Gun Ownership Decreases Homicide Rates

A friend, let’s call her Sally, commented on my Facebook post of 9-27-09. I didn’t have enough room to respond properly there so here we go. Sally writes “Statistically, countries that allow people to have guns have more gun violence and deaths than countries that don’t allow people to have guns.”

I disagree and have a lot of data to back up my assertion. Let’s discuss.

If you’ll allow me, let’s change that supposition to “I believe there is a strong correlation between a country’s gun ownership restriction policies and it’s homicide rate.”

I was trying to change your wording from “countries with more guns have more gun violence” to “countries with more guns have more violence in general” because, well, that’s what’s important, isn’t it? And by changing that wording, we are avoiding an easy trap, of course places with more guns will have more gun violence, but knives, clubs and rocks can kill you just the same. Sally, does that work for you?

Sally, if that works for you then we can’t use the two sites you quoted (1)(local archive), (2)(local archive) since they talk about “gun deaths” and not “homicides”. I welcome you to re-google some articles. Here’s an appropriate one (local archive). (you’ll notice that the US is at the top of the “Firearms Death Rate” chart but way down in the middle of the “Intentional Homicide Rate” chart)

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Let’s start with some statistics in America. How about we compare gun ownership levels in individual states with their homicide rates?

Gun Ownership rates can be found here (local archive) and gun death rates can be found here (local archive: choose “firearm” and select output group “state”)

Simply put those two together in a graph and note that there is somewhere between no correlation and a NEGATIVE correlation between gun ownership and violence in the United States! Here’s an article (local archive (sorry, the original source wasn’t available when I went to grab this archive)) on the subject. (there are many more, google for them) and some graphs on the subject 1, 2, 3 (sorry, I didn’t grab local archives of these before they went offline).

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Ok, that was the warmup. Let’s try some European country statistics. I borrow this table from a Harvard University paper “WOULD BANNING FIREARMS REDUCE MURDER AND SUICIDE? : A REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL AND SOME DOMESTIC EVIDENCE DON B. KATES AND GARY MAUSER” (local archive). The paper is very well researched with lots of footnotes quoting many very reliable sources.
gun ownership vs murder rate in europe

Nation		Murder Rate Rate of Gun Ownership
Russia		20.54 [2002] 4,000
Luxembourg	9.01 [2002] c. 0
Hungary		2.22 [2003] 2,000
Finland		1.98 [2004] 39,000
Sweden		1.87 [2001] 24,000
Poland		1.79 [2003] 1,500
France		1.65 [2003] 30,000
Denmark		1.21 [2003] 19,000
Greece		1.12 [2003] 11,000
Switzerland	0.99 [2003] 16,000
Germany		0.93 [2003] 30,000
Norway		0.81 [2001] 36,000
Austria		0.80 [2002] 17,000

“Hey wait!” you say, “If I squint at that data, it looks like there is a NEGATIVE correlation between gun ownership and the murder rate.” Yup. Read on.

The same pattern appears when comparisons of violence to gun ownership are made within nations. Indeed, “data on firearms ownership by constabulary area in England,” like data from the United States, show “a negative correlation,”

and…

A second misconception about the relationship between firearms
and violence attributes Europe’s generally low homicide rates to stringent gun control. That attribution cannot be accurate since murder in Europe was at an all‐time low before the gun controls were introduced.

and…

two recent studies are pertinent. In 2004, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences released its evaluation from a review of 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and some original empirical research. It failed to identify any gun control that had reduced violent crime, suicide, or gun accidents.15 The same conclusion was reached in 2003 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s review of thenextant studies

Again, this paper uses extensive footnotes. Don’t take their word for it, take the word of the more than 100 experts in the field they quote which include folks like the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and fricking everybody. Read it for yourself and follow the footnotes.

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Sally, you also wrote, “No one really needs an AK47 for example. I also don’t think the 2nd amendment meant for individuals to bear arms”

This is simple. Answer two questions for me.

  • What is the general purpose of a militia? (to fight a war)
  • Who is expected to supply the armaments in a militia, the government or the individual members? Since the express purpose of the Bill of Rights as stated in its preamble is to prevent the abuse of the powers of the government, the answer must be “the individual members”.

So, lets say that you are a militia member. Would you want to own a crappy gun or a good gun? Let’s take that one unnerving step further and say you are a government who’s people you want to abuse. Would you want militias to have crappy guns or good guns?

Sally says, “And the beautiful thing about this country, even though sometimes we all complain about it, is that we can all disagree. :)”

And if you want to keep your right to disagree as stated in the First Amendment, I suggest you support all the others with all your strength! Please support the second amendment by calling Governor Schwarzenegger today!

38 Comments

  1. lee says:

    Some more followup: The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence provides some interesting statistics. They rank how “strong” the gun laws are in each state. The trouble is, there appears to be a NEGATIVE correlation between how strong the gun laws are and the number of homicides in that state. This article on Gunowners.org discusses it.

    As gun ownership levels increased, murder rates decreased

    The data should be easy to examine though I haven’t done so yet. Maybe I’ll make this a project since it it’s terribly interesting and important!

  2. lee says:

    Sally, you also wrote “I could care less how the Supreme Court currently interprets it, I still think the 2nd amendment is not clearly written to say individuals should have guns.”

    I wasn’t going to comment on this subject because you seem immovable on it. But I reconsidered because, whether you like it or not, the Supreme Court of the United States is the final word on our legal system. Rulings made by them generally stand for generations or longer. And in the recent “District of Columbia vs Heller“, the very first statement of the 157 page ruling are:

    The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

    Sally, you can feel how you like, but you are incorrect on this point.

    Again, the ruling discusses the etymology of the words at great length. I recommend you read it.

  3. Sally says:

    Re: Supreme Court decisions. George Bush’s first term in office; I disagreed with them there, too. I’m allowed to disagree. I don’t need a gun to back up my disagreement. I should be able to complain without having to shoot somebody. I still think the Second Amendment is not clearly written. Nope, not budging on that.

    Read the rest of my comments on FB.

  4. Rick says:

    A very good post, Lee. Excellent.

  5. lee says:

    Sally wrote more on Facebook…
    >For the record, I never said “ban all guns.”

    My plea is to have people call the governor to veto a law that would decrease the availability of guns to law abiding citizens. Sally, if the bill becomes law, guns will be just a bit more banned.

    >And also, I did mean that more guns = more gun violence, not “more violence
    >in general”. I think suicide is self-violence and that should be included,
    >not just just homicide, attempted murder, etc. So changing “more guns = more
    >gun violence” to “I believe there is a strong correlation between a country’s
    >gun ownership restriction policies and it’s homicide rate,” is a misleading
    >misinterpretation of what I said.

    It very much sounds like you think it’s worse for a victim to be killed by a gun than another means. That doesn’t make sense. Could you please clarify.

