CPRC Shoots Holes in Study that Claims States with More Guns Have More Police Deaths

Crime Prevention Research Center

Guest post by John R. Lott Jr., founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center. A recent study in the American Journal of Public Health claimed that there were more police feloniously killed in states that had more guns. The study got extensive news coverage at the TV networks such as NBC News, newspapers such as the Chicago Sun-Times,  and international coverage such the UK Guardian.

Yet, it took just a couple of minutes to read the paper and realize that the empirical work was done in a very non-standard way. There is a big benefit to using so-called panel data, where you can more accurately account for differences in crime rates across states or over time. This method is called “fixed effects.” Strangely, the authors, David Swedler, Molly M. Simmons, Francesca Dominici, and David Hemenway, only control for the differences across states and not over time.

A couple of simple examples show why other studies on crime take into account these factors.

Crime Prevention Research Center
The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) conducts academic-quality research on gun laws and their effects on crime and public safety.

Take the differences across places. Many people point out that the UK has both a lower gun ownership rate and a lower homicide rate than the US. Some use this to claim that gun control causes crime rates to fall. But the homicide rate actually went up by 50 percent in the eight years after the 1997 handgun ban went into effect. The homicide rate was still lower than that in the U.S., but there were lots of reasons it was lower to begin with, not the handgun ban.

The same point applies over time. Suppose a state passes a gun-control law at the same time that crime rates are falling nationally. It would be a mistake to attribute the overall drop in national crime rates to the law that was passed. To account for that concern, researchers normally see whether the drop in crime rate for the state that had the change is greater or less than the overall national change.

Unfortunately, the American Journal of Public Health study doesn’t account for this last concern, and it makes a big difference. Just accounting for the changes in crime rates over time completely reverses the claims made in the American Journal of Public Health article.

Click here to see the full review debunking the American Journal of Public Health article.

The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) is a research and education organization dedicated to conducting academic quality research on the relationship between laws regulating the ownership or use of guns, crime, and public safety; educating the public on the results of such research; and supporting other organizations, projects, and initiatives organized and operated for similar purposes. It has 501(C)(3) status, and does not accept donations from gun or ammunition makers or organizations such as the NRA.

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Comments (30)

  1. The United States of America was founded by the Gun has been Protected by the Gun through the decades and is still protected by the gun!!

    A Gun Free Zone is a Free Fire Zone for Criminals!!

  2. It seems the liberal politicians can’t win an argument without lying and manipulating the data. The police and mass civilian gun murders are most frequently committed by people with profound mental illness not your average law abiding gun owner. This issue of gun control is about controlling the population of the United States from Washington, DC. When was the last time anybody heard about keeping crazy people from having guns?

  3. The anti-gun crowd still thinks that if they put out enough lies and misconceptions, people will eventually believe them to be fact. Fortunately, watchdog groups and common sense throw a wrench in the gears of the anti-gun machine. The anti-gunners won’t stop though…they just don’t now and probably never will get it. All a good reason to pay attention and vote wisely.

  4. An old saying goes: “Figures can lie and liars can figure”. This article illustrates this point, using incorrect data to try and make a point. A problem then arises that when the falsehood is discovered, none of the remaining report will be believed!

  5. Anti-Constitutionalists will lie, break the law, and violently do anything to further their agenda. We need to stay the course and keep up the good fight.

  6. A quick and dirty look at Minnesota DNR officers killed in the line of duty has 15 officers killed. 4 of those were killed by gunfire (3 in one shooting) and the fourth was killed in 1940 (none since then). As these officers are very likely to have an encounter with a legally armed citizen, one would think the shooting deaths of DNR officers would be more prevalent according to this article. In Minnesota, this is not the case. I would surmise from this that legally armed citizens DO NOT have a propensity to kill DNR LEO’s.

  7. Its disgusting the way these liberal spin masters will use a subject for their own good. We all know liberals hate the police and pat every cop killer on the back like they performed some duty for society. But when its convenient, will use them in their twist-tistics to push for gun control. I think we should us RICO against the gun control advocates (the twist-tistics generators) and make them partially responsible for the murders of these police officers. I think they encourage these loonies just to push their ajendas.

  8. Nothing funny about RAPE! Someone I knew was raped and the shame she felt, she lost her job, because she could not be near other people and her family didn’t support her, and she hanged herself. I found out after I came home from my tour of duty, she was a friend and said she looked forward to me coming home safe and we would toast to my safe return, they never caught the person who raped her and when I visit her grave I leave an open bottle of beer in a glass. I was over their fighting for people who didn’t care and I should have been here to protect her. When my country called I answer. NOTHING about RAPE is funny. This is a reply to the ice cream story and RAPE!

