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Gun Crime Down, But Americans Think It’s Up

Gun Flag

The Los Angeles Times points to a new study that shows that gun crimes are down dramatically, but Americans think otherwise:

Gun crime has plunged in the United States since its peak in the middle of the 1990s, including gun killings, assaults, robberies and other crimes, two new studies of government data show.

Yet few Americans are aware of the dramatic drop, and more than half believe gun crime has risen, according to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center.

In less than two decades, the gun murder rate has been nearly cut in half. Other gun crimes fell even more sharply, paralleling a broader drop in violent crimes committed with or without guns. Violent crime dropped steeply during the 1990s and has fallen less dramatically since the turn of the millennium.

The number of gun killings dropped 39% between 1993 and 2011, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in a separate report released Tuesday. Gun crimes that weren’t fatal fell by 69%. However, guns still remain the most common murder weapon in the United States, the report noted. Between 1993 and 2011, more than two out of three murders in the U.S. were carried out with guns, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found.

The bureau also looked into non-fatal violent crimes. Few victims of such crimes — less than 1% — reported using a firearm to defend themselves.

Despite the remarkable drop in gun crime, only 12% of Americans surveyed said gun crime had declined compared with two decades ago, according to Pew, which surveyed  more than 900 adults this spring. Twenty-six percent said it had stayed the same, and 56% thought it had increased.

The most obvious explanation for the disparity between reality and perception, of course, would arguably be media coverage of crime. Mass shootings like those in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut resulted in round-the-clock coverage by the news media that lasted for days on end. Local news stations continue to seem to follow an “if it bleeds, it leads” theory of journalism that emphasizes violent crime as a prominent part of the local news reporting that they do. Newspapers aren’t quite nearly as obsessive in their coverage due to their delayed nature, but you see the same phenomenon there. Throughout the media, violent crime of any kind gets a high degree of attention. The result, arguably, is that this coverage creates the impression in the minds of the public that we live in a far more violent society than we actually do. In reality, the odds that the average citizen will be the victim of a violent crime, and specifically a crime involving a gun, is far lower than it was 20 years ago. But, you wouldn’t know that by watching the media.

None of this is to discount the violence that still does take place in society, of course. Cities like Chicago and Detroit remain far too violent for their own good, for example. Even there, though, the violence is restricted to “high crime” areas of the city rather than being something that the average citizen necessarily needs to worry about as they walk around the more well-developed areas of the city. We ought to be vigilant about the violence that does take place in our society, and we ought to be looking for ways to reduce it. At the same time, however, we need to be realistic about what’s actually happening here. America is a much safer place than it was 20 years, and even more so than it was in the 1970s when you look at major cities like New York City. The suggestion that there’s an “epidemic of violence” simply doesn’t comport with the facts.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    This is true of all violent crime, right? Down, but people think it’s up?

    It’s good to point out. People should, ideally, make decisions w/o being frightened of things that aren’t happening. That said, the level of violent crime is still intolerably high.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The suggestion that there’s an “epidemic of violence” simply doesn’t comport with the facts.

    I have to say, I honestly don’t know anyone who believes that, and my circle of friends range in age from mid 20’s to 70’s and come from all walks of life. Crime in general, and violent crime in particular, is way down from their high point in the ’80s and 90s. I lived in the city of St. Louis from the late ’70s thru the ’90s and when I go up to visit friends or family, I can tell you there is a completely different vibe now. Even the most dangerous neighborhoods feel almost normal to me.

    As to the roll of guns in all this, I will simply refer all to this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  3. Mikey says:

    @Rob in CT:

    People should, ideally, make decisions w/o being frightened of things that aren’t happening.

    I’ve got a Mr. Patriot Act for you on line three…he isn’t saying anything, he’s just too busy laughing at you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  4. john personna says:

    You mean everyone DOESN’T need a gun “for home protection?”

    (Don’t think the gun control types are the ones pushing fear over pragmatism.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  5. john personna says:

    (See also: concealed carry to feel safe.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  6. legion says:

    The most obvious explanation for the disparity between reality and perception, of course, would arguably be media coverage of crime.

    It’s amazing to me that you can write this entire article without using the letters N, R, or A even once…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  7. @john personna: And yet, I had an acquaintance comment that the reason crime is down is because armed people are able to defend themselves.

    I expect, especially in my neck of the woods, that many share this view.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  8. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s good to remember that violent crime, generally, and gun crime in particular has declined but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a serious more localized problem. Here in Chicago, for example, the homicide rate here is persistently three times what it is nationally.

    I think that Chicago’s problems are various including drugs, gangs, ineffective use of law enforcement resources,and corruption and the associated falling into disrepute of Chicago’s police department (cf. Jon Burge).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. john personna says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think Ozark’s link addresses that, as best we can with numbers. Where there are more guns there is more violence.

    We can’t of course do a randomized trial, giving guns to random people and taking them away from random others …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  10. @legion:

    So you’re saying the NRA is responsible for the decline in gun crimes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

  11. john personna says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Oh wait, isn’t another statistic that while gun count has gone up, gun owners as a percentage of the population has fallen?

    There reduced gun ownership is what correlates to decreased crime.

    Share of Homes With Guns Shows 4-Decade Decline

    Ta-da! data.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  12. @john personna: I agree. Sadly, however, many are impervious to numbers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. john personna says:

    Let’s repeat that … falling gun crime is actually correlated with falling gun ownership.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  14. @john personna: Indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  15. Caj says:

    Gun violence is down! I’m sure the thousands who have lost loved ones over the years will beg to differ on that notion! Is this headline news supposed to make us all feel better about guns? I don’t think so! No matter how little it has dropped it’s still the biggest factor in crimes out there.
    So they can make it as nice looking as they want but guns are a bane to society and they always will be!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  16. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    There is an entire industry, tied to the NRA value network, which is all about selling fear and protection.

    The NRA will NOT see this as good news, especially when it is tied to reduce gun ownership.

    They want you to feel unsafe.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

  17. Rob in CT says:

    I normally do not complain about this… and actually this isn’t a complaint, it’s just plain old confusion:

    Why in the world would someone downvote my comment? I can’t wrap my mind around that.

    @Mikey:

    I’ve got a Mr. Patriot Act for you on line three…he isn’t saying anything, he’s just too busy laughing at you

    Good example, and far from the only one available.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  18. fred says:

    Tell victims of gun violence that the crime is down. Another false premise by NRA and supporters because they don’t want to see gun-control and safety measures to protect all citizens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  19. Rob in CT says:

    @Caj:

    Speaking of impervious to numbers…

    The problem, while still horrible, is actually improving. Also note the falling % of households w/guns.

