Recently there has been some crowing about North Dakota having only two murders in 2008 (and neither were committed with a gun):
- Gun Murders and Gun Laws
- But guns cause murder!
- Via SayUncle: Congratulations to North Dakota; Brady Campaign? Not so much.
- VPC: Epic Fail
- Despite Being A Top Gun-Owning State, North Dakota Recorded Exactly Two Murders In 2008
And of course North Dakota has a very poor score as far as the Brady Campaign is concerned.
While the claims made above are true this isn’t the whole story. It’s an example of cherry picking the data and is very risky if you are a scientist.
Using the FBI Uniform Crime Report (2005) and the Brady Campaign Scores on the states (2007) I came up with some interesting information. Starting with the FBI data I added the Brady Scores and added some additional rows and columns. The result is here*.
The bottom line is that the assuming someone is murdered then correlation between the Brady Score and a particular method of murder are as follows:
- Weapon other than firearm (including knives):-0.014
- Hands, fists, feet, etc. (including being pushed):
Correlation is a number between -1.0 and 1.0, inclusive. What the above numbers mean is that a good Brady score does not mean there is a reduction in the the percentage of murders committed with firearms. It may mean there is a slight increase in the percentage of murders committed with knives and a decrease in the percentage of unarmed murders in Brady favored states. Another interesting set of data would be to compare the total violent crime rate to Brady Scores. I have done that in the past with the result of discovering there was essentially no correlation. Perhaps I’ll have time to look at that this weekend sometime.
Update: As noted in the comments I made a mistake on one of the formulas in the spreadsheet. This only affected the correlation of the “Hands, fists, feet, etc.” murders with the Brady Score. Instead of there being a slight negative correlation there is instead essentially zero correlation with Brady Scores. I have updated the spreadsheet accordingly.
* Please check my numbers and formulas. The Brady Scores were hand entered and hence are error prone. Also note that the original FBI table does not list Florida. I did not remove it intentionally.