Tag: Palumbo

Networks Lie that NRA Banned Guns at Annual Convention

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Every year during the Conservative Political Action Conference there’s at least a couple liberal outlets pointing out that firearms are banned at the conference, with the obvious intent of claiming an example of conservative hypocrisy. It’s truly incredible to see the story come to life year after year, as few journalists apparently bothered to check that it’s The Gaylord’s (the hotel that CPAC is usually hosted at) anti-gun policy, not CPAC’s.

You’d think that if a journalist was going to report on supposed hypocrisy at a conservative conference, they’d at least contact the conference, right? Not in the case of CPAC – and not when a similar claim was made regarding the NRA’s annual convention.  Originating with a tweet from from Parkland survivor and activist Cameron Kasky on April 28th, the claim that the NRA would be banning firearms at their convention quickly picked up steam, and countless publications ran with the story, including The Hill, Slate, Politico, CBS, the BBC, Huffington Post, Washington Post, USA Today, and others.

Nobody bothered to look into the claim except the Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra, who contacted the U.S. Secret Service. The Secret Service confirmed that it was because of their policies, not the NRAs, that guns would not be allowed in the room during Pence’s and Trump’s speeches. That’s almost exactly what the NRA statement that Kasky was quoting from said, but not he, nor any journalists, bothered to acknowledge that key fact in their stories on “NRA hypocrisy.”

Guns are still allowed everywhere else during the convention, so the “NRA bans guns” headlines aren’t even remotely accurate for that reason either.

Even if the NRA were responsible for the prohibition on firearms during Trump and Pence’s speech, it goes without saying that the two will be protected by the Secret Service…. with guns. Do you know who else was protected with guns? Cameron Kasky, and hundreds of thousands of others during the pro-gun control “March for Our Lives.”

You know what you call a march like that?

A parody of itself.


The Biggest Myth About Trump’s Tax Cuts

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the first case of comprehensive tax reform since the 1980s, but listen to some on the Left, and you’d be left with the impression that workers are just getting “crumbs.” According to Nancy Pelosi:

In terms of the bonus that corporate America received versus the crumbs that they are giving to workers to kind of put the schmooze on is so pathetic. It’s so pathetic. And I would hope that with their big advantage of bringing money home at a very low rate, that they would invest in infrastructure and things. But our experience has been that they will do dividends. They will do stock buy-backs and things like that. I think it’s insignificant.

Pelosi was specifically speaking of the $1,000 bonuses that a number of companies announced for their employees to celebrate the passage of Trump’s bill.

Such “logic” can’t help but bring a quote from Margaret Thatcher addressed at the socialists of her day: “What the honorable member is saying is that he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich. So long as the gap is smaller, they would rather have the poor poorer. ”

In addition to her logical flaw, the facts aren’t on her side either. While share buybacks are the single largest individual purchase that companies are making with their tax cut savings, the majority is in fact going back to employees and investment, as proven by this chart from Bloomberg complaining about buybacks:

And the more fatal flaw in her logic is that Trump’s corporate tax cuts won’t benefit the worker in other ways. This isn’t “trickle down economics,” but rather the acknowledgement that corporations offset the cost of the corporate tax cuts by reducing worker wages. A handful of studies from economists all along the ideological spectrum have reached such a conclusion, the disagreement is just on the extent.

To summarize just a few:

  • A review of the academic literature on the corporate tax conducted by the U.S Department of the Treasury found that, “labor may bear a substantial portion of the burden from the corporate income tax.”
  • Economist Arnold C. Harberger, known for authoring a seminal paper on the effects of the corporate income tax rate on international trade, has found that labor bears over 80% of the corporate tax.
  • According to Oxford University economist Li Liu and Rutgers economist Rosanne Altshuler, for every $1 increase in corporate tax revenue, wages decrease by 60 cents.
  • Wiji Arulampalam, Michael P. Devereux, and Giorgia Maffini of Oxford University found that $1 in additional corporate tax reduces wages by 92 cents in the long run.
  • According to economist Alison Fenix, “a one percentage point increase in the marginal corporate tax rate decreases annual wages by 0.7 percent.”

