Danny J. Innis

Muskogee

Something popped up that didn’t pass my smell test when I was reading the editorial opinion piece “Gun violence unpredictable” (Our View, Aug. 7, 2019.) There was a reference to “A Stanford Law School professor whose research includes gun violence and public policy, told Time Magazine that armed civilians who intervene during a shooting in public places usually ‘add more to the body count than you subtract.’”

Most public mass shootings I’m aware of tend to occur in “gun free zones.” Mass shooters typically don’t target police stations, gun shows, or any other venue where they may expect a rapid response to disrupt their intent to kill as many people they can. And citizens who are lawful carriers will not be packing in gun free zones. So, I wondered who was behind this “add more to the body count” comment.

That person was John J. Donohue, III. Dr. Donohue co-authored a study titled “Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-level Synthetic Control Analysis.” His opinion quoted for Time Magazine’s anti-gun narrative “’Good Guys with Guns’ Can Rarely Stop Mass Shootings, and Texas and Ohio Show Why,” was not attributed to any study. 

Dr. Donohue’s apparent dismissive attitude regarding armed citizens comes from his personal bias. His provocative study concluded that Right-to-Carry (RTC) laws “are associated with 13-15 percent higher aggregate violent crime rates.” His study’s methodologies and conclusions were recently critically investigated by Dr. Carlisle E. Moody, a professor of Economics at the College of William & Mary and Thomas B. Marvell, an attorney and sociologist in their study “Do Right to Carry Laws Increase Violent Crime? A Comment on Donohue, Aneja and Weber.” 

Their study demonstrated in great detail how the unjustified synthetic controls model Donohue’s study used biased the results toward the conclusion that violent crimes increased in RTC states. 

I’ve observed that those who believe we need more gun laws have misplaced trust issues. They tend to trust government programs, government institutions, and government policies more than they do people. Does this describe the Phoenix’s editorial board? 

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