Mass Shootings

Gun Myths and the Roanoke Shootings

Time for another round of half-baked statistics.

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Bernie Sanders' record skews way to the left on one issue after another: health care, taxes, campaign finance, international trade, abortion and the Iraq war. Gun control? Not so much. 

"Bernie Sanders, Gun Nut" was the headline in the liberal online publication Slate. After the Sandy Hook massacre, other progressives called for tough new restrictions on firearms, but Sanders disagreed. "If you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don't think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen," he said. 

The obvious explanation for this anomaly is that he comes from Vermont, a state that is 95 percent white and 61 percent rural, with a lot of hunters. But it could also be because Sanders has actually bothered to learn from his unusual state's unusual experience. 

Vermont has some of the loosest gun laws in America. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives it an "F." The state requires no background checks for private gun sales, permits the sale and possession of "assault weapons," and allows concealed guns to be carried in public—without a license.

After the fatal on-air shooting of a TV reporter and her cameraman in Roanoke, Va., on Wednesday, blame was heaped on America's permissive firearms policy. "There are too many guns, and too little national will to do anything about them," asserted an editorial in The New York Times. Democratic politicians and commentators said the murders proved the need for more restrictions on guns. 

But did they? Vermont isn't much different from a lot of states in the regulation of these weapons. But it's very different in the volume of bloodshed. In 2013, it had the third-lowest homicide rate in the country—less than one-sixth that of Louisiana. 

Utah, which also got an "F" on its laws from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, had the fourth-lowest homicide rate. These places refute the belief that loose gun rules and high ownership are bound to produce frenzies of carnage. 

It's true that many states have a lot of guns and a lot of killings. But that doesn't mean the former causes the latter. It's just as plausible that high murder rates lead more residents to buy guns, in self-defense. Likewise, maybe some people are violent because they have guns. Or maybe they have guns because they're violent. 

More guns equals more murders? That's not quite how it works. A 2004 report by a National Academy of Sciences panel said the evidence does "not credibly demonstrate a causal relationship between the ownership of firearms and the causes or prevention of criminal violence or suicide." 

Commentators regularly remind us, of course, that America stands out among advanced nations for its permissive gun laws and its abundant gun violence. But the international data doesn't prove what they think it does. 

Britain is often cited for having few guns and—therefore—few gun murders. As Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck noted in his 1997 book, Targeting Guns, Britain also has a lower rate of murders with hands and feet. But "no one is foolish enough to infer from these facts that the lower violence rates were due to the British having fewer hands and feet." Homicide is rare in Israel and Switzerland despite widespread public access to lethal weaponry. 

Many of the comparisons with other countries rely on sketchy data about the prevalence of guns. In a forthcoming paper, Kleck and Tomislav Kovandzic of the University of Texas at Dallas looked at 55 countries more rigorously and found that if you account for "other factors that affect homicide, including some cultural differences, there is no significant association between gun levels and homicide rates." 

Cultural differences? Turns out they make all the difference. A lot of factors go into how often people attack each other. Where citizens are sober and peaceable, they rarely kill each other—with guns or anything else. 

Where citizens prefer to settle disputes with force, of course, guns are exceptionally effective for killing. In a society with some 300 million of them in private hands, though, getting rid of guns is a fantasy. It makes sense to bar people with criminal records or mental illness from buying firearms legally. But keeping guns away from nonviolent people achieves nothing. 

The left-wing magazine Mother Jones has compiled a database of all the shootings that have killed four people or more, going back to 1982. Sanders can probably tell you how many of them occurred in Vermont: zero.

© Copyright 2015 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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67 responses to “Gun Myths and the Roanoke Shootings

  1. Laws preventing gays from legally possessing firearms would have prevented this tragedy! And made the rentboy.com raid a lot less dangerous for our heroes in blue.

    1. I laughed at this way more then i should have.

      1. I wonder. Since the Black Lives Matter crowd likes to go around chanting: “Pigs in a blanket, frying like bacon,” I wonder if they would mind if the police went around chanting:

        “Niggas in a tree, swinging from a noose.”

        Would that be cool with them? I wonder.

    2. “Cocks, not Glocks!”

      1. #waxedthighsmatter!

