Does the Latest Study Finally Show That Owning a Gun Makes You Less Safe?


Yesterday the Annals of Internal Medicine published a meta-analysis of 15 studies that aimed to measure the relationship between gun ownership and the risk of suicide or homicide. Over all, University of California at San Francisco epidemiologist Andrew Anglemyer and his two co-authors found, people with access to guns were about three times as likely to kill themselves and about twice as likely to be killed as people without such access. The Daily Beast's Brandy Zadrozny says Anglemyer et al.'s study "has seemingly put an end to the debate" over whether owning a gun makes people more or less safe, "at least in terms of suicide and homicide." Not quite.

Like the underlying studies, almost all of which started with suicide or homicide cases and matched them to "controls," the meta-analysis cannot tell us whether the observed relationships are causal and, if so, in which direction the causation runs. "Whether the presence of a firearm among case patients is the result of environmental characteristics or living conditions is unclear," the authors observe. "For example, some persons may purchase a firearm for protection because of neighborhood crime." If so, that same high crime rate would increase their chances of being killed, whether or not they owned guns. Similarly, a woman might buy a gun to protect herself against an abusive boyfriend or husband. If he ends up killing her, that does not necessarily mean buying the gun made her less safe. Rather, it was her vulnerability to violence that motivated her to buy the gun.

That scenario seems especially relevant given that Anglemyer and his colleagues found the risk of homicide victimization associated with owning a gun was much higher for women than for men. Among men, the additional risk was just 29 percent, while for women it was 184 percent. Suicide risk, by contrast, was somewhat higher for men than for women, for whom the additional risk associated with access to a gun was not statistically significant.

Assuming that suicide is an impulsive act, it seems plausible that, other things being equal, access to a gun would make it easier to complete. But it is also possible that people prone to suicide are more likely to buy guns, either because they already have thought about killing themselves or because the same personality traits or circumstances that increase their risk of suicide also make gun ownership more attractive. The studies considered by Anglemyer et al. did not distinguish between these alternative explanations.

It is hard to know what is going on here without more details about the circumstances of each death. For example, in how many cases, if any, did an abusive husband disarm his wife and use the gun she bought for self-defense against her? Were the people who committed suicide determined enough that if a gun had not been available they would have killed themselves anyway? The studies not only do not answer such questions; they typically do not even distinguish between deaths by firearm and deaths by other means, a puzzling omission if the aim is to measure the risks posed by gun ownership.

More on the relationship between gun ownership and suicide here.

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  1. Suicide rates are not a valid reason for criminal sanctions. That is all.

    1. It’s not in society’s interest to minimize suicides?

      If people are really determined but don’t have a gun, they can always try again. But a gun tends to preclude having second thoughts.

      1. He never said it wasn’t in society’s interest to minimize suicides.

        Die, straw man, die!

        1. Sure he did.

          1. No, he said suicides are not a valid reason for criminal sanctions. Meaning government should not use force to address the issue.

            I know you have difficulty imaging how a problem can be addressed without coercion or force, but try to open your mind a bit.

            1. Who said anything about coercion or force?

              1. criminal sanctions

              2. Fuck, you are SO stupid and un-self-aware….

              3. Who said anything about coercion or force?

                God damn son, do your cause a favor and just check out.

      2. It’s not in society’s interest to minimize suicides?

        Maybe. Using what method?

        1. Maybe. Using what method?

          Whichever method gets his coercion boner the hardest, of course.

      3. Society has no interests or rights.

        1. Or maybe you fetishize individualism.

          1. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t, doesn’t matter, society still isn’t a thing.

            1. Why not? Why is a group of people not a thing? Is a group of ants also not a thing? Is there no value in describing an ant colony? Is there no value in describing a human society? Nothing to be learned whatsoever by treating humans as groups on occasion?

              1. What he means society isn’t an entity with a single will, interest, or goals. If you are for minimizing suicides, I suppose you are against assisted suicide in the case of terminally ill patients?

              2. “Is a group of ants also not a thing?” Yes it’s called the Progressive Caucus.

              3. Sweet mother of God, the lack of awareness…the Freudian slips…

                Brilliant comparison you got there with ants and people Tony. Perfect summation of your retarded views of everything.

                1. Oh yes because humans aren’t just another species of mammal, we’re extra special. We get rights from the gods!

                  Humans happen to be somewhat less social than ants, but somewhat more social than pandas. When talking politics, it pretty much makes even less sense to talk about individuals. Even policies that explicitly protect individual rights and priorities are social in nature. We don’t check in on every individual. We measure the value of those policies by their effect on society. One very important such metric is whether a public policy increases human individual freedom, if that’s your thing.

                  1. We measure the value of those policies by their effect on society.

                    Every word is meaningless.

                  2. Yeah, Tony. We are a special species of mammals. And, yes we should and have to be treated differently than say, a grizzly bear. I get to walk down a street unmolested, usually. Grizzly bears don’t.

                    Do you honestly think humans are not different from ants?

                  3. we’re extra special.

                    Your mom was only talking about you.

      4. Yeah, it’s a good thing my severely depressed cousin didn’t have access to a firearm or else he would have…

        oh yeah, that’s right, he hung himself with some rope. Fuck off Tony.

        Also, ban ropes

        1. Ah, the singular of evidence. The studies show that the presence of guns increases the likelihood of (successful) suicide. Doesn’t mean sometimes people don’t succeed without one.

          1. No they don’t. Correlation =/= causation

          2. Japan has 2X our suicide rate. They don’t use guns.

            Fuck off, Tony.

          3. Tony, it doesn’t bother you at all that the meta-analysis didn’t include nearly all of the potential studies?!

            Nearly 7000 “records in” at the start; 70 “assessed for eligibility” and of the 70, FIFTEEN ended up being the basis of their report?!

