A new scholarly paper written by an economics professor who is a Democrat seems to confirm the arguments of gun rights activists, and it has placed him squarely in the national gun control spotlight.
The core findings: Assault weapons bans have no effect on murder rates and restrictive concealed weapons laws actually lead to slightly higher gun murder rates.
Mark Guis’s paper, “An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates,” was printed in the journal Applied Economics Letters.
Guis studied the murder rates in the United States between 1980 and 2009 and looked for a correlation with gun-control laws. The Quinnipiac University professor said his research was not financed by any gun company or political organization. Instead, he was simply curious to see if gun control laws worked.
Murder Rate Higher During Assault Weapons Ban
Among other things, Guis discovered that murder rates were higher between 1994 and 2004, when a federal ban on “assault weapons” was in place.
“During the period of the federal assault weapons ban (which was repealed in 2004), murder rates were approximately 20 percent higher than in the nonfederal weapons period,” Guis told The New Haven Register.
Guis also discovered that states with more restrictive concealed weapons laws had higher rates of gun-related murder.
His paper says in the summary:
Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level.
More Study Needed, He Says
He said that his paper alone is not justification enough for policy changes.
“I’m saying in my paper we need more research in this area,” Guis said. “Mine isn’t the first study on this topic. There are three or four that found that really restrictive laws either reduced the murder rate or had no effect on the rate. And then there are … three or four that found the opposite, like mine.”
In 1997 John Lott Jr. and David Mustard published a paper with similar conclusions. Lott has since published a book called More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. Guis said he doesn’t know Lott but he has been in contact with him since he published his paper.
Not Prepared for Attention or Controversy
Guis admitted that he wasn’t prepared for all the attention his paper has received.
“I’ve actually done other research on gun control and gun ownership,” Gius said. “So it’s kind of amazing that, for some reason, this article really took off.”
In the last few days Gius has been interviewed on Fox News and Al Jazeera America. News outlets such as The Washington Times have also approached him. He has also been attacked by liberal blogger Tommy Christopher. Christopher attacked Guis because he wrote a paper about the effect of ultrasound images on abortion rates. Christopher thinks this proves Guis is right wing.