    3. This shooter was an angry racist black person. Much like president Obama. You don’t hear our cowardly liberal media talking about the racism aspect of this crime. That’s because it does not fit their anti- white man narrative. And the only gun control we need is laws restricting the types of guns and bullets that government law enforcement agents can have. They don’t need fully auto weapons,armored personal carriers, and armor piercing bullets. Especially, since civilians are restricted to semi auto guns and lead bullets.

  2. “There are too many guns, and too little national will to do anything about them”
    Cool, so we done frothing about it then?

    1. You are the first person in the comments to pull off a National-You-Mad-Bro?….congrats.

    2. Exactly. That statement says the people have spoken, leave it the fuck alone.

  3. How does it make sense for those with criminal records and the mentally ill to deny them access to guns? So, the non violent marijuana dealer that served their time is all of a sudden this raging homicidal maniac? Or the case of acute narcissism is suddenly suicidal?

    1. Yeah, Steve needs to re-word that paragraph a little.

    2. also, less than 2% of those considered mentally-ill are also considered violent, and a danger to either themselves or others.

      1. Exactly. Some want to discriminate against the non- violent mentally ill, which makes up 98% of that population. Also, this would make people less likely to seek treatment, if they feel their gun rights will be taken away from them.

        1. It’s already to the point where you’re a fool if you admit any problem to a mental health professional. HIPAA is a joke, as far as government access to your health records.

          You’re better off telling your problems to a stripper over an over-priced drink. She’s more likely to keep the conversation confidential, and is just as therapeutic.

          1. Cloudbuster,

            This is one of the best comments I have read so far. Mental health professionals are probably going to become government rats, if they have not already. Law enforcement loves to have people snitch on each other. That’s because they are too lazy to do their job. Just look at these massive fingerprint and DNA databases that we have. It is all because police and prosecutors are overpaid and lazy. That’s why we have no Fourth Amendment left. Now, politicians want to collect every ones fingerprints and DNA at birth. All because pigs and persecutors want to make a case against someone, without having to have any evidence to establish probable cause to get a warrant for these identifiers.

    3. Acute narcissism– nice one! This is only my second biggest problem with regulating for the “mentally ill”, is exactly by whose definition of mentally ill? Just because Flanagan was a “difficult person to work with” and “easily offended”, what level of regulation would have prevented this particular nutcase from getting a hold of a gun THAT wouldn’t include 99.9999% of Americans? My biggest problem is of course: for those on the edge of a mental break (of whatever kind, not necessarily one where they’d consider using their weapons) but who fully recognize that “rights” without a means to protect them are only allotments, going to see a psychologist or other psycho-therapist is as threatening to their civil rights (ALL OF THEM) as committing a felony…. So when you throw around the suggestion that the mentally ill needs to have their rights revoked, I say screw that. I am not a fortune teller and feel that NO ONE should have their rights revoked for crimes they haven’t committed. I would personally dissuade a truly mentally defunct person from making the choice to own something that could go so wrong in the hands of someone who cannot properly fire the weapon, but their is no line in the sand distinguishing the capable from the incapable beyond their proving themselves incapable; ergo any laws suggesting such are truly unenforceable except by the whimsical desires of tyrants.

      1. . I am not a fortune teller and feel that NO ONE should have their rights revoked for crimes they haven’t committed.

        Exactly, Minority Report was a dystopian fantasy, not a handbook.

  4. Guns are an easy slogan insofar as appearing to do something about horrific incidents like the Roanoke shooting, as are the mentally ill.

    Simple slogans are easier for the sheep to chant.

  5. I’m going to go ahead and file this comment section under “Tony free zones.”

    The topic is pure Tony-bait, but the proliferation of facts that counter his preconceptions will make him blind to its existence.

    1. If Hilliary came out tomorrow and announced that eating shit for breakfast would slow global warming the Tony Troll would spread it on his toast.

      Have you ever gone back to an old comment thread for whatever reason ? If not you should try it. You might be amused how often he comes back to a dead thread and adds snarks and remarks to posters he dislikes as though he’s leaving evidence of his superior wit for posterity.

      1. If Hilliary came out tomorrow and announced that eating shit for breakfast would slow global warming the Tony Troll would spread it on his toast.

        He’s no doubt committed enough to the cause to convince himself it’s Nutella.

      2. “Have you ever gone back to an old comment thread for whatever reason ? If not you should try it. You might be amused how often he comes back to a dead thread and adds snarks and remarks to posters he dislikes as though he’s leaving evidence of his superior wit for posterity.”

