The Map of Florida: Gun Control and Firearm Death Rates


The Daily Beast's Noah Kristula-Green honors the dead in Aurora by recycling a pro-gun-control post that The Atlantic's Richard Florida wrote in the wake of last year's Tucson massacre. Florida observed that "as of July 29 of last year [2010], Arizona became one of only three states that allows [sic] its citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit," as if that policy had facilitated Jared Lee Loughner's shooting rampage. But why would a man bent on mass murder shrink from violating gun laws? It is hard to imagine someone like Loughner thinking, "I really want to kill a bunch of innocent people at a shopping center, but the law says I'm not allowed to carry my guns there." In any case, the numbers Florida presents to back up his thesis that strict gun laws reduce violence come from 2007, three years before Arizona abolished its carry permit requirement. 

Florida looks at "firearm deaths for the 50 states plus the District of Columbia," including accidental shootings, suicides, and acts of self-defense as well as criminal homicides. That broad approach is questionable, since suicide methods may be largely interchangeable and people other than Richard Florida may consider defensive gun uses a good thing, rather than an evil to be minimized. Indeed, the violent crime rate is arguably a better measure, since it captures the deterrent effect of armed citizens on crimes other than gun homicides. In any event, of the two states that allowed people to carry guns without a permit in 2007, one, Alaska, had a relatively high firearm death rate, while the other, Vermont, had a relatively low one. D.C., which at that point had the strictest gun laws in the country (so strict that they would later be overturned by the Supreme Court on Second Amendment grounds), had the highest firearm death rate: 21.7 per 100,000, compared to 15.1 for Arizona.

Florida could not leave it at that, of course. He needed a comparison that would suggest strict gun laws save lives. Oddly, despite his ostensible interest in the rules for carrying guns, Florida did not compare states with relatively liberal "shall issue" laws to those where law enforcement officials have greater discretion to reject permit applications. (I wonder why.) Instead he focused on these three policies: "assault weapon" bans, trigger lock mandates, and "safe storage" requirements. It is utterly implausible that the first of these policies, which imposes restrictions that have little or nothing to do with a gun's killing capacity, has any measurable impact on firearm deaths. The latter two policies might conceivably affect accidents and suicides, but I can't see how they would frustrate criminals, except perhaps by making guns a little harder to steal.

Florida nevertheless finds that all three policies are correlated with lower firearm death rates. He writes that "firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation"—an excessively broad formulation, since he has considered only three specific policies. Does this relationship also hold true for, say, prohibitions on concealed carry, handgun bans, or registration requirements? Florida's analysis does not tell us. And although Florida cautions in his third paragraph that "correlation does not imply causation," by the end of his post he is arguing that "our analysis suggests…tighter gun control laws make a difference." Since the correlation between firearm death rates and presidential election results was even stronger ("firearm-related deaths were positively associated with states that voted for McCain…and negatively associated with states that voted for Obama"), Florida's analysis also suggests that voting for Barack Obama saves people's lives.

NEXT: Adam Smith vs. Barack Obama

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  1. Dishonest gun control scumbag is dishonest. Though it's good of you to call him out, Jacob, this is de rigeur for these twats. But the fact is, they got utterly PWN'D over the last 10-15 years, and they're toast. It makes me laugh as they still impotently paw at gun control.

    1. Richard Florida is an all around scumbag.

      He's a jedi master of confirmation bias in the service of fellating socialist elites.

  2. Gun control nuts never let the facts get in the way of their emotions.

  3. Ah, a nice post hoc ergo propter hoc on a lovely Friday afternoon. Delicious.

    1. It's pretty clear here that hot weather causes killin'.

  4. "Increase my killing capacity, eh?"

  5. I wonder if he considered homicides involving other weapons that would have been prevented had the victim been carrying a gun.

    1. "Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windows?" -- Archie Bunker

      1. Stop the defenestration madness!

  6. If you restrict the definition of "human" to not include the offspring of siblings, father-daughter incest, etc., then Louisiana wouldn't look so bad.

