Gun Control

Do Strict Firearm Laws Give States Lower Gun Death Rates?

National Journal reads too much into a correlation.

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Wikipedia

According to a recent National Journal analysis of data from 2013, "the states that im­pose the most re­stric­tions on gun users also have the low­est rates of gun-re­lated deaths, while states with few­er reg­u­la­tions typ­ic­ally have a much high­er death rate from guns." Bearing in mind that correlation does not prove causation, what should we make of this conclusion?

Notably, "gun-related deaths" include not only homicides but suicides, accidents, and "legal intervention involving firearms." In fact, suicides account for three-fifths of gun-related deaths in the United States, twice as many as homicides do. That breakdown is obviously relevant to the question of whether particular laws can be credited with reducing gun-related deaths. Making it harder to buy a handgun might affect suicides, for instance, while making it harder to carry a handgun in public or easier to beat homicide charges with a self-defense claim probably would not.

Focusing on homicides can have a dramatic impact on a state's rank. Wyoming, for instance, has a high suicide rate but a low homicide rate. The District of Columbia, by contrast, has a low suicide rate but a high homicide rate

According to National Journal, the six states with the lowest rates of gun-related deaths in 2013, ranging from 2.6 to 5.7 per 100,000, were Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, which do indeed have relatively strict gun policies as measured by requirements for buying and carrying handguns. National Journal also considered whether states impose a duty to retreat on people attacked in public places, which all six of these states do.

Once you get past those six states, the hypothesis that low gun death rates go hand in hand with strict gun control starts to break down. New Hampshire, with a gun death rate just a little higher than New Jersey's, has permissive gun policies. Likewise Minnesota, Washington, Vermont, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, all of which have gun death rates of 10 or less per 100,000. New Hampshire and Minnesota have lower rates than California, Illinois, the District of Columbia, and Maryland, all of which have substantially stricter gun rules.

At the other end of the list, Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Wyoming have both permissive gun policies and high gun death rates, ranging from around 17 to nearly 20 per 100,000. But of these six states, only Louisiana has a very high gun murder rate (based on 2010 data). The rate in Mississippi is fairly high but still lower than in D.C. or Maryland, which have much stricter gun laws. Alaska, Wyoming, Alabama, and Arkansas have lower gun murder rates than California, which has more gun restrictions.

Although its overall analysis looks at all gun-related deaths, National Journal (after some prodding, judging from the note in italics) focuses on gun homicides in charts that compare states based on three policies: whether they impose a duty to retreat, whether they require background checks for all gun sales, and whether they issue carry permits to anyone who meets a short list of objective criteria. Excluding suicides makes sense for at least two of those comparisons, since you would not expect the rules for self-defense or for carrying guns in public to affect suicide rates. Background checks conceivably could, since among other things they are supposed to prevent gun purchases by people who were forcibly subjected to psychiatric treatment because they were deemed a threat to themselves.

According to the first chart, the average rate of gun-related homicides in states with "some form of 'stand your ground' law" in 2013 was 4.23 per 100,000, compared to 3.08 in the other states. (Oddly, Arkansas is included in the former category, although its "stand your ground" law was not enacted until this year.) States that did not require background checks for private sales also had a higher average gun homicide rate: 4.02 per 100,000, compared to 3.41 for the other states. But the average rates were the same (3.78 per 100,000) regardless of whether states had discretionary or "must issue" carry permit policies, which is consistent with the observation that permit holders rarely commit violent crimes.

Some states were excluded from these analyses, and the reason is revealing. The fine print at the bottom of the charts says "Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming had too few homicides in 2013 to calculate a reliable rate" (emphasis added). These are all states with permissive gun laws, and three of them are among the seven states with the highest overall gun death rates, which highlights the importance of distinguishing between suicides and homicides. Had National Journal's main analysis excluded suicides, some of the states with few gun controls, including Alaska and Wyoming, would have looked much safer. 

"The states with the most gun laws see the fewest gun-related deaths," say the headline and subhead over the National Journal post, "but there's still little appetite to talk about more restrictions." The implication is that the data prove a cause-and-effect relationship. But the question of whether stricter gun control policies cause lower gun death rates cannot be addressed by this sort of static analysis. Gun laws obviously are not the only way in which Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Wyoming differ from Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Furthermore, while the latter states have both low suicide and low homicide rates, the former states (with the notable exception of Louisiana) are distinguished mainly by high suicide rates.