    One can certainly say “not good enough!” Yes, I agree. More improvement is needed, and IMO gun laws are part of a reasonable approach.

    But that’s not really what you said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  20. @john personna:

    The vast majority of Americans, indeed the vast majority of gun owners in America, or not member of the NRA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  21. Rob in CT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Here’s what JP said:

    There is an entire industry, tied to the NRA value network, which is all about selling fear and protection

    He’s talking about the gun industry. This is a fairly obvious point: the gun industry will sell more weapons & ammo to scared people than to calm people (just as one can say that scared people are more likely to try to ban “scary” guns that actually aren’t the problem, whereas calm people might take a more reasoned approach).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  22. @Rob in CT:

    And yet it’s clear that the media “if it bleed it leads” theory of news reporting reaches far more people than the NRA or gun manufacturers, most of whom do not advertise outside of magazines that cater to gun enthusiasts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  23. JKB says:

    @john personna: everyone DOESN’T need a gun

    No one has advocated for everyone to have a gun, except for a few small towns. But they do have a problem when the gun grabbers advocate for no one but the cops and the criminals to have a gun.

    But the fact is, one doesn’t carry a firearm to feel safe. It is carried to have capabilities to handle life threatening situations. As seen at Sandy Hook, evil people intent on doing evil can show up anywhere. Odds are you’ll never need to use the firearm in self defense, especially if you are a security conscious person with awareness of your surroundings. But the time and place it might be needed cannot be predicted.

    I would say, if it could be measured, that 99.9% of all non-military use of a firearm for crime prevention, private and law enforcement, comes from having a firearm, not from using or even drawing the firearm. You can do it without a firearm but there is always that 0.1% of evil or crazy that will require the use of the capability to stop them. And private citizens don’t have the imprimatur of “police” to influence the rational bad guy to back down when they are unarmed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  24. Moosebreath says:

    @Rob in CT:

    “This is true of all violent crime, right? Down, but people think it’s up?”

    True. Kevin Drum has done yeoman work publicizing the studies which correlate the drop to removing lead from gasoline and house paint, which would never have happened had we left it to the free market. We’ve now raised a generation who brains were not damaged in their youth, and throughout the world this has led to a drop in crime 2 decades after they were banned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  25. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Kind of a non-sequitor. You asked how the NRA affects the equation. I answered that they sell fear, including through all of their home defense “success stories.”

    Of course those “success stories” suffer the “survivorship bias” we mentioned yesterday. In this case, with the hardest meaning of the word “survivorship.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  26. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    No one has advocated for everyone to have a gun, except for a …

    I love it how you couldn’t make it through the first sentence without an “except.”

    Of course there have been many such initiatives by gun advocates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  27. Rob in CT says:

    I have no intention of letting the news media off the hook – not at all.

    “The bubble-headed bleach blonde comes on at 5. She can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye!”

    So you have fear stirred up by media reports + fear stirred up by the NRA and the gun industry + fear stirred up by law enforcement (if/when they feel the need to counter a budget cut or back up their absolute need for, say, a tank). This helps feed a lot of sloppy thinking on the subject.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  28. john personna says:

    @this:

    For the downvoters’ enjoyment:

    NRA course to keep you safe

    Americans own firearms for a variety of reasons, but home defense is among the most common reasons for owning a handgun. To help handgun owners learn more about firearms and home defense, the NRA developed the Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course. This course focuses on the safe and efficient use of a handgun for protection of self and family. Students can also learn about their right to self-defense as a law-abiding citizen.

    Certainly a gun owner is safer with an NRA course than without … but they are safer still without the gun, as Ozark’s link up top shows, by the numbers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  29. @john personna:

    There is an entire industry, tied to the NRA value network, which is all about selling fear and protection.

    I’d say it’s more the responsibility of the 24-hour news media. Stories that would never have been heard outside the local area are now national stories for days or weeks, creating the impression crime is going up because we hear about it more than we used to. Plus media knows that creating panics drive viewership (aka, the “Summer of the Shark” phenomenon).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. stonetools says:

    @john personna:

    Indeed. Witness the upcoming gun march on Washington:

    The 31-year-old former Marine and radio talk show host wants to lead armed demonstrators on a march across Memorial Bridge from Arlington National Cemetery around the Capitol, Supreme Court and the White House. Kokesh is calling on the thousands he hopes will join him (as of this writing, the count stands at 2,673) to march “with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny.”
    Kokesh plans this to be “an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event.” Fine. Happens all the time. But there’s just one problem. Openly or concealed, it is illegal to carry a gun in the District of Columbia. But that’s no issue for Kokesh. “There will be coordination with DC law enforcement prior to the event,” he writes on his blog. “I will recommend that they do the best they can to honor their oaths and escort us on our route.” Translation: skirt the law

    Such people are certain that not only is violent crime is on the rise, but that arsenals of high powered weaponry are necessary in order to fight against the coming battle against US government tyranny.
    The gun lobby foments this kind of hysteria. Good for business.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  31. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    And yet, the right to lawfully carry a firearm as you go about your lawful business is at a 40 year high? Interesting?

    Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths. If those states which did not have right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravate assaults would have been avoided yearly. On the other hand, consistent with the notion of criminals responding to incentives, we find criminals substituting into property crimes involving stealth and where the probabilities of contact between the criminal and the victim are minimal. The largest population counties where the deterrence effect on violent crimes is greatest are where the substitution effect into property crimes is highest. Concealed handguns also have their greatest deterrent effect in the highest crime counties.

    Seems actual results have come to reflect those found in this study.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  32. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    You got something against democracy? These are small towns where the city elected officials can be directly influenced by voters. And they even have an out for those adamant against owning a firearm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  33. Rob in CT says:

    It’s not one or the other. The fear (some of which, depending on your individual circumstances, may be justified!) comes from numerous sources.

    The media plays a central role. “If it bleeds it leads” helps “You need a gun to protect your family! Buy my gun!”