        That is SO fucking sad… and yet I’m not surprised….

  6. “Likewise, maybe some people are violent because they have guns.”

    Ummm, no. Unless that gun has telepathic/ psychokinetic powers to exert upon their user, and I, quite frankly, would not pay extra for that feature.

    No one has ever BEEN VIOLENT because they have a gun. Because they have emotional problems, poor impulse control, violent personal histories – yes- but no GUN has ever CAUSED someone to be violent.

    That is reasoning on the level of Tony or AmSoc. Jesus, reason, you can do better than that.

    1. I think he means that possessing a gun might make people escalate a situation they wouldn’t have normally. The way we react to situations is different when we have a gun, and when we don’t.

      1. Citation?

        1. How about a recent, real-world example:

          http://www.wltx.com/story/news…../30635217/

          1. The premise sounds plausable to me but this is anecdotal evidence. On it’s own, it means nothing.

      2. My anecdote is that I am less inclined to escalate when I carry vs when I don’t. I am much more careful about the environments I go into and avoiding situations when I carry. I do everything possible to avoid having to use my weapon. I have been lucky.

        Being armed does not make me more volatile, it makes me more cautious.

        But that is just me.

        1. My anecdote is that I am less inclined to escalate when I carry vs when I don’t.

          This squares with most other anecdotal evidence I’ve heard, and could be why people who legally carry a concealed handgun is just about the most law abiding and least violent group of people out there. A statistical fact.

          A defensive or offensive mindset comes before choosing to carry a gun. And blaming the gun excuses the violent acts of some, as well as helps blur the line between the non-violent and the violent.

        2. Being armed does not make me more volatile, it makes me more cautious.

          But that is just me.

          Ditto. In the 7+ years since I acquired my CHL and began carrying daily the annual rate of me telling stupid/obnoxious drivers that they’re #1 during my daily commute has decreased to zero…along with a variety of other confrontational behaviors…precisely because I’m mindful of how easily such an exchange of hostile attitudes could escalate to something far more serious.

    2. “No one has ever BEEN VIOLENT because they have a gun. Because they have emotional problems, poor impulse control, violent personal histories – yes- but no GUN has ever CAUSED someone to be violent.”

      You don’t appear to have thought this through, and anyone who has read your comment is too polite to correct you. Faced with danger, choices are often stripped down to flight or fight. Having a loaded gun in your hand and the willingness to use it will certainly influence your choice. How you can maintain otherwise is beyond me.

      1. You don’t appear to have thought this through, and anyone who has read your comment is too polite to correct you. Faced with danger, choices are often stripped down to flight or fight. Having a loaded gun in your hand and the willingness to use it will certainly influence your choice. How you can maintain otherwise is beyond me.

        Can you cite a single known incident of where a gun caused someone to be violent? As you just stated, violence is a choice. Also, defensive violence is not morally equivalent to offensive violence.

        Of course, most defensive gun uses take place without a single shot being fired. The known presence of a gun is often enough to scare off an attacker.

        1. “Can you cite a single known incident of where a gun caused someone to be violent?”

          No, but that’s not what I’m arguing, so what would be the point?

          ” Also, defensive violence is not morally equivalent to offensive violence.”

          Also that is not what I’m arguing. What two things are morally equivalent is not relevant.

          “Of course, most defensive gun uses take place without a single shot being fired. The known presence of a gun is often enough to scare off an attacker.”

          That’s probably true and same can be said of offensive gun use. Simply brandishing a gun can get you what you want. I think it’s important to note that having a gun can also lead you to more trouble than not having one. Especially if you are unwilling or reluctant to fire it. This is probably true of most normal people. However, if you face a determined assailant, having a gun that you are reluctant to use could get you killed.

      2. You don’t appear to have thought this through, and anyone who has read your comment is too polite to correct you.

        You’re completely full of shit.

        There, I think we can dispense with that “too polite” assertion.

        1. “You’re completely full of shit.”

          I assure you, I contain a normal amount of shit.

      3. I don’t agree with your reasoning. “Flight” being the working word. No one, in his right mind, would want to pick a fight, just to discharge his firearm! (Except , maybe, the cops!? Says something about their mindset, doesn’t it! That is another discussion.) Anyone who cherishes their life, would be smartest to avoid a gunfight. It is never a guaranteed victory. It happens to be the way that the way the concealed carry people are trained. And, to have a loaded gun in your hand would, means that the flight decision, had nothing to do with what was going on, at that moment! The decision that a fight could not be avoided, was long over, by that time.