To get a clearer idea of what's going on, you would at least want to see whether the adoption of certain gun controls is associated with reductions in gun death rates, as compared to pre-existing trends in the states that adopt them and ongoing trends in the rest of the country. In any case, it clearly is not true that permissive gun laws are inevitably accompanied by higher gun death rates, especially if you focus on homicides, which is the main threat cited by proponents of new gun controls.

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175 responses to “Do Strict Firearm Laws Give States Lower Gun Death Rates?

  1. In discussing with pro-gun control friends, they seem to agree that trying to ban sales to those who are having mental issues, are angry, are potential time bombs, etc. is very hard to do as no one has a crystal ball . So their suggestion is that all gun sales to private individuals be immediately banned nationwide in order to keep new guns out of the hands of those who may criminally use them at some future date when they become mentally unhinged.
    Asked about the Second Amend, they recognize not enough states would ever vote to amend it, so their hope is to get a flexible, pro-control majority on the Supreme Court to rule that it only applies to enrolled members of the militia (the National Guard) . Given the Court’s recent rulings, this is not a forlorn hope of theirs.

    1. their hope is to get a flexible, pro-control majority on the Supreme Court to rule that it only applies to enrolled members of the militia (the National Guard) .

      Another hope is to get a flexible, anti-control Governor to rule that any resident of the Great State of X is an enrolled member of its National Guard.

      1. “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”

        ? George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

        1. In that case we can constitute a militia modeled after the Russian army of WW1: those carrying guns are assigned a second whose purpose is to follow behind and pick up the weapon when their companion is shot.

        2. He’s my great-great-great-great…….some number of greats granddad, he is!

        3. So, everyone can carry guns except those who work for the government? I love this idea.

      2. according to the constitution the militia is only made up of men so that mans that women would never be allowed to have a gun, thus never be able to protect themselves from all those rapist. its the anti-gunners war on women

      3. “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

        –Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

        1. something something WHITE SLAVE OWNERS something something 100 YEARS AGO something something couldn’t have foreseen these super-dangerous assault weapons

          /gun grabber

      4. “Whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it.”

        –Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

      5. If they bothered to think this through, they might realize that it’s the dumbest fucking idea they’ve ever had.

        None of them are going to enroll in the national guard, but if you force gun owners to do so, you better bet that the ranks of the national guard will swell with the sort of people who give gun-grabbers the vapors.

        Then they’re left with the problem that even if they narrow the eligible population down, the amendment still says plain as day “shall not be infringed”.

        So you just shifted a bunch of people you hate into the national guard, which by your own stupid logic means their gun rights can’t be infringed, and you expect to do what, exactly? Control them? How?

      6. One way Florida is awesome?Article X, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution:

        Militia.?
        (a)?The militia shall be composed of all ablebodied inhabitants of the state who are or have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States; and no person because of religious creed or opinion shall be exempted from military duty except upon conditions provided by law.

    2. You need to ask them what other civil rights they are willing to see a creative court eliminate.

      1. Religious freedom perhaps?

        1. All of 1A would be out the door.

        2. Due process, too.

          “Affirmative consent or go to jail!”

    3. Since when is the National Guard “the militia”? Isn’t there a law specifically defining “the militia” as all men of fighting age, or something like that?

      1. 10 U.S. Code ? 311 – Militia: composition and classes

        The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

        1. Good luck taking grandpas guns.

    4. It is a common misconception that the National Guard is the militia. According to the Dick Act, there is an entity known and recognized as the “unorganized militia”, which is the same force defined by the Militia Act–able bodied men between 18-45.

      So legally, every male 18-45 is allowed to keep an bear arms regardless of how you interpret the Second Amendment. They are all, by default and Act, members of the unorganized militia. So lock and load, boys!

      There are many laws that would have to change for any kind of gun control to become more of a gun ban.

      1. Let’s see a gun banner propose to ban gun ownership by women who aren’t in the National Guard, and everyone over the age of 45.

      2. “Dick Act”

        Huhuhuhuhuhuhuh

      3. By Robert’s insane penaltax logic, the government should pay for every able bodied man between 18 and 45 to have a service pistol and whatever rifle they are using in the army these days.

