U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The video is a little over 16 minutes long. It features Aaron Brown answering questions and pontificating on the failings of the vast majority of “studies” aimed at various “gun control” policies. Brown is a well-credentialed expert on statistics.
Early on, an important point is made about gun control policies. They have tremendous associated costs. Those costs are almost never considered in policy debates. This is a failing of Progressive philosophy and government policy in general. While benefits are stressed, costs are ignored or glossed over.
Brown focuses heavily on a Rand meta-study updated in 2020. The Rand study evaluated 27,900 studies related to gun control. Of those, only 123 met the Rand criteria for rigorous methodology and data. The Rand study, in 412 pages of text, graphics, and tables, shows, at best, limited evidence in a few rigorous studies. Brown shows the number of significant results falls inside the number of results expected by chance.
Brown concludes that uncertainty in the data makes meaningful results impossible to obtain. Brown’s expertise shows well here. As Brown says:
“These studies are doomed from the start.”
Brown demonstrates that of the 722 hypotheses tested, the random chance should have found 36 positive significant effects and 36 negative significant effects. Only 18 positive effects were found. Only 1 negative significant effect was found.
The number of significant effects is well within the number expected by random effects in the data.
Brown concludes the disparity in positive and negative results shows researchers are discarding or hiding results that show negative consequences for gun control policies.
I was surprised there was only one positive significant result shown. I knew of two well-done studies that had found significant negative results for gun control policies. When I checked the sources, the reason became clear. The policies looked at in the studies I remembered were not considered in the Rand meta-study.
They were regulated by gun shows and gun “buybacks”. Both negative significant effects were downplayed by the researchers.
If researchers were unbiased, chance results would be the same for positive and negative results. The number of statistically significant results is in the range of expected noise.
There are too many confounding variables, too much noise in the data, with definitions that are too vague and constantly changing.
For example, studies that attempt to limit gun sales in some way only affect a tiny number of individuals, as gun sales, even in boom years, are at most a few percent of total gun numbers in existence, while the variation in homicide is, on average, about six percent per year. From Brown:
Anyone basing a gun control position on scientific evidence is building on sand.
The vast majority of studies are flawed because of cherry-picking data in time and space. Brown demonstrates how this is done.
The video shows numerous quotes from politicians promoting various gun control policies, and claiming they have absolute scientific evidence to back up their policies.
Brown explains the worst, most abusive studies, are those which reach the most absurd conclusions based on cherry-picked data in space and time. Those are the ones touted by the Media and used by politicians.
This correspondent was curious if any of the studies done by John Lott and associates made the cut into the 123 studies deemed by Rand to be rigorous. John Lott’s name was on 10 of them.
Most policies in law are not backed up by scientific studies. They are based on moral judgments, political philosophy, and countless legal experiments tried and failed over thousands of years.
Claiming to base gun laws on “science” is an attempt by advocates to “argue by authority” without real proof. They are using the word “science” to browbeat the opposition.
I highly recommend the video. If you are involved in the movement to restore the Second Amendment, or, if you simply want to understand the debate on the issues, it is well worth 16 minutes of your time.
Do Studies Show Gun Control Works? No. by, released March 31, 2022
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.