    1. Are you trying to instigate another TEAM REGION fight, Jimbo? Because we haven't had a good one here in a few weeks.

      1. Sure, why not?

        Texas is the greatest place on earth. If you're not from here, you're just a liberal scum-bag douche piece of shit.

        Especially if you live in Hipster Central (Seattle) or the buckle of the Unionized Rust Belt (Ohio).

        Yankess and their apologists make me sick.

        1. Hey JJ, did you fuck your sister last night after I did, you inbred redneck piece of shit southerner racist dirtbag?

          This is fun.

          1. Nah, I don't really go in for fat chicks. Maybe it was John.

            I'm surprised you have the strength to fuck, after eating all that organic vegan soy-based shit which I assume is all they serve in the SEATAC area.

            1. I snorted some coke and then used my fiber rich diet to spacedock your sister. I just figured you would have come running after you smelled the combined odors of your sister's twat and my shit. It's like perfume to you.

              1. That's really not as much a regional attack as a personal one.

                Well played.

                Anyway, and this goes for Wilt Chamerlain there also, the point is this: we all really know that we're better than SF, because Kentucky is the worst place outside of West Virginia. I fled the place as soon as I could, because I haz a smart. Nutrasweet's still livin' the good life cooking meth with the money he traded his homemade horse-manure cigarettes and food stamps for.

                1. We all knew it was going to devolve into personal attacks, JJ.

                  NutraSweet can't read, so he doesn't know he's in Kentucky. He thinks he lives in Imaginationland. And he thinks that calling his daughter his wife makes it all ok.

                  1. He can't read, but he manages to post here. How goddamn long does it take him randomly banging on the keyboard to come up with his substantiative posts? A thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters, I suppose.

                    1. I can read, I just choose not to. I have servants for that. And to type for me. You sad poor fucks know nothing about the proper division of labor.

                    2. Um, you're in Kentucky, the state who's abbreviation is also a brand of sex jelly.

                      And the retarded offspring of your incest that you keep around because they're too stupid to do anything except what you tell them don't count as "servants".

                      I set mine free whenever I left for Texas. I also beat my black slaves one last time, for old times' sake.

                    3. It's funny, JJ, that NutraSweet thinks he's rich because he has an outhouse and cinder blocks to put his car on.

                    4. I think he confuses the concepts of being "rich" with being "diabetic". It's a common mistake.

        2. Hey, Ohio has awesome gun laws and we're building casinos! Enjoy your war on pornography and sex toys, Texan.

        3. Don't you fucking call me a Yankee, you ignorant fucking Kleagle-fellating prick.

          1. Yeah, calling an Ohio dipshit a Yankee is like calling a North Dakotan a Yankee.

            The only people who should ever be called Yankees are people from New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Maybe Delaware. Maybe.

            And everyone else--everyone--is a southerner.

            1. Anyone from a state that didn't own slaves is a yankee. Even states that didn't exist yet. Except for Maryland. They're honorary yankees.

              And you all make me sick, dag-blasted Lincoln-lovers.

              1. Lincoln was a southerner. He's on your shoulders, asshole.

                1. Um, Illinois is the "Land of Lincoln", and he was president of YOUR shitty cold states, so don't give me that crap. He ratted us out!

              2. NeoConfederate terrorist.

                1. Ahem. That's NeoConfederate Freedom Fighter, thank you very much.

              3. Wait, you're claiming Delaware as the South? Joe Biden reminded us all that it was a slave state.

            2. The only people who should ever be called Yankees are people from New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Maybe Delaware. Maybe.

              Wrong. Anyone from North of the Red River is a Yankee. What you just described are Damn Yankees.

        4. Especially if you live in Hipster Central (Seattle)

          Seattle stopped being a center of 20somthing culture 15 years ago.

          They are all aging statists now and their kids are moving to Texas.

          1. ? I haven't run into any of them personally, which means it's not true.

            I do know several Cali refugees, who have no problem coping with the cognitive dissonance of reminding everyone, all the time, how much better California is than Texas, but when you ask them why they came here, it's always so they could get a job and afford a decent place to live.