            That’s like the statistician who drowned while trying to cross a river that AVERAGED just one inch depth of water!

      5. Tony, if you are seriously interested in the topic of gun control, and want to use these types of “studies” as a reason to remove firearms from the hands of law-abiding citizens, I would suggest you read Kleck’s “Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America” (Aldine de Gruyter, 1991. It is available in your library.

        1. Kleck’s 2.5 million figure has been debunked.

          1. Did the entire book, which is 512 pages, get debunked because one figure has been, as you assert without any evidence or citation, debunked? Or did the book, which I’m sure you’ve read cover to cover, consist solely of “2.5 million” repeated over and over? The guy suggests that you read something in order to give yourself a broader perspective and, in your typical fashion, you respond with a completely unsubstantiated sweeping statement.

            Even if the 2.5 million figure (which is, as Kleck admits, based largely on estimates as the true numbers are impossible to verify) is wildly inaccurate, there are undeniably many documented cases of guns being used to deter crime or to terminate crimes in the act of commission. Debating the number sidesteps the central question of whether a human being has the right to self defense by the most effective means available, which is a firearm. You prefer to argue numbers rather than principle, which frankly doesn’t surprise me, as you don’t really seem to have any.

          2. Hmmm the book is several hundred pages long.. you pick one survey? BTW.. his poll has been done by other people, including, IIRC, the Justice Dept. They came up with 1.8 million. That number still outweighs illegal uses of guns by a ton. There is a reason his book, though not perfect, won the most coveted prize in the field of Criminology.

      6. It is not. Suicide is a personal choice of the individual.

        1. Glibertarians always think this way, but they always fail to consider externalities.

          I mean, who’s going to pay for your social security or build the roads if you don’t use coercion to deny natural rights in a sure-to-be-successful attempt to prevent suicidal people from committing suicide via one of many, many means and thus ensure that said suicidal people contribute to the survival of the only thing we all belong to, namely government? Bet you didn’t think of that, did you?

      7. Gun ownership is all but illegal in Japan and Korea, and their suicide rate is sky high.

        If you’re dead serious about suicide, then you’ll have the balls of steel to jump from a building, hang yourself, ingest pesticide, or choke on Carbon monoxide. A gun just makes the job easier.

        This kind of study should demonstrate that if people who committed suicide never had a gun, then they would NEVER have committed suicide. But that’s hard to prove.

      8. Suicide is the ultimate act of self ownership. You don’t truly own something unless you are free to destroy it.

      9. Suicide rate is higher in Japan than the US. Maybe they should ban guns. Oh, wait…

      10. Also, I would hold that it’s in society’s interest to maximize suicides. It decreases the cost of mental health care for the rest of us, eliminates people who are generally poor producers and a net drain on the economy, and reduces excess population through choice. I’m not seeing a problem.

      11. What about deterrence? Would people still risk suicide if there was a 20 year prison sentence for it?

        1. No prison time for the successful.

  2. Well, duh.

  3. The studies… typically do not even distinguish between deaths by firearm and deaths by other means

    Wha’ whaaaa? I just caught that.

    1. What other means of death could owning a gun increase the likelihood of? Electrocution?

      1. Might Tony postulate that they suffocated on holsters, pistol rugs and drag bags?

    2. My grandfather owned a couple .22 varmint rifles. Died of a heart attack. THE CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP IS CLEAR.

      1. It would have been even clearer had he died of *rabies*.

      2. My dad had 15 or 16 guns and he DIED OF CANCER AT AGE 45!!!111!

        I took all his guns, have added more, and am still going at age 52….I R DOIN IT WRONG!!

  4. Surely we want the same level of rigor applied to claims that owning guns makes people more safe–the inherent claim behind defenses of the utility of the 2nd Amendment.

    Obviously guns must make an environment less safe–they are machines designed to kill people. That’s the very reason they are cherished as a means of self-defense. If they weren’t efficient killing machines, then why give a shit?

    The only way to stay pro-gun is to say that the right to own one is worth the cost (the population of a small city dead each year). You can’t say they increase safety. At best you can say that since would-be murderers have access to them, so should you (any ideas as to where the arms race should stop?). But two men with guns is not a safer environment than two men with knives or baseball bats.

    1. “You can’t say they increase safety.”

      Tell that to the homeowners who precluded a home invasion by brandishing their weapon, an event which is not really factored into the equation since most such incidents are never reported.

      1. There have already been studies done about this.

        1. It’s adorable that you think Violence Policy Center wishcasting is a “study.”

          You may as well link to an NRA press release.

        2. Fail.

          Link doesn’t even mention brandishing, only actual defensive homicides.

          Try again?

    2. But two men with guns is not a safer environment than two men with knives or baseball bats.

      You always start off ok, Tony, and then you get yourself wrapped up in your own underwear.

      For instance, given the amount of carnage that’s been occurring in Gun Free Zones, we know that one man with a gun is almost assuredly less safe than two men with guns.

      1. If only there were data. Oh wait, you’ve just been slathered in it, by reason mag no less.

        1. So this means you’ll support a total ban on alcohol, because more people die from alcohol-related causes than firearm-related causes every year, correct?

          After all, the CDC confirmed that alcohol is less safe than firearms. Obviously, by prog logic, this means private purchase and consumption of alcohol should be completely banned.

          If you’re going to worship at the altar of “data,” you better be prepared to follow its edicts.

          1. And cars are responsible for a lot of deaths, and cigs, and swimming pools. Society gets to decide where it wants to take its risks and whether the tradeoffs are worth it.

            So the real question is what’s the value of guns in society. Self-defense? No–as I link elsewhere, having a gun is more likely to get you killed than to save you. Armed revolution? I don’t personally consider that legitimate in a democratic society. Shootin’ varmints? Hardly an unmitigated evil, but worth the tradeoff? Being jerkoff fodder for gun fetishists? I’d say no.