    I do not expect improvement. There’s a reason it leads if it bleeds. Sadly, that sells. I listened to more radio the day of the Newtown shootings than I had in a long time. I was in my car. Had I been home, I’d probably have watched some TV news, which I normally don’t do. The last time I watched TV news for any length of time was when the Tsunami hit Japan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. Rob in CT says:

    @JKB:

    1992 was 21 years ago. Have they re-run their study since? Do they find the same results using the same methodology? That would make the case quite a bit stronger.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  35. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Ah, no. That the NRA’s constant drum-beating combo of “Guns for everyone! It’s the only way to save your life!” and “Obama’s coming to take all the guns!” have had a significant impact on how Americans perceive gun violence and violent crime in general.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  36. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    That’s not a good paper. They do county-to-county comparisons, thus generating many individual results, but do not show them on a scatter chart. They normalize them and tell us a number that may be an artifact.

    (I even went to the original PDF. Data is not really displayed, it is just “interpreted” for the reader.)

    It is a weird claim anyway. We know from above that the rate of gun ownership is falling, this is kind of a hail mary idea that concealed carry, as a subset of ownership, gets to own all the improvement in rates of violence (and not the lead removal etc.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  37. Caj says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I made myself clear on how I feel about ALL guns. They are all a bane to society,end of story! The 2nd amendment has been used and abused by LaPierre and his ilk to suit their purpose for everyone to be armed and dangerous! Nowhere does it mention every citizen can own a gun. It mentions a well armed militia that’s all. It’s the likes of some of the crazies in the NRA who
    choose to ignore what the 2nd amendment actually means!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  38. rudderpedals says:

    Here’s how one new gun owner made sure his kid would think twice before committing any crime http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/3-year-old-boy-shot-and-wounded-near-tampa/2119745

    At some point the weight of the collateral damage is going to roll right over the demagogues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  39. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    Oddly, we are talking about gun crime being down even more since the study and you wonder if the study has been repeated. Well, the fact is, the right-to-carry (41 states) has been increased even since then and violent crime has continued to decrease. Only DC and Illinois have no firearm carry system. We heard above about how violent Chicago is and if you visited since 9/11, DC is an armed camp. True I didn’t visit SE DC but within walking distance of the Mall you see men with guns everywhere, often guarding parking garages.

    More RTC, less crime: Since 1991, when violent crime peaked in the U.S., 24 states have adopted “shall issue” laws, replacing laws that prohibited carrying or that issued carry permits on a very restrictive basis; many other federal, state, and local gun control laws have been eliminated or made less restrictive; and the number of privately-owned guns has risen by about 100 million.5 The numbers of gun owners and firearms, RTC states, and people carrying firearms for protection have risen to all-time highs. Through 2010, the nation’s murder rate has decreased 52 percent to a 47-year low, and the total violent crime rate has decreased 48 percent to a 37-year low.6 The FBI preliminarily has reported that violent crimes decreased another 6.4 percent in the first half of 2011, translating into a seven percent decrease in the total violent crime per capita rate.7

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  40. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:


    There has been national coverage of crime stories since the creation of the telegraph network and the rise of urban newspapers in the 1860s. Ever since, then, lurid reporting of violent crime has been a media staple. Jesse James, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, Frank Dillinger, and “Scarface Al” Capone have all been elevated to mythic status through fevered coverage of their exploits by the media . So this is nothing new.
    Blaming media for high crime rates ( or for the misperception of high crime rates) is really an easy substitute for not doing anything to address the real reasons behind violent crime. And unquestionably , one of the reasons is the easy availability of guns, without proper vetting of gun purchasers. That is why guns end up in the hands of violent criminals, not “24-hour media coverage” . Tap dance all you want, that’s what the data shows.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  41. Groty says:

    When the Democrats decided to try to exploit the Newtown massacre to restrict gun liberty, I found the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report online and dug through the data. The FBI has been publishing annually online since 1995, so anybody who has taken the time to skim it was already well aware of the statistics cited above from this new study. As wells as others startling statistics (like twice as many people were murdered in 2011 by someone using his bare hands than a rifle – including those super scary AR-15 “assault rifles”).

    Other things to keep in mind are: 1) the population is about 40 million people larger today than it was when the first Uniform Crime Report was published online in 1995; 2) far more states have liberalized gun laws and concealed carry than have tightened restrictions; 3) the Democrat/media invented super scary term “assault weapons” became legal to own again about a decade ago; and 4) new private gun sales skyrocketed out of fear President Obama would try to ban them, a fear which in hindsight was well justified as he just went on a national campaign exploiting the Newtown tragedy in an attempt to ban the most popular gun on the market, the AR-15. And hundreds of other models. One estimate I’ve seen by the National Sport Shooting Foundation is that 10.2 million new guns were sold last year alone to private individuals. You can make your won estimate about the number of new guns that have been sold since 1995, but I think it’s reasonable to believe perhaps as many as 100 million over 18 years.

    In short, we have a much larger population, gun laws have been liberalized, and gun sales have skyrocketed. With those variables and the media saturation of crime stories and insane demonization of the NRA by Democrats/media, you would be excused if you believed gun violence was a worsening problem rather than that there’s been a dramatic decline in gun violence.

    The only rational conclusion to make is that gun owners as a whole are incredibly responsible.

    The problem is with recidivist criminals that liberal judges often let out of their cages early, people who are poisoned by ideology like McVeigh and Islamist extremists; and the mentally deranged like the perpetrators of Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown. Focus on those areas to reduce gun violence, not restricting the liberty of everybody else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  42. Rob in CT says:

    @Caj:

    Ok, you don’t like guns. Neither do I. That doesn’t mean ignoring data is a virtue.

    Also, I think you’re mis-reading the 2nd. It does reference a well-regulated militia (18th century wording – careful about assuming what they meant by regulation), but it doesn’t stop there (indeed, the militia part reads to me as a justification for what comes next).

    I don’t see this going anywhere productive, so I’ll leave it there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  43. Rob in CT says:

    By the way, I’m really not sure how this became an argument over concealed carry. There’s a process there, is there not?

    The biggest problem we have with respect to guns is with black market guns sales. I don’t worry about the guy willing to go down to city hall or whatever and fill out a form and such. I worry about the guy with a trunk load of guns selling them on a street corner no questions asked.

    Regarding classes of guns, it’s clear that the problem weapons are not rifles. Handguns are the gun of choice for criminals, for obvious reasons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. stonetools says:

    The only rational conclusion to make is that gun owners as a whole are incredibly responsible.

    I’ve got a whole Twitter feed that provides evidence that this statement isn’t true:

    #GUNFAIL

    Lowlights:

    What kind of lunatic parents give a 5 yr old a rifle as a gift? Now he’s killed his little sister.…

    14-year old boy unintentionally fires gun and hits 6-year old girl in leg

    Teen accidentally shot in the face by brother’s AR-15. “Didn’t know it was loaded

    Another one. LINCOLN, NE: Man shoots himself in concealed carry class

    drunk 42-y.o. kills self w/gunshot to head while at NRA 500 auto race

    Paul Waldman has covered what seems a near infinite number of such incidents, giving the lie to idea that gun owners are all that responsible. Wonder how high the butcher’s bill must rise before THAT canard is put to rest.

