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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:17 AM

Salon: More guns are not the answer.

If you get into arguments with gun advocates, you find that they have a lot of talking points and phony statistical arguments. This article in Salon is a pretty good overview of the legitimate social scientific and epidemiological research on gun violence, as opposed to NRA talking points and pseudoscience from right-wing think tanks.

For example, research has found that:
-- Where there are more guns, there is more homicide
-- Having more citizens with concealed weapons reduces crime -- on the contrary, the statistics suggest that it increases the rate of aggravated assaults
-- Owning a gun in a home for self-protection does not actually provide any safety benefit, but instead increases the risk of homicide victimization
-- etc.

In this month’s Atlantic, correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg set out to make the case in a smart and reasonable way that would be amenable to the kind of people who read the Atlantic. It’s a fluke of timing that it hit newsstands just as Newtown reignited the gun debate. His massive 7,000-word feature, titled “The Case for More Guns (And More Gun Control),” makes a compelling argument in what could be called the “Slate pitch” genre of contrarian counternarratives that seek to provoke by challenging widely held, though rarely debated, assumptions. In this case, he questions whether more guns invariably lead to more gun violence.


When I reached out to five of the country’s most prominent researchers into gun violence, they were uniformly critical of the “more guns” approach and Goldberg’s argument for what they saw as an ignorance of the overwhelming body of social science research that shows unequivocally that more guns equals more deaths. Some used nasty words like “garbage” and “atrocious.”


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