Recently in Gun Control Category

Sometimes I wonder if I'm crazy, but then sometimes I think that regardless of what people think of me, they need at least a seed planted.
What would it take to convince you? Convince you of what, would be a good question. The answer though is startling: What would it take to convince you that your pet view of the world is wrong? For some, it might be what would it take to convince you that what you think the Bible says is not what it says. For others, what would it take to convince you that your view of civil rights in not what the constitution says.
Many of the "pet views" of people can be challenged in many ways. I'm going to address two categories, and for one, I'll address two different radical points of view.

More Guns = More Crime?

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In an earlier discussion, our friend the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, hereafter known as "puffy" or "puffalump," made the baseless assertion that "fewer guns = less violent crime." Based on that faulty assumption, he proposed that handguns have a hefty tax on them:

First of all, a handgun should cost $1,500. Not only would that reduce the demand for guns (ie, you can have one, if you really want one)

{Yes, puffy really did stop right in the middle of the sentence.}

The extra thousand or so dollars should go to police gun buy-back programs in high crime areas. you give $100, $50 per gun, you could remove 10-20 unregistered guns. think of it, +1 legit gun, -10 illegit guns. People should be free to exercise their constitutional rights, but I'm sure you'll all agree that freedom isn't free...

"So if you or your mother wants a gun, that's great. We don't question that she should pay for the metal in the gun, the craftsmanship, the technology. She should also pay for the risk that her decision puts on the rest of society."

I wonder if the Supremes would say that a $1000 tax on abortions is an unreasonable burden. But I digress...

First, let us examine puffalump's assertion that "fewer guns = less crime."

We will look at 2001, for which we have data on gun ownership from a survey of over 200,000 households. We will compare that to the violent crime rates for 2001, which come from the FBI through here.

When we actually plot one versus the other and draw a trendline on the data, we see that there is a negative correlation between gun ownership rates and violent crime rates.

Violent%20Crime%20Rate%20vs%20Gun%20Ownership.JPG

This follows logically from many studies on the use of firearms to deter crime:


Polls by the Los Angeles Times, Gallup, and Peter Hart Research Associates show that there are at least 760,000, and possibly as many as 3.6 million, defensive uses of guns per year. In 98 percent of the cases, such polls show, people simply brandish the weapon to stop an attack. Professor Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, indicates there are
upward of 2.4 million defensive uses annually. Kleck’s research is considered the largest national study on this topic, to date. In a follow-up survey of those who reported the defensive use of a firearm, one in six respondents said they believed their intervention with a firearm prevented the loss of life. This suggests that upward of 400,000 lives are being saved by the use of a firearm annually.


So let's now concentrate on the murder rate. The gun-banners will surely tell you that, since guns are made to kill, we can expect fewer murders if there are fewer guns. We also get the 2001 murder rates from the FBI through here.

Murder%20Rate%20vs.%20Gun%20Ownership.JPG

Well, that's not much of a correlation, is it? In fact, the R-squared value is 0.0007, meaning that 0.07% of the variation in the states' murder rates can be explained by their rates of gun possession. Even puffalump cannot call that statistically significant.

In most discussions of gun control, the question arises, "Do gun control laws make us safer or not?" The argument usually goes that, where there are fewer firearms, there are few homicide by firearm, and fewer suicides by firearms. The assumption is then made that gun control laws result in fewer guns in the population, ergo, there will be fewer homicides and suicides committed by firearms. (Since the point is to look for negative correlations between gun control laws and homicide and suicide rates, the studies usually neglect to look at the rates of homicides and suicides committed by other means.)

In my research, I came across a paper published in the Journal of Community Health 29.4 (August 2004) by James H. Price, Amy J. Thompson and Joseph A. Dake entitled "Factors associated with state variations in homicide, suicide, and unintentional firearm deaths."

This paper indicates that, when all other factors are held constant, the presence of gun control laws actually has a positive correlation with firearms homicide rates.