    And we haven’t even considered the issue of the 18,000 gun suicides per year. Is that caused by media coverage too?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  45. Dave says:

    @Groty: “The problem is with recidivist criminals that liberal judges often let out of their cages early, people who are poisoned by ideology like McVeigh and Islamist extremists; and the mentally deranged like the perpetrators of Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown.”

    Makes sense that we shouldn’t have background checks for gun sales. We (lawful gun owners) don’t need to be punished just because some liberal judge let out a violent criminal and he went and bought a gun with out a background check. Damn you Obama, don’t come for my guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  46. Rob in CT says:

    @stonetools:

    There’s plenty of stupid out there. But seriously, he said gun owners as a whole.

    You have to actually look at the rates of accidental deaths + domestic dispute deaths or whatever. You can do that and make a case that owning a gun is a poor choice (it’s been done, upthread) and I’d agree.

    But you didn’t. You pulled some quotes from “gunfail” on twitter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. Rob in CT says:

    Crap, I did leave out suicides. That’s a big one too. Much like other crimes, guns don’t cause suicide, but they sure make it easier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  48. JKB says:

    @stonetools:

    So I take it that you are for mandatory “gun proofing” of kids as early as possible. Gun familiarization and safe handling lessons in kindergarten and first grade would go a long way to help kids understand the difference between a real gun and the misleading and dangerous depictions of guns in television, cartoons, movies and video games.

    Do it for the children!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  49. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    The only way to “gun proof” children is mandatory gun safes, which as you know reduces the gun’s role in home protection.

    Safe storage and readiness being permanently at odds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  50. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    There is no sensible claim there, with testable causality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  51. pylon says:

    Meanwhile the Dow is way up but Americans think it’s down. Right Doug?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  52. Groty says:

    @Dave:

    We have background checks for guns. If you buy a gun from a licensed dealer at a gun show, you have to undergo a background check.

    But whatever. Data is fun.

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics study:

    “In 2004 (the most recent year of data available), among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of the offense,

    fewer than two percent bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show

    . About 10 percent of state prison inmates said they purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37 percent obtained it from family or friends, and another

    40 percent obtained it from an illegal source

    .”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB:

    Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths.

    I would laugh if it wasn’t so pathetic.

    From:

    Academics such as John Lott and Gary Kleck have long claimed that more firearms reduce crime. But is this really the case? Stripped of machismo bluster, this is at heart a testable claim that merely requires sturdy epidemiological analysis. And this was precisely what Prof Charles Branas and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania examined in their 2009 paper investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault. They compared 677 cases in which people were injured in a shooting incident with 684 people living in the same area that had not suffered a gun injury. The researchers matched these “controls” for age, race and gender. They found that those with firearms were about 4.5 times more likely to be shot than those who did not carry, utterly belying this oft repeated mantra.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  54. stonetools says:

    @Rob in CT:

    But you didn’t. You pulled some quotes from “gunfail” on twitter

    If what you are saying is that the plural of anecdote isn’t data, you are right. But then again, cold statistics don’t really make for compelling arguments. We already know that the data support the argument that guns don’t make you safer. But the NRA rebuts such statistical arguments with stirring anecdotes about heroic gun owners defending their homes and slogans like “When seconds count, the police are minutes away.” You may not like it, but such sh%t works, apparently.
    We have to fight back against arguments like that, and dry recitation of data alone doesn’t work. It doesn’t move people as much as vivid anecdotes showing that gun owners aren’t all heroes who unerringly use their guns only for good. Really, both data and vivid anecdotes are needed in any good arguments. (Liberals forget this, which is why conservatives consistently win arguments in the public square). JP supplied the data: I tried to supply the pictures.

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  55. john personna says:

    @Groty:

    We have background checks for guns. If you buy a gun from a licensed dealer at a gun show, you have to undergo a background check.

    Do you really consider that a honest answer? You say “we have background checks” but then you immediately limit your claim to a subset “if you buy a gun from a licensed dealer.”

    But whatever, right?

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  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I don’t worry about the guy willing to go down to city hall or whatever and fill out a form and such.

    Let me assure you Rob. If you knew some of those people? You would.

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  57. Scott says:

    @JKB: Great idea! Just what my wife needs. Another task to make up for the failure of parents to parent.

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  58. PD Shaw says:

    @Rob in CT: “You have to actually look at the rates of accidental deaths + domestic dispute deaths [+ suicide]”

    I think the accidental deaths are the most problematic for guns, since guns are uniquely designed to be lethal and any accident involving them will be uniquely dangerous. Plus, there are not any substitution effects. If I don’t have a gun and I want to kill myself, I’ll just substitute a different method. The big criminal trial in this area is a domestic disturbance in which a family was killed with a tire iron. In that case, the substitution is not complete since it takes a certain type of strength to club your family to death.

    One way to separate these is between intentional and non-intentional deaths. The intentional deaths might be justified or likely inevitable. The non-intentional deaths are the result of the presence of a gun.

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  59. Septimius says:

    @john personna:

    From the article you linked to:

    As for politics, the survey showed a steep drop in household gun ownership among Democrats and independents, and a very slight decline among Republicans. But the new data suggest a reversal among Republicans, with 51 percent since 2008 saying they have a gun in their home, up from 47 percent in surveys taken from 2000 through 2006. This leaves the Republican rate a bit below where it was in the 1970s, while ownership for Democrats is nearly half of what it was in that decade.

    So, the decline in gun ownership among Democrats is what’s responsible for the decline in gun crime. Very interesting.

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  60. john personna says:

    @Groty:

    BTW, you buried your lede there.

    Did you notice that “family and friends” purchases MATCHED “illegal” purchases?

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  61. john personna says:

    @Septimius:

    Do you know another way that could work?

    Party mobility, and people without guns increasingly identifying as independent and Democrat.

    I for instance have no guns, previously identified Republican, but now identify independent.

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  62. john personna says:

    (See also declining Republican identification … and yes of course the hard right, including hard right gun owners, would be the last to leave.)

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  63. john personna says:

    @PD Shaw:

    If I don’t have a gun and I want to kill myself, I’ll just substitute a different method.

