The Washington Post has a story on a study released this week in the American Journal of Public Health [Association Between Connecticut’s Permit-to-Purchase Handgun Law and Homicides]. It is deceptive, biased, misleading and incompetent from the headline: “Gun killings fell by 40 percent after Connecticut passed this law.” The headline is designed to fool anyone so ignorant and unschooled, not to mention devoid of critical thought, to fall for the classic logical fallacy of “post hoc ergo propter hoc,” which means “after this, therefore because of this.”
The thesis of the study in question, swallowed whole by the gun-control shills on the Washington Post staff, is that because gun deaths in Connecticut fell after a mid-summer 1994 state law was passed requiring a purchasing license before a citizen could buy a handgun, the law was the reason. Of course, the rates also fell after the baseball players strike that same summer: one could make an equally valid argument that a baseball strike reduces deaths by gunfire. Crime in general was falling throughout the 1990’s and a fall in crime rates generally almost always is accompanied by a decline in homicides.
Before the Connecticut law the Federal Brady law enacted in 1992 already required an FBI background check before every legal gun purchase. To be more exact, no background check law is ever going to have much effect on homicide rates because killers don’t get their guns in the legal marketplace. It’s not only because the background check prevents them from purchasing a gun legally. A legal gun selling for $1200 might sell in the illegal black market for as little as $200 because it will invariably be a stolen gun in which the thief has no cost of acquisition. Whatever the price it’s all profit to the thief who is usually looking for quick cash to feed a drug habit. Killers don’t care about the background check because they aren’t involved in the legal market for guns. They are not interested in paying the legal retail price anyway. It stands to reason that someone willing to commit murder is not deterred by a measly gun licensing law.
Killers aren’t going to be prevented from committing murder because they couldn’t get a license to buy a gun. I was going to kill the dude but I couldn’t get a license to buy a gun? Give me a break.
The study never explains just how the Connecticut law prevented even one murder. All it says is that an “association” was found. Like correlation, association does not establish causation. You’d think they could at least offer a theory of how the law prevented even one homicide, but they don’t even try.
We will now hear this phony study bandied about ad infinitum simply for its emotional appeal to those who hate guns and the law-abiding citizens who own them for lawful reasons. These people delude themselves into believing that legal gun owners will become criminals simply because they have a gun. This is ridiculous, but delusion is immune to reason and logic.