            But there’s plenty of room for disagreement.

            1. So the real question is what’s the value of guns in society.

              Nope, no goal-post shifting from you. You emphatically stated that the real issue is public safety. “Value” never entered your argument until you got bitch-slapped with government data that proved one readily available thing was a greater cause of death than those Scary Guns you hoplophobic control freaks are always going on about.

              The data doesn’t fit within your ideological framework, so you now attempt to ignore it and move on to something else. It’s a pretty remarkable example of your lack of intellectual integrity and the mendaciousness of hoplophobic control freaks in general.

              1. Excuse me if I never articulated that on any matter whatsoever I believe a cost-benefit assessment should be made. I can hardly exempt guns.

                It’s true that I support many liberties that are responsible for increasing human death. You know what I support in gun policy? No, actually you don’t, since I never said. The only opinion I really have is that extremism tends to go to far. We regulate alcohol, pools, and, god knows, cars, precisely because they can kill. What practical regulations do you support on guns? Or are they exempt from cost-benefit analysis because their ownership is an extra special sacred right?

                1. Excuse me if I never articulated that on any matter whatsoever I believe a cost-benefit assessment should be made.

                  More goal-post shifting. You made an claim about public safety and got caught with your pants down when a more dangerous element was pointed out to you.

                  The problem is that you’re so damn arrogant you can’t even admit that you got waxed in less time than it takes to do a google search.

            2. Society gets to decide where it wants to take its risks and whether the tradeoffs are worth it.

              Yeah, in a sense, society does. Society has decided that I can carry a gun hidden in my pants and there isn’t shit you can do about it.

              1. C’est vrai.

            3. OK, so if “social value” is the criteria, I say we ban anal sex. The social value is far less than the risk of AIDS. And unlike guns, anal sex never saved anyone’s life, and isn’t a constitutional right.

              (Hint: every argument you can make against banning anal sex can apply to guns.)

              1. The social value of privacy in sexual matters far outweighs any social value of banning anal sex.

                I’m not arguing for banning guns. I’m actually mostly interested in how you guys square your absolutist, deontological approach to public policy withe the fact that you don’t think people should be allowed to own nukes. (Unless you’re one of those psychopaths who does think they should.)

                1. The social value of privacy in sexual matters far outweighs any social value of banning anal sex.

                  The social value of privacy regarding guns far outweighs any social value of further restricting ownership of guns.

                2. Dammit — I just found out I’m a psychopath. I’d better kill myself with a nuke. Or a gun. Or a society.

            4. Society gets to decide where it wants to take its risks and whether the tradeoffs are worth it.

              Nope society can fuck right off. I’ll do what I want.

              1. Then get off my road, freeloader.

                1. Then get off my road, freeloader.

                  It’s not yours, fuckhead. The government used stolen money to finance it and own it.

                  1. Don’t you get it? You disagreed with Tony about something, therefore you’ve never paid any taxes, and therefore forfeit the right to avail yourself of roads, or indeed anything supplied by “society” and must perform seppuku in atonement for your temerity. God you’re so selfish.

            5. “having a gun is more likely to get you killed than to save you.”

              Sullum address this in an article last year. Again, the supposed dangers are overblown.

              As I mentioned, suicide rate is high in Japan and Korea, and most people there don’t own guns. If memory serves, the most popular methods of suicide there is hanging, falling from high places, or Carbon monoxide poisoning.

              I don’t own guns, and probably never will. But in the unlikely scenario where I might be robbed, raped or killed, being armed might mean the difference between life and death. Guns, unlike cars of cigs, are designed to be tools of defense. The fact that 3 kids might accidentally shoot themselves for every one innocent lives saved is a a non factor.

              The “tradeoff” theory really doesn’t work. Are you not going to call the police in the event of an emergency if you’re convinced the police violates people’s constitutional rights more than they protect it?

            6. “Armed revolution? I don’t personally consider that legitimate in a democratic society.”

              First of all, I would like to post as friendly reminder that we don’t live in a democracy, but a republic. It’s a subtle difference, but one of the differences is that we don’t vote for our laws, but for our representatives…and if they turn against us, and we aren’t armed, there’s not much we could do about it.

              Second, you are making a rather unfounded assumption, that a democratic society will always remain democratic. Let us remember that Germany was a democratic society after WWI…until it wasn’t. And it became ever so violently non-democratic, so quickly, that the question shouldn’t be “Is armed revolution illegitimate?”–it should be “Under what circumstances will I be prepared to shoot government agents, and will I have the means to do so (whether it be legal or not to have those means)?”

          2. Also, alcohol isn’t used to kill other people. We do seem to have a high tolerance for protracted suicide in this culture.

            1. Also, alcohol isn’t used to kill other people. We do seem to have a high tolerance for protracted suicide in this culture

              1)This is irrelevant. If you’re so concerned about public safety, the data clearly shows that alcohol consumption is a far greater threat than firearms.

              2) You’re assertion is inaccurate. You obviously didn’t read the CDC link, which lists the following among its lists of health risks:

              –Traffic deaths
              –Domestic violence
              –Miscarraige and stillbirth

              1. Which are just tangential enough to be completely disregarded if similar secondary effects were attributed to guns. But yeah I thought about that the second after I posted.

                I’d be interested to know whether the deaths caused by prohibition outnumbered those saved by less alcohol consumption. Of course my threshold on alcohol is going to be higher than some, since I like a drink.

                1. Which are just tangential enough to be completely disregarded if similar secondary effects were attributed to guns.

                  How many auto fatalities are caused by alcohol? Let’s find out:

                  “In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.”


                  So your claim that these are “tangential” (I suspect you actually mean peripheral) doesn’t hold up. One-third of those fatalities could have been prevented if people hadn’t gotten drunk. In the interests of public safety, alcohol availability still trumps firearm availability by a large margin.

