Excuse Me? Look What's Buried Way Down in That WaPo Piece About How New Gun Purchases Led to Spikes in Crime

Posted: Jul 17, 2020 11:45 AM
Excuse Me? Look What's Buried Way Down in That WaPo Piece About How New Gun Purchases Led to Spikes in Crime

Source: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The June background check numbers were insane. With the beginning of the COVID lockdowns and the George Floyd riots that followed, scores of law-abiding Americans have flocked to gun stores. This isn’t shocking. The Floyd riots showed that the police cannot protect you all the time, and when coupled with political leadership that hates and hamstrings cops, the results are even more chaotic. Minneapolis looks likes something out of Sarajevo c. 1992. New York City was engulfed by the leftist mob. Looting, arson, and vandalism were hallmark characteristics in cities seen across the country during the mayhem, and cops were beaten, run over with cars, and fired upon by these thugs. Given the behavior of the mob, there’s no wonder why June gun sales were astronomical. There are now nearly 10 million new gun owners, but somehow legal gun purchases have caused a spike in crime. Yeah, that’s what you’d expect to hear from a liberal publication (via WaPo) [emphasis mine]:

That gun-buying binge is associated with a significant increase in gun violence across the United States.

Those are the conclusions of two studies by the Brookings Institution and the University of California at Davis, respectively. Together, they paint a portrait of a society arming itself against social upheaval during a time of institutional failure.


The 2020 gun surge is different in at least one other respect: Purchases have been higher in states with greater levels of racial animus. Levine and McKnight approximated state-level racism using data on Google searches for the n-word, an approach used by social scientists in the past.

“We find that states where individuals are more likely to search for racial epithets experienced larger increases in June firearm sales,” they wrote, “even after adjusting for the personal security concerns that likely generated the March spikes in gun sales.” This is a new development: Running the same analysis on previous spikes in gun-buying yielded no correlation between racial animus and purchasing behavior.

They conclude their analysis on an ominous note: “In a society fraught with racial tension, it is not clear that dismantling the police and seeing more private citizens purchase guns will lead to a safer world.”

That question is directly addressed in the second paper, by a team from the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center. Led by Julia Schleimer, the team similarly found a massive increase in gun-buying during the first half of the year. They then focused on the question of whether, at the state level, those purchases are linked to an increase in gun violence.

To do that, they turned to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, an organization that maintains a real-time database of shootings by scouring news reports, police reports and public records. The analysis attempts to correct for a number of other factors that would plausibly affect rates of gun violence, such as covid-19 cases and deaths, the presence of stay-at-home orders, social distancing adherence, demographic factors and even temperature and precipitation.

In the end, they estimated, firearm violence nationally jumped nearly 8 percent from March through May because of excess gun-buying; that’s “776 additional injuries associated with purchasing spikes.” That may be an undercount: The Brookings study indicated gun sales jumped even higher in June, with potentially even greater effects on rates of gun violence.

The authors caution that a study of this nature cannot prove causality, particularly at a time of massive social upheaval in a country dealing with an unprecedented public health crisis as well as a nationwide protest movement.

I was laughing at the whole racial animus part, but after all that, after insinuating that new gun owners as likely being racist, the studies on all of this cannot prove causality. Talk about burying the lede, but no doubt anti-gunner will use the main point to say that more guns equal more crime when that is not the case. For starters, the areas where violent crime is making headlines or has always made headlines, like New York City and Chicago respectively, have some of the most anti-gun laws on the books. Also, they’re two cities facing demoralized police departments. On its face, you knew this was going to be a journey and it didn’t disappoint. The story didn’t leave without peddling some ‘woke’ nonsense about the gun purchase surge being partially grounded in racism, especially among the white people. Yeah, it wouldn’t be a shoddy anti-gun article if it didn’t go after the ‘white folk’ again.  My eyes cannot roll any harder. 

It ends with this line “while many new gun buyers are motivated by wanting to secure their safety, the research also suggests that every gun purchased is a step toward a more violent society.” Oh, man, yeah, because anti-gunners have the best “research” out there, right? Like the studies where the authors admit they cannot prove cause and effect between new gun purchases and violent crime, but they’ll say it anyway. The anti-gun Left’s research sucks. It always has—and this is just another episode in that long-running drama.