Daniel D. Polsby writes:
Unless I am seriously mistaken, one would find that crack cocaine
dealers and other persistent criminals are disproportionately
likely to possess firearms and to be murdered by others using
firearms. To place firearms at the heart of this story is at
The study controlled for literally dozens of other factors, including
criminality and illicit drugs. Furthermore the extra homicide risk
associated with firearm ownership was not from shootouts between drug
dealers or gangs, but domestic homicides.
Absent a controlled experiment (which is impossible) it is of course
always possible for those who don’t like the results to come up with
some explanation other than the straightforward one.
Dr. Kellermann’s published work is more
diffidently worded than the representations he makes to
reporters in subsequent interviews. Moreover, he has in fact
made a causal claim for his research at least once in writing,
in the July, 1994 Atlantic Monthly correspondence column. He has
never made his underlying data public. I respectfully suggest that
these are issues that ought to trouble even one who finds his
Dr Kellermann is entitled to believe that gun ownership most probably
increases the risk of homicide and to offer this study as evidence for
I don’t find the conclusions congenial at all. My taxes will go up by
$100 next year to pay for this stupid ban on semi-automatic long guns.
It would be nice if I could argue that firearms aren’t associated with
costs in terms of homicides and suicides.