    >And yeah, a knife and a rock can kill you too, but not as efficiently or
    >effectively as gun which can kill you from many, many feet away whereas you
    >have to be much closer to do any damage with a knife or rock than a gun.

    The statistics don’t play out the way you are guessing. In England where guns are mostly banned, people kill each other with knives instead. Google around for things like “UK homicide sharp”. In Rwanda machetes killed MILLIONS in the last ethnic cleansing.

    Yes, I’m afraid of death just like you. I find talking about it disturbing. But we’re grown-ups and these are vital matters to discuss. The world is a scary place with germs and individuals and groups that really want to kill us. If we want to continue to live in this world, we have to strike a balance. We don’t have to be rutheless killers but we also can’t be sheep.

    Yes, wielding a gun is scary. If we as a people chose not to wield guns, they will be wielded for us. No, “for” is the wrong word, “at” is more appropriate.

  6. lee says:

    Sally writes
    >I see no proof that you are in a militia to protect me with your AK47,
    >nor have I asked for that protection. I also think a gun of that caliber
    >is beyond what most homeowners need for self-protection.

    Your question got me thinking for a while about whether I should start a militia in the San Francisco area. It’s a very interesting question! I realize that I don’t see a militia as being needed as long as we have the right to create one. It’s kind of a reverse-catch-22 but I hope you see what I mean. If the US Government made a serious attempt to remove the Second Amendment, that would be the signal telling the people that the rights granted needed to be exercised.

    Similarly, you say that you didn’t ask for that protection, but you’ve got it already because you are American. If the US Government tried to remove the Second Amendment, you’d almost definitely want protection from militias and you’d get it.

    >Maybe what we really need is stronger gun INFORMATION and gun law INFORMATION,
    >as there’s a lot of disinformation out there

    One of the key information points you still seem to not understand is that it’s just as bad to be killed by a machete as a gun, so we should chose a set of gun laws that best protects everyone. I’ve presented a whole library of information that you haven’t read. I brought you to the water, now you have to chose whether to drink or not.

    Thank you for discussing this with me. I’ve learned quite a bit.

  7. Sally says:

    Lee, you are assuming I haven’t read the info you’ve presented. I have read some of it, previous to you posting it here, and previous to this whole discussion. I did not have time to read everything *today* as I *do* have to work during the day. I am sure, given the time and inclination, that I can find verifiable stats and articles from the anti-gun side of things that will show that “guns are evil.” But that’s not my point. I didn’t say no one should have guns. I still don’t think anyone really needs an AK-47 (which I completely pulled out of thin air as an example). That is my opinion. My opinion is not the law (although it could be if I ever get on the Supreme Court, for which I am not really holding my breath). If the Supreme Court says you can have one, then you can have one. I don’t want one, so I’m not getting one. I never said you couldn’t have one, I just said I don’t think you *need* one.

    My point that started this whole thing was that I disagree with the interpretation of the Second Amendment. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Yeah, I agree that the Second Amendment allows there to be a militia to protect me, and that’s what I think it’s about. Can we just agree to disagree about that? My disagreement is semantic, not trying to take any rights you’ve already been granted by subsequent interpretations of that amendment. Maybe Congress should just pass a clear law that doesn’t use the Second Amendment as it’s basis and leave it out of the discussion.

    You said “Similarly, you say that you didn’t ask for that protection, but you’ve got it already because you are American. If the US Government tried to remove the Second Amendment, you’d almost definitely want protection from militias and you’d get it.” I’m still not worried about it AT THIS MOMENT. If I thought ANY Amendment was in danger, then maybe I might feel the need for a militia. At present, I just don’t. If you do, then hey, go for it.

    My other point is that I never said this: “I believe there is a strong correlation between a country’s gun ownership restriction policies and it’s homicide rate.” Those are words you put in my mouth.

    I work with people who have been injured or had family members killed or injured by various weapons. Trust me, I know that getting killed or injured by *any* weapon is traumatic. I think you are way off base assuming that I think getting killed by any means is worse than another.

    Actually, *in my opinion* I think getting killed by a knife is probably worse as that person has to be up close and in your space to kill you (unless they are a very good at throwing knives). But I also think it’s still far easier to kill someone completely impersonally and from a much further distance with a gun, and you can even kill more than one person with that gun. Do you think that’s an unreasonable assumption?

    I also suggested via FB, that you repost all your links so that they didn’t get lost in arguing with me. If disagreed with your statement, “And if you want to keep your right to disagree as stated in the First Amendment, I suggest you support the other nine with all your strength!”, then why would I suggest that in the first place?

    So you can keep your guns, but you *still* can’t bring them in my house. I’m going to shut up now.

  8. Rick says:

    Incidentally, the Montana Firearms Freedom act goes into effect this Wednesday.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montana_Firearms_Freedom_Act

    Although I will admit, this is really a states’ rights issue masquerading as a second amendment issue.

    On the whole gun control issue, I really don’t see the point in arguing – I’ll simply vote. Vote, and monetarily support organizations that are going to protect and uphold my rights. I would suggest the NRA ( http://www.nra.org ) and the Second Amendment Foundation ( http://www.saf.org ) to be two good starting places. They both have been very effective in the past in supporting your right to defend yourself.

  9. coreyfro says:

    I think gun laws in America are backwards. Easily concealable firearms should be controlled more heavily than they are today, while I think bans should be lifted on certain assault weapons, but should be controlled as well.

    Why?

    1. Pistols are cheap, easily concealed, and are, thus, used for more homicides than hunting rifles, shotguns, or cannon. Bullets are cheap, too.
    2. Fully automatic weapons are EXPENSIVE, HEAVY, and require expensive training to be used to effect. They are also hard to deploy. Someone running around with a large weapon is going to be noticed. Bullets are SUPER expensive. Bullets being expensive means that training is expensive, too.
    3. Submachine Guns are the dangerous middle ground. They are typically expensive to by, but cheap to use and easier to conceal.

    The problem I see with automatic weapons in the hands of anyone is the opportunity not for homicide, but, instead, collateral damage. High caliber, rapid fire weapons can put nice clean holes through buildings, lots of them, through to the other side, and into and out of whoever is standing on the other side. This is something for police to consider, too.

    Now, militias. Militias are pretty silly. Unless the militia is at least trained by exmilitary, they are going to be dog meat in a military confrontation. Look in the middle east as far as military effectiveness. The US still wins the numbers game. Their enemy are people fighting for God and salvation, often times with OUR training. Americans fighting Americans would be rich, selfish dickheads fighting effective troops. This will not be a civil war, this will be gang violence confronting military might. The average militia member would see their buddies fall and then curl up in to a ball. This is what happened to the “weekend warriors” (not reservists as google searches suggest. I’ll have to find better links later.) in the Korean war. Rich Americans with too much self confidence PAID to shoot “gooks” and ended up hugging their knees, waiting for their eventual death at the hands of Korean soldiers.

