(maps made by Emily Sciarillo)
The question of who is allowed to purchase and possess firearms has been debated in state legislatures all across the country. Some want more restrictions and some want fewer restrictions, and every state has its own unique set of rules. Debates rage on and it seems that any amount of restrictions, high or low, will not keep everybody happy. Here, at Fortiusone we see ourselves as an unbiased party that simply wants to present facts. So we thought we would take a look into the heated topic and see if creating more restrictions was for the best, for the worst, or if it even mattered at all.
The first thing we did was create a dataset in Finder! that scored each state’s leniency toward the amount of restrictions put in place when purchasing and/or possessing a firearm. The dataset can be found here:
We compared firearm restrictions on age, criminal background, and type of weapons across all states in the USA. We gave different point values for the severity of the restriction. Higher numbers were the result of tougher enforcement and lesser values were the result of lesser enforcement. A full rundown of how this point system was systematically determined can be found in the dataset description. The one important value that we obtained was a summation of all these different values for each state that we deemed the State Firearm Restrictive Value. The higher a state’s State Firearm Restrictive Value (the bigger the orange circle on the map) the less lenient the state was in their firearm restrictions. The map is below:
Now that we have this data we decided to pair it up with crime rate data across the country by state. The two areas of crime that we focused on were the amount of firearm related murders per capita by state and burglary rates per 100,000 inhabitants within the state. First we will look at firearm related murders. We decided to use this crime category because it gives us a great sense of the how serious firearm crime is in a state. The dark areas on the map below represent the states that display high rates of firearm related murder per capita.
The link to this dataset can be found at:
and the map is below paired with the State Firearm Restrictive Values.
Now we will look at burglary rates (per 100,000 inhabitants) within the state paired with the State Firearm Restriction Values the map below. We decided that this would be a good category because it is often said that increases in gun ownership might lead to less burglary. Some on the other hand find this to be false. All in all it is another debatable firearm ownership topic that we can explore.
The link to the dataset can be found at:
What can we conclude from observing the two sets of crime data with the State Firearm Restrictive Values? There is no show of a strong correlation in either case. When running a correlation formula between the data of firearm murders and restriction values you get a value of .1155888. When running the same correlation between burglary rates and restriction values you get a value of -.0144564. With values so close to zero it is easy to determine that a distinct correlation between the two values does not exist in either case.
Basically low levels of restrictions are found in states where crimes rates are high and also where crime rates are low. You can also find high levels of restrictions found in states where crime rates are both high and low. The results vary greatly. To conclude, it is perhaps wise to say that crime rates are not the sole factor when putting gun restrictions into state legislation.
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