Decision MediaWorks

The “Freakonomics” of Guns and Violent Crime in Florida

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Human existence is driven by assumptions derived from our experiences and patterns that we have observed. These sorts of assumptions are likes rules of thumb that scientists call “heuristics.”

An interesting element of heuristics is that two people can look at the same facts and apply very different judgments about those facts. One example of this is the fact pattern of the Trayvon Martin trial which leads people to one of two very different views on Florida self defense laws.

Now, data science can’t tell us much about the Martin case, but it can give us some insight into the actual relationship between lawfully carried guns and violent crime. The table below shows the total number, net change from the prior year, and percentage change from the prior year of concealed carry permit (CCP) holders and violent crimes in Florida.

We chose to look at the concealed carry permit numbers because it is a rough measure of the number of lawfully owned guns being carried on Florida’s streets. We are looking at the data to see if there is evidence that more people carrying guns in a state with “loose” gun laws results in more or less violent crime.

We have also provided a graph depicting the relationship of concealed carry permits to violent crimes and a graph just depicting the number of violent crimes in Florida each year.

Is the relationship here as clear as it appears? Are other important data not being evaluated? Take some time to look over the data provided below and let others know what you see via social media. You will be surprised on the diversity of opinions on just this one simple data set.

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