    What does this tell me? That violence is NOT how civilians solve problems with government. Ted Kasinsky didn’t get a point across, Timothy McVey didn’t touch the general populous, the guy who shot at Ronald Reagan to win Jody Foster’s heart didn’t get what he wanted, but normal people with normal lives do work to get change made every day and they do so without guns.

    Violence seams like the easy answer. It probably is. It is a sacrifice, though. You have to hope that more people will like you for your violence than hate you for it. It is a gamble and it’s got very, very bad odds.

    Working through the system ISN’T easy. But every politician starts off on this mission, with goals for the country in mind, and they create actual change. They do so without violence. And as many national martyrs as we’ve had, most of them have been politicians, and none of them have been murderers.

    So, murder rates vs. gun ownership, meh, who cares? I support owning firearms, I have some (at my mother’s house, not mine) BUT, I am VERY serious about gun control. I think that owning a gun should require training, tests, registration of weapons, reregistration of weapons periodically, and immediate reporting of any gun theft, which, unfortunately, means the person who let their weapon go, should be subject to some disciplinary action, because the people who are most likely to commit gun violence are those who have gotten weapons through improper channels…

    …Like people in the inner city. I grew up in Stockton. I grew up around gun violence. I’ve seen drive bys. If I can SEE a drive by, that means I could EASILY have become collateral damage. I turned out pretty awesome. Isn’t the world better off having me? Should I be allowed to die because two OTHER teenagers have a grudge? The militias in the country don’t understand the problems of inner city. The laws have to be designed to affect all people equally, and if a few militia members have to do time because they refuse to register their weapons, that’s ok by me, because it means that people in the cities are having to do so, too.

    There are things I don’t like my country doing, but killing people or sacrificing my intellect through some violent act? Is that the best way I can contribute to the success of our country? If Ted Kasinskie wanted to change the world now, how affective will he be from behind bars? Not very. He could have taken up a life of policy, civil service, and hard work. He would have made more change. Rot in cell, life of civil service? Both are life long jobs, one is easy, one is effective.

    I am not going to try to make it any easier for people to take the easy way out. Gun toting idiots should get a job…in civil service…or get locked up to rot. Their choice. Either way, they are living off the fat of the land, either way, it is a life long commitment.

  10. KR says:

    Just some thoughts:
    Although as someone mentioned earlier, there is probably a significant amount of data and analysis showing that more guns is correlated or causes more death, let’s go for a moment with the assumption that there is no relationship—that more guns leads to neither more nor less homicides, that there is no relationship.

    Even accounting for this, there are two major reasons I can think of why guns should be regulated and controlled: (1) mass shootings and (2) accidental shootings leading to accidental injury or death.

    Note that both of these phenomena (1) are possible only with guns, (2) occur with little enough regularity or frequency as to be statistically insignificant or to show up in many or most statistical analyses (they are anomalies or outliers), BUT (3) can cause tremendous emotional and psychological damage to individuals and communities, to say nothing of the physical pain and lives lost.

    A FEW MORE THOUGHTS:
    I should think that the reason we see an almost universal pattern of areas with fewer guns having more homicides and areas with more guns having fewer homicides is because the two have a correlational, not a causal, relationship. Specifically, rural and small town areas across the country and across the world tend to have higher rates of gun ownership, and lower rates of crime, while urban areas the reverse. The two outcomes are caused by the nature of the environment (urban, diverse, tougher vs rural, homogeneous and friendlier, etc) rather than each other.

    This is not based on a stereotypical way of looking at the two environments. The fact is that areas with smaller and more scattered populations tend to be more homogeneous linguistically, culturally, religiously, ethnically and racially and economically (i.e. there is less inequality), and this sameness and commonality among the people among a variety of measures, combined with the ease of personally knowing half of the population of your town, fosters an environment of social cohesion and harmony and peace—the most powerful anticrime policies possible. The opposite applies to urban environments.

    The chart above is not very helpful because it compares developing societies like Russia and Hungary to developed ones like Finland and France; poor and developing societies will always have more crime and homicides than developed ones; we must compare apples to apples.

  11. Rick says:

    So KR, if I understand you right, your argument is that yes, while areas that have less strict gun control have less crime, that’s really because hicks are inbred and friendly. Hmmm. An interesting argument.

  12. KR says:

    Rick, it is possible to make reasonable generalizations about certain cultures and groups without reducing it to vulgar or simplistic stereotypes. I most certainly did not say anything about inbreeding, nor did I intend to imply such a thing. I happen to live in a small town myself, and it’s great.

    More to substance, anecdotally we know that some of the most homogeneous societies (across a number of measures, not just ethnicity) are also some of the most internally peaceful: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark come to mind, and yes small towns in the US, too. By contrast, consider other developed/ industrialized societies that are much more diverse—the UK, France, Italy or the United States—all with higher rates of violence and crime. More info on this issue:
    http://64.20.37.146/academic/lodi.PDF
    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/05/the_downside_of_diversity/
    http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/08/the-downside-of-diversity/
    Note that the list of “happiest” nations in the world is dominated by relatively homogeneous places (presumably, people wouldn’t be very happy in a high-crime environment):
    http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/05/world-happiest-places-lifestyle-travel-world-happiest.html

    My original point about guns and gun control remains.

  13. Aaron says:

    Gun control does not work. To those of you suggesting registration of guns, do you really think the criminal is going to register his gun? A little critical thinking is in order. KR, have you read John Lott’s book “More Guns, Less Crime”? Mr. Lott came to write this book at the beginning with no notion as to whether gun control worked or not. He studied every county in the country. As states enacted concealed carry laws, the greatest drop in crime was in urban areas. That is because if you do interviews with convicted felonies, they will tell you the thing they fear the most is an armed “victim.”

    Sally, I understand that you pulled the AK47 out of thin air, but to all of you who talk about “assault weapons” should do a little homework. The AK47 is less powerful than almost any standard hunting rifle. It is also semi-automatic which means it only fires you bullet every time you pull the trigger. It is not fully automatic. To get a fully automatic weapon you must register it with the Federal Government and pay 200 dollars to get a Federal Excise stamp.

  14. lee says:

    Coreyfro, you wrote about many issues. I don’t have time to discuss them all but here are a few big points.

    1. Pistols are cheap, easily concealed, and are, thus, used for more homicides than hunting rifles,
    shotguns, or cannon. Bullets are cheap, too.
    2. Fully automatic weapons are EXPENSIVE, HEAVY, and require expensive training to be used to effect. They are also hard to deploy. Someone running around with a large weapon is going to be noticed. Bullets are SUPER expensive. Bullets being expensive means that training is expensive, too.
    3. Submachine Guns are the dangerous middle ground. They are typically expensive to by, but cheap to use and easier to conceal.

    A fully automatic AR-15 / M-16 costs $500-1000, about the same as a good handgun. An inexpensive handgun costs $350 (I assume we’re not talking about stolen Saturday Night Specials). I owned an AR-15 that was 3 tiny metal pieces away from being fully automatic.

