An analysis by the left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund given only to Axios shows that most of the cities with the highest rates of gun-related murder are in the South, usually in red states with less strict gun rules. The study says that the results disprove Republican claims that liberal policies make cities more dangerous.
The study finds that there is a clear difference between the rates of urban firearm homicide in blue states (which tend to have stricter gun laws) and red states. The Gun Violence Archive data on the 300 most popular U.S. cities were used in the study.
There is a growing push to see gun violence as a public health problem. New Mexico, for example, used a public health order to ban both open and concealed carry, which was seen as controversial.
“We’re really seeing two different Americas when it comes to gun violence,” said Chandler Hall, who wrote the study and is a senior policy analyst at CAP. A lot is already being done by towns to deal with gun violence in their own areas… “But city officials can only do so much when state laws make it impossible for them to control the flow of guns or how people carry guns in their cities,” he said. Also, cities in blue states like Chicago are surrounded by red states that have less strict gun rules.
In 2022, St. Louis had the highest rate of gun-related deaths in the United States. It was followed by Birmingham, Alabama, New Orleans, Jackson, Mississippi, and Baltimore. The study found that from 2015 to 2022, the average number of gun-related deaths in cities in blue states was 7.2 per 100,000 people. It was 11.1 deaths per 100,000 people in towns in red states. Overall, the number of gun-related deaths was higher in “blue” cities (defined by the party of the mayor) than in “red” cities.
The study says that comparing blue and red cities doesn’t lead to useful conclusions because blue and red cities are different in ways like population size, poverty rate, and inequality.
Experts also say that cities don’t usually have much say over gun rules.
Dan Semenza, an assistant professor at Rutgers and a part of the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium at the Rockefeller Institute of Government, said, “A lot of cities have to follow laws made at the state level.” “There’s often little wiggle room for cities to be able to go far and beyond the policies that states have on the books because the cities are required to abide by those laws and policies.”
Semenza wasn’t a part of the CAP study and hadn’t seen it before talking to Axios, so he wasn’t talking about the results of it directly. He said that studies have shown that rules that keep kids from getting guns and background checks along with some kind of license or permit can help lower gun violence. On the other hand, rules that make it easier to carry a gun concealed raise the risk of violence.
“At the end of the day, it’s just about guns and opportunities and that risk, and it goes up when more guns are available,” he stated. “It’s not about what each person meant.” It’s about risk at the group level.”