            1. Our Cali refugees are exactly the same here in Nevada. The problem here is we had so few Nevadans to begin with they got an edge on us and are changing the state to California East as we speak.

          2. True story about some Seattle hipster transplants to Houston:

            We've had a lot of rain lately which has lowered temperatures. Last weekend after the rain cleared it was beautiful weather in high 70s, perfect for eating outside. My fiancee and I went out to eat at one of the many places that have popped up around Montrose/The Heights which unfortunately get a lot of the hipster crowd. Fortunately the Houston hipsters are not so bad but not these fucks.

            Two hipster assholes with their fat girlfriends complained repeatedly about how awful and conservative Texas is (in a city with a lesbian mayor) and then complained about how hot it was. They whined at the waitress until a huge loud obnoxious fan was turned on. This is at temperatures in the 70s which is called a fucking blessing in Houston in July. It gets worse though, both of these assholes were wearing long sleeve shirts and hats, one was even in a henley sweater shirt. Fuck those guys. Go inside assholes.

            /diehipster style rant.

            1. Blech. I can see that whole thing in my mind, and now I'm going to throw up.

            2. What the fuck kind of retard moves to Houston and complains about the heat and humidity? "Oh I had no idea it would be so hot here. I thought it was like San Diego". Next up, they relocate to Maine and complain about the cold.

              1. It was the first time I've ever had a personal experience with what the people on diehipster whine about. As I said the Montrose/Heights area has always been a sort of "alternative" kind of place so the fact that there are a lot of hipster-lites is not really annoying or surprising.

                I thought those pictures of dudes wearing beanies in the summer in Brooklyn were bad but in Houston it's extra retarded to dress for winter. Even then I wouldn't care if they had just eaten inside.

                1. That is a shame. I always like Montrose. The whole area around Rice was always nice. I haven't been there in a long time. Sorry to see the hipsters take it over. Bastards.

                  1. Montrose is still awesome, and the Heights is going through a revamp. Very happy after moving there earlier this year. I'm a bit biased about Rice area being an alumni and having gotten a bit tired of it.

            3. You really shouldnt visit Miami EVER. The Hipsters from up north have completely taken over

        5. lol Sad Ohioian here..

      2. another TEAM REGION fight

        I hear the Japanese chose to build cars in the south...forgoing the midwest rust belt in their choice of locations.

      3. Florida repealed their smart growth land use polices in 2011.

        Washington state did not and now Seattle is developing a new real estate price bubble.

    2. Heh Heh, fuck you.

      1. Oops. You being Gojira, not Warty.

      2. Actually I love gator hunting on my buddies' grandmother's farm in Slidell (Sliddel?).

        1. Do you eat them? I love alligator, it's like fatty chicken.

          1. I do, and I'm looking forward to our next adventure: bow-hunting gators. I've seen it done with a longbow, but I'm going to give it a shot with my traditional recurve. It's only a 55#, but I'll try to compensate by using slightly heavier arrows and drawing a few inches more than I normally do with it.

        2. That 'fuck you' was recognition of your humor. I would have put a smiley face with it, but I absolutely refuse to use smiley faces.

          1. Oh I know. As for NO, I'd be curious to see the stats pre-and-post hurricane and recovery. I'm wondering if you guys exported a lot of your garbage to Houston.

            Which is fine with me, because fuck Houston. It's all about the DFW baby.

            1. Before Katrina the violence in New Orleans was unbelievable. There was even a case a few years back where some gang thugs were occasionally sniping at cars on the interstate from the rooftops of their projects.

              Things are still bad, but calmed down a good bit from that.

              Yes, we did export a lot of scum to Houston, and to Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge is still having trouble dealing with it.

              1. I guess we should adopt the Mississippe strategy and just stay so goddamned poor that nobody wants to relocate there even when their homes are destroyed.

                "Well, I could live in rubble, or live in Mississippi. Six of one half a dozen of the other, really."

