I cam across a great blog post about a very interesting paper called "Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: A Study by Profs. John Lott and William Landes". This is the abstract:

Few events obtain the same instant worldwide news coverage as multiple victim public shootings. These crimes allow us to study the alternative methods used to kill a large number of people (e.g., shootings versus bombings), marginal deterrence and the severity of the crime, substitutability of penalties, private versus public methods of deterrence and incapacitation, and whether attacks produce "copycats."

Our results are surprising and dramatic. While arrest or conviction rates and the death penalty reduce "normal" murder rates, our results find that the only policy factor to influence multiple victim public shootings is the passage of concealed handgun laws. We explain why public shootings are more sensitive than other violent crimes to concealed handguns, why the laws reduce both the number of shootings as well as their severity, and why other penalties like executions have differential deterrent effects depending upon the type of murder.

The results of this paper support the hypothesis that concealed handgun or shall issue laws reduce the number of multiple victim public shootings. Attackers are deterred and the number of people injured or killed per attack is also reduced, thus for the first time providing evidence that the harm from crimes that still occur can be mitigated.

Not only does the passage of a shall issue law have a significant impact on multiple shootings but it is the only law related variable that appears to have a significant impact…A particularly surprising result is how the death penalty is so important in deterring murders generally, but has no significant impact on multiple victim public shootings.

Gary Rogan writes:

I have little interest in guns one way or the other. What little interest I do have is based on the instructive nature of how magical thinking is applied by ideological fanatics to "solve" the problem exactly the wrong way.

1. It is clear that if you ban any kind of widely available gun type today, "the bad guys" will have access to guns for decades because there are currently hundreds of millions in circulation. It is also clear that access to guns will become more difficult for "the good guys". And while it is also clear that there will be SOME reduction in the type of gun violence like the latest incident, that was a very unusual case in that the nut stole the guns from his law-abiding mother. It is not at all clear how widespread such reductions would be given that the nut would still be able to obtain many forms of different guns from the same type of law-abiding source and more typical nuts would get some guns somewhere without any problem.

2. It is clear that when you create "gun free zones" and proudly advertise them as such you create "fish in a barrel" type situation for the nuts, which they find highly attractive both psychologically and practically.

3. It seems obvious that concealed carry permits and specifically having a lot of their holders in the former "gun free zones" will dramatically cut down on the number of casualties. This is due both to the ability to stop the nut and to the observed tendency of such nuts to kill themselves as soon as being even vaguely aware of a confrontation with another armed person. And of course just the knowledge that the formerly "gun free zone" no longer is will make that zone infinitely safer based on the deterrence effect. It would be therefore amazing to watch how the usual suspects immediately start talking about gun control without explaining anything about the linkage between such and the number of victims or even any logic behind their line of thinking, were it not their normal modus operandi. The same "logic" the usual suspects apply to higher taxes on the rich being beneficial, and Bush causing the big recession by his "policies" to which we don't want to go back to, is applied to gun control. This supports the theory I advanced a couple of weeks ago that the biggest thing that rules the world today is "suspension of disbelief".


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