            2. Are we shifting from suicide to murder? So the suicide discussion is off the table? Considering that the CDC reports about 12,000+ homicides a year from firearms, and some 44,000+ people died from auto accidents, is it possible we’re focusing on the wrong issue?

              1. Quite possibly. I’m for discouraging the use of cars by maximum investment in public transport.

                1. No, you’re just wasting other people’s money.

                2. Quite possibly. I’m for discouraging the use of cars by maximum investment in public transport.

                  For other people, no doubt.

            3. “Also, alcohol isn’t used to kill /other people/.”

              Hey, wait: I thought we were talking about /suicides/! Surely, if preventing suicides is reason enough to ban or severely limit gun violence, then surely we ought to be doing the same with alcohol.

        2. If only you had the critical and analytical thinking skills required to know what conclusions you can draw from that data. See Tony, I’m a scientist. I know what critical thinking is. You don’t.

          1. Lemme guess, computer scientist?

            1. Nope. Microbiologist.

            2. Yeah, me, too… electrical engineering. And the guy who got me started in that field once pointed out that if you graph the incidence of cancer in the US versus the use of electricity, the correlation factor is amazingly high…

              End cancer… shut off ALL electrical items you might interact with in your life…

              Yep, correlation is NOT the same as causation, unless you want to use it to prove your side of a discussion.

              If you want to have THAT kind of “argument,” I recommend the Linked In White House groups, where most “discussions” devolve into “your data is anecdotal and mine is valid.”

        3. Gun bans all over the world were followed by large increases in crime. Washington DC, Australia and Britain all had major increases post-ban.

          There’s all kinds of data showing more guns make for less crime. You choosing to ignore it does not make it go away.

          1. He doesn’t care. The victims of post-ban crime are just collateral for his glorious religion.

            1. Correct. Somehow it slips by him that justice is the process by which consequences are paid by the perpetrator instead of the victim.

            2. I don’t think he “doesn’t care;” I think he doesn’t recognize how much of his “solutions” hinge on CONTROL of other people in order to bring about a situation he favors.

              Most such “arguments” are actually rooted in control, not benefits.

              1. Au contraire. Control of other people is his main interest, his “solutions” are merely rationalizations.

                1. THIS

                  Gun control is less about guns than it is about control. Every hard-line, pro-gun-ban person I have ever known was wrapped up around control in every aspect of their lives. Tony sounds like a half dozen of these people I’ve known personally.

    3. two men with knives”

      Rwanda. Ever hear of it? Up to one million people killed, most with machetes, over the course of about one hundred days.

      1. So why do you need a gun to defend yourself when obviously a machete will do equally as well?

        1. Why would you even need a machete?

          1. Hell just ask nicely then have them read a bible scripture out loud on why it’s bad.

        2. The same reason the government you lionize doesn’t use machetes?

          If only those people who were the target of that genocide had owned some guns. History would be telling a different story.

          But I guess better a few million people get hacked to death if we deny them the horror of suicide by firearm.

          1. Well said.

            1. So machetes aren’t as dangerous as guns?

              1. Neither are very dangerous.

              2. So machetes aren’t as dangerous as guns?

                According to the law, they’re more dangerous. It’s illegal for me to carry a blade longer than 3.25″ in the city of Seattle.

                I can carry a fully loaded .45 caliber automatic handgun with 13 rounds (14 with one in the hole, baby) on my hip in front of God and everyone, and concealed if I have the permit to do so.


                Welcome to the bluest of the blue cities, Tony.

          2. And yet another story if those guns were in the hands of the Hutus. Who do you think gets the guns during a genocide of a minority population?

            If only the Jews had guns! Yeah–I think the Nazis thought of that.

            1. You are right. The Nazis did. That’s why they instituted the same gun policies you advocate.

            2. If only the Jews had guns! Yeah–I think the Nazis thought of that.

              They did think of that. We’re just trying to head off another one of those thingies before it starts, Tony.

              One wonders what the people involved in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising thought about guns.

        3. So why do you need a gun to defend yourself when obviously a machete will do equally as well?

          Stipulating for the moment the disproved premise that gun control affects criminals’ access at least as much as the honest, an average-size man attacks average-size woman. They have identical weapons. What gives the woman the best chance of defending herself?
          A: Bare hands.
          B: Machete.
          C: Firearm.

        4. You take the machete, I’ll take the 1911. I am a uniter, not a divider, to each man his choice.

        5. “So why do you need a gun to defend yourself when obviously a machete will do equally as well?”

          Because, I don’t believe in a giving criminals a “fair fight” — self-defense is not a “sport.” And, because I value my life more than that of the armed scumbag invading my home.

          1. So machetes aren’t equally useful as guns in self defense?

            1. Seattle City council believes that a machete on my hip is more dangerous than an assault rifle.

            2. Nope. And if the perp has a gun, which he almost assuredly would, it’s pretty damn useless. And even given that, is my 81 year-old mother supposed to use a machete against an armed intruder?

            3. Tony, it is a basic tenant of self defense that you want to keep the attacker as far away from you as possible. While you can use a machete or a sword for self defense, you have to be right up next to that person to do so, and you would have to have strength and extensive training to boot.

              I, for one, would much rather shoot the intruder from across the room, hiding behind the couch, while my daughter calls 911–and this, even if the intruder is “just” someone with a knife, or an axe, or his weightlifting-honed fists.

              Of course, you seem to be the type that would favor banning bayonet lugs on rifles…because charging someone with a machete is ok, even “safe”, I guess, but charging someone with a bayonet is dangerous, I suppose.

        6. Tony, you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

    4. The only way to stay pro-gun is to say that the right to own one is worth the cost (the population of a small city dead each year).

      Alcohol contributes to more deaths every year than firearms.…..ol-use.htm…..r61_04.pdf

      Yet the only regulations on alcohol purchase and consumption are that you have to be over 21.