        The person who is maintaining otherwise is you. Your mindset is suffering from the tunnel vision of ignorance. That is why it is “beyond you”!

        1. “Anyone who cherishes their life, would be smartest to avoid a gunfight.”

          I agree. My point is that if you happen to have a gun handy, you may decide to use it. If you believe that having a gun handy decreases the chances you’ll use it, then you should state so clearly. I honestly don’t understand what you are driving at.

  7. “It makes sense to bar people with criminal records or mental illness from buying firearms legally.”

    Great, now lets figure out which Americans should be denied their other constitutionally protected and guaranteed rights for what reasons. After all, if the government can strip one of their second amendment rights for a reason they can strip all citizens of all rights by coming up with the right reason. I would imagine republicans would be perfectly happy restricting religious freedom to Christian denominations, and liberals would love to restrict freedom of speech to liberals. Now that we’ve established that rights are really just privileges all we need to do is set the right requirements and prerequisites and we can finally do away with these dangerous ‘rights’.

    1. That’s a bingo!

  8. Sweden and Norway our in the top 10 countries for gun ownership rates, they also have some of the lowest violent crime rates in the world.

    Also checkout an early episode from Local Liberty about Gun Rights:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZaMBfgJGhI

    1. and yet Anders Breivik!

  9. Get a grip Reason! The alleged shooting was probably nothing more than a totally staged, “false flag” event, [just like 9/11, Boston, etc. etc.] with no one actually dying, in the real world, only on camera.

    See:”19 Intriguing Coincidences Surrounding the Virginia Shooting”
    http://www.activistpost.com/20…..oting.html

    …and: “Is The Virginia Shooting Hoax Blowing Up in the MSM’s Face?”
    http://www.activistpost.com/20…..-face.html

    Regards, onebornfree
    Financial safety and personal freedom consulting
    onebornfreeatyahoo

    1. Bullfuckingshit. Sweet Jesus, you conspiracy hacks are shameless.

    2. sounds legit

    3. I’m intrigued. Do you perhaps have a pamphlet for one to peruse?

      1. Just post your email. I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to send you one.

        1. “I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to send you an endless supply.”
          FTFY

    4. Nice Alex Jones impression, bro.

  10. No Question

    There is no question that Negroes excel at reliving every perceived injustice of the past. There is no question that Negroes excel at protesting every perceived injustice of the present. There is no question that Negroes excel at committing violent crimes. There is no question that Negroes excel at having multiple, illegitimate offspring sired by multiple males.

    Why aren’t the Orientals protesting? Why aren’t the Asian Indians protesting? Do they feel inferior to Negroes in protesting behavior?

    Last week, a Negro shot to death two, young Euro-Caucasoid broadcasters on live television. No riots. Then, another Negro shoots a Euro-Caucasoid sheriff’s deputy in the back at a filling station, killing him, too. Still no riots.

    When will enough be enough. To an apathetic, passive, dispossessed majority … many of whom loathe their own kind and themselves … apparently never.

    See “American Violence & American Negroes” at … http://nationonfire.com/category/law/ .

    1. Man, 1930’s Eugenicist Troll is really freakin’ me out!!!

      1. I prefer the work 10 hours a week and make 1100 dollars bullshit posts. At least they can be good for a laugh.

    2. Compare contributions of Jews that benefit the world ? Jews who number 14-million and represent 0.2% of the human population ? to contributions of Negroes who number 100-times greater and represent 20% of the human population.

      Here we see the moronic collectivism of racist ideology laid bare. You are not an individual, according to “BioBehavioral_View” – you have no thoughts, ideas, ambitions or dreams that are your own. You are a slave to your haplogroup. The entirety of your individual existence and experience should be focused on what you can do in service to the group for it is only in the evaluation of collective “contributions that benefit the world” that your value will be realized.

      BioBehavioral_View, I mean this with all sincerity: FUCK OFF, SLAVER!

    3. Take out “Negro” and this is a perfect post for the “Stormfront or SJW” game.

    4. I was once told, in a sexual health clinic, by a black guy, that the thought was they were less of a man if they were with women who used birth control! I guess that is a cultural problem that helps keep their women uneducated and in poverty. Yet, I feel we are seeing more black ladies, in all lines of businesses, that do not require breeding with impunity!

