Sterling Ambivalence (sterlingnorth) wrote,
Sterling Ambivalence

Even Statistical Analysis Isn't Immune.

One last post before I go to bed.

There are many things I'm unqualified to talk about. The gun control debate is one such debate. Stats fly to and fro at each other until my head swims. And even if I knew what I was talking about, I would be very hesitant to jump in. In many cases the two sides have ossified in their stance and debate won't ever proceed beyond a Crossfire level.

Anyway, one of the stats frequently cited are numbers compiled by John Lott, a Yale economist. wrote a book called More Guns, Less Crimes, the definitive study in gun control. In his book, his numbers assert that in locations where more citizens are armed, crime is lower. This is gospel to gun-rights supporters.

Though here is where it get's interesting. It appears that one state is skewing the results in this study. If you remove this problem state, the analysis begins to break down.

I give regular readers of this journal one guess as to which state is farking the analysis.
Professor Daniel Nagin [Carnegie Mellon University] reviewed the numbers produced by Lott and found that the "lion's share" of the benefit of the right-to-carry laws were found in Florida. He then re-ran the statistics eliminating Florida. A quote from Do Right to Carry Laws Deter Violent Crime? best articulates why the elimination of Florida is important to a more accurate analysis: The large variations in state-specific estimates of RTC impacts cause concern that the Lott and Mustard results could be driven by a single state for which their model does a particularly poor job of fitting the data. As it turns out, one such state is Florida. With the Muriel boat lift of 1980 and South Florida's thriving drug trade, Florida's crime rates are quite volatile. Further, 4 years after its 1987 passage of the RTC law, Florida passed several other gun-related measures, including background checks of handgun buyers and a waiting period for handgun purchases.

 Nagin and Black conclude that "withoutFlorida in the sample, there is no detectable impact" for the two crimes that, according to Lott, account for 80 percent of the social benefit of RTC laws.
So once again, as a public service, I must remind everyone here that Florida is just not right!
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