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Old March 8, 2018, 11:11 AM   #1
Evan Thomas
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RAND Corporation gun policy study

The RAND Corporation has published the results of a two-year, million-dollar meta-analysis of thousands of studies of the effects of gun policies. It found only 63 studies that showed causal relationships between policies and outcomes; the strongest effect was that gun storage requirements reduced suicides and accidental deaths. A summary of the study and an interactive web page are available on RAND's web site.

The RAND researchers have also published a database of state gun laws -- it looks like a very useful reference. It's available for download here.
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Old March 8, 2018, 12:22 PM   #2
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So looking at the interactive map.. the thing that strikes me is it seems to just high-light what we already know.. those for gun control believe it will lower just about everything.. while pro gun say it will lead to more crime.

Now if you toggle EVERYTHING on there is actually some agreement on things like "mass" shootings (however that's defined on there), -27% to -36%
But look at that.. If you just rolled over and let them have their way, give them everything they want, they still only think it would reduce that type of shooting by 1/3rd.
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Old March 8, 2018, 01:08 PM   #3
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If you just rolled over and let them have their way, give them everything they want, they still only think it would reduce that type of shooting by 1/3rd.
The antis would love that statistic - after all, "Every life matters!" and "If we could only save just one life/child...."
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Old March 8, 2018, 01:35 PM   #4
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The antis would love that statistic - after all, "Every life matters!" and "If we could only save just one life/child...."
O.K. let's say all the guns are turned in/confiscated/banned from the law abiding and we ignore pesky things like the 2nd Amendment and civil liberties. The criminals still have them (albeit harder to get) and they still commit the same crimes they had before but now they can commit even more crimes because it makes it easier for them to victimize (rob, rape, murder, etc.) the law abiding. How does that save lives?
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Old March 8, 2018, 01:48 PM   #5
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O.K. let's say all the guns are turned in/confiscated/banned from the law abiding and we ignore pesky things like the 2nd Amendment and civil liberties. The criminals still have them (albeit harder to get) and they still commit the same crimes they had before but now they can commit even more crimes because it makes it easier for them to victimize (rob, rape, murder, etc.) the law abiding. How does that save lives?
You are applying facts, logic, and truth. Antis don't let such details get in their way, especially during an emotional cry for action.
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Old March 8, 2018, 02:00 PM   #6
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still commit the same crimes they had before but now they can commit even more crimes because it makes it easier for them to victimize (rob, rape, murder, etc.) the law abiding. How does that save lives?
Well check out the elimination of the gun free zones.

Pro / Anti

Mass Shootings: -11% / +4%
.. WUT? shooters are already bringing guns into gun free zones.. how would it increase mass shootings?

Unintentional Death: 0% / 0%

Ah ha!, So elminating gun free zones by their own admission leads to no increase risk to the public.
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Old March 8, 2018, 02:12 PM   #7
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Let's stick to discussing the findings of the RAND study, which is as close as we're likely to get, in this universe, to an impartial analysis of current knowledge of the effects of gun policy. General rants comments of the "All antis believe..." and "Let's say..." variety are off-topic in this thread, and will be removed as not contributing to the discussion.

For starters, I'm going to ask that if you haven't read the material in the links in my original post -- don't comment, and if you have, keep comments focused on that information.

The point of this study was to analyze the available information about the actual effects of various forms of gun regulation -- as it turns out, it found that for the most part, the effects are either non-existent or unclear.

The researchers also surveyed almost 100 gun policy experts on both sides of the political divide on this issue. They found little disagreement on what the goals of gun policies should be; where experts disagreed was on how best to achieve those goals.

As the summary notes, "This is a disagreement about facts, not about values or objectives."

The goal of this research project, which is ongoing, is to provide those facts, so that policy can be made based on evidence rather than on emotion or ideology.
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Old March 8, 2018, 02:42 PM   #8
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Ah ha!, So elminating gun free zones by their own admission leads to no increase risk to the public.
No, that's not what the study reported. It found that there were no studies of the effects of gun-free zones which met the researchers' criteria for inclusion.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. When we try to twist information in this fashion, it just makes us look bad.
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Old March 8, 2018, 04:03 PM   #9
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Why include it on the map then?
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Old March 8, 2018, 04:34 PM   #10
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The technical term for what you've done here is "cherry-picking," selecting just the information which supports your position.