    For what it’s worth, you are making a “rational substitution” in an inherently irrational domain. It may not work that way in practice.

    Remember the teen data. Houses with guns have higher overall rates of teen suicide, by any method.

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  64. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    So I take it that you are for mandatory “gun proofing” of kids as early as possible

    Er, I’m for not giving guns to children AT ALL. (Call me crazy…)

    Do you know that there is a business selling guns to kids?

    The shooting of a two-year-old girl by her five-year-old brother has put a spotlight on smaller guns designed for children.

    The gun used in the recent shooting in Kentucky was a Crickett .22-caliber rifle, marketed with the slogan “My First Rifle,” from Keystone Sporting Arms in Milton, Pa. The single-shot rifle uses the smallest caliber available and is sold by major retailers, including Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), Cabela’s (CAB) and Gander Mountain.

    The Crickett website was down Friday due to “difficulties,” according to John Renzulli, an attorney representing Keystone . But the site for Chipmunk, another Keystone brand, exhibited “quality firearms for America’s youth” on its site, including .22-caliber rifles and pistols, with photos of children shooting them. The site includes a “kids corner” section.

    I’m sorry, but that such a business is legal is nucking futs.

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  65. Pharoah Narim says:

    Correlation statistics can be read either way many times. In other words, violence is dropping; people feel safer–so fewer of them bought guns. Also, the argument that more guns = more violence doesn’t really mean much other than on a bumper sticker. How strong is the correllation? Is it one for one? Is there a per capita cap over which additional gun availability makes no difference? Not sure how you translate data into policy without that level of detail answered. My intial calculations (and Im not a statistian by any measure beyond college-level stat and prob classes) is that guns per death, including suicide, is .0017. So we have to remove a million guns to theoretically save 170 people. That number will drop because some attackers will stab, poison, or bludgeon their victim as opposed to shooting. Also, some suiciders will hang or posion themselves as opposed to shooting. So the question is, what level of gun deaths are acceptable (and you can’t say zero because even in the best case, i.e. Japan, people are shot and killed) and what policy path is chosen to get to that level IF one believes the more guns = more deaths correlation is true across the spectrum. I think the 90% debt – economic growth correlation debacle is showing that complex systems cannot be reduced to such simple equations for the purpose of making policy. Although it may have value in public awareness/education campaigns.

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  66. PD Shaw says:

    @john personna: I wouldn’t agree that all suicides are irrational, but many are.

    I think there is a continuum, which on one end are older people who’ve received difficult and fatal medical diagnosis, who we might even think of as acting with some justification in killing themselves, at least as long as society is unable to conceive of a more humane alternative. On the other end, are teens, victimized by bullies, caught up in the moment, acting spontaneously and demonstrably. People in the middle, the long-term depressed, have thought about killing themselves and how they would do it for a while. Having thought about how to kill oneself is part of how you screen for clinical depression.

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  67. john personna says:

    @stonetools:

    That was a sad episode. The Cricket is about as safe a gun as you could design. It is a single shot .22, and should be easy to teach that you point it down range, place in one cartridge, fire, and so on. All that under close adult supervision.

    Of course in that example the gun was not in a safe while at home, and .22 rounds were also left around the house. Terrible.

    [not to mention, 5 years old is a pretty ridiculous age to introduce the concept of "real" guns. I mean what is even the age limit at licensed ranges? That should give a parent a clue.]

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  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    When I was in high school, the teenage son of a family friend blew his brains out while playing Russian Roulette. (’74)

    When my Uncle Alec died suddenly, his oldest son was on a 4 day drug binge (fought addiction ever since Nam) and missed Alec’s funeral entirely. When he sobered up and realized what had happened, he blew his brains out. (’78)

    I had a neighbor blow his brains out with a .357. I looked at his silhouette against the TV thru the front window of his apartment for 3 nights before somebody found him. (’90)

    I witnessed a murder/suicide in front of my apartment when a shot his wife and then himself (also a bar patron by accident) with his brothers .30-30. (’88)

    A buddy of mine finally attempted suicide after threatening to for years by putting a hose from his tailpipe to the cab of his truck. He survived because a Park Ranger found him. (’02)

    I had 2 buddies of mine get stabbed back in the early ’80s. Both died on the operating room table but somehow were brought back. One was found dead on a street corner a couple years later and we all were sure it was connected as he just was never right after it.

    One of my best friends got his head bashed in with a brick and almost died (’86)

    Detect a pattern here?

    One more: My Business Agent (Local 2298) is alive today ONLY because he had a gun when the guy who had been stalking his wife for a year (and the local sheriff was useless) kicked in their bedroom door at 2 am when they were in bed and asleep. Shot Jim in the neck and his wife in the elbow before Jim blew him away.

    I believe there is a place for guns in protection of the home, but this is a purely personal choice. I do not believe concealed carry makes any one safer and in fact endangers all. There are limited circumstances when it can be appropriate, but we are a far cry from that. From the same link as above:

    The problem goes deeper than this, however. There’s good evidence that the very act of being in possession of a weapon has an unfortunate effect of making us suspect others have one too. This was shown in a 2012 paper by psychologists Prof Jessica Witt and Dr James Brockmole, where subjects were given either a replica gun or a neutral object and asked to identify the objects other people were holding.

    Subjects in possession of a replica firearm were much more likely to identify a neutral object as a firearm. The erroneous assumption that someone else is armed can and does often end in tragedy.

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  69. stonetools says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    My intial calculations (and Im not a statistian by any measure beyond college-level stat and prob classes) is that guns per death, including suicide, is .0017.

    That’s the problem here. We have statistical data, compiled by professional researchers with PhDs. in statistics, even, which disprove your amateur efforts. Such studies have been linked to above, and you can read and be instructed by them. But because such studies contradict your pet theories, you just ignore them and present your claims as if they are somehow valid. Why don’t you read the studies and get back to us? Seriously, can you expect us to consider your claims when we know that they are refuted by reliable studies?

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  70. Septimius says:

    @john personna:

    Actually, it’s Democrat identification that has declined in the last 4 decades. Republican id began to increase in the 1980’s and remained fairly constant until about 4 years ago when it declined again. Independent id has was pretty consistent from 1970 until about 2008. It has increased since then.

    But that’s not really the point. The point is that Republicans don’t own fewer guns now than in the the early 1970’s. They actually own more. Yet, gun crime has plummeted. Therefore, according to your hypothesis, it’s Democrats and Independents who cannot be trusted to lawfully own guns.

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  71. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    is that guns per death, including suicide, is .0017. So we have to remove a million guns to theoretically save 170 people.