    1. Glock Guy,

      To start with, if you want to comment about a post, try clicking on the “Reply” immediately below the comment. Then YOUR response will show up under that post and you won’t have to state which post you are commenting on.

      Second, nobody said rape was funny.

      Third, lighten up.

    2. But all the dumbasses think that destroying your constitutional rights are funny. This always happen just before a vote on gun control, now its the small arms treaty BS. and the pres needs to sell it on the American people. just like every other gun control bill. This is how he and his cabinet does it. They plan these killings just to pass their agendas and make it out like its the fault of the average law abiding gun owner.

    3. Glock guy. Your not even on paper. The article is about junk science used to to give erroneous stats on guns.
      The stats I gave are just as ridiculous as the journals “scientific method”.
      The difference is stats I gave are fact. Look it up.

      Thanks for your service, we have been at war for the last 14 years And all
      Have horror stories. I am sorry for your loss.

  9. We will be paying the price for Obama being in office long after his final term is over, he will make some more stupid laws that will cost Americans that are gun owners.

  10. I was suppose to become one but after my tour in South East Asia I had seen enough and did enough killing to last me the rest of my life. To kill another person is easy, it’s living with yourself afterwards. Question did I have to or should I have let him get away to kill one of my fellow solders later. We don’t murder the enemy we KILL the enemy. The Police teach (S.T.K.) Shoot to Kill ! The Military teach you to Kill Kill Kill,

    1. And your comment pertains to the article how?

      The article is about the supposed link between the amount of guns in the public and the number of police being shot. It has absolutely nothing to do with police shooting anyone or the military shooting anyone.

  11. Here is a great example:
    In the summer time ice cream sales go up and so do the number of rapes. So it can be inferred that Ice cream makes people commit rape.

  12. Say what? A fascist anti-liberty group opposes liberty?

    Say it ain’t so, Joe.

    Next you’re going to tell me that the national hookers union supports more hooking.

  13. This is so stupid.
    Lets outlaw all things that have ever killed another. BUT lets start at the top of the list first and go back 10000 years.
    1) the sun
    2) disease
    3) sticks
    4) stupidity
    5) trial and error
    6) water
    7) fire
    8) rocks
    9) volcanos
    10) tornados
    11) Fire
    12) heat
    13) cold
    14) earthquakes
    15) knives
    16) arrows
    17) spears
    18) storms
    19) starvation
    20) governments
    21) PEOPLE
    22) cars
    23) stupid people
    24) stupid governments
    25) war
    26) booze
    27) boozes and cars
    28) distractions
    29) food
    30) exercise
    31) laziness
    32) motorcycles
    33) cancer
    34) Well you get the point

    I want to take my Glock 21, load it, put it on a table. Get all these politicians that say gun kill, put them all in a room and sit them down. As soon as the gun starts shooting and killing people all by its self I will give all my firearms up to Obama.

    1. Vector16,

      That gives me an idea. Since the liberals think making a place a “gun free zone” will prevent gun violence, why don’t we have the congress pass a law making global warming illegal. Then it just won’t happen since it will be illegal.

    2. Well, that would be hard to do since global warming is a Gore money making scam. If had congress pass a law that makes it illegal to make money and to donate to they global warming and climate change cause, then it would not be happening.

      If there is no money to be made on a lie, created by democrats, then it would just not exist.

    3. Vector16,

      You missed the joke. The anti-gun liberals think that all you have to do is put up a sign with a pistol shape and circle with a diagonal line on top and everyone will be safe there since the bad guys won’t bring guns in there. By that logic, all we should have to do is pass a law that the climate can’t get warmer and that should take care of it. The climate can’t get warmer since that would be illegal.. problem solved.

  14. What moron came up with this stupid story? A lot of Police shooting have been Police shooting unarmed people, or having fake guns with out the orange tip. And they get shot. Even with their hands up get shot!.

    1. The police will not admit they need to change their shooting policy, training, and the use of deadly force. Besides the entry psych evaluation needs to be reviewed.

      I believe the manipulation of data to support gun control is coming from the Obama administration. They are currently paying fines for harassing those who disagree with Obama.

    2. When seconds count, the police are just minutes away. But to give the police some slack, if you see someone you told to keep his hands in the air suddenly reach for his hip then you’d probably shoot too. In split seconds it’s hard to identify clearly what the object he’s reaching for is. What we need though is for cops to train to be able to tell from a bad guy with a gun from a ccw holder or off duty cop

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