  11. “Cultural differences? Turns out they make all the difference. A lot of factors go into how often people attack each other. Where citizens are sober and peaceable, they rarely kill each other?with guns or anything else. ”

    This reminds me of Bowling for Columbine, which to me was maybe the greatest example in the history of film of a documentary filmmaker missing his own point.

    After comparing violent crime rates in Canada vs. the US, and finding no correlation whatsoever with gun control, Moore suggests that there may be something to the fact that US mass culture is 24/7 breathless hysterical panic, while Canadian culture tends to be bit more even-keeled.

    Moore’s conclusion, of course, was that guns need to be scrubbed from the US post-haste.

    1. Culture: Much is made that in the US, with the easy accessibility to firearms, the suicide by gun rate is so much higher than it is in Japan, which has very stringent controls on firearms access.
      Of course, nothing at all is said about how the Japanese suicide rate is statistically identical with the USA suicide rate (overall). The Japanese just kill themselves using other means – the Bullet Train is a Fave.

  12. “These places refute the belief that loose gun rules and high ownership are bound to produce frenzies of carnage.”

    All things being equal, it’s probably just as well that politicians are happy with changing the gun laws in response to incidents like these. We can take comfort in the knowledge that nothing they do will stop anyone who really wants one from obtaining a gun. The article makes it clear that a high murder rate is the result of cultural values. In this case it’s the relatively low value placed on human life in states other than Utah and Vermont. I imagine that as long as politicians ignore the root causes of the high murder rate, the low value Americans typically place on human life, we’re probably better off. Imagine the mischief law makers could get up to if they decide to legislate a higher value to human life.

  13. The more laws on the books, the number of government employees needed to enforce the laws increase. The more laws on the books, the more power the government employees have. That’s why government employees advocate for more and more laws. They create; power, careers, and promotions, by force! The masses react out of fear and agree to all these laws because they are PROMISED protection.

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  15. The vast majority of gun violence takes place in watered down “war zones” – turf wars over black markets. Unfortunately many of these wars take place in relatively dense urban zones, so kids and other bystanders are in the crossfire. Increasing waiting periods, making guns look less scary, or hopping on one foot doing an incant will do nothing against this.

    “Crazy” narcissists and other mass shootings are, despite the media coverage they engender, statistical outliers. Putting in such a way sounds cold-hearted, but it is the case. The people involved, the guns used, and the incidents themselves are so statistically small it shouldn’t register. In no other case can such small fractions of a number be used so successfully for reactionaries.

    Guns used in domestic/relationship violence is small as well. Certainly nothing that gives cause to restrict the flow of guns in any way.

  16. There is n old saw, which amazingly still cuts wood. “An Armed Society Is A Polite Society”.

    That being said, re ratings from this Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the “F” rating achieved by Vermont should be worn, and possibly might be worn, as a badge of honor, one that is much desired by other states, and or jurisdictions.

  17. Bad timing, Chapman, as Sanders was out this past week trumpeting his D- rating from the NRA and claiming that he’d be as severe on the issue of gun rights as any lefty. If there were ever any doubt that he’s an ideological turncoat who’ll turn on a dime to defend progressive policy, there it is.

    And if disarming people made them safer, all we need to do is look at violent crime and murder rates in nations that have no guns–say, extant archaic civilizations or our own western civs for the first 2500 years of their existence–and point out how safe the world really was prior to the introduction of firearms.

  18. The “lax gun law” canard is a long lasting one, which the Gun Facts project routinely dissects and debunks:

    http://www.gunfacts.info/blog/…..card-scam/

    More interesting was when the Gun Facts project found that crime guns in “strict laws” states mainly came from other “strict law” states.

    http://www.gunfacts.info/blog/…..mythology/

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  20. Bernie is trying to appear moderate on guns, but has stated he would favor “a ban on all semi-automatics” and voted for the assault weapons ban – recently saying he would vote for it if it came up again. He eschews most of the far left wacko positions on gun control, but is no friend to gun owners. His initials expound everything you need to know about him. He’s full of himself and that equates to nothing but B.S.

    1. Exactly. Don’t be surprised if that nut job Elizabeth Warren enters the race. She is a jerk who lied and said she was Native American to get into law school. She is not even one percent Indian.

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