Dean Payne writes:
“For example, in 1974 Massachusetts passes the Bartley-Fox
Law, which requires a special license to carry a handgun outside the
home or business. The law is supported by a mandatory prison sentence.
Studies by Glenn Pierce and William Bowers of Northeastern University
documented that after the law was passed handgun homicides in
Massachusetts fell 50% and the number of armed robberies dropped 35%.”
Actually Pierce and Bowers found that the number of GUN robberies
dropped 35%. The number of armed robberies only fell by 15%.
According to Kleck (“Point Blank…”), many reports misrepresented the
findings of the various Bartley-Fox studies.
Including that of Kleck if the below is any guide.
Pierce and Bowers (1981) did not study total homicide or armed robbery.
I have their paper (Annals, AAPSS, 455, May 1981) in front of me.
They most certainly DID study total homicide and armed robbery, and
found decreases in both (gun homicides fell 56% and non-gun homicides
20%). I should note here that the rates for Middle Atlantic cities
also fell (gun homicides fell by 28% and non-gun homicides by 12%), so
it is unlikely that the law was responsible for all of the decrease.
They did find that both non-gun armed assaults and total armed assaults
increased far more than the gun assault rate declined.
Yes, they found a 40% increase in non-gun armed assaults and only a
12% reduction in gun assaults. However, they suggest that the law may
have made it more likely that gun assaults without battery were
reported, and that a better measure of the change in gun assaults was
the 37% reduction in gun assaults involving battery. In any case, the
number of armed assaults did not decrease.
Deutsch and Alt (1977) and Hay and McCleary (1979) also studied
Bartley-Fox. Both found no change in total homicide rates.
True, but their data only covered the six months after the law.
They split over whether or not total armed robbery was reduced (the
former said yes, the later said no).
Deutsch (1979) has heavily criticised Hay and McCleary’s analysis.
Both agreed that gun assaults dropped, but neither
studied non-gun armed assaults nor total assaults.
“In sum, the best available evidence indicates that Bartley-Fox had
no detectable effect on homicide, may or may not have reduced
robbery, and increased both total assaults and assault injuries.”
Talk about putting a pro-gun spin on the research! Where did
assault injuries come from? How could he miss Pierce and Bowers on
homicide and armed robbery?