    5. United States Code defines the militia as all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45 – and extends the upper age to 60 for veterans. This is already law and has been for centuries. The national guard didn’t come along until the 20th century.

      Bring this up whenever someone trots out that tired, old line of crap.

  2. “Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming had too few homicides in 2013 to calculate a reliable rate”

    “Sheesh, people, why won’t you cooperate with our study?”

    1. i’m going to guess that at least 3 states on here live in the top quintile of gun ownership per capita.

      1. Whoopa. Need to RTFA. But I guess the elephant in that list is the diversity rate among these excluded states.

      2. Tops in number of guns, and I would bet tops in caliber of guns as well.

      3. I live in Maine, and off the top of my head I can only think of one person who I know who does not own at least one firearm.

        1. That explains why you’re such an asshole! : )

      4. Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, South Dakota, are the top 4

  3. Obvious correlation between guns and death lost on NRA poodles, story at 11.

    There is no valid reason to exclude suicides from this discussion. Suicides are not, generally, considered a neutral or positive thing in life. Most people regret attempting it when they survive. Guns make it less likely that they will.

    1. There isn’t a meaningful correlation to speak of. If you want to reduce gun deaths, end the war on drugs.

      1. Gun-grabbers, like SJWs and followers of the Church of Owlgor (a distant cousin of Trogdor), don’t give a whit about what they say they care about. The only thing they are interested in is more government.

    2. There is no valid reason to exclude suicides from this discussion.

      Howsabout people killed by cops, or people killed in self-defense? Should we count those?

      And why count suicides, anyway? Its people doing what they want, who happen to choose an effective means of doing so. The fact that people who botch it regret it later may go more to the fact that those people weren’t serious about it in the first place, and that’s why they botched it, no?

    3. “NRA poodles.”

      I am almost positive reason has criticized the NRA in the past, with respect to the NRA’s unprincipled legal strategy in litigation gun laws. Please try again.

    4. Should have known Tony was going to show up to say something “intelligent”. If the correlation is so obvious, why doesn’t it hold true over time? As states tighten or loosen their gun control laws, they don’t necessarily see increases or decreases in their death-by-gun rates. If it’s so obvious, why doesn’t it hold over areas smaller than a state? Brownsville, Brooklyn actually has stricter gun laws than Herkimer, NY, but a higher death-by-gun rate. If it’s so obvious, why doesn’t it seem to hold true anywhere but in the US, since many countries have higher homicide rates than the US but stricter gun laws?

    5. Tony- almost no one talks about suicides in connection with gun deaths. The reason it is relevant is this study will be cited as a means to reduce gun homicides, though it does not really support that conclusion. You understand that, right?

      1. You understand that, right?

        I would like to assure you that he does not.

      2. He understands, he just doesn’t care. He has no problem lying in order to advance his agenda of state control.

        1. Nor concern-trolling, it seems.

      3. All Tony understands is what he feels at any particular moment. Thinking isn’t his forte.

    6. Shorter Tony: if the entire populace is disarmed, then fewer people will commit suicide because some one determined to kill themselves will just give up rather than choose some other means of suicide.

      1. See places like South Korea and Japan as perfect examples of how the lack of guns “correlate” to lower suicides…. Oh wait.

        Honorable mention: UK suicides are about the same as the US rate. It’s always amusing how the Tony’s of the world want to ignore that data when talking about their gun control utopias.

    7. While American gun ownership is quite high, Table 1 shows many other developed nations (e.g., Norway, Finland, Germany, France, Denmark) with high rates of gun ownership. These countries, however, have murder rates as low or lower than many developed nations in which gun ownership is much rarer. For example, Luxembourg, where handguns are totally banned and ownership of any kind of gun is minimal, had a murder rate nine times higher than Germany in 2002.

      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,” that is,“where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense violent crime rates are highest.”

      http://www.law.harvard.edu/stu…..online.pdf

    8. You know, there is an obvious way you could help strengthen this correlation…

      Would you like to borrow my gun?

    9. There is an extremely valid reason: Suicidal efforts is a mental state, it is not something that happens just because there’s a gun around. Suicidal people will attempt suicide whether or not they have a gun.

      If you want to stop suicides by banning guns, I’d also recommend you stop hurricanes by banning the poor.

