Friday, December 29, 2006

Washington State Earns a D+ from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Originally via Instapundit, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun violence puts out a yearly scorecard for all states giving a letter grade based on a number of criteria, and Washington State earned a D+ for 2005. The breakdown of the grades are as such:

Juvenile Possession Law B+
Juvenile Sale/Transfer Law A
Child Access Prevention Law F
Gun Safety Locks and Safer Design Standards F
Allow Cities To Regulate Guns (Non-Preempt) D-
Secondary "Private" Sales Background Checks F
Carrying Concealed Weapons Law F

The good news is that in the upside down world that is gun control, a low grade from the Brady Campaign actually means if anything, we are less prone to violent crime as Howard Nemerov writes at Chron Watch:.

Since 2001, RTC states, where more people carry guns in public, consistently average a “D”. Brady continues to be unhappy with the country’s direction regarding gun control: between 2001 and 2005, RTC states increased from 32 to 38 and Brady downgrade the U.S. average from “C-” to a “D+.” Their response is curious, since the national violent crime rate fell 7.0% during this time frame.
Even worse for Brady, violent crime trends are not spread equally across all states. RTC states (average Brady grade “D”) saw an aggregate 7.8% drop in violent crime, while non-RTC states (average Brady grade “B”) saw a 5.2% decrease. Even when Brady grades synchronize with violent crime trends, it fails to give an accurate picture: Brady dropped the national average grade from “C-” to “D+” in 2005, the same year that the violent crime rate increased 1.3%. This would seem to make sense, as a lower grade is supposed to reflect less safety for citizens. Unfortunately for Brady, most of that increase occurred in non-RTC states, which saw an aggregate increase of 2.8%, while RTC states increased 0.6%. Using Brady’s criteria of grading each state as an equivalent entity, non-RTC states averaged a 5.6% increase in violent crime, while RTC states averaged a 0.6% increase. Since 2001, the violent crime differential between RTC and non-RTC states increased from 26.0% to 27.5%, meaning that RTC states are becoming relatively more law-abiding compared to non-RTC states.3


Arms and the Law analyze the data in more detail and come to the conclusion that:

In short, your chances of being killed, raped, or assaulted are, on average, no better, and no worse, in states that got the coveted Brady A or A-, than they are in states that got a D or an F. If the laws the Brady Campaign favors were very successful in combating violence, you could not possibly get this result.

The problem the Brady Campaign has is the crime statistics are available to anyone willing to spend the time to take a look.

So sure enough, I imported the stats into a database and ran some queries and here is what I found out. If you rank the states, and the District of Columbia by violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the 5 most violent are :
District of Columbia B
South Carolina D+
Tennessee D+
Florida F+
Maryland A-

The 5 states with the least violent crimes per 100,000 residents are:
North Dakota D
Maine D-
Vermont D-
New Hampshire D-
South Dakota D

So except for Florida, all of the least violent crime states have a worse grade than the 5 most violent crime states. In fact you have to go 8 spots into the least violent list before finding a grade “better” then a D.

Look at the same results for Murder:
The worst ranking states by murders per 100,000 residents:
District of Columbia B
Maryland A-
Louisiana F
Nevada D
Alabama F

The best ranking states by murders per 100,000 residents:
North Dakota D
Vermont D
Iowa C+
Maine D-
New Hampshire D-

Off on a brief tangent, the fact that the District of Columbia lead both lists was not that much of a surprise although what was amazing was how far ahead they were. For violent crime, D.C. had 1459 crimes per 100,000 residents almost double 2nd place South Carolina which had 761, 3rd place Tennessee had 753, Florida 708, Maryland 703. For murder, D.C. had 35 per 100,000, 3.5 times 2nd place, Maryland and Louisiana each had 10, Nevada and Alabama had 8. So I decided to look at the District of Columbia and see what gave them the score of B.

Juvenile Possession Law A
Child Access Prevention Law A
Allow Cities To Regulate Guns (Non-Preempt) A
Ability of Congress to Repeal DC's gun laws F Congress has authority to repeal DC's gun laws. (DC residents and City Council do not favor repeal)
Secondary "Private" Sales Background Checks A
Carrying Concealed Weapons Law B+

Clearly the District of Columbia deserves a grade of A except for the fact that Congress has the ability to repeal DC’s gun laws. This strikes me as being dishonest. What does it matter that Congress has the ability to repeal DCs gun laws? It sure appears to me that Brady simply did not want to give the most violent murder capital of America the grade it deserved, an A. That leads to another issue, no states got an A, 7 got an A-, 1 B+, 1 B, 2 B- meanwhile there were 7 Fs, 3 F+, 7 D-, 9 D, 6 D+. 11 grades above C+, 32 below C-. Clearly Brady does not grade on a curve and that is fine, you just need to know that when you look and see how many Fs and Ds there are when looking at the most violent states compared to As or Bs.

So here is my issue with the Brady Campaign, I do not believe they truly want to reduce gun violence. If they did, one of the things they would be pushing for would be gun safety classes in schools. Now there is a way to reduce gun violence, teach and train gun safety. Additionally, what they are proposing does not and will not work. The crime statistics have shown that. I know it sounds counter intuitive that reducing the number of guns will not reduce crime but you have to remember what guns are being eliminated. Criminals are not going to give up their guns when gun laws are passed, just law abiding citizens. So the reality of what happens is criminals are the only ones with guns and they now know that the overwhelming majority of potential victims will be unarmed. Here is a simple way to understand the concept. Assume you live on a street where every house on one side of the street has a sign in the window that says “Insured by Smith and Wesson” or “Member N.R.A.”. Each house on the other side of the street has a sign that says “Gun Free Zone”. Which side of the street is going to have a higher crime rate? Which side would you rather live on? Are you willing to put a Gun Free Zone sign in your window?

9 comments:

Kirk Parker said...

As a resident of Washington state, I'm greviously disappointed we didn't earn a good solid F. Oh, well, nobody's perfect...

mrsizer said...

The problem with this analysis: They don't care. Banning guns makes them feel good, that's all that matters. Results are irrelevant.

submandave said...

Sticking up for Tennessee (#3 on your violence list), I can't help but believe that this fine(?) performance is due, in large part, to little-ole-curve-buster Memphis.

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