Kevin Hassett, Trump’s chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, created a stir when he said that Trump’s plan to reduce the corporate tax rate to 21% would increase the average families income by $4,000, but if we were to apply the projected wage gains from the 12 most vigorous studies examining the effects of over 100 corporate tax cuts in the U.S. and other OECD nations on wages, the Trump tax cuts could boost the average household’s income by $16,000. That’s not going to be realized in America, as those studies included a handful of small nations that skewed the wage gains (expressed as a percentage) upward, but clearly Hassett can afford a large margin of error there,

And obviously, corporate tax cuts not the main benefit in Trump’s tax package for low-income and middle-class workers. The bill reduced tax rates, and doubled the standard deduction to $12,000 for a single worker, and $24,000 for married couples.

It’s hardly “crumbs.”

Do Countries With Socialized Medicine Really Live Longer?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

While it’s common to hear liberals refer to America as the only developed nation without socialized/government run healthcare, the biggest socialized healthcare system in the world exists in the United States. Its name is the Veteran’s Administration -and anyone that’s followed the countless stories of the soul crushing bureaucracy present there knows it’s hardly a model for a national system.

Given the hundreds of thousands of veterans that have died awaiting care from the VA, you’d probably be skeptical of the argument that government run healthcare makes nations healthier, and live longer. But that’s just what liberals are arguing, and at face value (and only face value) the statistics do appear to indicate as much.

  • “The United States spends far more on healthcare per person than any other nation. Yet we have lower life expectancy than most other rich countries” says economics Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman. (Side note: Krugman had called the Veteran’s Administration a “huge policy success story” in 2011).
  • “American life expectancy has consistently lagged behind that of other developed nations” reports Fortune Magazine. Among the causes cited include “a lack of universal coverage and less robust safety net compared to most other countries.”
  • “Life expectancy in the United States declined to 78.6 years in 2016, placing America at number 37 on the list of 137 countries the World Economic Forum has ranked in their annual Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018” reported the Huffington Post.

This is a classic case where someone is right about a statistic, but giving the wrong story to explain it.

I probably don’t need to remind you that there are plenty of people who die in scenarios where medical care cannot be applied (such as a murder victim, someone who completed a successful suicide attempt, or died at the scene at a car accident). According to Forbes Magazine’s Avik Roy:

A Few years back, Robert Ohsfeldt of Texas A&M and John Schneider of the University of Iowa asked the obvious question: what happens if you remove deaths from fatal injuries from the life expectancy tables? Among the 29 members of the OECD, the U.S. vaults from 19th place to…you guessed it…first. Japan, on the same adjustment, drops from first to ninth.

Similarly, the authors of the 2006 book “The Business of Health” found that only accidental deaths needed to be accounted for, and the U.S. ranks #1 in lifespan. This data is a bit older however, stretching from 1980-1999. Regardless, we were still the only OECD without socialized medicine during that period.

And lastly, America is a tad more humane when it comes to measuring infant mortality than other nations.

Most countries (with the exception of the U.S.) classify babies as “stillborn” if they survive less than 24 hours after birth. The “stillborn” under that criterion make up 40-50% of all infant deaths. So when comparing a country with an equal number of infant mortalities as America, the comparison country will have half the “zero year olds” dragging down the statistics (because we bother to count them).

Additionally, since America has a higher murder and suicide rate than the average OECD nation, that too drags down our lifespan statistics relative to others.

But how many of these variables have to do with the quality of American vs. socialized medicine? None whatsoever.

Do Illegal Immigrants Really Pay “$10 Billion” A Year In Taxes?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Are illegal immigrant laborers putting money into the pot just like the rest of us? That’s what a number of pundits on the left have claimed, usually with a figure in the range of $10-12 billion a year.

  • PolitiFact rated the statement “Undocumented immigrants pay $12 billion of taxes every single year” from María Teresa Kumar of “Vote Latina” true – even though the “$12 billion” figure was based off of payroll taxes, half of which is paid by the employer. On the other hand, her estimate didn’t include state and local taxes.
  • A 2016 study by the non-partisan Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants paid $11.64 billion in state and local taxes in 2013.

So there appears to be some truth to the claim, but first let’s answer the lingering question of how the heck illegal immigrants are paying taxes in the first place.

That’s where the “Individual Taxpayer Identification Number” comes in. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals that must file taxes, but either don’t have or are ineligible for a Social Security number. ITIN’s are issued regardless of immigration status. Of an estimated illegal immigrant workforce of 8 million, 3.4 million, or less than half, are registered with ITINs and are paying taxes. So the majority are not.