    A fully automatic M-16 can be 16″ long total, it fits under a full-length jacket or in a trombone case. The short M16 usually fires bullets around 2,000 fps instead of a full size gun that fires at 3,000 fps, which is still plenty fast enough to kill things.

    Virtually anyone can fire a semi or fully automatic rifle and hit things 10-50 yards away with no training as soon as you get used to the loud noise. It’s a point-and-shoot kind of thing.

    5.52mm rounds for an M-16 cost about $0.25 apiece, the same as 9mm handgun rounds. Those gigantic 50mm rounds cost $1-5 per round, which is still astounding inexpensive considering what happens to the target.

    Now, militias. Militias are pretty silly. Unless the militia is at least trained by exmilitary, they are going to be dog meat in a military confrontation. Look in the middle east as far as military effectiveness. The US still wins the numbers game. Their enemy are people fighting for God and salvation, often times with OUR training. Americans fighting Americans would be rich, selfish dickheads fighting effective troops.

    Excuse me but do you always speak from the place you normally sit from?

    The American Revolutionary War was started with a militia mindset.

    Militias were important in the US Civil War.

    The Palestinians seem to be doing pretty well with their continued militia / terrorist / whatever-you-call-it style.

    Look it up yourself.

    You certainly have a good point that militias and any armed group must be trained by people with a military mindset. But what makes you think that isn’t the case?

    >So, murder rates vs. gun ownership, meh, who cares?

    The dangerousness vs safety of guns is generally the the primary argument on both sides of the issue. So murder rates are important.

    The militias in the country don’t understand the problems of inner city. The laws have to be designed to affect all people equally, and if a few militia members have to do time because they refuse to register their weapons, that’s ok by me, because it means that people in the cities are having to do so, too.

    The stated purpose of militias in the Bill of Rights is to keep the government on its toes. When the government tries to take the guns from the people with the guns, it’s time for the people to actively refuse.

    >…If Ted Kasinskie wanted to…

    What does he have to do with this argument? Maybe we should all read Harrison Bergeron together.

    >I am not going to try to make it any easier for people to take the easy way out.
    >Gun toting idiots should get a job…in civil service…or get locked up to rot.

    Yesterday I worked from 6am-10pm as an Inspector for the San Francisco election. I am currently employed by the Department of Commerce as a Census Enumerator. Can I keep my gun?

  15. Ken says:

    Great stats, good arguements.

    >lee says: 11/4/2009 at 11:44 pm
    >A fully automatic AR-15 / M-16 costs $500-1000, about the same as a good handgun.

    You HAVE to send me a link for a sale like that. I’ve only seen the semi-autos for that price range. I also though there’s a fully auto gun law out there making it illegal to own a fully automatic manufactured after like 1985. Those fully autos are thousands more then their semi-auto brethren. Unless of course you buy the semi-auto and are crafty with working metal. Even still, wouldn’t it be illegal to own a self modified fully automatic weopen?

    A few points to ponder:
    -How many of the mass “slayings” could have been overted/reduced if 50% of the responsible law-abiding american passerby’s carried? How about if it were MANDATORY to carry as a responsible citizen?
    -Criminal minded people will always be able to obtain a gun as long as guns exist (an there’s no changing that). Banning guns from the general good population will only ENABLE criminal minded people by reducing the amount of probable resistance.
    -Violent people are violent regardless of tool used to affect the violence. A perpetrator’s effectiveness is proportionate to the amount of resistance encountered.
    -Criminals WANT gun laws–it makes for a safer work environment.
    -Accidental deaths are unfortunate, but is not a justification for banning ANYTHING! Seriouly. Cars kill people all the time due to operator error, and just plain lack of respect but I don’t see anyone running to ban cars. Same is true for a myriad of other things. Hell, we should ban all smoking, drinking and fatty foods…cause they kill people too. And while we’re at it, we should should look into requiring everyone to live in bubble wrapped bodysuits to prevent injury. Screw mobility–it causes death. At what point do we stop taking freedoms away from people to keep them from accidents and start allowing natural selection to do it’s work???

    Ken

  16. lee says:

    >>A fully automatic AR-15 / M-16 costs $500-1000, about the same as a good handgun.
    >You HAVE to send me a link for a sale like that.

    My price quote was, unfortunately, a hypothetical one. I know that I can purchase an AR-15 for $450-1000 on gunbroker.com. I also know that a fully automatic conversion kit is just a few small relatively easy to make pieces. The current price of a fully automatic AR-15 is artificially elevated because of federal restrictions. Coreyfro is talking about a world where fully automatic rifles were legal, so my $500-1000 price quote doesn’t include the federal restrictions.

    >A few points to ponder…
    You will get no arguments from me on any of those points! :-). I’ve written about the perceived dangers of cars before :-)

  17. lee says:

    KR writes
    >there are two major reasons I can think of why guns should be regulated and controlled: (1) mass
    >shootings and (2) accidental shootings leading to accidental injury or death.
    >Note that both of these phenomena (1) are possible only with guns,…

    KR, you are incorrect. THOUSANDS of people are killed by machete every year…

    Do a news search for “machete slaughtered” or “machete killed” on your favorite search engine. Here are some tidbits…

    An estimated 900,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, often by machete.

    Oct 26th, 2009 Murdered Brits Were Attacked With Machete

    November 1, 2009 NAIROBI, Kenya — Two people died and 15 others were seriously wounded after machete-wielding rioters…

    I could list another 50 stories but I think the most useful example is the Simpson’s Monkey’s Paw episode where Lisa wishes for “world peace” and humanity is promptly conquered by aliens wielding 2x4s. (I say that only partially tongue-in-cheek)

    accdeathAnd here’s a pretty chart from anesi.com showing the relative death rates of guns and other things. I like the poster’s comment at the bottom (go to his page), which reads, “Remarks: So stop obsessing over guns and airplanes, OK?”

    As for accidental shootings, the CDC says there were 642 “Unintentional Firearm Deaths” in the US in 2006… and 688 “Unintentional MV Traffic, Pedal cyclist Deaths”. So we would save more lives by outlawing bikes than guns. Does that sound stupid to you? Yeah, it sounds stupid to me too.

  18. KR says:

    OK, I thought this one was dead (no pun intended), but I guess I’ll jump back in.

    Regarding machetes, this has nothing to do with my point about mass or accidental shootings. All it shows is that sharp objects like knives and machetes can be dangerous when used improperly. But guns are always dangerous, because they’re meant to be.

    On Kenya and Rwanda–these are underdeveloped countries; as I believe I said before, comparing developed and underdeveloped societies is apples to oranges, because the latter will always have higher rates of crime (as well as everything else that’s bad). And if the genocidal maniacs in Rwanda had had their hands on automatic weapons, do you think the number killed would have been higher or lower? Thought so.

