a habit of citing “bogus studies that would never be taken seriously were the subject anything other than firearms.”
For example, they cherry-picked two states from one study to get the results they wanted, focusing only on the lowest restrictive carry state – Hawaii – and Louisiana, which has the highest crime rate among permissive carry law states. They also ignored data like that collected by the state of Florida that show statistics that fly in the face of their mission to deny people their Second Amendment rights.
It’s easy to make a study sound legitimate, and once specific numbers and the names of official-sounding groups are thrown into the mix, people are pretty quick in general to take what the study says at face value and start forwarding it like mad throughout social media without taking a moment to actually look at how its conclusions were reached.
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