The recent report on the Virginia Tech shooting as reported by MSNBC has a flaw that few people realize. Those that commit such actions do not think the way normal people do -- while that is obvious, few people realize the only logical conclusions. If someone is determined to kill a large number of people, and themselves (clearly this maniacal murderer's intent) then the only way to stop that outcome is the forceful stopping of the criminal.

It's a whole lot different when your life is on the line.

After all the requests for citings of hard numbers on crime levels in Britain since the gun ban, you'd think it'd be as easy as typing in "Britain handgun statistics" at your local neighborhood Google.com. Geez. It wasn't that hard, Jack. Chapter 5 is a good one.

The report also seems to make a particular point of indicating that perceived increases in crime could very well be attributed to changes in crime reporting, whatever that's supposed to mean. . .

According to the Virginia Citizens' Defense League (a very conservative 2nd amendment group), John Markell, the owner of the gun store who legally sold the firearms to the Tech killer, is receiving threats by those who blame him for the tragedy this week.

I've seen the gentleman on tv, and he seems to geniunely regret what happened. However, Mr. Markell did nothing wrong, and these leftwing crazies should back off.

I bet this is one story that the mainstream media will never report.

Not Larry Sabato Wars

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The current NLS saga, for those thus far untouched by flash burns, revolves around a Virginia Virtucon post which Don Ben found objectionable and which incited the Don to strike VV from his blogroll.

As Blog Fu and others have since noted, the original VV post was really quite sensible.

Basically, Riley of Virginia Virtucon argued the VA Tech killer seemed to be under the influence of radical leftists and Don Ben said, this is an inappropriate argument at this time. Right Wing Liberal then pointed out that the South Korean leftists are, indeed, freaks, and the VA Tech killer might reasonably be assumed to have been in that camp.

Pointing out the ideological connection is not so crazy, in the overall context of this big old crazy world we live in.

Be all that as it may, the question of who is right and who is a freak is one we will likely argue for months to come. Life, death, guilt, innocence, friend, foe, God, Satan: So much remains to be sorted out.

Of immediate, momentous importance, however is that one lingering question which chills our souls: How will this impact the links to my blog?

(continued below the fold)

Giuliani has reaffirmed his position that, "Ultimately, it's a constitutional right, and therefore if it's a constitutional right, ultimately, even if you do it on a state-by-state basis, you have to make sure people are protected."

Of course, he was talking about the right to murder one's unborn child, not the right to protect oneself from a murderer, but if he is a man of principle, then that principle must hold for our Second Amendment rights, too. Naturally, one could also expect free telephone and internet service to protect our First Amendment rights, too.

Just heard through the grapevine a staffer for Sen. Webb was arrested earlier today for possession of a loaded handgun which was registered to Webb. Capital police confirmed something happened at the Russell Office Building but would not reveal the staff member or Senator in question.

If the rumor is true, maybe it will light a fire under some Democrats to fix DC's highly screwed-up gun laws.

UPDATE: More at Drudge, Wonkette.

The grapevine says Capital police have now confirmed a Webb staffer arrested for a weapons charge.

While on the one hand screaming for voting rights for DC residents, the House Democrat leadership is not willing to give them those rights if it means granting those same citizens their Second Amendment rights:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/22/AR2007032200683.html

Elections matter indeed. Where we had a republic, we now have a hypocracy.

Gun Show!

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After a highly forgettable week, the arrival of the Nation's Gun Show on its periodic swing through NOVA could not have been more welcome.

(A few pretty cool photos are up at Digital Camel also.)


gun_show_chantilly_sm.jpg

Best. Christmas. Presents. Ever.
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gun_show_woman_rifle_sm.jpg


Much more below the fold.

Another school hostage-taking and shooting. Fortunately, only the gunman died this time, although he did shoot one girl.

Do we ever hear of Palestinian terrorists attacking an Israeli school? No, because the teachers in Israel are armed. Why aren't ours?

Thank you, Ann Richards...