              2. Houston didn't. There is a great story about some New Orleans thug who made the mistake of murdering someone in Houston. He thought it would be like New Orleans, where you served time for a while and the DA eventually released you because of lack of evidence. He got a horrible shock when his attorney explained to him that they actually prosecute murder in Houston and that he had better take the 50 year deal in front of him.

                1. I can believe that. I haven't been there since the hurricane, but I found an almost resigned acceptance of casual violence in NO back in the day.

              3. And Suthenboy, the dirty secret of Katrina is that it was the best thing that ever happened to a lot of people. There were a lot of Katrina refugees in San Antonio. Many of them were decent people who had been too poor to get out of New Orleans. Katrina gave them a shot at a better life. I met numerous people working at grocery stores and shops and such who thought have the chance to get out of New Orleans was the best thing that ever happened to them.

                1. It is no secret around here. The vast majority of the good people that got out never went back and dont mind telling you why.

            2. Fuck Dallas (FW is cool though) and fuck you.

              1. Forth Worth is just Mary Ann to Dallas' Ginger. They need each other.

                1. They're not the worst towns in South Oklahoma.

              2. HA, somebody claiming a fake cow-town is cooler than the home of JR Ewing? That's rich! (which Ft. Worth is not).

                How many professional sports franchises are named after Ft. Worth? I'll wait.

                1. How many professional sports franchises actually play in the city of Dallas and not that suburb which is closer to Fort Worth anyway?

                  1. Doesn't matter. It's all in the name.

                    1. If you are a hipster doofus or a college kid, I guess Depp Ellum is great. If you are an actual adult, Fort Worth is more fun. And Fort Worth has the better art museum.

                    2. And anyone with any brains who lives in Texas lives in San Antonio anyway.

                    3. San Antonio is too baking, not enough rain. Houston all the way. Besides, it's pretty much impossible to get lost in Houston, which San Antonio can't possibly claim.

                    4. San Antonio is brutal. The people there tell themselves "well at least it is not as humid as Houston". I lived there for five years and for a lot of it had a g/f who lived in Houston. Never once did I drive to Houston and find it any more humid. San Antonio is just as humid as Houston and about five degrees hotter on most days. Fucking brutal.

                    5. Really all of Texas is brutal in the summer. It got hot as balls in Austin when I lived there too. The only thing Houston has going for it is more rain to break the heat but the drought last year didn't even provide that. What an awful summer that was. Of course all the chicken littles predicting a 10 year drought have already been proven wrong.

                    6. Every August and September, when it was at its worst, I would hope for a giant hurricane to come in and hit south of Corpis, where there is literally nothing it could bother, and then swing up through San Antonio and Austin and end the summer drought and cool things off.

                    7. There's now a wind farm along the coast in Kenedy County (the "literally nothing" John accurately refers to), which will presumably be destroyed by the next hurricane to come in.

                    8. Yall are whining about heat in San Antonio? The heat index in my yard right now is 109. I am cutting grass....30 min at a time. Oh, and the humidity is 94% according to my little humidity meter.

                      The box it came in had a picture of the meter on it showing has never once read anywhere near that. Is that false advvertising?

                    9. It is supposed to be 101 tomorrow in San Antonio. One summer there we had 98 straight days of 100 or better weather. It is not so much that it doesn't get hotter other places. It is more that it stays hot for so damn long there.

                    10. You noticed that too huh? I like San Antonio, but goddamn....who laid that town out? A schizophrenic chimp?

                    11. I'm not particularly enamored with FW either, its just not a piece of shit full of assholes like Dallas.

                  2. Ooohh, inter-Texas TEAM REGION fighting. I like this. I'll let you bleed each other for a while and then strike.

                    1. Inter team Texas fights are brutal. The state is dived amongst waring tribes.

                      Austin hipsters, Dallas nouveau riche and wannabes, Fort Worth hicks, San Antonioans, Houstonites, East Texas Hillbillies, and West Texas (no one really knows what they are since no one ever goes there)

                    2. Hey, I went to college in West Texas!

                      They actually don't like any of the tribes back east. And Lubbock has fights with Amarillo.

                      And btw, here's the ultimate trump-card: Mary Stack is from Ft. Worth.