And of those who do, let’s take that $12 billion figure at face value and put it in perspective. In 2017, the Federal government spent $4 trillion, or 10.95 billion per day. The entirety of the nation’s taxpaying illegals don’t even pay enough in taxes to cover what the federal government spends in a day (because the 12 billion figure includes taxes paid to state and local governments).

And this is from eight million workers. The American labor force had roughly 160 million workers in 2017. Just for the sake of a thought experiment, if we were to replace the entire labor force with illegal immigrants, and have them pay all their state and local taxes to the feds, the Federal government would’ve collected approximately $240 billion in tax revenue in 2017, as opposed to the $3.3 trillion that the Federal government actually collected in 2017.

And seldom do those pointing out that illegals pay taxes mention how much they take from the pot.

  • Because illegals displace legal American employment (100% of which would be paying taxes – and likely at higher wages), illegal immigrants impose a $30 billion annual cost in lost tax revenue.
  • Because of pressure on wages, illegal immigrants are costing American workers $118 billion annually in lost wages.
  • the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) finds the net cost of illegal immigration (i.e. net of taxes paid by illegals) to be $116 billion. This is particularly noteable, because they assume that illegals pay $19 billion annually in taxes – far more than our liberal friends typically claim.
  • The conservative Heritage Foundation’s study on the same subject finds a comparatively lower $55 billion net cost to American taxpayers.
  • Health care costs for illegal immigrants alone total nearly $20 billion, or almost double what they pay in taxes, according to American Enterprise Institute scholar Chris Conover.

So yes, we are getting about $12 billion a year in tax revenue from illegals.

Problem is, it just costs a heck of a lot more than $12 billion to collect it.

Do Red States Really Take the Most Welfare?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Lately I’ve seen a few liberals temporarily retire the narrative that Republicans are a bunch of old rich white men – to try to argue the opposite, that we’re actually the real moochers.

  • “Red States Are Welfare Queens” reads one headline over at Business Insider. The article noted that of 20 States that receive more funding from the federal government than they pay in, 16 are Red States.
  • “Residents of the 10 states Gallup ranks as “most conservative” received 21.2 percent of their income in government transfers, while the number for the 10 most liberal states was only 17.1 percent.” says the economics Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman in the New York Times.

Certainly an economist like Krugman would realize that a State is not a person. For instance, the majority of violence in Red States occurs in Blue counties and cities within those States. Do “Red States” bear the responsibility for their Blue counties and cities?

Obviously not.

And a similar thing is happening here. Red States are taking more in government handouts – but Republicans aren’t, as a Maxwell Poll on the voting patterns of those in public assistance has proven:

And that’s not all.

  • A NPR study of the long-term unemployed found that 72 percent favor Democrats. It goes without saying that they’re likely to be receiving benefits.

So if it’s mostly Democrats receiving public assistance – why the heck is it Red States receiving most of the benefits? A few possible thoughts:

  • Red States are naturally more eligible for public assistance because they have lower costs of living – and the federal poverty line (and eligibility for benefits) don’t take that into account. For instance, Texas has a higher poverty rate than California in the official statistics, but California has a higher poverty rate once adjusting for cost of living differences. Despite this, Texas would still be more eligible for federal assistance.
  • Many of these analysis are including Social Security and Medicare as “welfare” – as if recipients have the choice of foregoing them. Given that seniors tend to lean Republican, this technically could tilt the stats.

And people aside, what about the claim that Red States are moochers (as the Business Insider article implied)? It is true that Red States tend to have a larger percentage of their budgets subsidized by the federal government than Blue States – but only because their budgets are relatively smaller. According to The Federalist’s Kyle Sammin:

Against a national average of 32.62 percent [of a State’s budget] being federally subsidized, the blue states received 30.80 percent. Purple states were almost exactly at the national level with 32.92 percent coming from Washington. Red state budgets averaged 35.75 percent federal money.

A problem with this metric is that although federal funds make up a larger percentage of red states’ state budgets, the budgets in those states are generally lower overall than those of the free-spending blue states. If, instead of comparing federal funds to state budgets, we look at how much the federal government spends in intergovernmental grants per resident of a state, the results are turned on their heads.

Against a national average of $1,935 in intergovernmental spending per American, red states receive just $1,879. Blue states get considerably more, at $2,124 per resident. Purple states see the least of their money returned to them per capita, at just $1,770.

