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Remember The 2007 Harvard Study Showing More Guns Led To Less Crime?

Photo of Brian Joondeph BRIAN JOONDEPH
Retina Surgeon
11:54 AM 10/12/2015

Gun control is back in the news after the recent Oregon college shooting with President Obama considering executive action on gun background checks. Predictably the President is pushing what he describes as "common sense" laws, although without specifically saying what such laws would be. The premise of the left is that there are too many guns out there and more guns means more mass shootings.

At first blush this makes sense. More guns, more shootings. More cars, more accidents. More skiers, more broken bones. But is this really so?

What about self-defense? Even the New York Times is begrudgingly acknowledging this concept and justification for gun ownership.

A Harvard study from 2007 recently resurfaced. Published by the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the study's conclusion is contradictory to conventional wisdom about gun violence and understandably received little media attention. Citing data from the Centers of Disease Control, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the UN International Study on Firearms Regulation, the study concluded, "The more guns a nation has, the less criminal activity."

Stop the presses! Wouldn't this make front page news? Or at least a rebuttal to the many liberals pushing for stricter gun control measures? Particularly since it was a Harvard study, a university revered by the left. Instead the story was buried.

What did the study find?

How about this? This would explain why shootings occur in "gun free zone" schools and movie theaters rather than in police stations or gun clubs. Or in cities like Chicago, a murder mecca despite some of the most stringent gun controls in the nation.

President Obama claims, "Other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings." He cites Great Britain and Australia as examples.

So how is that working in England? According to the Harvard study, it's not.

The study also notes that there are 40 US states allowing its citizens to carry concealed handguns and this has actually reduced murder and violent crime. Another myth is that, "murders mostly involve ordinary people who kill because they have access to a firearm when they get angry." Instead the Harvard study found, "almost all murderers are extremely aberrant individuals with life histories of violence, psychopathology, substance abuse, and other dangerous behaviors." Looking at the histories of James Holmes or Adam Lanza makes this abundantly clear.

The study further notes:

Guns are also linked to suicide - more guns, more suicides. The study also addressed this: The study concludes with a warning to lawmakers eager to add to the long list if existing gun laws: Why did this research paper not receive more attention? Peer reviewed and published by the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, this study demonstrates what works and what does not work with gun control. The media, rather than parroting the talking points of the left, should be discussing the finding of this study. Lawmakers need to understand the consequences of their knee-jerk legislation which may endanger the lives of those unable to protect themselves. And this works guides us, as a nation, where to direct our limited public health resources. Unfortunately, it's been buried for the past eight years and the media has no interesting in resurrecting the story.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based retina surgeon and writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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