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The Mystery of the Missing Crime Data

Gun control and race appear to interrelate in another manner ignored by corporate media. In 2001, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence began publishing an annual report card, evaluating states on their gun-control laws. From 2001 through 2005, Brady assigned an “A” grade to states with the most gun control; “F” graded states had the least. After a 2006 hiatus, Brady returned with annual scorecards, rating states on a 100 point system. States with the most gun control had the highest scores. Brady replaced the earlier 5-grade quintiles with an equivalent star system, allowing consistency in comparing all of Brady’s annual reports. (Four stars equals an “A”; zero stars an “F.”)

Spearman rank correlation is a calculation used to see if two groups of values interrelate. For example, if homicide rates generally decrease as Brady scores decrease, this is a positive correlation: less gun control, less murder. The table below contains the results after collating Brady scores with CDC state-level homicide rates. Eight years out of nine, black homicide rates showed this positive correlation: blacks were safer in states with the least gun control. Whites, on the other hand, were safer in states with the most gun control.

One of gun control’s advertised benefits is that criminals will commit fewer crimes with firearms. However, after collating Brady scores with CDC firearms homicide rates, the following table shows even stronger correlations for blacks and whites. Blacks living in states with the least gun control were less likely to be shot to death. Between 2001 and 2008, whites were safer in states with the most gun control.

Another gun-control argument is that firearms availability equates with more violence committed with them. But the following table shows that for black victims, the percentage of murders involving guns was lower in states with the least gun control; for whites, the percent of murders committed with guns was generally higher.

All three tables show that blacks living in pro-gun control states suffer more homicide and more firearms homicide.

The DOJ reported that “the rate of firearm homicides for blacks declined by 51% ... compared to a 48% decline for whites.” Since 23 states enacted right-to-carry during this time frame, raising the total to 40, more blacks now live in RTC states, where they average a 24% lower homicide rate -- and 27% lower shooting homicide rate -- than blacks living in carry-restricted states.

States with less gun control -- Brady’s “worst” states -- have higher gun-ownership rates as well as being RTC states, where citizens are far more likely to carry handguns in public.

Yet blacks in these states are the safest.

The terms “firearm violence” and “gun violence” are misnomers that should be removed from public discourse. The attempt to link firearms with violence in people’s minds is misleading at best, and tragically irresponsible at worst. Why does corporate media persist in:

  • Using the black community to turn gun ownership into a pseudo-civil rights issue in order to promote gun control, when in fact the opposite is true: Blacks and law-abiding gun ownership equals greater safety?
  • Misreporting government data in order to promote gun control, when the very data they cite shows gun control is failed policy?

(Note: This report cites numerous Excel workbooks containing source data from the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. International Trade Commission, and U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was impractical to include links to all the data from these sources within the format of an online special report.)