Senator Wrong In Linking Strict Gun Laws With Highest Murder Rate


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel checks a claim by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) that Chicago has some of the nation's strictest gun laws, as well as the highest murder rate. Are the two are tied together? After the newspaper asked, Johnson cited Chicago’s murder numbers, not its rate per population. (Chicago’s rate is not the nation’s highest.) As for a connection between gun control and murder, the evidence is mixed. Experts agreed there is no consensus on whether there is a clear correlation — much less evidence of cause and effect — between gun-control laws and a lower murder rate.

They said that is particularly true in assessing the relatively few city-level gun control laws, given that most gun laws are put in place at the state and federal level. Even if a city has strict laws on who can own guns, that doesn’t mean it is difficult to bring guns into that city, said Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. One study found that one-third of the guns recovered by police from criminals and crime scenes in Chicago had been purchased in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio or Mississippi — states with the weakest gun laws. “Not surprisingly, it turns out this is a pretty complex thing to study,” he said.

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