    In truth, I don’t think you would get that result. Most gun owners own multiple firearms (I have 5). To remove one of them does not make it any less likely of say, a suicide, being done with a gun.

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  72. JKB says:

    @john personna: The only way to “gun proof” children is mandatory gun safes,

    Really? How does that protect children who happen upon a gun throw out by a criminal? Or left in a bathroom stall by a police officer? Or in any instance when a gun is inadvertently left unattended?

    Your “only way” has a lot of failure vectors.

    It has the fatal flaw of so many Leftist ideas, it requires absolute perfection in compliance by human being and fails into a state of absolute hazard.

    Of course, the Leftist solution is more and more oppressive government enforcement. Which has worked so well in finding kidnapped girls from home where neighbors reported naked girls being led around on leashes. Or perhaps in identifying and stopping Chechen bombers reported to them by foreign intelligence services. Or finding a girl held for 18 years in the home of a convicted child sex offender even with several visits to the “home” by police. Etc.

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  73. @JKB:

    it requires absolute perfection in compliance by human being and fails into a state of absolute hazard.

    Unlike, say the absolute perfection needed in your gun training scenario?

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  74. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: Steven beat me to it. And what do you know???? Here we have another absolute fail of the whole “responsible gun owner” meme:

    3-Year-Old Fatally Shoots Himself With Uncle’s Gun In Florida

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  75. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Or left in a bathroom stall by a police officer? Or in any instance when a gun is inadvertently left unattended?

    I thought stuff like this never happened, since all legal gun owners are “responsible” and are careful with their guns.

    Which has worked so well in finding kidnapped girls from home where neighbors reported naked girls being led around on leashes. Or perhaps in identifying and stopping Chechen bombers reported to them by foreign intelligence services. Or finding a girl held for 18 years in the home of a convicted child sex offender even with several visits to the “home” by police. Etc.

    Dude, were any of those situations resolved by “responsible concealed carry permit holders and gun owners?” Nope, they weren’t. And the police did an excellent job of pursuing and catching the Boston bombers. The police, not your would be action heroes.

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  76. Rob in CT says:

    40 percent obtained it from an illegal source

    Indeed, which is why better enforcement is needed. It sure seems like the gun rights folks fight that every step of the way, though.

    Also, too: 60% apparently were obtained legally?

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  77. JKB says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You comment has no basis in what I said.

    Teaching children about real firearms is a way to separate real firearms from the constant barrage of firearm misuse in popular media. I made no assertion that it would stop all accidents involving children but it does increase their ability to handle situation where they might, due to the law of large numbers, run across a firearm.

    But just declaring all firearms must be locked in a safe does little to prepare the child for when they find a firearm not in a safe. Knowledge is power and the last defense against the hazards of this world. By refusing to teach children the basics of firearm safety, you endanger them.

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  78. @JKB:

    It i s possible to teach children not to pick up guns they find in bathroom stalls as well as keep them locked up at home, if the goal is keeping kids safe from guns.

    If by teaching firearm safety you mean actually teaching kids to handle actual firearms, then the probability is that such training will lead to more injuries than the rather low number of guns left in bathroom stalls.

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  79. JKB says:

    @stonetools:

    You need to seek professional help with your lack of reading comprehension.

    Lawful private gun owners are very responsible. Unlike law enforcement, if they leave their gun in a bathroom stall they face criminal prosecution and loss of their right to carry. Police on the other hand generally suffer little or no consequences for their failure to retain their firearm. Although, admittedly some might lose their job.

    As for your misapprehension of the other chapter. Yes, police do conduct investigation and sometimes find the perpetrator after a failure of some law or rule to prevent an event. But they are not good at actually preventing the events, which is less an reflection on police competence and more a statement regarding the fact that no amount of enforcement can prevent bad things from happening. Perhaps reduce the frequency but not the occurrence.

    But to go along with your misinterpretation, often arrests, civil suits and criminal prosecutions of adults follow tragedies where a child and a firearm are involved. So your solution is we should prosecute them more rather than attempt to arm the children with knowledge that will allow them to keep themselves safe.

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  80. john personna says:

    @Rob in CT:

    The important thing in his data is that “friends and family” purchases are statistically equal to “illegal” purchases.

    It is “friends and family” purchases that opponents to background checks wanted to protect.

    Eliminate them and you would eliminate as large a source as illegal purchases.

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  81. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: I can also draw correlations to a) fewer people believing in organized religion, b) global warming, c) greater number of Mexican restaurants available, and d) the overall growth of the US economy. Oh, and that lack of lead mentioned earlier.

    Care to revise your arguments?

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  82. wr says:

    @JKB: “But just declaring all firearms must be locked in a safe does little to prepare the child for when they find a firearm not in a safe. Knowledge is power and the last defense against the hazards of this world. By refusing to teach children the basics of firearm safety, you endanger them. ”

    Hmm, wonder if JKB is also in favor of sex education for youjng children, since knowledge and power are the last defense against the hazards of this world. Because statistically speaking, by the time they reach their early teens they’re going to be exposed to many more situations where they are faced with a choice involving their sexuality than, say, finding a cop’s gun in a rest room.

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  83. mantis says:

    @JKB:

    How does that protect children who happen upon a gun throw out by a criminal? Or left in a bathroom stall by a police officer?

    You name me one such instance and I will give you hundreds and hundreds of examples of children being killed by firearms owned by their “responsible” parents. You dismiss the real problem because solutions to it don’t solve imaginary problems. That’s idiotic.

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  84. pylon says:

    Gun owners are all responsible. Until they’re not.

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  85. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Stonetools: One doesn’t have to be a professional statistisian to divide the number of deaths by the number of guns and state as a fact that there are .0017 deaths per guns. THAT is a fact. Whether that stat is relevant, useful, or a better stat is available is a question a professional would be able to answer. We train and pay statistitians to make interpretations and assumptions about data that we can translate into policy. My post is clear that IF you believe guns equal more deaths–then a sensible course of action would be to determine an outcome (number of acceptable deaths) and determine how many less guns should be on the street to achieve that outcome along with how one would reduce the number of guns by that number.

    Dismissing that because I’m not a professional statistician is what isn’t credible because using your logic, unless you are a professional yourself, what credibility do you have in choosing the statistics you reference? There’s a jungle of stats out there. In other words, we’d both need to be professional statisticians to comment on or reference statistics using your view. What’s more credible is if you had an alternate hypothesis that demonstrated where mine was short-sighted. The position that someone needs to be paid in a field or have a degree in the field in order to apply reasoning and analytical skills in said field IS short-sighted. If that’s the case most of the people on this blog shouldn’t comment at all on 90% of the subjects we discuss here.