      That’s it.

      You can be a convicted felon and still buy alcohol. Not so with firearms.

      By your logic, alcohol empirically makes our society “less safe” than guns, and it’s not even a Constitutionally protected right.

    5. You can’t say they increase safety.

      Yes we fucking can because all the data backs that position. What you can’t say is that more guns = more dangerous/death, because the data is clear that isn’t the case.

      We win you lose asshole.

        1. The decades of increasing gun ownership and freedom without any increase in violence from guns or overall.

          1. Q.E.D.

        2. He’s kind of got you there.

          Drop in gun violence directly coincides with increase in nationwide firearms ownership. Massive…increase in firearms ownership.

          1. Not just increase in ownership, but carry freedom too.

    6. Just some more context in case you still have a confuze, Tony.

      One criminal with a knife and one law-abiding man with a concealed gun is considerably safer.

      One woman in her house with a gun and one 220lb serial rapist outside her window increases the safety of the woman volumetrically.

      1. A cousin shot a home intruder back in the early 1990s while her husband was working a graveyard shift. The intruder was twice her weight. He had a fillet knife, clothesline rope and duct tape with him. He died on the way to the hospital.
        She used an old Ruger Standard target pistol. She put three plain copper plated 40 grain .22lr bullets center of mass.

        Tell me she and her kids were less safe for having that gun.

        1. In England, that bastion of freedom from violence by guns, your cousin would have been in jail faster than the scumbag would have been in the hospital.

          … Hobbit

          1. Yep. I remember a story about an old English lady who beat up home intruders with her cane and drove them out of her house. She called the Bobbies. They took her cane and told her next time they would arrest her for having an improvised weapon.

            So much for the land of the armed yeomanry practicing their longbow every Sunday afternoon.

        2. Good!

          1. For Live Free or Die’s cousin that is.

            1. She’s an itty-bitty woman. Without a gun, the odds against her and her 3 then-small kids would have been astronomical.
              And it changed my mind about the utility of a .22 for self-defense.

              1. Yeah a 22 is more than enough to kill someone if it hits anything vital. I have no doubt that a skilled shooter could kill more than 50% of the time with a single shot from a pump pellet gun.

                1. Yeah a 22 is more than enough to kill someone if it hits anything vital.

                  I never doubted it could kill. Killing is easy. Killing quickly is harder. IOW my concern was that a .22 leaves a wound channel half the area of a .32, and a quarter the area of a .44. The shot person might live long enough to complete his evils, then finish bleeding out sometime later.

    7. The only way to stay pro-gun is to say that the right to own one is worth the cost (the population of a small city dead each year).

      More than half of those people are suicides, who I don’t care about.

      A significant number of the rest are drug gangsters, who I also don’t care about.

      There are a small number of genuinely sympathetic victims of gun violence. But I didn’t kill any of them. My right to own a gun has a societal cost of zero.

      Fuck off, slaver.

      1. “I’m a psychopath with no capacity for empathy. Now let me keep my killing machine.”

        1. “You’ll take my appletini from my cold, dead hands!!”

        2. Sorry if I’m incapable of squeezing out crocodile tears on cue for whatever moral panic cunts like you are peddling.

          I’ve got plenty of empathy. I just save it for people who actually deserve it.

          1. Suicides end their pain. Isn’t it empathetic to let them?
            Gangster want to die looking tough and young. Isn’t it empathetic to let them?
            Seems to me they don’t need your sympathy because they got what they negotiated for.

        3. “I’m a psychopath with no capacity for empathy. Now let me keep my killing machine.”

          Damn right. Gosh Tony if you think those psychopaths are so scary, then shut the fuck up and don’t piss them off. I’d love to see what happens when your kind gets uppity and actually tries to ‘do something’.

        4. “I’m a wonderful liberal full of compassion. Now let me cheer on as the State kicks the shit out of people.”

        5. “I’m a psychopath with no capacity for empathy. Now let me keep my killing machine.”

          No, you’re a psychopath with no empathy for the honest person who has a need to keep a killing machine.

          Besides, the anti-gun argument is dishonest from the root. They don’t want to remove all guns from the hands of society, nor even remove all guns of certain types from the hands of society. They only want to remove them from the non-government and non-privileged hands of society.

        6. It is as if Tony lacks the ability to THINK beyond his feelings.

        7. Thanks for playing the “morality card,” Tony…

          That fits my 47th Law…

          “When one of the participants in an argument or discussion plays the “moral” card, it’s because they don’t have any facts, reason or logic to bring to their side of the argument.”

          The neat thing is to be aware of how the “discussion” changes when one side suddenly and unexpectedly labels the topic “really a moral question.” It means they know they just lost the argument, but in reality, if the other side rises to the bait, they just lost. Morality trumps logic, facts and reason all the time in a “discussion” or “debate.”

    8. The only way to stay pro-gun is to say that the right to own one is worth the cost (the population of a small city dead each year)

      Wow, guess I won’t buy one after all. I don’t want it to kill the population of a small city every year, and I couldn’t afford that much ammo.

      1. You ought to see the cost of being pro-automobile.

        1. Public transportation for the win! We’ll just make sure that every stop on the route is within five minutes of someone who would otherwise need an ambulance.

    9. “The only way to stay pro-gun is to say that the right to own one is worth the cost (the population of a small city dead each year).”

      Which city? Because I’d be happy to save up 10 years worth to clean out Chicago.

      But since murderous “Liberal” governments killed over 100 million people in the 20th Century alone, it would take 1000 years of those small cities to equal their predations. So come back in 900 years and we’ll revisit this discussion.

    10. Tony, even if you are correct, which is hard to prove, the situation is such that 300,000,000 actual guns ALREADY exist! Start from there and try to prove people would be safer without guns. Not the case in Mexico, for example, where citizens are not allowed to arm themselves, and hence have entire areas of the country taken over by criminals.