The map you're referring to, I assume, is the one comparing the predictions of experts favoring more restrictive or more permissive policies. It should be unsurprising that neither group believes that eliminating gun-free zones would influence the number of unintentional firearm deaths; why would it? The two groups differ strikingly in predictions about other effects of their elimination, such as on homicide rates, so it's not accurate to make the blanket statement that this shows that eliminating them "by their own admission leads to no increase risk to the public."

The point is that at present there are no data supporting or refuting the predictions made by either set of experts about this particular question.
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Old March 8, 2018, 05:51 PM   #11
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Talking points by the gun grabbers, Oh im sorry is that inflammatory.. *clears throat* Pro gun control.. that better? Crowd is staunchly against the elimination of "gun free zones" the reason is usually that guns are dangerous and more guns in public = danger to public.

It's something that stuck out at me.. how is that cherry picking?, should I go down the entire list point by point.. why would I do that?.. why would any one do that?
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Old March 8, 2018, 06:05 PM   #12
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Talking points by the gun grabbers, Oh im sorry is that inflammatory.. *clears throat* Pro gun control.. that better? Crowd is staunchly against the elimination of "gun free zones" the reason is usually that guns are dangerous and more guns in public = danger to public.
Can you be more specific about what you're referring to here? I'm not sure what your point is, relative to the RAND study.
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should I go down the entire list point by point.. why would I do that?.. why would any one do that?
Because you might learn something?

Look, here's the thing. We're awfully fond of saying that we're the ones who deal in facts; if we actually mean that, we should be paying a lot of attention to the details presented in this study, because it's all about facts: what we know and what we don't know when it comes to the actual, real-world consequences of one approach to gun policy over another.
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Old March 8, 2018, 06:39 PM   #13
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I'd have to go pull up clips of people like Diana Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi etc.. Im not gonna shift thru press briefings and youtube clips to find them if you've never heard them discuss conceal carry in general, or arming teachings then *shrug*

It's relative because #1 you posted the link to the interactive map.
.. Wait, Let me clarify so I don't get jumped.. you posted a Link to a page that Links to the map.
The link you posted is just a summery and is not interactive (Unless you consider hyperlinks you can click with your cursor as interactive)
Quote:
interactive web page are available on RAND's web site.
and #2 the point here is they predict no change in unintentional gun related deaths if we eliminated gun free zones, Logically if the outcome is neutral you would think perhaps the stance would be neutral as well, But you never hear anyone on the gun control side of the debate neutral on that subject, They always are against and the reason is nearly always public safety.
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Old March 8, 2018, 07:19 PM   #14
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#2 the point here is they predict no change in unintentional gun related deaths if we eliminated gun free zones, Logically if the outcome is neutral you would think perhaps the stance would be neutral as well, But you never hear anyone on the gun control side of the debate neutral on that subject, They always are against and the reason is nearly always public safety.
When have you ever, outside of this study, heard anyone, pro- or anti-gun, discuss the possible effects of eliminating gun-free zones on unintentional gun deaths?

Answer: you haven't. It comes up here only because the RAND study is designed to be comprehensive in its examination and presentation of experts' predictions.

Think for a minute about what, by and large, causes unintentional gun deaths: I think we can agree that they typically involve the handling of guns by people who don't know what they're doing and/or are distracted; the biggest single cause is probably handling of guns by unsupervised children.

Both of these are simply irrelevant to the question of gun-free zones, where the issue is whether to allow people who can legally do so to carry guns. Holstered guns. Guns they are not taking out and messing with. Do you see where I'm going with this? There is no reason to expect any relationship between gun-free zones and unintentional gun deaths, and therefore no reason for anyone, pro- or anti-gun, to raise the issue.

This is the essence of cherry-picking: you've singled out one datum you happen to like, and you're trying to use that to "prove" that other side is biased because they don't mention it. If you don't see the flaws in this reasoning, I can't help you. All I can do is reiterate that we do ourselves no favors when we make this kind of flawed argument.
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Old March 8, 2018, 08:20 PM   #15
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Wait.. wouldn't mishandling be the concern for public safety?