And there goes that myth.







Are Guns “Almost Never” Used in Self Defense?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Did you know that you should never buy fire insurance? What’s the point, when most people won’t ever see their house catch fire?

Most can probably see the flaw in such questions – as the very point of insurance is to protect against low-probability events. Most people seem to understand this kind of logic; apparently except in the case of self-defense.

A new article at NPR, headlined :”How Often Do People Use Guns In Self-Defense?” gives the impression “almost never.” Author Samantha Raphelson quotes Harvard researcher David Hemenway in stating that “The average person … has basically no chance in their lifetime ever to use a gun in self-defense.”

Hemenway had conducted a study back in 2015, which found using “figures from the National Crime Victimization Survey, [that] people defended themselves with a gun in nearly 0.9 percent of crimes from 2007 to 2011.”

Apparently we’re supposed to disarm ourselves, because this author thinks it would be preferable if guns were used in self-defense 0% of the time. But are his numbers right? As Reason Magazine’s Jacob Sullum noted:

The NCVS, unlike surveys that have generated higher defensive gun use (DGU) estimates, is not anonymous. Respondents have to supply their names and contact information, they are initially interviewed in person by a representative of the federal government, and they know the survey is commissioned by the Justice Department, a law enforcement agency. Hence it is plausible that some respondents remain silent about their DGUs because they worry that their actions could be legally questionable, given all the restrictions on where and when people may use firearms.

The survey also doesn’t ask people if they ever used a firearm in self-defense. It’s up to them to describe if they did. And if someone voluntarily discloses the time they pulled a gun on a criminal, even if justified, you can bet there’s a chance the government will investigate. Who wants that headache?

I wouldn’t speculate that under-reporting of DGU is a variable here – if it wasn’t for studies finding drastically higher frequencies of it, including those conducted under anti-gun administrations.

A 1994 survey conducted by Bill Clinton’s CDC found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 500,000 times per year

Obama’s CDC conducted a gun control study in 2013, finding that “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million…” The study also noted that “[S]ome scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey,” but this “estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.”

And just some other notes…

  • The Hemenway study found that it’s rural dwellers that are most likely to use a gun in self defense, but it’s urban dwellers that have the most violence – and the strictest gun control. This brings an old Michael Moore quote to mind, which he thought was a case for gun control: “the vast majority of these guns are owned by people who live in safe parts of town or mostly in suburbs and rural areas, places where there are very few murders.”
  •  It’s also worth pointing out that most crimes occur outside the home. Thus, if Hemenway is concerned about guns not being used in self-defense enough, he should come out in support liberalizing concealed carry laws. Concealed carry permit holders commit infractions at lower rates than police, so there isn’t much to fear.

Think that’ll happen anytime soon? I won’t keep my fingers crossed.

Did We Really Used To Tax the Rich at 90%+?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

There’s one regard in which some fiscal liberals want us to return to the “good ol’ days” – insanely high tax rates, especially on the wealthy.

While the top tax rate is 37% today (previously 39.6%), debating raising or lowering the rate a few percentage points is pale in comparison to the rates of 70-90% we had in the past, we’re told.

  • “When radical, socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, I think the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent” Bernie Sanders informed us, speaking tongue in cheek in regards to that “socialist” quip.
  • “That 90% top rate in the 60s wasn’t as crazy as modern context might make it seem. And remember, the economy thrived” tweeted New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who somehow has a Nobel Prize in economics.
  • “The income tax rate, through the early 60s… is I think 91% on incomes over $200,000.” said author Malcolm Gladwell.  “The thing is, if you bring this up now, people don’t even believe you that was in place 50 years ago.”

Gladwell is famous for stating that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill, but it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes of research into historical tax rates to prove the above arguments wrong.

As everyone that has filed taxes knows, the marginal tax bracket they fall into isn’t the effective tax rate you pay, because of deductions, and other factors. In the past, the tax code was ridden with loopholes.

When the Revenue Act of 1935 was passed, raising the top income tax bracket to 75%, literally only one person paid it; John D. Rockefeller.

It is true that we did use to have massively high marginal tax rates, but it was never the case that we had high effective marginal tax rates. Nor are the top rates comparable of the past comparable in the levels of income they affect. The new top income tax rate for households of 37 percent kicks in at $315,001 of income. The 91% rate in 1955 kicked in at an inflation adjusted $3.5 million in todays income.

