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Obama Renews Gun Control Push, Study Shows Gun Control Increases Crime

January 7, 2014 by Sam Rolley

Obama Renews Gun Control Push, Study Shows Gun Control Increases Crime

On Friday, just three days into the new year, President Barack Obama signaled a renewed Administrative push for stronger gun control legislation as he announced two new executive actions designed to make it easier to clarify Americans as mentally ill for the purpose of revoking 2nd Amendment rights. But as the White House hints that 2014 will bring a new round of efforts to make gun ownership in the United States more restrictive, a recent analysis of crime statistics published by Applied Economic Letters undermines almost every argument used by proponents of stronger gun regulations.

The executive actions signed by the President last week include provisions that would broaden "committed to a mental institution" - a term sometimes used to deny 2nd Amendment rights to mentally ill Americans - to include people who have voluntarily committed themselves to a mental health facility on an outpatient basis as well as inpatient and non-voluntary commitments. The President's action could mean that Americans who have sought mental health services voluntarily for less serious illnesses would be more harshly scrutinized during the background check process when purchasing a firearm in certain States.

"Too many Americans have been severely injured or lost their lives as a result of gun violence," the White House said in a statement.

"While the vast majority of Americans who experience a mental illness are not violent, in some cases when persons with a mental illness do not receive the treatment they need the result can be tragedies such as homicide or suicide."

The White House continued, "The federal background check system is the most effective way to assure that such individuals are not able to purchase a firearm from a licensed gun dealer."

Other executive actions taken by the President call for increased research of the causes of gun violence in the United States, new requirements for Federal agencies to trace firearms used in crimes and incentives for schools throughout the Nation to hire more security personnel.

Meanwhile, a study published in the latest edition of Applied Economics Letters examines and undermines almost all of the claims made by advocates of stronger gun control laws are unsupported by U.S. crime statistics. The study, titled "An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates" and conducted by Quinnipiac University economist Mark Gius, concludes that 30 years of crime statistics clearly show how stricter gun control laws fail to reduce gun violence. In fact, according to the study, increases in the number of concealed carry permits issued actually reduce occurrences of firearm-related crime.

From the study's abstract, "The purpose of the present study is to determine the effects of state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons laws on state-level murder rates. Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level."

The study concludes that "restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level."

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