      1. It’s settled then. Ban the poor!

    10. There is no valid reason to exclude suicides from this discussion.

      The fact that more than a dozen countries with vastly lower gun ownership rates have higher suicide rates – including Sweden, South Korea, and Japan – is a good reason.

    11. If only we could test this hypothesis. How about this, Tony: If the number of Gun Deaths increases with the number of guns in the population, that would probably indicate you are right.

      On the other hand, if the number of guns has increased in this country, but the number of gun deaths has decreased, wouldn’t that invalidate your hypothesis?

      1. There is no way to invalidate a SJW’s arguement, in their minds.

        1. You’re missing at least one set of scared quotes.

    12. “There is no valid reason to exclude suicides from this discussion.”

      I suppose you’re correct, in that the suicide rates are equally as meaningless as the rest of these statistics. None of them have any bearing on my right to self-preservation.

      1. Your gun is more likely to result in your death or the death of a loved one than it is ever to defend you against an aggressor.

        1. No, actually it’s not, since I practice gun safety at all times.

        2. Appeal to emotion instead of logic and reason – the very definition of losing an argument.

        3. Actually, this is incorrect. My children have been trained in the responsible use of a firearm. And since education reduces acts of ignorance, the probability is significantly reduced.

        4. Nope. You are buying into a study that compared deaths only. And yet several studies have been done that shows that firearms are used by law-abiding citizens defensively anywhere between 500.000 and 1 million times a year. Most of the time without having to fire a shot. Compare that to the fact that firearms are used in about 60,000-70,000 crimes a year.

        5. “Your gun is more likely to result in your death or the death of a loved one than it is ever to defend you against an aggressor.”

          Even if this were true, which it isn’t, my rights are still not invalidated in any way.

        6. Tony, even you should be smart enough to recognize that claim to be based on VERY selective statistics. It has been know fr decades that the “study” that “proved” that only counted defensive incidents in which somebody was shot. Not “gun fired, nobody hit, crook runs”. Not “oh, sh*t, he has a gun.” and no shots fired at all. Which are the majority of all defensive incidents involving guns.

          But it still gets repeated. Like the canard about domestic abuse peaking on Superbowl Sunday. It’s bullshit. Everybody with the brains of a turnip KNOWS it’s bullshit. It undermines your (practically nonexistant) credibility.

    13. There is no valid reason to exclude suicides from this discussion

      Let me get this straight, abortion is a right, but suicide isn’t? I mean, if suicide is a person’s right, then why would count those as a reason to reduce gun ownership? Does it matter what weapon a person uses to kill himself when he has every right to kill himself?

      1. But mothers never regret having an abortion. Checkmate.

    14. “Can’t you see that that all freedom just makes you hurt yourself, baby? I’m only trying to take care of you! Why won’t you let me take care of you?????”

    15. Tony, which civil rights, besides self defense, are you prepared to see sacrificed for “safety”? Amend the comstitution to make gun control Constitutional, or admit that you will follow,the Constitution only when convenient for your agenda.

      1. You don’t have to ask him. You already know the answer.

        1. Tony’s dream life is one spent joyfully doing the bidding of his Benevolent Masters, the pathetic little fool.

    16. Living in the boonies make it less likely you will survive a suicide attempt however you try to off yourself.

      In RI, NY, CT, NJ, there’s a damn good chance you have full time paramedics/fire standing by less than 4 miles away who can take you to a hospital also less than 4 miles away that sees multiple major trauma cases a week.

      In the boonie states, your EMTs, and firemen are most likely volunteers who are at home or work who need to get to the station first before they come get you to take you to a small town hospital emergency room where they see a couple major traumas a month, maybe.

      So yes, there are valid reasons to exclude suicides from this discussion.

    17. Most people regret attempting it when they survive. Guns make it less likely that they will.

      Sounds like guns are actually preventing a lot heartache in that case. If you decide to kill yourself, and you’ll regret surviving, an implement that gets the job done is a friend indeed.

      Do you ever even read the retarded shit you try to type?

      1. What he’s trying to say is that people who fail at killing themselves are often glad to have failed.

        Of course, many of those are bullshit attempts, and surely none of that regret is coerced by a medico-legal system that will jail you indefinitely if you don’t claim you made a mistake by trying to kill yourself.

    18. There is no valid reason to exclude suicides from this discussion. Suicides are not, generally, considered a neutral or positive thing in life. Most people regret attempting it when they survive.