    11. But two men with guns is not a safer environment than two men with knives or baseball bats.

      Actually you can… my decrepit grandma who can barely see could still easily put a bullet in your guts but I doubt she could best you in a knife fight.

  5. Holy shit, the arrow of causation is the precise opposite of what they’re saying? They’re proud to be getting this exactly wrong?

    fucking idiots

  6. The Daily Beast’s Brandy Zadrozny says Anglemyer et al.’s study “has seemingly put an end to the debate” over whether owning a gun makes people more or less safe

    TEH SCIENSE IZ SETTLED!!!!11111!!!!!!!1!!!

  7. The studies considered by Anglemyer et al. did not distinguish between these alternative explanations.

    TEH SCIENSE IZ SETTLED!!!!11111!!!!!!!1!!!

    1. Looks like someone’s sock puppet has been exposed. The exclamation point pattern is even the same. 🙂

      1. TEH SOK PUPPT IZ SETTLED!!!!11111!!!!!!!1!!!

      2. I know you’re probably not going to believe this, but actually, no. No sockpuppetry was involved.

        I’m guessing Rich copied/ pasted my “TEH SCIENSE IZ SETTLED!!!!11111!!!!!!!1!!!” to use with a different quote from the article. Either that or HE’S IN MY HEAD!!!!!!

      3. Looks like someone’s sock puppet has been exposed. The exclamation point pattern is even the same. 🙂

          1. I’m on Mr. S’s side of the debate but couldn’t resist, sorry.

  8. The Daily Beast’s Brandy Zadrozny says Anglemyer et al.’s study “has seemingly put an end to the debate” over whether owning a gun makes people more or less safe, “at least in terms of suicide and homicide.”

    They finally manipulated the data enough to get a study that backs their presumptions, so CONVERSATION OVER.

    1. I’m reminded of Ronald Coase’s joke, “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess.”

  9. For arguments sake, let’s say its absolutely true; my guns make me less safe.
    I, of sound mind fully accept the risk. ’nuff said.

  10. The problem here that gets so many gun controllers so very confused is that not many gun owners are trying to make the argument that more guns = fewer gun deaths overall- if contrasted with a magical scenario of zero guns.

    Of course if you could magically forcefield the United States against the ownership of all firearms, both public and private, gun deaths would drop.

    We own guns for a variety of reasons, at the bottom of which is protection against our government. Even if we could reasonably argue that there would be a marginal drop in gun crime with a massive shift away from gun ownership, towards gun registration and may-issue permit status across the fifty states- with stop-and-frisk being the standard police procedure in every jurisdiction nationwide, that’s not ultimately why we own guns.

    We own guns so that we may take up arms against our government which has never even entertained the idea of gun control for itself.

    These sidebar discussions about suicide merely show how desperate the gun control movement has become. What next, the carcinogenic effects of breathing powder residue while shooting? A nationwide crisis in hearing damage from improper ear protection? The lurking dangers of second-hand lead-poisoning by living near a gun range?

    1. Don’t give them any ideas. Here in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia there’s a moral panic about lead bullets causing environmental harms to California condors blah blah.

      1. Yep, I’ve already seen the pinko-commie lead-free bullets.

      2. Sigh…lead is a serious contagion…

        1. Lead’s toxic, sure.

          But they’re trying to draw a causal link between the use of lead bullets in recreational shooting to slightly elevated trace levels of lead in the systems of endangered species of birds, and on that basis ban use of lead bullets in the state.

          Never mind that use of lead bullets has been unabated since pretty much forever, and has actually been declining in California as the state’s driven more and more gun owners out: a tiny uptick of trace lead in the guts of a hideously ugly buzzard that environmentalists assure me, contrary to my lying eyes, is “majestic,” and I have to pay an extra ten bucks a for a box of ammo for environmental abatement.

          1. Lead is everywhere, naturally. Even balsamic vinegar sold in CA tends to have a toxicity label attached, because grapes are often grown in soil with trace amounts of lead.

            1. It’s all that target shooting in the vineyards.

            2. Err..

              Probably not the best example.

              vineyards and orchards did in the past use a lot of lead arsenic as a pesticide.

              Cherry and Apple trees don’t draw that stuff up from the soil…grapes very well could.

              1. So yuppie wine drinkers are suffering from an epidemic of lead poisoning. Glad they’re taking one for the team. Also brings some things into sharp relief.

              2. The very first aerial crop-dusting was done with lead arsenate.

            3. Everything in California causes Cancer according to the labels on everything from distilled water to toothpicks.

    2. There is no legal alcohol in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, there are few drunk driving deaths in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it’s safer to drive in Saudi Arabia…

      Except for the insane drivers and religious nuttery. But we’re focusing on alcohol.

      “Less gun deaths” implies that deaths with guns are somehow more immoral than clubbings, knifings, rapings to death or beatings.

      There are less cricket bats in the US, therefore, there are less murders with cricket bats…

      1. If we could just pass a law banning water there would be no drowning deaths.

        Almost ZERO people die where there are no people, Ban People and save lives.

  11. Right. Sure. Got it. Fucking collectivist eejits will NEVER STOP! They can’t be reasoned with, they can’t be bargained with, etc. etc. etc. And they will never, ever stop until everyone except Top Men is disarmed.

    So fuck ’em – must fight the gun grabbers at every turn. People like this have turned me – who just wanted to be LEFT ALONE – into an activist on this subject. I know I’m not the only one.

    Stupid fuckers…they’re the reason I finally joined the NRA…

    1. GOA — “No compromise.”

      1. GOA vs NRA: due it out. Whatever one you support, sell it to me.

        1. NRA is bigger and has more clout.
          GOA says NRA are a bunch of pantywaists who compromise too fast.
          On that basis, I pulled the money out of my pocket for the GOA. “How much and where do I sign?”

