Society

Less Guns Means Less Violence? California's Crime Rate Leaves Doubts

| by Dabney Bailey
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A new study by the Center for American Progress (CAP) provides somewhat contradictory evidence about the correlation between gun control laws and gun violence.

CAP asserts that the relationship is obvious: "While the strength of a state's gun laws is just one factor in the prevalence of gun related violence in the state and cannot alone account for gun violence, there is a clear link between weak gun laws and high levels of gun violence across the United States."

The 10 states with the highest levels of gun violence also have the weakest gun laws. These states, which are generally more towards the south and historically love to vote red in presidential elections, are Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Carolina.

Gun rights advocates cry foul – not over the study itself, but over CAP’s conclusions. California, the state that arguably has the strongest gun control laws in the country, throws off this trend. If CAP’s reasoning is accurate, then California should rank as the safest state in terms of gun violence. In reality, California ranks as the 40th most dangerous state for gun violence, just shy of the top 10 safest states.

California’s rate of firearm-related homicides are slightly higher than the national average. The Golden State also ranked 31st lowest for firearm deaths among children.

This study is a mixed blessing for gun rights advocates. It indicates that gun violence is a complicated equation, and creating stricter gun control laws doesn’t necessarily lead to a drop in violence. However, it’s impossible to ignore the obvious relationship between gun laws and violence. With Louisiana and South Carolina earning some of the worst scores, but New York and Connecticut getting some of the best scores, politicians can't altogether discount the relationship between guns and violence.

One possible interpretation of the study is that gun laws will only take a state but so far. Based on on this study, stricter laws will reduce rates of gun violene, but politicians must address other critical factors that also affect gun violence.

Source: SF Weekly