Causal — Kevinbacon

Gun Laws: A Hit or Miss on Mortality and Crime Rates

As humans we are always looking for the fastest and easiest solutions to our problems, when its possible to do so. This human characteristic pertains to the case of gun control. Anti-gun activists believe that with more gun laws and stricter policies, crime rates, murders, and homicides, where a gun was the weapon, will decrease. However these individuals have failed to see that there is no correlation between gun laws and crime. Gun policies such as not being able to own a rifle or handgun, and restrictions on the amount of weapons one can own do not stop crime. They fail to improve society and by no means put an end to violent crimes, murders, and homicides.

Gun laws do not affect affect mortality and crime rates. Not every single crime that happens in the world is recorded. It is near impossible to do so, and this means many crimes go unreported. Imagine the sheer amount of murders, and homicides that occur out of the public’s knowledge. There is a chance the murder weapon was a gun, and there is also a chance that it was not a gun. How do we know that a stricter gun law has decreased the mortality rate of some nation? Even if the numbers look like they are in favor of the gun law, not all the data is there. There is a chance that countless crimes went unrecorded.

In the article Police Tactic: Keeping Crime Reports Off the Books, not recording crimes is actually a strategy used to keep the recorded crime rates down. This makes the data look better than it actually is. In addition, other reason for police not reporting every crime can be, “to avoid the dull task of preparing reports; others may fear discipline for errors in paperwork. Sometimes officers run out of time because they are directed to another job” (Baker, Goldstein, 2011). This article was published by the New York Times and applies to the N.Y.P.D. The amount of unreported crimes has seen a decrease, and has dropped from 4.4 percent in 2000 to about 1.5 percent in 2011 (Baker, Goldstein, 2011). Even though this rate is dropping it still is present in today’s world. This also is just crime that is reported to police. There is almost definitely more crime that occurs “underground” that law enforcement is not even aware of. So how can we account for all the murders and homicides caused by guns? The simple answer is we can’t.

Implementing stricter policies wouldn’t affect those who carry out unknown crimes. If the police do not know about the crime committed, why would it matter if the suspect followed the gun laws in use. Disregard to these gun laws comes in it’s strongest form when we look at another underground aspect. This is the underground gun market. Just like bootlegging alcohol during prohibition, the underground gun market was established under the circumstances that made it harder to legally own a weapon. Gun laws do not pertain to these markets, and the weapons distributed in them are unregistered. Across America the vast majority of criminals do not purchase their weapons through a legal process (Cook, Ludwig, Venkatesh, Braga, 2005).

Since gun laws are aimed at making society safer by decreasing the availability of guns, they could almost be considered useless when the criminals committing crimes are buying guns illegally. If more guns resulted in more crime then the United States would have the highest suicide rate and a higher homicide rate (Jacobs, 2002). However this correlation does not exist. Millions of households around the U.S own firearms, this is more than most countries in the world. However, our crime rates are not as high as some of these other nations. This trend shows there is no need for strict gun laws, where they would have no effect on a country where most of the population is responsible with their firearms. There is no relation between gun laws and crime rates, because the crime rates are not dependent on the amount of weapons in circulation, instead they rely on the mental states of who obtains them.

If there had to be any correlation between gun control and violent crimes, interestingly enough, it would be that less gun control causes an increase in crime rate. This notion is pretty counter-intuitive but it is clearly seen in some European nations. Many countries in Europe have very strict gun policies, however the crime rates do not match up as one would think they should. The Harvard study Gun Control is Counterproductive shines light on the fact that countries with strict gun laws witness higher murder rates than those who’s laws are less strict. This study focused on nine European nations with the lowest gun ownership rates (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000). These nations had a combined murder rate that was about 3 times greater than nine other nations with the greatest ownership rate of firearms (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000) (Harvard Study: Gun Control is Counterproductive, 2018). Now murders and crimes committed throughout the world are not only carried out with the use of firearms. People are killed by knives, and countless other weapons. Crime rates can also be a bit shaky and inaccurate due to countless factors. This study should not prove that gun ownership decreases crime or on other end, increases it. However it should highlight the fact that gun control is ineffective at preventing murder. It is counterproductive and does not benefit society (Harvard Study: Gun Control is Counter Productive).

More gun laws and stricter policies would not help the world’s problem with murder and crime. This is not a viable solution. Instead these ideas would just create more anger and irritability from the side that is pro-gun. This is just fuel for the fire of the debate between pro-gun and anti-gun activists. As unfair as it is, only one side can win this argument. One side will be right, and seeing that gun laws are counterproductive and also upset millions of gun owners, there shouldn’t be more of these laws enacted. Taking a step back from these laws, means that the anti-gun activist side ultimately loses in the game of gun control.


