‘It’s Mathematically Not Possible’

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

At the request of The Times-Dispatch, Baker examined six years of data compiled by Virginia State Police through the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center that breaks down the number of gun transactions for every federally licensed firearm dealer in Virginia. It includes the number and types of guns they sought to sell based on requested state background checks of the purchasers.

Baker then compared the data with state crime figures for those years.

The data, Baker said, show a low probability that more guns in the hands of Virginians is causing more violent crime.

“So while it’s difficult to make a direct causal link (that more guns are resulting in less crime), the numbers certainly present that that’s a real possibility,” Baker added.

The opposite - that more guns are causing more crime - cannot be derived from the numbers, he said.

“It’s mathematically not possible, because the relationship is a negative relationship - they’re moving in the opposite direction,” Baker said. “So the only thing it could be is that more guns are causing less crime.”

For related Cato work, go here and here.