      And no one regrets it if they succeed.

      Anyone who thinks suicides should be included in the discussion is a sick piece of shit who wants to see people suffer. Mind your own fucking business and let people make their own life choices.

    19. Guns make it less likely that they will.

      Gun-free Japan, with its suicide rate that’s about double ours, comes to mind.

      1. Suicide method substitution has been shown as nauseum in the medical and psychological literature.

        Banning guns has no effect on suicide rates. There are equally lethal means to substitute, and people do.

        But Tony already knew that, didn’t he?

        1. But Tony already knew that, didn’t he?

          Of course he did. His ilk just want to convey the impression that gun suicides are ickier than normal suicides, and that people who use guns wind up deader. Or something. Even if they did manage to ban guns, and gun suicides went down while the overall suicide rate remained unchanged, they’d still be screaming “Fewer gun suicides! Lives saved!”

          1. It’s also true of most of the gun “studies” in the medical literature. They have to throw suicides and justifiable homocides in, because otherwise the study wouldn’t confirm their biases.

    20. the point is honesty in the discussion. they are targeting stand your ground laws, concealed carry permits, and general gun rights, as part of the definition of strict or lax gun laws. suicides are completely irrelevant to almost every measure gun grabbers support. the reason they include suicides is to make the numbers go up for “gun-related” deaths…. specifically because other gun related deaths are too low to make their point.

      now, the easier guns are to get, it seems common sense they would be used more frequently in suicide attempts, and it seems obvious they would be more effective. but, i do not think i have ever seen a single gun control advocate who leads with suicide as the motivation for change. why? because you get sympathy for innocent victims… not so much for suicides. no body ever blames a bridge builder when someone jumps off it… no matter how sad it may be.

    21. SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

      English motherfucker. Do. You. Speak. It?

  4. The only statthey should use is the murder by gun rate.There are counties with much higher suicide rates and strict gun control [ Japan ]. I wonder what would happen if the drug war was ended.The end of the war on alcohol is a food teacher.

    1. Food teacher? Someone who works a a culinary school?

      Are you really John?

      1. John doesn’t do boring simple typos like hitting an adjacent key. Give the man some credit.

  5. Suicide deprives the state of your taxes. It is literally like you are stealing from the rest of us when you kill yourself. Work, citizen. We all enjoy your labor.

    1. Rousseau actually made that argument.

  6. Gun control groups accused of ‘swatting’ open-carry permit holders, putting lives at risk

    “If you see someone carrying a firearm in public?openly or concealed?and have ANY doubts about their intent, call 911 immediately and ask police to come to the scene,” the group wrote on its widely followed Facebook page. “Never put your safety, or the safety of your loved ones, at the mercy of weak gun laws that arm individuals in public with little or no criminal and/or mental health screening.”

    That approach, according to a blog post by Ohio-based Buckeye Firearms Association, could give rise to needless, tense confrontations between police and gun owners. The association and other similar groups liken the tactic to “swatting,” or the act of tricking an emergency service into dispatching responders based on a false report. Many online harassment campaigns have been known to participate in the practice.

    1. Best part:

      “Gun-toters who are truly law-abiding and mentally competent have nothing whatsoever to worry about. Their conversations with law enforcement will be brief and professional,” he [Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence] added.

      Uh huh, brief and professional.

      1. What do you suppose is the overlap between these people and #BLM simpaticos?

        1. I had to take a minute wondering what the bureau of land management had to do with any of this.

          I wonder how many have convinced themselves that police only go overboard when black people are involved. Or do they just not give a shit if some gun-nut gets lit up?

          1. If they’ve considered the link at all I’m certain it’s a combination of the two. “Most open carriers are white so they won’t get shot up, and besides if they do they deserved it ‘cuz they’re nutters.”

            But again, recognizing the equivalence requires moral or philosophical consistency, and the gun control crowd (as Tony was so kind to illustrate above) is guided by expedience rather than principle.

      2. Two cops show up and scream contradictory instructions at unsuspecting CCW holder, who turns to try to figure out what the hell is going on *BLAM!* *BLAM!* *BLAM!* *BLAM!* *BLAM!*

        Brief and “professional”.

