Society

Mathematicians Draw Up Science-Backed Gun Control Equation

| by Dabney Bailey
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Mathematicians at UC Irvine in California believe they have come up with a mathematical way to determine the effectiveness of gun control policies.

"This debate cannot be settled satisfactorily by verbal arguments alone, since these are often driven by opinion and lack a solid scientific backing," wrote Dominik Wodarz and Natalia Komarova. "What is under debate is essentially an epidemiological problem: How do different gun control strategies affect the rate at which people become killed by attackers, and how can this rate be minimized?"

They added, "If the current discussion could be steered toward science, rather than having a heated debate without much of a logical foundation, a big step forward toward saving lives would be achieved.”

The pair examined the full range of gun control policies from a complete laissez-faire approach on gun control to a near-total gun ban. Some of the data they used even went as far back as WWI. What they found was that reducing the availability of legal guns and properly enforcing those restrictions should lead to a reduction in domestic and one-on-one gun deaths.

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Journal editors solicited 11 peer reviews — two or three is the norm  to critique the authors’ finding. One critic said the scientific method would never be effective in this field, but that’s more of a complaint against public policy than it is against the researchers’ methods. Other reviewers generally gave the scientists a thumbs-up.

People can debate all day about gun control policy, but it is difficult to argue with cold, hard facts that have stood up to peer review.

What are your thoughts on this research? Should people on both sides of the gun control debate set aside emotions and embrace scientific fact? Could scientific studies lead to a new wave of gun control policies?

Source: TG Daily