Social science methods are not perfect, but that has never stopped anti-gun researchers from making outlandish claims. Most recently, a team of researchers led by Doctor Apurva Bhatt from the University of Missouri Kansas City sought to evaluate the effect of changes in Missouri firearms laws on suicides among teenagers and young adults. Their analysis is burdened by a fundamental disregard of applicable firearms laws and their findings are so suspect that even uninvolved anti-gun researchers have formally acknowledged the problems.
Let’s begin with the results as claimed by the researchers in the first-page summary of their findings:
“Repeal of the PTP [permit to purchase] law was associated with a 21.8% increase in firearm suicide rates in young adults aged 19 to 24 years in Missouri. Lowering the minimum age of concealed carry to 19 years in Missouri was associated with a 32.0% increase in firearm suicide rates and a 29.7% increase in nonfirearm suicide rates in adolescents aged 14 to 18 years, and a 7.2% increase in firearm suicide rates in young adults aged 19 to 24 years.”
We’ll unpack these findings a bit but – spoiler alert – they didn’t include all of their results in that summary. Surely it was a simple oversight, but we’ll get to these other findings.
Bhatt and company here claim that the 2007 repeal of the requirement that a law-abiding adult obtain a permit to purchase a firearm is associated with a large increase in firearm suicide rates among people between the ages