                      Stack Pwn'd!

                    3. Fuck you are an evil bastard Jim. That was a low blow.

                    4. *bows* No such thing as a fair fight in a bar.

                      I'm just hoping Tuberville pulls his head out of his ass this coming season; after the high-point of beating OU in Normal, the rest of the year was fucking brutal.

                    5. The rise of Oklahoma State really made life hard for both AM and Tech. All three schools are pretty similar and recruit a lot of the same players.

                    6. A old friend of mine went to Sul Ross State in Alpine. She was from Austin. She showed up for the first day of orientation wearing a skirt and saddles. Everyone else in the room, male and female, was wearing boots and jeans. The person running the orientation looked at her and said "you must be the girl from Austin".

                    7. She showed up for the first day of orientation wearing a skirt and saddles.

                      Big girl?

                  3. Mavericks and Stars.

                  4. How many professional sports franchises actually play in the city of Dallas and not that suburb which is closer to Fort Worth anyway?

                    One, if you count the Mavericks.

                    1. And the Stars. But who counts hockey?

    3. Actually Gojira, I am more than a little suspicious of Florida's stats. I suspect if you instead eliminate his methods we wouldnt look so bad.

      Ok, maybe you would have to take New Orleans out of the picture too. God what a pit of depravity that place is. I pray for another Katrina.

  7. Out of curiosity, was this the same Richard Florida who spent the last decade and a half trying to convince us that hipsters were the key to long-term economic growth?

    1. Huh? I cant even imagine how such an argument would go.

      1. He's the guy palming off the "creative class" theory (Yes, I confirmed. It is that Richard Florida). The basic line is that economic growth is centered around a "creative class" (that he plays a bait-and-switch defining) that likes to live in cool, hip places. The guy takes a phenomenon that's fairly straightforarad and uncontroversial in talking about regional phenomena and tries to impute it on a much grander scale. The guy's a snake-oil salesman. It's just the particular flavor of snake-oil he's peddling is very popular with certain key constituencies.

        1. He also probably confuses correlation and causation.

          Economic growth creates wealth, which creates the ability to have cool, hip places, which attract cool artsy types. Not the other way around, it seems.

          1. Well...yes and no. His claims probably do work within a metropolitan area (just not really for the reasons he suggests - it's not really new wealth creation so much as drawing wealth from other areas withing the metropolitan area). On a bigger scale than that, between cities or nations, it's pure bunkum.

  8. What Epi said.

    They can make up whatever lies they want. This - "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Fuck gun control morons.

  9. I don't see why it includes all firearm deaths instead of just convicted homicides. Suicide, really? because taking away a gun means it's impossible to commit suicide, yep.

    1. Then we'll need rope control.

    2. because taking away a gun means it's impossible to commit suicide, yep.

      I believe the argument is that guns make it easier.
      Same with murder. For example they'll argue that in a domestic dispute it is much easier to kill someone with a gun in the heat of emotion than with, say, poison.
      Considering that these people are arguing from emotion anyway, they firmly believe this.
      They likely don't own any guns themselves because they know that they cannot personally be trusted with any because they're emotional hotheads, and they then project their lack of self control onto everyone else.

      1. Do they own power tools, cars, kitchen knives...?

  10. In which peer-reviewed journal did any of this statistical analysis appear?

  11. Washington, Oregon, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Maine, Vermont, Nebraska, and New Hampshire all have pretty lenient gun laws.

    1. This doesn't matter to Florida's audience, which equates the South with laws they don't like and therefore assumes that New Hampshire having a lower rate than Texas shows that stricter gun laws are better, even though that's ass backwards.

  12. Nothing establishes definitive causality like crude out of your ass correlation done by a journalist who probably couldn't pass a basic college statistics and probability course.

    1. The first thing I thought when I saw the Alaska/Vermont comparison was, "I bet dollars to donuts one of those places is more male, poor, and young than the other...and the analysis doesn't take any of this into account."

