A friend of mine who’s wife is an MD and a gun owner forwarded this editorial from the New England Journal of Medicine to me.
The Supreme Court has launched the country on a risky epidemiologic experiment. The announcement by the Court last month of its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller,1 which struck down a ban on handgun ownership in the nation’s capital, has set the stage for legal challenges to gun regulation in other major American cities.
The mandatory predictions of impending disaster.
If there is a widespread loosening of gun regulations, we will learn over the next few years — in a before-and-after experiment — whether the laws we had in place had a significant impact in mitigating death and injury from handguns. In our opinion, there is little reason to expect an optimistic result; research has shown and logic would dictate that fewer restrictions on handguns will result in a substantial increase in injury and death.
In 2005, the last year with complete data, there were more than 30,000 deaths and 70,000 nonfatal injuries from firearms.3 About one quarter of the nonfatal injuries and a tenth of the deaths were in children and adolescents. To place these numbers in perspective, 10 times as many Americans die each year from firearms as have died in the Iraq war during the past 5 years.
…used to draw unsupported conclusions.
Firearm injuries represent a major public health problem that seems certain to be exacerbated with less handgun regulation. [emphasis added]
For example, a careful study demonstrated that the 1976 restrictive handgun law in the District of Columbia, which was the focus of the Heller case, resulted in an immediate decline of approximately 25% in homicides and suicides by firearms, but there was no such decline in adjacent areas that did not have restrictive laws.
And, of course, the Jekyll and Hyde shift from supporting federal regulation to advocating local control when it happens to be convenient to them.
Given the diversity of geography and population in the United States, lawmakers throughout the country need the freedom and flexibility to apply gun regulations that are appropriate to their jurisdictions.