GOAL Report - Gun Related Homicides Up 100% Since 1998
Gun Related Homicides Doubled Since 1998 not Anecdotal Evidence
Yet another tactic has emerged from our opposition in an attempt to dismiss hard evidence that gun control has been a complete failure in Massachusetts. When figures such as Governor Deval Patrick are confronted with hard facts proving our case, they now dismiss it as “anecdotal evidence”. Even when I was interviewed by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan he tried to dismiss all of the evidence I provided as anecdotal. He even tried to compare a study led by Dr. Eric Fleegler of Boston Children’s Hospital with the reports from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that are not studies. The Doctor’s study was so flawed in its approach that the he gave the following quote to the Boston Globe: “In states with the most laws, we found a dramatic decreased rate in firearm fatalities, though we can’t say for certain that these laws have led to fewer deaths.”
The study simply looked at the states with the “most” laws.
The definition of anecdotal is as follows:
an•ec•do•tal: Not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research.
For many years GOAL has been publishing the results from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reporting systems. These are the Injury Surveillance Program (ISP) and the Weapon Related Injury Surveillance System (WRISS). Both reporting systems filed their first annual report in 1994, the same year the national assault weapon ban was put into place and four years prior to the Commonwealth’s Gun Control Act of 1998. These systems publish hard numbers regarding homicides, accidents, suicides for several categories including transportation (cars), falls, poison and firearms. The WRISS system includes knife injuries. The systems do not reflect studies that can often be manipulated, they instead provide factual information in the form of numbers.
Since GOAL has been tracking these reports they tell a clear story about the drastic increase in gun related homicides and assaults in Massachusetts. The ISP reports have a few different categories including: Injury Deaths, Hospital Discharges, Emergency Room Visits and Outpatient Observations.
For instance, in 1998 when the new laws went into effect there were 63 gun related homicides. As of the latest ISP report for 2010 there were 126 gun related homicides, double that of the year of the Gun Control Act! In 1998 there were 96 gun related assaults that resulted in a Hospital Discharge. In 2010 there were 267 nearly triple the number when the Gun Control Act was passed. The WRISS system has a Firearm Related Assault Injury category. In this report in 1998 there were 291 and in 2009 (the latest available) there were 464.
The facts are clear that the Massachusetts gun laws have been a complete failure and that certain people are simply not willing to admit it regardless of how much hard evidence we supply. One piece of this is very interesting is the fact that what the Dept. of Public Health is providing the public is considered anecdotal!? We wonder if that counts for other issues they cover?
Related: See GOAL's 2013 "Gun Crime" report - "Where is the Evidence of Gun Control Success?"
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