Cook, P. J., Ludwig, J., Venkatesh, S. A., & Braga, A. A. (2005, November 07). Underground Gun Markets. Retrieved October 21, 2018, from

GOLDSTEIN, A. B. (2011, December 30). N.Y.P.D. Leaves Offenses Unrecorded to Keep Crime Rates Down. Retrieved October 21, 2018, from

Jacobs, J. B. (2002). Can Gun Control Work? Retrieved October 21, 2018, from gun control doesn’t work&ots=atIgrSsxHS&sig=aaEDwMulkkBHYhINAg6IBlNV6v8#v=onepage&q=why gun control doesn’t work&f=false

Harvard Study: Gun Control Is Counterproductive. (2018). Retrieved November 4, 2018, from

11 thoughts on “Causal — Kevinbacon”

  1. Good strong first paragraph, KB, putting the emphasis directly on the opinion that stricter gun laws are the “fastest and easiest” proposals but irrelevant to the crime rate. What’s missing is the single piece of evidence, however small, that would win the pot.

    Half your audience will be applauding before they finish reading the first paragraph. You don’t need them. They agree with your hypothesis. The other half is likely to think: Here we go again; another apologist for the gun lobby who thinks if everyone in the world was toting a firearm there’d be no crime. (That is sort of what you said: if there were no gun laws, there would be no more and no less crime than with gun laws.)

    That half will not be persuaded by your bald claim that “there is no correlation,” but they might be invited to examine more carefully why they think there IS a correlation. Don’t delay offering up a morsel of what you have found to poke holes in the Causal Chain promoted by gun control advocates.

    Have an illustration of gun control resulting in an INCREASE to the crime rate? Bring it out now.

    But be certain that you’ve been careful in your Definition/Categorical section to specifically delineate your terms.

    —What gun laws do you mean?
    —What stricter policies do you mean?
    —What EXACTLY do you mean by GUN CONTROL?

    You named several potential consequences of changes to gun laws, that would include corresponding changes in:
    —Crime Rates
    —Crimes in which a gun is the weapon

    If you truly try to argue that “there is no correlation” between “gun laws” and “crime,” you see how wide open you leave yourself for refutation.

    The vulnerability of that claim is the best reason to narrow your hypothesis to something specific you can illustrate. Then, once you have established that the “correlation,” which of course does exist, doesn’t always trend as the anti-gun activists think it SHOULD, you can carefully broaden your claim until it’s a general as your evidence permits.

    This process is no less bold. You’ll stand very firmly on the conclusions you draw. But you’ll avoid losing your argument before you can even get started.

    Is that helpful, KB?
    (Response required)

    Put your post back in the Feedback Please category if you want further interference.


  2. KB, can you guide me in any way to make a more targeted response to your post than “feedback, please”?

    I’m trying to help as many students as possible, and I can be more help to everyone if you ask me specific questions or guide my reading to aspects of your writing that concern you most.

    Once I respond and you make substantial changes, you can put the post back into Feedback Please for another set of specific questions.

    I’d appreciate the give-and-take. Thanks.


  3. You’re still wide open to refutation with your “too broad” claim that there’s no correlation between gun laws and crime. There is always correlation. You could contest there’s no causation if you’re more specific about your terms.

    There is no way to prove this:

    Gun policies such as not being able to own a rifle or handgun, and restrictions on the amount of weapons one can own do not stop crime.

    You could certainly point to instances of crimes performed with firearms that were obtained in defiance of the law, in which case “not being allowed to own a rifle” didn’t stop a determined criminal from stealing one and using it to kill his landlord. But you’d still have to admit that prohibiting 12-year-olds from owning guns has kept lots of Boy Scouts from slaughtering their troops. You just can’t say the laws DO NO GOOD or PREVENT NO CRIMES.


  4. Gun laws do not affect affect mortality and crime rates.

    OK. Let’s compare the US to 23 other high-income countries. If the number of unreported murders seems like enough to refute these numbers, you can make the claim.

    The US homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries, driven by firearm homicide rates that were 19.5 times higher. For 15-year olds to 24-year olds, firearm homicide rates in the United States were 42.7 times higher than in the other countries. The US firearm suicide rates were 5.8 times higher than in the other countries, though overall suicide rates were 30% lower. Among these 23 countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States, 86% of women killed by firearms were US women, and 87% of all children aged 0 to 14 killed by firearms were US children.

    I’m not trying to refute your entire argument, KB. You’ve taken a brave, difficult, fascinating, counterintuitive position for which I applaud you. But to make it work, you need to limit your claims to bold, specific, narrow claims you can defend. “Gun laws DO NOT AFFECT MORTALITY” is way beyond defensible.



  5. You’re clever to cast doubt on crime report statistics, but be sure the objection works to your advantage. Which crimes are less likely to be reported? Would there be more of an incentive to suppress reports of murders by firearm than any other type of crime? Are you suggesting that cops deliberately suppress firearm crime reporting to combat anti-gun laws?


    1. I think this is just a typo:

      If there had to be any correlation between gun control and violent crimes, interestingly enough, it would be that less gun control causes an increase in crime rate. This notion is pretty counter-intuitive but it is clearly seen in some European nations.

      Think you have that observation backwards. It seems completely intuitive that less gun control means more guns in circulation which leads to more gun use and more gun crime.


  6. I don’t mean to be overly negative, KB. You’re making bold claims, finding and presenting evidence, and arguing logically. I’m hoping to help you do even better. Keep at it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s