I across an article on Dallas Blog today, The Concealed Handgun Law: Ten Years Later, that jumped right out at me as having some very bogus logic in it. To wit:
…the statistics continue to prove my point. Since the passage of the Concealed Handgun Law, the FBI Uniform Crime Report shows an 18% drop in handgun murders, down from 838 in 1995 to 688 in 1994.
The conclusion made is that the passage of the law caused the drop in handgun murders in Texas. This is a classic example of the Post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. It says that because A occurred before B, A must have caused B. Merely stating the statistic does not prove the conclusion. In 1995 the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup. The handgun murder rate in Texas dropped after 1995. Therefore, the Devils’ Stanley Cup victory must have caused the drop in the handgun murder rate.In addition, if the statistic is considered proof, then when considered in context it actually proves the opposite of what the author contends. He states that there was an 18% drop in handgun murders in Texas, a change that he attributes to the passage of the concealed handgun law. However using his own sources, the 1995 FBI Uniform Crime Report, and the 2004 FBI Uniform Crime Report, we can see that nationwide there was a 35% drop in handgun murders (from 11,198 to 7,265) over the same period. Assuming that the other 49 states did not pass concealed handgun laws the same year, then the author’s logic would have to lead me to conclude that the law must have actually caused the rate in Texas to go up relative to other states.
I think the evidence presented is not conclusive enough to ascribe the drop in handgun murders in Texas over the last 10 years to the concealed handgun law.