Gun Control Measures Work

BY HANK REICHMAN

In the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting, we are hearing the usual offensive nonsense from political supporters of the NRA: only a “good guy” with a gun can stop a bad guy with one, so everyone should arm themselves.  And, of course, there’s the continuing mantra that common sense gun control measures “don’t work.”  But if, as conservative federalists often say, the states are “laboratories” for policy experimentation (if not real democracy), then the evidence suggests that gun control can indeed be effective.  Take a look at this graph, which shows that by and large the stronger a state’s gun laws, the fewer the deaths by gunshot.  This is true, by the way, even for Illinois (whose laws are of middling strength; Chicago is alleged by the gun lobby to be a festival of gun violence despite tough control) and where gun violence is fueled by imports of weaponry from neighboring Indiana, Wisconsin, and Missouri (all with very weak laws).

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