Response to "Watch-list 'justice'" piece
HEADLINE: Flawed research on guns and violence
. . . According to the article: "The federal Brady Act has been in effect for 11 years and state background checks even longer. But despite all the academic research that has been done, a recent National Academy of Sciences report could not find any evidence - not a single published academic study - that background checks reduce any type of violent crime. " I actually went to the National Academy of Sciences Web site to find that information.
It appears that the columnists and I reached different conclusions. As I read it, the report on guns and violence said that in spite of much research on the connection between guns and gun control, such as background checks, the research is so flawed that it is essentially useless, and no intelligent conclusions can be drawn. The report also implied that guns are so pervasive, both legally and illegally, that trying to control them is almost impossible.
It seems to me, therefore, that the columnists have constructed a straw man to destroy and have essentially wasted not just their own time, but mine. An intelligent and honest discussion about guns and their effect on this society is long overdue, but so long as individuals on both sides misrepresent the facts, any discussion or argument is a farce.
It is indeed true that the National Academy of Sciences criticized much (note not all) of the research on guns as flawed and that more government money was necessary (a very self serving claim for academics to make and I think that it has more to do with the conclusions of the existing research than anything else). But the point is that despite surveying "253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications" there is not one single study showing that background checks reduce any type of violent crime. With all the decades of study and tens of millions of dollars spent, one would think that there would be one academic study of even questionable worth showing that background checks or other gun control efforts significantly reduced violent crime.
Despite the author's claims to the contrary, the point that "The report also implied that guns are so pervasive, both legally and illegally, that trying to control them is almost impossible" is consistent with our claim that the NAS provided no evidence showing that these laws mattered.