By Scott Weiser
The mendacity of anti-gun academics apparently knows no bounds. A couple of weeks ago notorious anti-gun academic and law professor John Donohue of Stanford University produced another in a long list of self-serving screeds disparaging the rights and lives of law-abiding citizens who choose to carry concealed weapons. Donohue has published numerous anti-gun articles and op-eds in years past, and ups the ante with a “synthetic control” working paper that claims that his newest speculations have eliminated “any suggestion of benign effects on crime from the adoption of RTC laws and consistently shown evidence that RTC [Right to Carry] laws increase murder and/or overall violent crime.”
In the conclusion the paper states, “There is not even the slightest hint in the data that RTC laws reduce violent crime. Indeed, the weight of the evidence from the panel data estimates as well as the synthetic controls analysis best supports the view that the adoption of RTC laws substantially raises overall violent crime in the ten years after adoption.” (Emphasis added)
That is a flatly false statements and Donohue knows it. This is the fake news message being propagated by liberal anti-gun press organs like Vice Media, which trumpets a headline about the report saying “The Good Guy with a Gun Theory, Debunked.”
Donohue’s research does not show that RTC laws “increase murder and/or overall violent crime” at all. The actual data, which includes seminal research by RTC advocate John Lott, and Donohue’s own graphs continue to show precisely the opposite: more guns, less crime. What Donohue claims is nothing more than his opinion that factual reduction in violent crime rates since 1996 would have been perhaps 15 percent greater if RTC laws had not been enacted. To avoid a charge of plain academic fraud Donohue admits this, saying “our analysis suggests that Texas would have experienced a more sizable violent crime decline if it had not passed a RTC law.” (Emphasis added)
But after burying that weasel-worded disclaimer deep in the statistical wonk, he flatly states that violent crime increased after RTC laws were passed when in fact they continued to decrease, just not as much as his statistical analysis suggests it would have absent RTC laws. That’s a deliberately deceptive and mendacious claim disparaging the actual fact that more citizens carrying guns for self-defense reduce violent crime rates. Donohue’s research is synthetic speculation masquerading as truth under the typical liberal anti-gun theory that if you repeat a lie long enough and loud enough it will become the perceived truth.
It should be painfully obvious that a “more sizable” decline in a pre-existing overall decline is not at all the same thing as his bald-faced and demonstrably false claim that “the adoption of RTC laws substantially raises overall violent crime.” Thus a charge of mendacity and that he and his team have engaged in blatant and intentional politicized academic misconduct (if not fraud) would seem pretty obvious to any reasonable person.
Such a conclusion is strongly bolstered by the paper’s descent into political pandering and gun-banning advocacy that follows the conclusion. Not satisfied to let his supposedly-scholarly work stand on it’s own scientific feet, he goes on at length, saying for example that “the statistical evidence shows us that whatever beneficial effects RTC laws have in reducing violence, they are outweighed by greater harmful effects.” To support this specious and unscientific political opinion he cites a very small number of incidents where in his opinion concealed carry permit holders committed a crime. The paper states, “The most obvious mechanism is that the RTC permit holder may commit a crime that he or she would not have committed without the permit.”
The stupidity of this statement is fairly obvious. If a person is inclined to misbehave and use a deadly weapon improperly it’s highly unlikely that having or not having a carry permit is going to change anything, and if such a thing happens then others who might be harmed by such misconduct, be it from a permit holder or a criminal have a greater need to be armed for self-defense. Yes, there may be examples, some of which Donohue cites, where permit holders have done bad things with their guns, but he completely ignores the fact that there are perhaps 12 million permit holders in the United States who, according to all the evidence, do not do so, and there are perhaps 2.5 million people who lawfully use their concealed weapons to prevent and thwart violent crime every year. His argument is the very essence of throwing out the baby with the bathwater after boiling the baby in a hot pot.
Donohue firmly believes, and has argued in the past that all citizens must be disarmed in order to decrease crime rates, and this is another pseudo-scientific attempt to support his anti-constitutional agenda of disparaging the 2nd Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms.
Donohue and people like him simply refuse to accept that the right to armed self-defense is not subject to being statistically apportioned. The individual’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense is not dependent on the amount of crime in their vicinity or anywhere else for that matter. It cannot be conditioned upon their statistical chance of victimization. It cannot be infringed because someone thinks carrying a gun in public is unsettling. The right is complete, whole and indivisible.
Disarming citizens turns them into helpless victims without any evidence that doing so will protect them from being victimized and in the face of undeniable proof that an armed citizenry in fact makes society safer, something that Donohue knows but attempted (badly) to conceal in his recent screed. His statistical argument ignores the reality that it is real people who are victimized, each of whom has a constitutional right to be armed against victimization. Government cannot constitutionally conclude that a law-abiding person being armed somehow increases the overall abstract risk of violent crime in society and use that as an excuse to revoke gun rights.
No right is subject to apportionment in such a manner. Government cannot say, “Your exercise of your right to free speech must be prohibited because it creates a 15 percent greater chance that someone else might abuse theirs.” Nor can it say, “Your right to keep and bear arms in public is revoked because otherwise some criminal somewhere might become more violent.”
It should be obvious that Donohue’s agenda and speculation is a call for inherently unconstitutional legislative response by government. This must not be permitted or tolerated. You either have rights that are complete or you do not have rights at all, and in this country we have a right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, as the United States Supreme Court has pointed out on several occasions recently.