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...for giving us President George W. Bush.

The Texas legislature passed a bill that would allow the voters of Texas to decide whether they wanted Concealed Carry in their State. Gov. Richards vetoed that bill, sealing her political fate and facilitating the election of Gov. Bush.

Is My Mom Safer in Canada?

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My mother recently purchased a vacation home in Nova Scotia. One of the things she likes about it is that she feels safer there than she does at home in Virginia Beach, because Canada’s murder rate is so much lower than it is in the United States. Our neighbors to the North pride themselves on their low crime rate, usually citing that their murder rate is far lower than ours (1.9 vs. 5.5 per 100,000 people in 2004). Frequently, proponents of gun control have held Canada up as an example of the benefits of gun control, again citing Canada’s lower murder rate. But does that lower murder rate mean my mom is safer there?

While Canada does have a lower murder rate that the U.S., the rates of all other violent crimes are higher in Canada – significantly higher. In the U.S. last year (2005), there were approximately 471 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In Canada, there were 943 per 100,000. That’s twice the U.S. violent crime rate. So why is our murder rate more than two-and-a-half times theirs? Because Blacks and Hispanics are murdered at a far higher rates than are Whites and Asians, and Canada has relatively few Blacks and Hispanics. Since my mom is neither Black nor Hispanic, I thought I would try to look at just the murder rates for White victims.

(N.B.: The statistics used here reflect who has been murdered, not who's doing the murdering. The point of this investigation is to show the relative safety of a White person, namely my mother, in the United States as compared to Canada, so the emphasis is on victim counts. I do not care about the race of the perpetrators here, because I do not think living in Canada will turn my mom into a violent criminal.)

Unfortunately, and unfathomably, the FBI does not keep, or at least does not publish, data on Hispanic crime victims. The options are Black, White, Other, and Unknown. Hispanics are classified as one of the above. Fortunately, some states do track Hispanic crime victims, and the Census Bureau tracks the races into which Hispanics classified.

Although the data is sketchy, some studies have concluded that the murder rate for Hispanics is about 9.1 per 100,000. U.S. Census data that tells us that 91% of Hispanics consider themselves “White” (when forced to choose), and 6% consider themselves “Black.” With these census numbers and the Hispanic murder rate, we can derive the number of Hispanic victims, which we subtract from the reported Black and White victim counts. When we go back and recompute the murder rates for Whites and Blacks without the Hispanic victims, we find that the murder rate for Black victims is 18.1 per 100,000, while the White murder rate is only 1.9 per 100,000. Thus, the White murder rate in the U.S. is right in line with Canada’s.

So why, then, is Canada’s violent crime rate so high? The property crime rate is not significantly higher in Canada (3738 in Canada vs. 3517 in the U.S., per 100,000 people), so why should the violent crime be that much higher? Because we have guns. In the United States, a homeowner or a person shopping in the mall is far more likely to have a gun than is a Canadian, who is not permitted to carry a loaded handgun, even when he is licensed to have one at all. In Canada, handguns may only be transported if they are unloaded, are equipped with a trigger lock, and are locked in a case; and no stops may be made between one’s home and the (government approved) shooting range.

Another consequence of the Canadian gun ban is that, in Canada, 50% of burglaries are of occupied homes. That rate is only 13% here. Along with the higher burglary rate in Canada, that means that burglary of an occupied home in Canada is four times more common than it is here. Burglars don't get shot in Canada.

I am far less concerned for her safety when she is home in Virginia Beach than when she is in Nova Scotia, which has an even higher violent crime rate than does Canada as a whole. (Halifax, the capitol of Nova Scotia, has the highest crime rate of any city in Canada.) My mother is a widow, and one of the Social Security generation. Without a gun, she has no chance of defending herself against a typical young criminal. Here in the United States, my mom has the right to own a gun for personal protection. She is also protected here by the deterrence provided by our collective gun ownership, because the criminals don’t know whether she has a gun or not.

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