        1. I was thinking brief and professional, like ‘two shots to the back of the head’, but… yeah.

      3. O’l Ladd Everitt* is just so sure how police are going to behave on every single call of this type.

        Something tells me he’s got some correspondence somewhere that would probably make him civilly liable should one of these “interactions” he’s pushing turned deadly.

        Project Veritas should focus on his group-see if they can get them on tape pushing for this and approving of death-by-cop for gun owners.

        *if that is his real name

    2. if the police get enough of these “cry wolf” calls they will stop coming and that will put more people in danger from actual criminals.

  7. We need to be more European. Being stabbed to death is so much more sophisticated.

    1. Or bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

    2. bring back swords… and dueling!

    3. Poison is so romantic.

  8. Counting “gun related deaths” versus gun homicides is disingenuous in the extreme. I guess these idiots feel better when someone kills themselves by jumping out of a window because at least they didn’t use a gun. And as far as accidental deaths, people who own guns assume the responsibility of using them properly and the consequences of not doing so. The rate of gun accidents isn’t even a proper concern for government.

    The other really disingenuous thing about these sorts of articles is they assume that homicide is the only crime that matters. The US does have a significantly higher homicide rate than most if not all of Europe. It also has much lower rates of assaults, muggings, violent rapes, and live break ins of homes. Those crimes are pretty significant too. And the US has many fewer of them because thanks to widespread gun ownership committing such crimes is very much a contact sport here and is not in Europe.

    Basically the US makes the trade of enduring a higher homicide rate in return for much lower rates of assault, home break ins and associated crimes. When you consider that most of the gun related homicides involve people who choose to involve themselves in criminal activities killing one another, I don’t see how anyone who is a law abiding citizen can see that trade as anything but good.

    1. The US does have a significantly higher homicide rate than most if not all of Europe.

      I am not entirely convinced of this. Sure, I get Irish’s theory (they don’t kill each other much for a while, then they kill millions at a time), which IMO ought to be used in any discussion of the “superiority” of Europeans. However, they also count homicides differently than the US does. We consider a homicide to have occurred regardless of whether we find and convict the guilty party. Europe only counts convictions.

      1. A quick google yielded this set of graphs. But two things stand out to me: what is the definition of “murder” in the US vs the UK, and why is the UK’s rate so stable?

        1. Moreover, what does it take to get a conviction in the UK vs the US? What are the standards for launching an investigation in the two countries?

          Put another way, would a similar scenario in both countries result in the same outcome?

          Even looking at coroners’ findings will not necessarily result in comparable numbers; what are the standards that coroners apply and how corruptible are the processes?

        2. If I remember right, a UK murder is a case that ends with a conviction.

          1. Right, but if you look at conviction rates (as those graphs do), then you discount that effect. However, there are still plenty of reasons to explain the disparity that arise from differences in legal process rather than differences in underlying rates of criminal activity.

            1. The point being, the numbers aren’t comparable until you’ve established that they were obtained from the same methodology.

      2. And that may be true. Even if it is not and we really do have a higher homicide rate, that doesn’t mean that widespread gun ownership isn’t a good thing.

        A large part if not most of the gun homicides in this country are the result of gangs and the effects of drug prohibition. I am sorry but I see no reason why I or anyone else should have to give up their gun rights because various criminals are killing each other. I am not endorsing death and it is a shame they are doing that but I should not have to suffer the elevated risks of serious crimes that come with widespread disarming of the public in some vain attempt to stop it.

        1. Oh, I agree. Just because the instrument of death is a gun doesn’t mean it should be considered a notch in the bedpost for gun-grabbers. While perhaps the most potent effect of a gun is as a deterrent, it would not be an effective deterrent if there wasn’t a realistic possibility that it could be used.

          Suicides by gun, deaths arising from guns used in self-defense, and deaths arising from criminal transactions should not be counted for this purpose. If they are going to say guns are dangerous to the public at large, then the only deaths that count are those that involve danger to the public at large.

          1. Riiiight… Just explain to the looters that they need to exercise logical consistency and they’ll come right around to your way of thinking. Hell, they may even take the guns away from their own cops, DEA, ATF, Treasury and IRS agents once they understand the Second Amendment import of the word “free” meaning “uncoerced.”

        2. most of the gun homicides in this country are the result of gangs and the effects of drug prohibition

          That’s the biggest thing that the ban-boners like to ignore. They want to make it seem like anyone could be shot at any time, when the reality is that it is mostly criminals killing each other. Which is a bad thing to have a lot of, but not a good reason for everyone to be disarmed.