As you can see in this chart from the Congressional Research Service, the top effective income tax rate in America has never exceeded 30 percent.

If we isolate just the much-maligned top 1% of income earners, their tax rate is less than 6 percentage points lower today than what it averaged in the 1950s. A decline for sure, but hardly the 60-or-so percentage point decline claimed.

Nor has the government been starved of revenue in light of the decline of marginal tax rates – because it’s the effective rate that matters.

Krugman and company are right in that tax rates on the rich used to be much higher.

But the tax rates that the rich actually paid? Not so much.

Would Repealing ObamaCare Kill 50,000 People a Year?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Liberals have made it very clear what they think would happen if ObamaCare were fully repealed (as opposed to the individual mandate repeal we got).

“Repealing the Affordable Care Act will kill more than 43,000 people annually” reported the Washington Post. “Nearly 36,000 people could die every year” in absence of ObamaCare, cautioned the far-left “Think Progress.” Meanwhile Bernie Sanders informed us that “When you throw 23 million people off of health insurance — people with cancer, people with heart disease, people with diabetes — thousands of people will die… there is study after study making this point.”

Coming to those figures is relatively simple. Simply estimate differences in mortality between the insured and uninsured, and then multiply the difference to the number of expected newly uninsured. It’s common sense, but doesn’t accord for the fact that there’s insurance, and then there’s ObamaCare insurance.

But first, let’s examine the source of the claims.

  • The study which concluded with the “43,000 deaths” figure compared mortality in states that expanded Medicaid in the early 2000s that didn’t to estimate the health benefits of Medicaid (as most of those insured by ObamaCare were insured by the Medicaid expansion). This study was conducted in part by David Himmelstein, founder of Physicians for a National Health Program.
  • The “36,000 deaths” figure is from a Think Progress study that compared morality rates in Massachusetts before and after the enactment of RomneyCare, of which ObamaCare is based off of.

So what’s wrong with the studies?

  • The entire premise of the Himmelstein study is working under the assumption that Medicaid improves health outcomes – as it appeared to in the data from the early 2000s he’s relying on. However, many studies dispute this. Most notable is the famous “Oregon Medicaid health experiment” that analyzed the 2008 Medicaid expansion in the State. The study concluded that Medicaid has “no statistically significant impact on physical health measures.” The main benefit to recipients is that Medicaid acts as a financial cushion.
  • The Think Progress study is based on the assumption that 30 million people would lose coverage if ObamaCare were repealed. In other words, the study assumes that roughly twice as many people would lose coverage, than gained coverage as a result of ObamaCare initially. Additionally, Massachusetts has among the highest quality medical care in the nation, the State is an outlier in regards to health outcomes.

But who cares what two studies say, when they’re in light of the objective fact that mortality rates have increased since the enactment of ObamaCare.

If you look at the death rate after excluding all external causes (such as drugs, alcohol, murder, suicide; anything where medical intervention would be impossible), it increased from a rate of 247.4 per 100,000 people from 2004-2013, to 252.9 in 2014-15.

If we were to round up Himmelstein’s study to “45,000 deaths,” we’d expect the death rate to have dropped to 238 per 100,000. Clearly, liberals are designing their studies about as well as their healthcare systems.


Does the USPS Lose $1.50 on Every Amazon.com Package?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

President Donald Trump has made it clear that he’s no fan of Amazon.com, attacking them numerous times on his twitter account in recent weeks. In large part, Trump’s disdain for Amazon.com is a disdain for the firm’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also personally owns The Washington Post.

“The Fake News Washington Post, Amazon’s ‘chief lobbyist,’ has another (of many) phony headlines,” Trump complained through Twitter on April 4th. The week prior, Trump attacked Amazon directly, writing that it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon.” In another tweet, Trump added that Amazon would have to pay $2.6 billion extra in shipping costs if the USPS raised their rates to market levels.

So, is it true? After reviewing the source for the claim, my verdict is “half-true.” There’s truth to the sentiment of Trump’s statement, but could be perhaps better described as a classic example “truthful hyperbole” (a term Trump himself coined).

So, What is Trump Referring to?

