Red Flag vs. Suicides, Study Falls Short

By Carl Bussjaeger. April 21, 2020

A new study of the effect of red flag laws on suicides was published this month. The study title and a first glance at the Methods section, got my hopes up.

The impact of gun violence restraining order laws in the U.S. and firearm suicide among older adults: a longitudinal state-level analysis, 2012–2016

"This is a longitudinal study of US states..."

I consider longitudinal studies of the effects of laws to be the gold standard. Look at a period of time stretching from well before the enactment of a law to well after. Look for discontinuities in the trend of whatever factor you are concerned with at the time of enactment and after. If there is no discontinuity, the law had no effect on that factor.

But then I considered the time frame.

"... using data from 2012 to 2016."

That's a peculiar time frame, given how few red flag laws were passed in those years. .....

Cherry-picked statistics and age grouping seem once again to suit a purpose, such that 'massaging' data produces results that are wanted. The objective is to find ways to support the victim disarmament narrative.


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