    Finally, regarding accidents, this is an excellent point on the boogeymen and false threats that the media loves to promote. So I’m with you there.

    However, this does not change a few facts: (1) of all the objects/ circumstances listed, only one is specifically built for the purpose of killing–firearms, (2) by definition, if we increase the number of guns in society, we will increase the number of accidental deaths caused by them, even assuming the proportion remains constant, (3) lots of people die from falls–so what? That is an interesting fact, but it does not, in and of itself, mean that we should not control guns. All it means is that we need people to watch their step.

    Bikes vs guns—clever argument. But remember, relative to (1) the number of bikes, (2) the amount of use they get, and (3) the nature of the bike as not built solely for the purpose of killing, the deaths caused by bike are small compared with those by guns. Again, smart gun control is the answer.

  19. Ken says:

    KR, you fail to see that despite so called gun contol, bad guys will always have guns. They will get here one way or another. Think of how effective drug control is.

    And the sole purpose of guns is not to kill people. That just shows your ignorance. I have a gun. And I didn’t buy it to kill people. I have it to protect my family from people who would want to do harm to them.

    Gun control is like communism. It sounds like a great ultruistic ideal, but in reality it just doesn’t work. And as Lee pointed out, there is plenty of data to verify it.

  20. lee says:

    KR writes

    Regarding machetes, this has nothing to do with my point about mass or accidental shootings. All it shows is that sharp objects like knives and machetes can be dangerous when used improperly. But guns are always dangerous, because they’re meant to be.

    Pardon me for being blunt but that is a stupid argument. Machetes are always dangerous. Swords are always dangerous. Knives are always dangerous. They are all meant to be.

    Yes, it is the sole purpose of a gun to be dangerous. Get used to it.

    ——————————

    On Kenya and Rwanda–these are underdeveloped countries; as I believe I said before, comparing developed and underdeveloped societies is apples to oranges, because the latter will always have higher rates of crime (as well as everything else that’s bad).

    I pointed out the Rwandan issue to show that, yes you can fight a whole war and kill hundreds of thousands of people with knives if the people don’t have something to defend themselves with.

    Did you notice the middle article that I mentioned, “Murdered Brits Were Attacked With Machete”?

    Here, let me show you a few other THOUSAND stories of people being killed with knives. Google search for “killed with knife”. I encourage you to click on this link in a month when there will be an entirely different set of stories about people being killed with knives.

    ——————————

    And if the genocidal maniacs in Rwanda had had their hands on automatic weapons, do you think the number killed would have been higher or lower? Thought so.

    Did you watch the Simpsons Monkey’s Paw episode that I mentioned? Apparently not. I recommend you watch it. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out the moral of the story.

    ——————————

    Finally, regarding accidents, this is an excellent point on the boogeymen and false threats that the media loves to promote. So I’m with you there.

    Thank you.

    ——————————

    However, this does not change a few facts: (1) of all the objects/ circumstances listed, only one is specifically built for the purpose of killing–firearms,

    Yes, guns are designed to be dangerous. Get used to it.

    ——————————

    (2) by definition, if we increase the number of guns in society, we will increase the number of accidental deaths caused by them, even assuming the proportion remains constant,

    I showed that accidental deaths due to guns are trivial and you agreed with me. I have also showed a large body of evidence (and there is much more evidence available) that increasing the number of guns dramatically decreases the very substantial intentional death rate. Conclusion: more guns = less death related to guns.

    ——————————

    (3) lots of people die from falls–so what? That is an interesting fact, but it does not, in and of itself, mean that we should not control guns. All it means is that we need people to watch their step.

    Who is talking about falls? If you want to talk about falls go ahead and do some research on it and get back to me. Right now, I’m talking about guns and bikes.

    ——————————

    Bikes vs guns—clever argument. But remember, relative to (1) the number of bikes, (2) the amount of use they get, and (3) the nature of the bike as not built solely for the purpose of killing, the deaths caused by bike are small compared with those by guns.

    Bikes have a certain utility and a certain danger associated with them. Likewise, guns have a certain utility and a certain danger.

    Bike utility: getting me where I want to go
    Bike danger: being injured or killed in an accident

    Gun utility: insurance against bad people attacking
    Gun danger: being injured or killed by an accidental discharge, being attacked by someone with a gun

    Yes, guns are built solely for the purpose of killing. Get used to it. Yes, guns have the possibility of being abused. In general, people don’t abuse cars to run over bikers (though it occasionally happens). In general, people don’t abuse rat poison or oxycodone or steak knives or hemlock. But it sometimes happens.

    ——————————

    Again, smart gun control is the answer.

    This is the very first time you have mentioned “smart gun control”. Please tell me what you mean by “smart”.

  21. Coreyfro says:

    Funny how this traffic increases after several incidents of gun violence; which affords me the following tangent.

    Lets talk about the FN Five-Seven used at the Fort Hood shooting. Until that shooting, I thought the FN5-7 was illegal to acquire as a civilian.

    While Machetes are designed to be dangerous to plants, and guns are meant to be dangerous to animals (including us), FN5-7’s are designed to be dangerous to ARMORED ANIMALS. Namely soldiers.

    The reason I thought the fn5-7’s were (and the reason they should be) illegal for civilians comes from the ammunition the FN5-7 uses. The 5.7x28mm has all the potential energy of a .45 round, with a round that is half the diameter. This leads to a projectile that travels at MORE THAN TWICE the speed, and despite the weight difference of the round, hits with just as much force.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45_ACP
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.7x28mm

    How does this work? The round has .25% the frontal area of a .45 round, a more tapered shape, and, as a function of diameter of barrel to barrel length, effectively “double the barrel length” of a similarly sized 45.

    All these factors make the fn5-7 the PERFECT side arm for anyone in the field where you may actually need to kill an armored target with a pistol at 100 yards. Decidedly NOT the weapon to be shooting in a neighborhood full of dry wall houses when you are trying to hit an unarmored target down a hall way.

    Why not arm civilians with these weapons? Because these weapons may actually be LESS effective against an unarmored target. They’ll hurt like hell, but the bullet may zip right through the person, and that’s not useful unless they pass through a vital organ, which is roughly 33% of a human target. No, for home defense, you want something a little less discrete.

    Which brings me to my point. How in the hell are these weapons legal? What justification is there for allowing a weapon of this power to make it in to the masses? This weapon is for discrete killing. It is not a hand gun, it is a hand rifle.

    I have used a handgun in defense of my mother’s home back when I was 21 (from one of her ex-boyfriends and not a thief). I do defend the right to use weapons to defend ones self. But I am not a libertarian/republican, blind to the non-sense that is expounded in defense of firearms due to some ideal that is equally ridiculous to the thought of gun prohibition.

    Gun control is not gun-prohibition. Gun control is making sure that guns remain tools of self defense or sport, and nothing more. I have been around guns my entire life, and I am serious when I say gun nuts are NUTS. People who are afraid to register a legal weapon they are in possession of are scary people.