Amazon has negotiated a “last mile” delivery plan with the USPS, which delivers 2/3rds of their packages. Under this system, Amazon presorts packages and delivers them to a local USPS, which completes delivery.
The statistic Trump is quoting comes from an analysis by Citigroup, which found that the USPS should be charging Amazon $1.46 more per package than the $2 or so they currently do for packages categorized as “competitive products.”

It’s this claim that’s been misinterpreted as a “1.46 loss,” when in reality’s it’s a “$1.46 undercharge.” The USPS is selling above cost – but below the market price.

Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the Postal Office’s “competitive products” must “cover attributable costs and contribute to institutional costs.” In other words, there’s already a law on the books to prevent the USPS from selling below cost. How pathetic is it that it’s necessary for such a law to exist in the first place?

What the Citigroup study is specifically arguing is that the USPS will need to charge $1.46 more on their Amazon packages to cover their operating costs, and to prefund the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, which hasn’t been done since 2012. Not like it makes much of a difference, but the $1.46 estimate is for fiscal year 2017. To break-even, the Office would need to charge $1.41 for 2018, and $1.36 in 2019.

Additionally, this is the case for all”competitive products.” The USPS is undercharging across the board, not just Amazon.

In the end, it is taxpayers subsidizing the USPS for undercharging. While the post office doesn’t receive federal funding, we the taxpayer are on the hook for their pensions. They’ve also borrowed $15 billion from the Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank – the maximum allowed by law. Who else but the taxpayer does anyone think will inevitably be bailing the USPS out?

While Trump’s claim is “half-true,” it does underscore a larger point about the inefficiency of government. If a private firm learned they should be charging nearly double for a good or service than they already do, they’d do so in an instant. To quote from Citigroup: “We contend that the USPS does not act as a rational price-setter.”

No kidding.

The Safest State Also Has the “Craziest” Gun Laws

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Does Vermont have the nation’s craziest gun laws? That’s certainly what liberals seem to think.

One of their States Senators, Bernie Sanders, found himself under attack from his fellow candidates during the 2016 Democrat primary for the “crime” of having “only” a D- rating from the NRA. In particular, Sanders found himself defending a completely rational vote of his; when in 2005 he voted in favor of legislation granting gun manufacturers legal immunity from being sued by gun victims.

Rival Hillary Clinton specifically attacked Vermont’s lax gun laws as fueling gun problems in other States, but she never went into the specifics of Vermont’s gun laws – or gun crime in the State. Let’s just see what some liberals are saying:

  • In 2009, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said that Vermont’s gun laws are the “worst in the nation,” which “lead to the illegal trade of firearms” and that they “put children at risk.”
  • The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives Vermont an “F” on their gun control scorecard
  • Vermont gets a few honorable mentions in a Washington Post article on the “6 Craziest State Gun Laws,” pointing out that you can conceal and carry a firearm at age 16 in the State without a license. The State also has no minimum age to own a rifle or shotgun.
  • The Trace (a publication started with funding by “Every Town for Gun Safety”) chided Vermont as a “gun rights paradise,” quoting one gun-rights activist as saying that “Vermont, for over 220 years, has never had permits, has never had registration, and has never had any serious gun control laws”

So Vermont must be a scene right out of Mad Max, right?

Not exactly.

Vermont was the safest State in the nation in 2016, and the second safest in 2017.

And you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled if you want to see any gun violence there.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, the State had only 7 gun homicides a year from 2011-2014. In 2015 the State had 12, but that fell back to 7 in 2016. In a State of 620,000, that’s a rate of 1.12 per 100,000 people in your typical year. Interestingly enough, when reviewing the FBI’s statistics, I found they report that only two gun homicides occurred in Vermont in 2012,  for a firearm homicide rate of 0.3 per 100,000. It’s unclear what the cause of the discrepancy is, but regardless, both are extremely low.

For comparison, gun-controlled Chicago had an average firearm homicide rate of 15.25 per 100,000 people from 2010-2015.

But what about the claims that Vermont’s lax gun laws are fueling gun violence in other States? That’s based off of a 2013 ATF study which found that “adjusting for population, Vermont has the highest rate of guns traced and recovered in other states after being used for criminal activity.” By “highest rate,” they mean an entire 147 guns that left Vermont and were used in crimes across State lines – hardly an epidemic. The “rate” is only high because of Vermont’s low population.

It’s no wonder liberals are quick to criticize Vermont’s gun laws – but never seem to talk about Vermont’s gun violence.