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  86. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Lawful private gun owners are very responsible

    I’m sorry, but this oft-repeated and unsubstantiated statement has been called into question repeatedly by statistical studies and by the Kagro X Twitter feed, which documents daily that not all private gun owners are responsible. Show your work, or stop repeating that claim.

    Unlike law enforcement, if they leave their gun in a bathroom stall they face criminal prosecution and loss of their right to carry.

    And yet, lawful gun owners appear to frequently leave their guns unsecured for children to play with:

    Boy, 5, accidentally shoots brother, 7, in northeast Houston http://www.khou.com/news/local/Boy-5-accidentally-shoots-brother-7-in-NE-Houston–206535201.html

    or carelessly handle guns, to the detriment of the neighbors

    Man “handling” pistol upstairs shoots through the floor & kills his house guest downstairs. #GunFAIL http://westminster.patch.com/articles/man-dies-from-an-apparent-accidental-gunshot-wound

    You’ll like the next one:

    LINCOLN, NE: Man shoots himself in concealed carry class

    So much for the elite, expert, responsible concealed carry permit gun owner. But wait there’s more:

    Paul Rosenberg ‏@PaulHRosenberg 20 Apr
    RT @KagroX #FloridaMan drops his .45 revolver out of his holster & gutshoots himself. #GunFAIL

    Not only a CCW holder, a hunter too!

    During one week in April, 4 people were accidently shot by toddlers. Where did they get their guns from? Why from legal, responsible gun owners, that’s who. So spare me if I don’t accept your unsupported statement about all legit gun owners being responsible.
    My solution to children handling guns? First, don’t keep guns in the house with children. If you feel you must keep them in the house, only store them unloaded in a gun safe to which only you know the combination. And tell them never to touch guns, but to report their presence to the nearest adult.
    This problem is tailor made for requiring gun owners to have liability insurance. If gun owners had to insure against liability for “accidents”, we would have a lot fewer careless gun owners and your pious belief about lawful gun owners might be true.

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  87. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Ozarkbilly: Fair point. And I think it makes my point. This thing is not as simple as less gun= less deaths.

    Also: @Stonetools: I don’t have a pet theory. I care about outcomes and I think we should build the bridge from the outcome to the policy and not the other way around. That said, I don’t believe there is a policy answer for everything nor do I believe you can cherry pick the good from other cultures and try to implement their policies in a vacuum without considering the whole of their culture. Sure, we’d like to have Canada’s homicide rates—but they’d like to have our sexual assault rates. I think we can do better with people using firearms to kill people with legislation other than gun control that address things closer to the root of violence.

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  88. @Steven L. Taylor:

    If by teaching firearm safety you mean actually teaching kids to handle actual firearms, then the probability is that such training will lead to more injuries than the rather low number of guns left in bathroom stalls.

    I first leanred to shoot with a .22 rifle at a YMCA summer camp when I was 12. Are you seriously suggesting this created a risk of us going out and shooting someone for real? The problem is parents that dangeous objects lying around where kids have unsupervised access to them, but that’s as true for bottle of antifreeze as it is for guns. To suggest that letting kids touch a firearm ever some how magically warps them into killers seems ridiculous.

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  89. Pharoah Narim says:

    As a personal anectode, I participated in gun safety conducted in public school when I was in middle school in Mississippi. It was conducted as part of P.E. with BB guns (lever action rifles). We didn’t have guns in my household but when I encountered them in other people’s houses as a teen–I wasn’t completely ignorant of knowing basic handling procedures and thinking the gun was a toy. I immediately knew if someone was doing something unsafe and could warn them or leave if they didn’t stop. I actually consider the training a plus and I think it made sense in that community where there were guns in the homes and parents and family members might not have taken the time to go over safety or may have even been guilty of unsafe handling themselves. As an adult, I now look at this type of training the way I’d look at getting condoms from the school nurse or sex ed in school.

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  90. @Stormy Dragon:

    To suggest that letting kids touch a firearm ever some how magically warps them into killers seems ridiculous.

    Yes, that would be ridiculous. I am not sure how anything I wrote above suggested anything even close.

    I was building on JKB’s K and 1st grade gun safety training notion in especially in contrast to the harm posed by guns in bathroom stalls left behind by policeman. I am a little unclear on his actual plan, but it seems to involve direct knowledge of real firearms. Probabilistically speaking, the numbers of injured that would result, based on accidents alone, from that sort of program (or, even, universal gun training for 12 year-olds) would far outweigh any injuries from guns left in bathroom stalls. This is the basic point.

    And, moreover, that the lack of perfection associated with universal gun training would result in more problems than lack of perfection in keeping guns locked up (which was the original comparison).

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  91. Rob in CT says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    Well, that’s consistent, at least. For me, that’s the 2nd-best approach (if guns are everywhere, teaching basic gun safety is a reasonable approach. I’m not really happy about the guns everywhere part, though).

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  92. @Stormy Dragon: Put another way: we have universal (or near thereto) driver training in schools and yet we do not produce 100% accident free teen drivers (and certainly accident do happen while they are learning).

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  93. stonetools says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    Sure, we’d like to have Canada’s homicide rates—but they’d like to have our sexual assault rates. I think we can do better with people using firearms to kill people with legislation other than gun control that address things closer to the root of violence.

    Funny you should mention Canada. Canadian culture is virtually identical to our own-to the extent that Canadians are frequently mistaken for USAians, and vice versa. We share a common language, a common media market, and in large part, a common history. Yet somehow, in 2011 the US had 10, 728 gun homicides and Canada had 52. (That’s not a typo).
    I’m sick and tired of people trying to explain to me why its impossible for achieve those gun homicide rates in the USA, and reject the idea that’s because you, I, and the rest of USA is just genetically and culturally too stupid, murderous, and blood thirsty to achieve that. That’s nonsense.
    I’d rather believe that its because Canada has a rational gun safety legislation and we do not. If you want to feel that Americans are just natural born murderers, well go ahead.

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  94. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    To suggest that letting kids touch a firearm ever some how magically warps them into killers seems ridiculous.

    You just love making shit up, don’t you?

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  95. Spartacus says:

    @JKB:

    Well, the fact is, the right-to-carry (41 states) has been increased even since then and violent crime has continued to decrease.