        2. Why not both?

          GOA is somewhat less likely to compromise but the NRA has the high profile that makes the gun-grabbers howl and gnash their teeth.

        3. How about these guys?

          They even have a monthly drawing.

          … Hobbit

    2. But we need to have police and ex-police armed, because of the threat of dogs and jerks in movie theaters.

      1. Why? Why does anyone need assault popcorn? (sniffle) Who needs extra butter?!

  12. I also find the “making you less safe” phrase almost comical.

    Pills in my cabinet “make me less safe” by the logic of this study.

    A knife, a rope or a car in a garage “make me less safe”.

    A tall bridge down the road “makes me less safe”.

    A nearby body of water “makes me less safe”.

    1. Paul., we need you to stand in the center of a sterile room, naked, with no other items in the room.

      Have a nice life.

      1. I do that on Thursdays. I wouldn’t call the room sterile, though.

    2. Don’t forget swimming pools. Swimming pools kill lots of kiddies every summer. Therefore it is in society’s best interest to ban them. Also, why does anyone NEED a swimming pool when they are clearly just a tool of death?

      -Derpy McTonyDerp

    3. You forgot electricity. Each of us has enough of that distributed throughout our houses to kill everybody we have ever known. What were we thinking?

  13. Let’s all say it all together, now!!
    The rooster crows and the sun comes up. Doesn’t mean the rooster brought the sun up with his crowing.
    I know – LOGIC IS HARD!!

    1. It is when inductive reasoning is in use. Subsets of subsets and some controlled by koch inc!

  14. If I wanted to kill myself with a gun i am pretty sure I would go buy a gun and own it first.

    Who the fuck would kill themselves with someone else’s gun?

    That would just be shitty.

    1. I saw a great murder mystery where a woman killed herself with her husband’s gun to frame him for the murder.

      1. Was it an episode of Elementary?

        1. I actually think it was an episode of Poirot.

          I think I remember the scenario. She tied a long rope with a rock on the end, the other end to the pistol. Stood on a bridge, threw the rock over the side of the bridge, stood in the middle and shot herself. When she naturally let go of the pistol the gun was pulled over the side of the bridge and sank into the drink so the murder weapon would be ‘gone’. Used his pistol, naturally.

          Just made for a really interesting scenario.

          1. Pretty dumb.

            First, there is no guarantee that the bullet will lodge in her body/head to be recovered. Second, without the gun it would be pretty difficult to match any recovered bullet to the gun. Even if it had been previously matched to other bullets the rifling characteristics can change over time – depending on how much it is shot.

            1. This wasn’t CSI Miami, it was Poirot. I don’t remember the details but whatever they were, his gun was ‘missing’ (dun dun duuuunnnnn), the bullet was of the same calibre (dun dun duuuuunnnn), I’m sure his character was acted in a highly suspicious manner (dun dun duuuuuuun) and I believe they were estranged so he had motive (dun dun duuuuunnnn).

          2. I’ve heard this story before but it was a cliff and a suicidal guy who wanted to make it look like a murder so his family would get the life insurance money.

          3. Corning FTW. It was an episode of Elementary.

    2. Not only that, but to kill yourself with a gun that belongs to someone else requires some negligence on the part of the gun owner.

      1. Maybe. If your teenager does it, yeah. It could happen without any particular negligence on the part of the owner.

        1. I’m thinking on how a person kills themselves with a gun that belongs to someone else.

          I don’t really see going out to the range and then offing yourself when your buddy hands you his gun.

          So I’m thinking it would require theft. If it’s a friend, and you use their trust to allow you to steal their weapon so you can kill yourself with it, that’s just plain shitty. It’s still somewhat avoidable. Keep your guns on your person or in a safe. At least keep them out of plain sight.

          Stealing from a stranger is more difficult, since you don’t know what is available to steal. Again, keeping guns in a safe or out of sight can prevent them from being taken and used for something you never intended them to be used for.

          1. If you come back from a shooting trip with your friend and get home and clean the guns, your buddy assembles yours, puts a single bullet in it and kills himself while you’re upstairs getting a brewsky… I’d hardly call that negligence on the owner’s part.

            Is that a realistic scenario?


            But to automatically assign blame to the owner is dubious until the facts are in. Even if I’d agree that in most real cases, there probably is some negligence.

            1. But to automatically assign blame to the owner is dubious until the facts are in.

              Maybe I should have qualified my original statement, but you understand what I mean.

          2. Where do you live? In my state you trip over guns on the way to the bus stop.

    3. Who the fuck would kill themselves with someone else’s gun?

      There’s been several incidents of suicide with a gun range rental around here.

      1. That’s messed up.

      2. Yeah, I know a guy who did it. Been a couple in the news too.

  15. the risk of homicide victimization associated with owning a gun was much higher for women than for men

    I would guess this is driven by straw purchasers who “own” the gun for a firearms-ineligible domestic partner. Living with a convicted felon probably increases one’s chance of being a homicide victim even if being killed by the partner is excluded.

    There is data showing having a convicted felon in the home corresponds to a much higher rate of accidental shootings by children.

    1. One also wonders what the risk of death is if living with a cop. One man armed with popcorn recently found out how deadly it was to be in the same room as a cop.

  16. I wonder if they controlled for the habitual criminal.
    Gangbanger is not what I picture when I think ‘gun owner’ and it would not at all be surprising to learn that living such lifestyles increase the probability you will be murdered.

    Of course that has little relevance for determining whether your average ordinary person who doesn’t consort with violent criminals is putting themselves at greater risk of being murdered simply by owning a firearm.

    1. A couple decades back – before the internet – I read about a study that found something like 75% of all murder victims in NYC over a period of years had no less than 5 felony arrests.

      For some reason I never heard of that kind of study being done again.

