Doesn’t it seem like there’s a shooting which kills and injures scores of victims just about every day? Last week there was a shooting in a Walmart that killed six employees and wounded five more.  The week before there was a shooting in Colorado Springs that left five dead and seventeen with wounds. A week before that, five people were gunned down in Maryland.

              These were the big shootings. The day-to-day random gun violence which kills one here or wounds two there is also way up. But those ‘normal’ shootings are so frequent that they don’t even make the local news.

              What’s going on? The Pandemic, which was blamed for the increase in gun violence in 2020 and 2021 is under control. The economic slowdown, which is always trotted out as an explanation for gun violence, is a narrative which simply can’t be taken seriously when the unemployment rate in most cities is under 4 percent.

              On the other hand, there has been a significant increase in the number of individuals who have been given legal sanction to walk around with a gun, which we refer to as concealed-carry, or CCW (‘W’ meaning weapon.) Is there a connection between more people walking around with legally carried guns and the increase in gun violence over the last several years?

              Several of our friends who conduct gun-violence research at Harvard and The University of Washington have published what they claim is one of the few serious attempts to determine the frequency of concealed guns being carried around, a particularly significant issue now that the Supreme Court has basically invalidated the ability of public authorities to arbitrarily decide who can versus who cannot walk around legally armed.

              The idea that anyone who passes a background check can traipse around with a Glock in their pocket has always been the most precious dream of Gun-nut Nation and the worst nightmare for folks who want more control over guns. These attitudes are based on the continued attempt by both sides to view guns either as the best way to prevent crime (the gun-nut argument) or the way which produces more crime and violence (the gun-control argument.)

              Both arguments happen to be incorrect, or better said, are based on research which is either incomplete, or simply wrong, or both. The latest contribution to the debate, the article produced by our friends at Harvard and U/Washington, happens to be incomplete at best.

              As usual, the article is based on what is always referred to as a ‘nationally-representative’ group of gun owners, who were asked if they ever carried a gun around, and if so, how frequently did this behavior occur?

              It turns out that one-third of the respondents said they were armed at least once during the previous thirty days, of whom about 40% of those self-armed gun owners carried their guns around every day.

              So, when you extrapolate this and extrapolate that, you wind up with 6 million Americans carrying their guns on a regular basis, a figure that was repeated throughout the liberal media as an explanation for why we now have shootings all over the place.

              The reason the media is circulating research which happens to be wrong both in its method and its result is because the researchers forgot to ask one question. And that question is this: Do you carry a legally owned gun?

              Of course, the respondents are legal gun owners. You think that someone is going to admit to some Ivy League researcher that he’s walking around with an illegal gun? What kind of sh*t is that?

              But if you don’t try to figure out how many folks are walking around with guns which they’re not supposed to have, what have you learned about anything having to do with gun violence today?

              There has never been one, single study of any kind which tells us how many individuals commit violent crimes with legally owned guns, or for that matter, with guns which aren’t legally owned. And if there isn’t any connection between legal gun ownership and gun violence, who cares how many people are walking around with their legal guns?

              This column will be sent to the researchers who published their ‘nationally-representative’ survey on CCW behavior, and I will be happy to circulate any response which I receive from that group. Not that I’m expecting to receive any response, because the folks who conduct public health research on gun violence are obsessively afraid to ever engage in public critiques about their own work.

              Which is the reason I wrote this column and will continue to publish critical reviews of all public health gun research. Because as Einstein said, “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”