    I also grew up around sportsman. I have been around people who compete, responsibly, with fully automatic, .45 caliber Tommy guns (bullet grouping). These people worked within the rules to receive the right to OWN A FULLY AUTOMATIC TOMMY GUN IN CALIFORNIA. There are means for this, they are legal, they are there for us all.

    I guess I am fortunate, more than most, because I HAVE been exposed to this. I have seen responsible people with weapons.

    For every responsible person with a gun, there are a number who aren’t. It takes authority to prove one is responsible with these weapons, and it caries a weighty burden. This is an obligation, as is the obligation to not kill people with tools of industry, sport, or war. That it is not trivial to trust people to use tools of industry, sport, or war in a RESPONSIBLE way is why we are required to license tools of industry, sport, or war. In society, people are expected to carry the burden of authority. People who have no authority have no power. People who gain authority, gain power. The authority to own a gun means you have the right to own one and the obligation to use it well. This I agree with whole heartedly.

    I defend the position that people who have not displayed authority with a firearm should not have license to own one. Only those who have accepted the LEGAL BURDEN of OWNING a WEAPON should own weapons. Those who do not have license to own weapons should be considered criminal. Those who obtain the power to authorize people as weapon owners should be partially responsible for the actions of the people they license weapons to.

    Society as a whole should have a vested interest in who gets weapons and who can use them…

    …in a democratic society, the worst that could happen from this is an educated portion of the population who can perpetuate the culture of responsible gun ownership.

    Go ahead, shoot me down. (by which, I mean present a case against mine)

  22. lee says:

    Coreyfro,

    While Machetes are designed to be dangerous to plants, and guns are meant to be dangerous to animals

    I just pointed to references of how hundreds of thousands of people have been killed by machetes and other knives around the world in recent years, including innumerable people in the US and you are still blathering about how machetes aren’t inherently dangerous? That is inane.

    ————–

    FN5-7’s are designed to be dangerous to ARMORED ANIMALS. Namely soldiers.

    You go on to mention how the FN5-7 is a great armor piercing gun. On 9-29-09 you were talking about how fully automatic weapons are… feh. Your argument is full of contradictions. I will stop researching the topic and just start talking because apparently, no amount of logic is going to convince anyone.

    Corey, yes, guns are dangerous. That is what they are designed to be. Big ones and small ones alike. Armor piercing and non armor piercing. They are all dangerous. I own one and I will not hesitate to use it against someone that threatens my life. I will similarly fight very hard to keep my right because I know very well that a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right keep and bear Arms, should not be infringed.

    In your next comment Coreyfo, I expect you to propose an appropriate test to determine who gets your gun licenses.

    My test: allow people to buy guns. If they do bad things with them, they get in an appropriate amount of trouble as is already defined by current law, IE assault, battery, attempted homicide, homicide.

  23. lee says:

    Talking points that I might go into but I’m f-ing bored with rehashing this include:

    * which 5.7x28mm cartridge did the Fort Hood attacker use? Armor piercing or not?

    * Every few years people switch what they are afraid of. It used to be big slow handgun bullets (.45) then fast light rifle bullets (5.56mm M-16 which were initially laughed at by the military), now it’s a fast light small handgun bullet that can be armor piercing or not. Figure out what you’re afraid of already! They’re all dangerous, they’re fucking bullets!

    * Coreyfro, what’s scarier, concealed carry handguns or open carry rocket launchers?

    * you say your friends/family “worked within the rules to receive the right to OWN A FULLY AUTOMATIC TOMMY GUN IN CALIFORNIA” Do you realize that to do this they just filled out a pile of paperwork, paid several hundred bucks, and installed a gun safe. I could do it but it’s too much of a pain in the ass.

    * you quote all kinds of stats about the FN… why? Are you trying to bait someone by showing how scary it is? It’s a gun, it’s dangerous. That’s what it’s designed to be. We could talk for a while about the pros and cons of that particular gun and bullet but nevertheless, it’s a gun, it’s dangerous, that’s it’s job.

  24. Rick says:

    Rather than refute or attempt ‘shoot down’ people who are misinformed (or overly emotional) concerning the second amendment and what it is for, I’m simply going to vote, and monetarily support organizations who will fight for my constitutional rights. I strongly encourage others who value their freedoms to do the same. A quick google for “second amendment” will give you pointers to several organizations which can (and do) protect your rights by fighting for them in the courts, education programs, informing our elected officials, and other means. Picking one is a matter of personal choice, but I encourage you to research these organizations and choose one that fits your views and ideals.

  25. KR says:

    Glad to see I’ve provoked such a response (although that may be because people think I’m an idiot—but whatever). Let’s get started:
    Ken:
    “KR, you fail to see that despite so called gun contol, bad guys will always have guns. They will get here one way or another. Think of how effective drug control is.”

    You make a good point, if the supply for guns remains the same. If, however, we make it more difficult to purchase guns AND we reduce the total supply of guns, then we (the good guys) can impose greater control on the total universe of guns and who has them and who doesn’t.

    “And the sole purpose of guns is not to kill people. That just shows your ignorance. I have a gun. And I didn’t buy it to kill people. I have it to protect my family from people who would want to do harm to them.”

    The firearm was invented to make killing and injuring easier and quicker. Your purpose may not be to kill or harm people. But in fact you will do that if someone attacks you or your family. And that doesn’t change the fundamental, inherent purpose of the firearm.

    “Gun control is like communism. It sounds like a great ultruistic ideal, but in reality it just doesn’t work. And as Lee pointed out, there is plenty of data to verify it.”

    Actually, the proper analogy would be illegalizing all guns—that would be an impossible utopian dream. If gun control is done correctly and not stupidly or simplistically, it can certainly work. And there is plenty of data indicating that.

  26. KR says:

    Response to Lee:
    KR writes
    >Regarding machetes, this has nothing to do with my point about mass or accidental
    >shootings. All it shows is that sharp objects like knives and machetes can be
    >dangerous when used improperly. But guns are always dangerous, because they’re
    >meant to be.
    Pardon me for being blunt but that is a stupid argument. Machetes are always dangerous. Swords are always dangerous. Knives are always dangerous. They are all meant to be.
    Yes, it is the sole purpose of a gun to be dangerous. Get used to it.

    OK, let me clarify: sharp objects can be deadly when used improperly. Of course they are always dangerous. But the fundamental purpose of the firearm remains to quickly and efficiently kill (or injure) someone. That is why it will always be inherently more dangerous than something for which the main purpose is other than killing/ injuring.
    ——————————
    >On Kenya and Rwanda–these are underdeveloped countries; as I believe I said
    >before, comparing developed and underdeveloped societies is apples to oranges,
    >because the latter will always have higher rates of crime (as well as everything
    >else that’s bad).
    I pointed out the Rwandan issue to show that, yes you can fight a whole war and kill hundreds of thousands of people with knives if the people don’t have something to defend themselves with.
    Did you notice the middle article that I mentioned, “Murdered Brits Were Attacked With Machete”?
    Here, let me show you a few other THOUSAND stories of people being killed with knives. Google search for “killed with knife”. I encourage you to click on this link in a month when there will be an entirely different set of stories about people being killed with knives.