      Although comparing entire states is a little shaky anyway - while most gun laws are state laws, focusing on the state exclusively conspicuously why the Ninth Ward of New Orleans has a different homicide rate from Delhi, LA, or why Compton isn't like the Napa Valley.

      1. Also note it is from 2007, five years ago. I think the recent explosion in murders in Chicago has probably changed the statistic for Illinois.

        And Texas and the other border states have a lot of young male migrants. Indeed, no matter what the gun laws, any place with a dynamic economy that attracts a lot of young males looking for work is going to have a higher death rate than a place with an older more stable population.

        There are a million factors that affect the murder rate besides gun laws.

      2. 0 women = few male fights

        20% women = many male fights

        53% women = few male fights

        1. Women showing up is what tamed the old West. They ran the whores and the gambling parlors out and made men live respectable lives. The witches.

  13. So this is what passes for "science" on the Left, eh? Huh.

    I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I haven't looked (come on, I just ate) but no doubt right now on sites like Daily Kos they're enjoying their usual Two Minute Hate against gun owners. And those conversations just aren't complete without a few "experts" on Freudian psychoanalysis giggling like tweener girls that "they just want to have guns because their thingies are small tee-hee".

    I haven't seen data but I suspect that for most of them their "expertise" comes from that C- they got in the freshman Psychology class they took. They would have gotten a better grade but they only took the class in the hope of learning some cool Jedi mind tricks to get girls out of their panties or to get Daddy to send more money. When they found out that they wouldn't be getting any magical powers they lost interest. But nonetheless they're the experts; they're sophisticated and witty too.

    1. I think it was Clint Smith who once made the comment: "Of course I'm compensating. If I could kill things 300 yards away with my dick, I wouldn't need a gun."

      1. I lol'd. Never heard that quote. I will be stealing it. It is fucking awesome because it is true.

    2. I wonder why this two minutes hate is never directed at cops, who have a track record of abusing guns.

  14. Ok, I have to quit screwing around with y'all and go cut some more grass. But I have to fix another whiskey/coke to ride around with, it is hot out there.

    BTW, I am riding my mower with a chief's special .38 in my back pocket. Fuck Richard Florida.

  15. That no Democrat has offered to ban violent movies yet. They're always first to blame videogames for whatever reason, but I guess they can't bite the MPAA hand that feeds them.

  16. huh, based on television alone, I was expecting Texas to lead the pack.

  17. ok so it's rather confusing to read about a guy comparing states to each other when his name is "Florida".

  18. The best correlation I can get out of that map is between violence and hot weather.

  19. The study is ridiculous from the getgo -- a large proportion of "firearm death rates" are suicides, which are totally irrelevant to any analysis of homocide rates.

  20. Heh. Tallahassee got a huge grant from R. Florida's foundation, with which -- I shit you not -- the mayor started pushing the "18 hour downtown". Because there is sweet fuckall to do in the area where all the office buildings are except work. It accomplished nada.

    Of course, the idea of building a city and county governance that was actually responsive to people who want to open private businesses and entertainment establishments was in no way part of the grant proposal or plan of action. What? You've been carrying an empty building for 8 months because the city permitting authority doesn't feel like doing inspections or even telling you what regulations you'd have to comply with? How could that possibly affect anything?

  21. And, as per usual, fools will blame stuff this guy read/saw on TV/saw or listened to on the internet instead of blaming his lack of fucking self-control and inability to not shoot total strangers and rig his apartment with booby-traps.


  22. Florida's analysis also suggests that voting for Barack Obama saves people's lives.

    [Facepalm] You see, he really is the Messiah. Still waiting for the oceans to begin receding and the planet to be healed (I'm sure it's those obstrucionist Rethuglicunt's fault), but is there any doubt we'd all be dead now if it weren't for His Royal Pompousness King Obama the Magnificent?

  23. "firearm-related deaths were positively associated with states that voted for McCain...and negatively associated with states that voted for Obama"

    Break it down to the precinct and let's see if that association still holds.

  24. Yay, Smiley Guy! I've just had a bad few days with tramadol withdrawal leading to depressing ruminations, and that photo always cheers me up. Thanks.

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