      1. Here’s one from Milwaukee WI in 2011:…..portv6.pdf

        Page 23:

        77% of homicide _VICTIMS_ had at least one prior arrest. 40% had more than five arrests.

        (translation: you are more than three times more likely to be killed with a gun if you happen to be a criminal)

        86% of nonfatal shooting _VICTIMS_ had at least one prior arrest. 43% had more than five arrests.

        (translation: you are more than six times more likely to be shot if you happen to be a criminal)

        I’ve got an idea: for your own safety, we really need to outlaw crime.

        Likewise, I read a couple years ago that in many of the off-cited studies of “gun-related deaths in children”, you’ll find methodological biases such as, for the purposes of the study, “child” means anybody under the age of 19, 21, or even 24, depending on the study, and situations where the “children” were actually committing a violent crime at the time of death were considered “gun shooting victims”.

  17. Who the fuck would kill themselves with someone else’s gun?

    Suicide by cop is an honorable tradition.

    1. And easier than ever!

  18. “Yesterday the Annals of Internal Medicine published a meta-analysis of 15 studies that aimed to measure the relationship between gun ownership and the risk of suicide or homicide.”

    Fifteen Studies? Of all the thousands of studies done on gun violence? Gee, talk about thorough! (sarcasm font on)

  19. I’m guessing they didn’t factor in the likelihood of death for people whose guns are confiscated by dictators.

  20. Fucking hoplophobes, DIAF.

    That is all.

  21. Slightly OT:

    I read an article years ago where a guy interviewed people who had jumped to their death but, for whatever reason, survived the attempt. According to this article, every single one of them , 100%, regretted the action the instant that it was irrevocable. If I recall, it was a fairly large sample, maybe 400 cases or so.

    I wonder how many other suicides are the same way.

    … Hobbit

    1. I think it might be relevant to point out that jumping to your death is, I believe, a suicide method with a rather high success rate, which calls into question the size of the sample.

      In addition, having known someone who attempted (really attempted) suicide (and not finding this whole topic humorous in the least), I can tell you that once the mental health episode is over, they can often no longer relate to the state of mind they had at the moment they made the attempt. And the “moment” can often last a very long period of time.

      I would be highly suspicious of the form of interview, since that is one of the primary ways that “studies” based on interviews succeed in achieving whatever statistic they are trying to find.

      “Were you afraid of it hurting when you hit bottom? Did you look forward to it hurting? Did you feel bad about the people you were going to leave behind? How about things you never had a chance to say? Ah, yes, that last one. Sounds like you regretted the decision.”

      Not saying the article you mention is about a bogus study, as I haven’t obviously read it, only that the question it poses is a rather odd one for an objective party to ask.

      (My point, incidentally, is not that they don’t regret it. It’s that whatever was on their mind at the moment they decide to commit the suicide act, it’s not something we generally accept as … reason. So if you ask them to rationalize it later, you can probably get just almost any answer you are trying for.)

  22. Deaths from diabetes are more likely to happen in a house with syringes.

  23. I’ve never read a gun control argument that begins where we are. We are in a situation that has 300,000,000 handguns already in existence, and every criminal has a couple or more.

    Mexicans are not allowed to own personal guns. As a result there are entire areas of the country that are controlled by those who own guns. They control those who don’t.

    Even if you could say logically, ‘we’re better off having no guns’, which probably isn’t true, but even if it were, that is not the situation we are in. The situation we are in is all the criminals have guns. Therefore, is the average person better off having a gun, or not.

    1. ^THIS.

      Also, if you’re a criminal and you know nobody in a law-abiding house is going to have a gun, you can safely go in there with a machete knowing you won’t be out-gunned (so to speak). And if guns are illegal, nobody learns to knife-fight for personal defense.

      Gun control laws make knives more dangerous.

      Besides, anyone who thinks gun-control laws are for the good of the people rather than the good of the government is history-illiterate. In Mexico, neither the people nor the government made out on that deal.

  24. Interestingly enough,I bought my first gun after my divorce.
    I wasn’t sure I could handle life without alcohol all alone.
    I love my Saturday Night Special…it’s served me well,lo these many years…& I never had to pull the trigger.

  25. Guns do raise the suicide rate my making it easier and make people’s snap-decision more effetive.

    Which, if you value human freedom, is not enough of a reason to ban guns. Like you said Tony, society gets to make these trade offs. But if you were honest, you wouldn’t even let the people vote on it, you’d shove your policy down their throat.

    Or maybe there’s that other thing, the constitution. Hey, you’re the legal positivist Tony – things are law just because a judge says they are. And we won that recent battle. Oh yeah,being smart enough to admit that you’d have to change the 2nd doesn’t change you from being a dumbshit. You could try that, but then you’d rift our society and lose all control over those flyover rubes you hate so much. Good luck with your massive welfare state after that

  26. Flawed logic, if a police officer is several times more likely to be shot than, say a nun, is it the gun?

  27. My gun does not absolutely guarantee my safety, however, it does guarantee the lethal endangerment of an intruder!

  28. I believe there is also a study that shows that owning a gun makes it safer for those who do not own a gun.

    The study here merely shows that obvious, that owning a gun can be more dangerous because that’s the person who is going to take out the criminal.

  29. Hmmm. I’ve been save for 65 years. The length of time a gun has been in my home. As far as I can tell my grandfather, father and myself and all siblings and spouses have been safe from gun violence since 1880. Context makes a big difference as your analysis points out. Not having a mental disability or a drug dealing type occupation may change susceptibility to gun violence.

  30. Guns should be banned stop making studies watch the real life…it only takes one to kill many!!allergies

  31. You are 1,000 times more likely to die from a doctors mistake than by a gun. FBI statistics say law abiding gun owners save far more innocent lives than they take 10,000 to 1. I’ll keep my arms, thank you very much.

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