I just ran an editorial in March 2022 issue of American Gunsmith
(“Statistician Studies Gun Control”) about Leah Libresco, a statistician, newswriter for the data journalism site FiveThirtyEight, and Yale alumna. Despite holding anti-gun opinions, she decided to let data rather than emotions drive results.
“[M]y colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.
“By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.
“I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions… We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.”
Interestingly, though not surprising, John Pfaff at Slate reached the same conclusions:
“Philadelphia Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. published a report titled “100 Shooting Review Committee Report.” The report received far less attention and was covered only by the local Philadelphia press. That’s a shame. The report’s authors examined more than 2,000 shootings. What they found is that gun violence is much more complicated than Adam’s blueprint suggests, arguing that a better way to focus on gun violence is to target the violence more than the guns.
"The Philadelphia report—written by a wide range of sometimes contentious stakeholders, including the Philadelphia Police Department, the district attorney’s office under reformer Larry Krasner, the Department of Public Health, and the Defender Association of Philadelphia—suggests that such interdiction [targeting access and removal of guns] is likely futile. The authors provided analyses and policy recommendations for a city suffering from a record 559 homicides in 2021. While the proposals from the Philadelphia police broadly track with the Adams plan, the recommendations from the other stakeholders, including the city’s district attorney, caution strongly against an approach that centers on gun interdiction.”
Amazing! It took research studies to realize that violence isn’t caused by access to tools. I’ve been on Camp Perry firing lines with 1,200 shooters armed with AR-15 and M14/M1A Service Rifles and hundreds of rounds. Injury rates there since 1907 when the National Matches were first hosted there have been so non-existent that they aren’t even tracked. But nobody asks real shooters for opinions about firearms…