I've commented on a few other things as well.. but apparently you are "cherry picking" what you want to nit pick, I gotta be honest I don't even see the point your trying to make except you don't like what I said.. So you win.. what ever point your trying to make, you win..

*clap*
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Old March 8, 2018, 08:32 PM   #16
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Let me put this as simply as I can. Mishandling of guns in (formerly) gun-free zones is not a public safety concern because in normal circumstances, there is no reason for them to be handled at all.

And yes, this is evidently a futile conversation.
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Old March 8, 2018, 10:13 PM   #17
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It looks interesting. I've only been able to manage a quick skim so far. My major concern would be that RAND isn't doing the studies themselves but just "validating" existing studies. Without being more specific on criteria then I saw in my skim, there is an ability to hide a lot of potential bias in what studies are deemed valid.

Having said that, the conclusions they reached seem fair on the surface and they were careful to note the absence of information. I think they overreached by declaring the Dickey Amendment had a "chilling effect" and I think their reasoning there displays possible bias. Many interesting points to consider though.
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Old March 8, 2018, 10:24 PM   #18
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I've spent some time with the information they've published on the RAND website, and I thinking they're making an honest effort at impartial analysis of the existing studies -- with a view to doing their own research down the road, assuming they can get funding for it. RAND is probably the closest thing we have to a "neutral" think tank -- at any rate, they certainly don't have a history of alignment with liberal policies, what with being the folks who invented the Cold War, Mutual Assured Destruction, and all...!
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Old March 8, 2018, 11:15 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ATN082268
The criminals still have them (albeit harder to get)
What makes you think it will be more difficult for criminals to get guns? They don't buy them from FFLs, typically.
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Old March 8, 2018, 11:23 PM   #20
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Think for a minute about what, by and large, causes unintentional gun deaths: I think we can agree that they typically involve the handling of guns by people who don't know what they're doing and/or are distracted; the biggest single cause is probably handling of guns by unsupervised children.
Unsupervised ... and (as regards firearms) uneducated.

Just yesterday I had a lengthy discussion with a colleague who has until now been pretty much anti-gun. He's now wavering, and considering getting a firearm for home defense. In the course of the discussion he let slip that when he was in high school (about 40 years ago) he was a member of the school's rifle team. He made a point of mentioning that the school allowed teenage boys to climb on a school bus with guns and ammunition, and nobody got shot.

Possibly because they had been taught about gun safety, and that guns should be handled appropriately.
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Old March 9, 2018, 01:02 AM   #21
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....My major concern would be that RAND isn't doing the studies themselves but just "validating" existing studies....
I've seen the use of these sorts of meta-studies in a number of contexts and dealing with various different subjects. Apparently it's a regularly used and accepted tool.

I think part of the issue is that these sorts of studies have certainly utility, but they also have limitations. This seems to be understood by professionals actually in the field.

So, for example, when I worked with clients in the medical field and they reviewed both clinical studies and meta-studies of aggregated clinical studies, they had a pretty good idea of what conclusions could reasonably be drawn and where questions remained.

The risks with any study, including a meta-study, is that folks who are not well schooled in both the subject matter and the nature of the analytical tools will misread and misapply the data. Confirmation bias continually rears its ugly head, and zealous advocates will find snippets that support their particular prejudices.
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Old March 9, 2018, 10:04 AM   #22
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The risks with any study, including a meta-study, is that folks who are not well schooled in both the subject matter and the nature of the analytical tools will misread and misapply the data. Confirmation bias continually rears its ugly head, and zealous advocates will find snippets that support their particular prejudices.
Just so, Frank. And while it's laudable that RAND is attempting to make its findings accessible to the general public, the graphic, "interactive" format may make it all too easy to extract those snippets and ignore the overall picture. Wading through text may not be many people's idea of fun, but it does at least require some level of reading comprehension to get at the bits a motivated reasoner wants to find, while making it harder to overlook the bits he doesn't -- and perhaps makes it more likely he'll learn something along the way.
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