Note: The following is a post written by Debate.org member Ore_Ele.
Over the past few years, numerous high-profile shootings have brought gun control back to the forefront of our national discussion, right up there with immigration, national debt, and even the economy. Of course, some individuals on each political side have already laid their foundations and anchored their beliefs, from the NRA saying that we should arm schools  and make guns easier to access, to state legislators wanting to ban nearly all guns .
However, it seems that every side takes root in their ideological turf rather than digging through the real-world numbers to see exactly what needs to be done Each side will throw out arguments with a few cherry-picked stats to back them up, or, even more rational, make comic strips that attack the opposing sides . But if we want to stop and look at what gun ownership, or lack thereof, really means for safety and crime, as well as other factors, we must shed away such political biases and find ways that actually improve our nation and society for everyone, not just our political allies.
Before spending too much more time, let’s jump right into it. All sources used for the data in the Excel spreadsheet are listed on the sheet itself . We can, if we wish, take a look at several different crimes in all 50 states; however, this particular comparison simply focuses on violent crimes, murder, assault, and burglary. It compares these crimes to gun ownership rates, average income, GINI, poverty rates, high school graduation rates, college graduations rates, and population density. For accuracy and honesty, I’ve also included minority rates by state.
The first thing that becomes apparent is that gun ownership does not have any correlation with crime. Neither increased nor decreased gun ownership lowers levels of crime. We can see that apart from population density, all other factors are significantly more important than gun ownership. The most significant factors are economics (in general) and high school graduation rates. What may be surprising, however, is that while high school graduation holds a strong correlation with crime, college graduation has a very weak one.
Another correlation which might prove modestly shocking: While poverty rates were as important as or more important than average income for all crimes, GINI was as important as or more important than income for violent crimes (including murder and assault), yet for burglary, income was more important. While income was more significant than GINI for burglary, the GINI still had a modest correlation.
Therefore, if we want to improve our nation and society by improving our lives and reducing crime and violence, our focus needs to be directed towards economics, chiefly poverty, as well as high school graduation. This should be something that is easily rallied behind, as education, economics, and poverty are all connected. Improving base education of high school graduation will improve the poverty rate and lower crime (and we can also trace that to lowering the debt through increased tax revenues and reduced social spending needs, but that’s for another article).
Of course, these statistics are provided so that you can examine everything yourself and reach your own conclusions. (Why read through all this but not look through the data yourselves?) The links provided also allow you to view other types of crime correlations.
Many of you are probably thinking, “Sure, but correlation does not automatically equal causation.” That is true, but it can reveal logical and reasonable connections. For example, the link between cigarettes and lung cancer is based on extremely strong correlations and a logical connection. While we can’t say with absolute certainty that smoking causes lung cancer, due to the statistics we have, we can assume that it is a safe enough bet to make.