    If the spread of “right-to-carry” laws is the reason that violent crime is down, how do explain the drop in violent crime in cities and states where gun rights have become even more restricted?

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  96. Tyrell says:

    This is because the news media seeks to compete with over sensationalized news reports of crime and dwells on news like that, lacking total perspective and showing poor judgement. Bad news almost always gets the most coverage with a sky is falling slant. Think also about the news media’s constant “calamity” reporting of the economic news in fall of 2007. The economy was never in danger of collapse. What this type of reporting did was create unnecessary fear and caution among the public and business owners, which made things a lot worse.In that case it was the messenger that caused a lot of the problem.
    “The only thing you have to fear is fear itself” FDR

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  97. Spartacus says:

    @stonetools:

    I’m sick and tired of people trying to explain to me why its impossible for achieve those gun homicide rates in the USA, and reject the idea that’s because you, I, and the rest of USA is just genetically and culturally too stupid, murderous, and blood thirsty to achieve that.

    This is usually the point in the thread where Superdestroyer et al show up to argue that America would be a utopia if it weren’t for the blacks and browns.

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  98. Caj says:

    The sad thing about our country is far too many people with guns use them simply for revenge.
    Gone are the days of a good old fashioned argument or even a fist fight. No, guns are the answer for some today, especially for those who can legally carry concealed weapons and the stupid stand your ground law which they have in Florida. It’s a ridiculous law which gives so much leeway for someone to shoot another and then claim it was a stand your ground case!! Still, when you have an idiot like Rick Scott as governor it’s no wonder the law stands!!

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  99. JKB says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I am a little unclear on his actual plan, but it seems to involve direct knowledge of real firearms.

    I never advocated teaching kids how to shoot as gun proofing. But giving them actual experience with real firearms, perhaps disabled by removing the firing pin or blocking the barrel would go a long way to teaching them how to differentiate between real firearms and what they are exposed to in media. In addition teaching the first 3 of The Rules (All guns are loaded until confirmed otherwise, keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire, never point a gun at anything you are wanting to destroy and that includes the cat). They could even throw in a video showing what real bullet does contrasted with what entertainment media depict. Personally, shooting a watermelon seems to make an impression. Just a nice green watermelon then bam, red all over. Makes an impression. Then they see how movies use squibs to blow red dye all over someone who is actually unharmed.

    Teaching a kid to actually shoot a firearm is a parental decision. No need to involve live ammo in gun proofing. The goal would be to mitigate the allure of guns created by entertainment media as well as provide kids with real knowledge of real guns.

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  100. JKB says:

    @stonetools: This problem is tailor made for requiring gun owners to have liability insurance. If gun owners had to insure against liability for “accidents”,

    Insurance is a product where someone else indemnifies another against a loss due to damage or liability for a tort. Please offer examples where a gun owner was assessed to pay damages that having someone else indemnify them for the loss would have been beneficial? Are their lots of losses going unpaid? Or is your goal simply to attempt to make gun ownership (a Constitutionally enumerated right) expensive so as to limit that Constitutional right to only the well-to-do?

    insurance – a contract whereby, for a stipulated consideration, called premium, one party undertakes to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by certain specified risks.

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  101. JKB says:

    @JKB: never point a gun at anything you are wanting to destroy and that includes the cat)

    never point a gun at anything you do not want to destroy and that includes the cat)

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  102. @JKB: I am not, as a general principle, opposed to this notion.

    I am not sure, however, why it is incompatible with keeping one’s guns safely locked away as well.

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  103. @JKB:

    The five rules:

    1. The gun is always loaded.
    2. Never point the gun at anything you don’t want to shoot.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
    4. Be sure of your target and what’s behind it.
    5. Never try to catch a dropped gun.

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  104. bill says:

    nothing like a gun blog to rile the anti-gun crowd. and it’s not just the media who feed the frenzy, the white house and lameazz liberals just can’t wait to denounce guns anytime they can. so far it’s just been a boon to gun/ammo makers, and that’s good for the economy in some strange way.

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  105. anjin-san says:

    mandatory “gun proofing” of kids as early as possible. Gun familiarization and safe handling lessons in kindergarten and first grade

    Yea, we all know that if you tell kids stuff in school and make them promise to be good children, all will be well.

    When I was in the fifth grade, a cop came to our class and told us all about the dangers of pot. Made a big impression. We all promised never to try it. I guess we were “pot proofed”…

    Three years later, I did try it, liked it quite a bit. I stayed stoned pretty much constantly for about six years, until I discovered that it was kind of hard to be a pot head AND hold a challenging job.

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  106. anjin-san says:

    @ Tyrell

    Think also about the news media’s constant “calamity” reporting of the economic news in fall of 2007. The economy was never in danger of collapse.

    Thank you for confirming that you do not know a damn thing about how the economy works.

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  107. Craig Davis says:

    @JKB: I agree that basic gun safety should be taught to all children in school. Models of guns should be effective, no need for real weapons. If the basic rules were taught, accidental shootings by the young would be reduced.

    A family in our neighborhood lost a 16-year old to his stupidity, inexperience, and a revolver. He stole it from a relative, did not know how to handle it, did not know its function, did not know how to check it to see if it was loaded, and was playing with it, first pointing it at his girl friend and snapping the trigger twice. She told him in no uncertain terms not to point it at her. He laughed and said “It has a safety, see, it can’t be fired” and pointed it at his head and pulled the trigger on the only cartridge in the cylinder.

    Beyond the great sadness of the loss, what has remained with me is that if he had had the most basic training about weapons, and had he operated according to his training, he would not have shot himself. He stole it for a reason that had nothing to do with killing himself and if he had had the sense of his girl friend and a little training, would likely be alive today. Not certainly alive, maybe he would have persisted in using the weapon improperly even after being reminded of one of the basic rules by his girl friend (teenagers are notorious ignorers of rules – see texting while driving).

    But it is certain that training in basic rules would reduce injuries and deaths by improper use of firearms and other weapons. When 13 years old I nearly lost an eye to a BB gun that was pointed at my face by a friend and I did not follow another basic rule: Never let anyone point a weapon at you for any reason. At the same age, my brother and I were shooting arrows into the air with a 50-lb pull bow, in our back yard in town, with a light overcast (meaning the arrow disappeared from sight). One arrow landed less than 6 feet from where my brother stood.

    Maybe all this points to why kids need constant supervision! And training in what to do when they find a gun. Some children would follow their training when finding a weapon, whether in public or in their own home.

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  108. Tony W says:

    @grumpy realist: And the declining number of pirates!

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