2/05/2013

Massachusetts' murder rate has risen much faster than that of its neighbors or the US rate since the 1998 firearms licensing bill

From the Boston Globe:
Massachusetts has a national reputation as a bastion of gun control, but crimes and injuries related to firearms have risen — sometimes dramatically — since the state passed a comprehensive package of gun laws in 1998. 
Murders committed with firearms have increased significantly, aggravated assaults and robberies involving guns have risen, and gunshot injuries are up, according to FBI and state data. 
To gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association, these statistics are evidence that gun control does not work. But to gun-control advocates, the numbers show that no state — no matter how tough the laws — is protected from firearms violence when guns are brought in from other states. 
“The quality of your gun-licensing laws is only as good as those surrounding you,” said James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist. . . .  
In 2011, Massachusetts recorded 122 murders committed with firearms, a striking increase from the 65 in 1998, said Fox, the Northeastern professor. Nationwide, such murders increased only 3 percent from 1999 to 2010, the CDC says.
There were increases in other crimes involving guns in Massachusetts, too. From 1998 to 2011, aggravated assaults with guns rose 26.7 percent. Robberies with firearms increased 20.7 percent during that period, according to an FBI analysis conducted for the Globe. . . . .
The number of registered guns in Massachusetts dropped by 86% -- from 1,541,201 prior to the 1998 law to just over 215,000.

It is hard to see how to see how the presence of these other states could cause Massachusetts' murder rate to rise.  Those states were there before the 1998 law and criminals could obtain their guns before the law.  It is easy to see how the spillover might keep the crime rates from falling, but if the law helped at all, Massachusetts' murder rate should have fallen relative to the rate in the rest of the US as well as the states that are Massachusetts' neighbors.  





The results for robbery are even more dramatic.


Other states are considering licensing laws.  See Maryland here and here.
Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, will testify before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in favor of his bill, which would also ban assault weapons, limit magazine capacities to 10 rounds and require prospective gun buyers to complete a safety course and pay a $100 application fee. . . .
and 
More than 80 percent of Maryland voters support requiring residents to obtain a license before purchasing a handgun, according to a poll released Wednesday by a gun-control group. 
A poll commissioned by Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence found that 81 percent of voters — including 64 percent of Republicans — prefer instituting a policy where would-be gun purchasers would have to get a license and go through fingerprinting, safety training and a criminal background check. . . . 

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