    The link to the British story didn’t work, BTW. Now, you can fight a whole war with toothpicks if people can’t defend themselves. They should have been able to defend themselves, I agree. And people should be able to defend themselves within the framework of smart gun control (more on that below). The answer is not to flood society with guns and hope that it all works out somehow.
    ——————————
    >And if the genocidal maniacs in Rwanda had had their hands on
    >automatic weapons, do you think the number killed would have been higher or
    >lower? Thought so.
    Did you watch the Simpsons Monkey’s Paw episode that I mentioned? Apparently not. I recommend you watch it. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out the moral of the story.

    I read the synopsis. If you’re trying to say that potential victims should be able to defend themselves from criminals, I agree. And that is possible within the framework of smart gun control.
    ——————————
    >Finally, regarding accidents, this is an excellent point on the boogeymen and false
    >threats that the media loves to promote. So I’m with you there.
    Thank you.
    ——————————
    >However, this does not change a few facts: (1) of all the objects/ circumstances
    >listed, only one is specifically built for the purpose of killing–firearms,
    Yes, guns are designed to be dangerous. Get used to it.

    I am used to it. That’s why I want to control them.
    ——————————
    >(2) by definition, if we increase the number of guns in society, we will increase the
    >number of accidental deaths caused by them, even assuming the proportion remains
    >constant,
    I showed that accidental deaths due to guns are trivial and you agreed with me. I have also showed a large body of evidence (and there is much more evidence available) that increasing the number of guns dramatically decreases the very substantial intentional death rate. Conclusion: more guns = less death related to guns.

    “Triviality” is in the eye of the beholder. But obviously, there are bigger threats to the American population than accidental gun deaths, agreed. This does not change the fact that we can lower this particular threat by enacting regulation. There’s certainly a lot of evidence supporting your conclusion. And then there’s evidence supporting the opposite or different conclusion. Here is an excellent (slightly technical) example, dealing directly with Lott’s stats: http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres_Donohue_article.pdf
    Note the idea that concealed carry laws can spark an arms race causing criminals to arm themselves even more and be even more trigger-happy because hesitating once you’ve started a crime can be deadly. They will therefore be more inclined to shoot first and ask questions later if they don’t know if their victim has a gun or not.

    ——————————
    > (3) lots of people die from falls–so what? That is an interesting fact, but it does
    >not, in and of itself, mean that we should not control guns. All it means is that we
    >need people to watch their step.
    Who is talking about falls? If you want to talk about falls go ahead and do some research on it and get back to me. Right now, I’m talking about guns and bikes.

    Umm, I’m fairly certain that the second item on the chart that YOU gave was accidental falls. I was using that to demonstrate the point that each of those items is valid. But just because more people die from, say, car accidents than from gun accidents doesn’t, in and of itself, mean that we should not control guns. It is not relevant to that question. It may say something as to what our priorities should be, but that’s it.
    ——————————
    >Bikes vs guns—clever argument. But remember, relative to (1) the number of bikes, (2)
    >the amount of use they get, and (3) the nature of the bike as not built solely for the
    >purpose of killing, the deaths caused by bike are small compared with those by guns.
    Bikes have a certain utility and a certain danger associated with them. Likewise, guns have a certain utility and a certain danger.
    Bike utility: getting me where I want to go
    Bike danger: being injured or killed in an accident
    Gun utility: insurance against bad people attacking
    Gun danger: being injured or killed by an accidental discharge, being attacked by someone with a gun
    Yes, guns are built solely for the purpose of killing. Get used to it. Yes, guns have the possibility of being abused. In general, people don’t abuse cars to run over bikers (though it occasionally happens). In general, people don’t abuse rat poison or oxycodone or steak knives or hemlock. But it sometimes happens.

    Guns are inherently built to kill or injure. I am used to it. That’s why I want to regulate them. The bottom line is that guns are, for that reason, inherently more dangerous than rat poison, steak knives or cars. This is why, proportional to the amount of use they get and the number of them, the deaths from car accidents is actually, I would submit, lower, than those from gun accidents. We control the sale of prescription drugs, which can be deadly, so why not guns, which are deadlier?
    ——————————
    >Again, smart gun control is the answer.
    This is the very first time you have mentioned “smart gun control”. Please tell me what you mean by “smart”.

    As I alluded in the response to Ken, we need to deal with the supply side as well as the demand side. Most “gun control” efforts to now have focused on the demand side—making it more difficult for people to legally purchase guns, without adequately focusing on their supply. As long as there is a substantial number of guns floating out there, of course criminals will necessarily have a logical advantage that law-abiding citizens don’t.

  27. lee says:

    And then there’s evidence supporting the opposite or different conclusion. Here is an excellent (slightly technical) example, dealing directly with Lott’s stats: http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres_Donohue_article.pdf

    I browsed the first 26 pages and couldn’t find any conclusions against the “More Guns = Less Crime” hypothesis. Actually, the article spends a great deal of time praising “More Guns = Less Crime”. You’ll have to find the data for me.

    —————

    Actually, the proper analogy would be illegalizing all guns—that would be an impossible utopian dream. If gun control is done correctly and not stupidly or simplistically, it can certainly work. And there is plenty of data indicating that.

    No, the “proper analogy” in your words, would be “illegalizing” all deadly weapons. As soon as you figure out how to illegalize guns, machetes, swords, knives and rocks across the whole planet simultaneously, let me know.

    —————

    That is why it [guns] will always be inherently more dangerous than something for which the main purpose is other than killing/ injuring.

    Guns don’t have intentions, people have intentions. Knives don’t have intentions, people have intentions.

    —————

    The link to the British story didn’t work, BTW

    I fixed the link

    —————

    Lee wrote: Who is talking about falls?
    KR replied: Umm, I’m fairly certain that the second item on the chart that YOU gave was accidental falls

    I never tried to correlate falls into any other data. We can talk about that but it will need more research. I also haven’t brought (on the chart) motor vehicle deaths into this, nor lighting bolts. Stay on topic or we can end this conversation.

    —————

    Guns are inherently built to kill or injure. I am used to it. That’s why I want to regulate them. The bottom line is that guns are, for that reason, inherently more dangerous than rat poison, steak knives or cars.

    Guns have no intentions, people have intentions. You and Coreyfro keep talking about intention. It is misguided.

