CPRC: Bloomberg’s School of Public Health Cherry Picked Claim that firearm homicides in Connecticut fell 40% because of a gun licensing law

The Crime Prevention Research Center reports on recent claims regarding Connecticut’s handgun licensing law:

The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University put out this press release on a paper by Rudolph, Stuart, Vernick, and Webster:

“A 1995 Connecticut law requiring a permit or license – contingent on passing a background check – in order to purchase a handgun was associated with a 40 percent reduction in the state’s firearm-related homicide rate, new research suggests.”

….As the authors of the study note,  from 1995 to 2005 the firearm homicide rate in Connecticut indeed fell from 3.13 to 1.88 per 100,000 people, representing a 40% drop over a ten-year period (“We estimate that the law was associated with a 40% reduction in Connecticut’s firearm homicide rates during the first 10 years that the law was in place“).  However, unexplained is that the firearms homicide rate was falling even faster immediately prior to the licensing law.  From 1993 to 1995, the Connecticut firearms homicide rate fell from 4.5 to 3.13 per 100,000 residents, which means more than a 30% drop in just two years. This represented a greater decline than the 17% national decline over those two years.

Their results are also extremely sensitive to the last year that they pick.  While it is true that Connecticut’s firearm homicide rate fell by 40% from 1995 to 2005, it only fell by 16% between 1995 and 2006 and 12.5% between 1995 and 2010.  Meanwhile the drops for the US and the rest of the Northeast are much greater.  From 1995 and 2006, the firearm homicide rates for the US and the rest of the Northeast fell respectively by 27% and 22%.  From 1995 and 2010, the drops were 39% and 31%.  The longer samples show a relative increase in Connecticut’s firearm homicide rate whether Rudolph et al. had looked at one additional year or five additional years.

Read the full report at the Crime Prevention Center.