Harvard gun study leads to unexpected results

A recent study came out claiming that states with tougher gun control showed lower levels of murder and suicide. News media outlets are all over this, but they missed a critical phrasing in their report: those states had less suicide and murder by gun. Their murder and suicide rates were not lower overall. In fact, in many cases, it was higher.

A study by Harvard took a look at firearm ownership, gun laws, and violent crime, and suicide rates around the world. It found that more guns do not equate to more deaths and fewer guns do not equate to fewer deaths. That's not surprising when you realize that someone who wants to kill themselves or other people, will find a way to do it no matter whether they have a gun or not.

The study shows that the rate of murder and suicide has nothing to do with whether someone has access to a gun or not. It looked at gun ownership in the U.S., Norway, Finland, Germany, France, and Denmark. The high murder rate in the U.S. is the exception, not the rule when comparing homicide rates to gun ownership rates.

In Luxembourg, for example, guns are banned, but the country’s murder rate is nine times that of Germany’s, despite Germany having gun ownership rates 30,000 times higher than Luxembourg.

The USSR took everybody's guns away. But by the 1990s the USSR had the highest murder and suicide rate in the world. Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania along with countries in Europe showed the same results.

The UK banned most guns. Then the murder rate -- involving knives -- went up. People had just switched tools.

“Homicide results suggest that where guns are scarce other weapons are substituted in killings,” said the study’s authors.

The study concludes that “where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense violent crime rates are highest.”

When guns aren’t available for killing people, criminals just find another tool.

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