    —————

    And that is possible within the framework of smart gun control.

    uk homicide rateI will not reply to KR or Coreyfro on this issue until they propose some kind of “smart gun control” framework that has a chance in hell of working. You’ve both bandied it about but I suspect your “smart gun control” will be, “First thing we do is destroy all the guns.” So we get to kill each other like civilized people… with knives… like they do in Britain… where guns are virtually outlawed and homicide has not decreased. Note the chart on the right, taken from the UK Parliament (local copy)

    Look at the chart and take a guess when the “British Firearms (Amendment) Act” was enacted, banning most firearms from the UK. Now google for it and find out.

    Heh.

    Your persuasion technique: “Guns are scary!”
    My persuasion technique: hundreds of years of proof, political and scholarly research

    Corey, KR, come back to this topic when you have something useful to say. Until then, I will take the copious known body of evidence at face value and will say that gun ownership decreases homicide rates.

  28. coreyfro says:

    This is like arguing with someone who has a megaphone in front of an abortion clinic. Lee, you are using the power of your blog to squelch people and not discuss. Because it is your blog, I will cede to you. Obviously, my centrist viewpoint that comes from active involvement in fire arms groups as a youth, familiarity with with using weapons in home defense, and experience with weapons collectors, enthusiasts, and sportsman who played by the rules, isn’t welcome here.

  29. Rick says:

    Coreyfro —

    Can you answer the question of what “smart gun control” is, or not? Should we assume by your last post that you don’t actually have a coherent answer?

  30. lee says:

    Coreyfro writes:

    Obviously, my centrist viewpoint… isn’t welcome here

    Your viewpoint is welcome here. Your comments seem to be disjointed. I am pleading for an intelligent conversation. If you can’t deliver, then we can’t converse.

    ————————

    Lee, you are using the power of your blog to squelch people

    If I were squelching you, I might choose to either delete your comments or disemvowel them. I have done neither, never threatened such and won’t. The only “advantage” I have taken is to put supporting charts and documents inline which you generally cannot do as a commenter. But you are welcome to point to sources that aren’t on this blog.

    Help! I’m being repressed!
    Coreyfro, I’m not up on this, should we call yours a straw man or an ad hominem argument?

    PS. You have still not answered the question or spoken directly about your “smart gun control”.

  31. lee says:

    I just came across a Jack Handey quote that I think you’d all appreciate

    I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it.

    from “Deepest Thoughts: So Deep they Squeak” by Jack Handey

  32. KR says:

    (This is Lee writing. KR wrote this comment on 11/10/2009 at 3:03 pm. But it fell into the spam box. I recovered it from the spam box on 11-15-09)

    Guns certainly are scary…because, you know, they’re deadly weapons. Not toys. I will remind everyone that I have submitted many claims and ideas that have not been refuted.

    Now, your argument has basically reverted to the old canard “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Right, and how do people kill people? With guns. Take away the gun, and the person can’t kill. You would say, they’ll with a knife. And I would say, maybe, but it’s much more difficult to kill someone with a knife than with a gun. A 2-year old cannot kill a 300 pound, 6 ft man with a steak knife. But the child can, with a gun, because it’s so easy.

    “Stay on topic or we can end this conversation.” (Hey, it’s your blog, man.) YOU were the one, Lee, who put that chart up there with the implication that accidental gun deaths are trivial, relative to the other accidental deaths. If I recall correctly: “So we would save more lives by outlawing bikes than guns. Does that sound stupid to you? Yeah, it sounds stupid to me too.”

    Umm…Yeah.

    The hypocrisy of your position:
    “I browsed the first 26 pages and couldn’t find any conclusions against the “More Guns = Less Crime” hypothesis.” A little later: “I will take the copious known body of evidence at face value…”

    “As soon as you figure out how to illegalize guns, machetes, swords, knives and rocks across the whole planet simultaneously, let me know.” I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m kind of NOT supporting illegalizing guns. Then again, you seem to have a very black/white absolutist attitude about this issue. There are valid statistics on both sides of the argument, and that indicates that a nuanced approach (dare I say a “smart” approach?) is called for.

    You asked for statistics, well here you go. But I would recommend reading the “scholarly” article (your word) I gave you earlier. Word to the wise: often the conclusions come at the end, not the beginning. If you aren’t interested in entertaining a different perspective, I don’t see why I should bother to “find the data for you.” I’m too busy Googling British knife deaths.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11834986

    http://www.vpc.org/press/0905gundeath.htm

    “On average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault.”– http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/AJPH.2008.143099v1

    Lots of info in this one: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/index.html

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9715182

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2327277

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00046149.htm

    This chart from the above link indicates that countries with higher firearm availability (like US, Israel, Finland, etc) have higher rates of gun death for children 15 and under: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00046149.htm#00002255.htm

    http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Law/CriminologyandCriminalJustice/?view=usa&ci=9780195131055&view=usa

    “Guns kept in homes are more likely to be involved in a fatal or nonfatal accidental shooting, criminal assault, or suicide attempt than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense.”– http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/Abstract/1998/08000/Injuries_and_Deaths_Due_to_Firearms_in_the_Home.10.aspx

    An example of a “smart” gun control idea is to close the gun show loophole:
    http://www.handguncontrol.org/legislation

  33. lee says:

    I’ll respond properly soon, but first, KR, what kind of message did you see when my blog automatically sent your comment to the spam box?

  34. KR says:

    Hi,
    I actually didn’t see any message. (I saw your own email message just now.) I didn’t see the message appear on the blog at first, but I knew that’s because it automatically delays comments with links. I would guess it must have assumed it was spam because of the large number of links…you know, since there is just so much data to support my position.

  35. Scott says:

    I see you’re all in the middle of an argument, but I have a little point to make:
    The second amendment was passed so that if the government DID attempt to abuse us, the citizens would be armed enough to take on the military. That means that the people should have access to weapons as powerful as the military (I don’t think the founding fathers were expecting nukes so soon, though), so if we DO have a revolt, the people have a fighting chance. That logic means that there would be all kinds of super-weapons out there (RPGs, military grade grenades, miniguns, etc), so we would need a way to control those, so we don’t have people bring their pet grenade launcher to school. I suggest a “rating” system of how powerful the guns are, based not on firepower, but on how much damage a single clip/belt/whatever else you load these with would do. RPGs, tanks, and miniguns would be at 10, since the destructive power is so high, while something like a 9mm pistol would be closer to a 5 (This includes bows, tasers, and things like that. They’re more likely to be 1-5). Then, after the weapons are categorized, they’re taxed a certain amount times the rating they received. That would make the “extreme” end of the weapon-spectrum extremely expensive (but not unobtainable), so if a “crazy person” wanted to blow his cheating wife up with an anti-aircraft gun, it would put the biggest hole in his pockets he ever saw, causing him to rethink the whole thing. “Is it worth it? Kill someone I’ve known for years, go to jail, and lose all of my money?”

  36. lee says:

    I haven’t looked into this yet but this new site might provide good stats http://www.police.uk/

  37. […] as a whole. Here is a graph looking at that data: Since you want to know sources, it comes from this blog post. The blog post got the data from this article published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public […]

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