Maybe? Again, a departure from my usual economics. A point of contention in the gun control debate is whether guns (or access to them) cause violence or, at least, increase the risk of such, or if guns prevent violence. I decided to explore these claims. I used the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report to obtain violence crime rates (per 100,000 population). Violent crime was chosen because these crimes include robbery, homicide, rape, aggravated assault and other crimes likely to involve a firearm, either in committing the crime or in preventing it. To determine the laxity of a state’s gun control legislation, I used the Brady Campaign for Prevention of Gun Violence’s state score card. So, what was the conclusion? Inconclusive. Take a look at this chart: This is a scatter plot of gun control rankings (the higher the number, the more strict the legislation) and the violent crime rate. If you are of the pro-gun control crowd, you’d expect an inverse correlation. If you’re of the pro-gun crowd, you’d expect a positive correlation. As you can see in the chart, there is neither. The actual correlation is 0.05; essentially random. Further analysis supports this: The above chart is the average and median violent crime rates, this time broken down by the Brady Campaign’s grading system. The top 2 grades (A and B) are very similar. We see some decline in C and D, before jumping back up in F rank. It certainly appears that, to the extent firearms are used in crimes, there are far greater factors determining the crime rate than access to firearms. There is still much research to go into this topic. I can only hope my humble contribution leads to more fruitful work by scholars in the future.