          1. They act like the people killed were all just innocent victims who were walking down the street one day. Indeed, some most certainly are. Not most of them however. I guess it is just too impolite to say in public but the fact is if you are involved in a criminal enterprise and wind up on the wrong end of a gun, you really are not an “innocent victim”. That of course doesn’t mean the person who killed you isn’t guilty of murder or shouldn’t be punished. It does, however, mean the influence your death should have on public policy should be a lot less than if you truly were an innocent victim.

          2. Without prohibition the cop gangs can’t confiscate and sell gang dope. And if the gangs can defend their dope from confiscation by legally armed and empowered cops, why… that’d be anarchy! Wrong hand in the till!

        3. Prohibitionists endorse death with every gun issued to one of their minions. To them marijuana dope is cold-blooded murder, just like contraception and abortion, and therefore justifies deadly force. Q.E.D.

        4. Even if it is not and we really do have a higher homicide rate, that doesn’t mean that widespread gun ownership isn’t a good thing.

          To me, its an excellent reason to have a gun, not get rid of my guns.

    2. You’re doing it wrong, John. You’re supposed to start with your conclusion (guns are bad, industry is bad, liberty is bad) and then work backwards to find an argument that fits your conclusion.

    3. Apart from noting how different nations count them, its important to note the difference between homicide and murder. People commonly use both terms to mean ‘unlawful killing’ even though they are two entirely different things.

      Homicide is a person killing another person, whether or not its justified.

      Murder is an unjustified homicide
      Self defense is a justified homicide (though apparently in parts of ‘enlightened’ Europe, its not seen as such)

      1. That is another good point. Someone shot while breaking into a home is not exactly a “victim of gun violence” in the same way as someone who is murdered. Yet, they count deaths that are the result of legitimate self defense exactly the same as they count actual murders.

        1. The most embarrassing (for them) and hilarious (for us) instance of that phenomenon was when someone at Michael Bloomberg’s “No More Names” anti-gun event named one of the Boston Bombers as a “victim of gun violence”.

          1. I remember that. That was fucking hysterical. Well, technically he was. His death counts in the numbers for Massachusetts used in this article.

            1. If he hadn’t pulled a gun and shot it at cops, he would be alive today, John.

              #bomberslivesmatter

          2. Joking aside, I think one could chalk up the surviving brother as a victim of gun violence;

            When the cops ventilated the boat he was hiding in, they had no justification to open fire.

            That *was* a case of the theme Tony is propounding where more guns = more likelihood of gun violence.

            1. I thought he was shot in the shootout in the car. They shot him in the boat? The guy who owned the boat had already come out and seen him. And those flatfooted idiots opened up on the boat? Even if you are okay with just shooting the bomber, which I am not, what if that had been some kid who snuck out and was hiding in it so he wouldn’t get in trouble, or some homeless guy. God cops are fucking animals.

              1. It was utterly insane.

                I’ve never seen a comprehensive report on the whole apprehension, and I don’t think the police are eager to provide one.

                The investigation was moving along nicely until the MIT police officer was murdered. At that point the cops basically lost their shit.

                Shortly after the murder, the brothers hijacked a car, but decided to let the driver live because he wasn’t white. The driver escaped, at a gas station on Memorial Drive, and now the police had a description of a vehicle to search for.

                Shortly afterward, a cop encountered an FBI agent and plain clothes state trooper parked in an SUV. I can’t find the article on the Internet anymore, and it was short of details, and so I suspect that the SUV was staking out a Tsarnaev brother hang out, and the local cop was independently checking on the same address. The cop opened fire on the SUV, and IIRC the FBI agent suffered some sort of injury.

                A watertown cop then encountered the brothers as they were transferring bombs from their car to the car they had hijacked. A gun battle ensued between the brothers and the cop. The brothers had one hand gun between them which the older brother was firing.

                1. Hearing the radio call, officers rushed to the scene, and several cops working for different departments joined the gun fight. The cops shot both brothers and also ventillated houses on the street, with 3 – 4 houses having bullets go into upstairs bedrooms. Additionally, one cop (an MBTA cop IIRC – yes the city bus monopoly has a police force with guns) shot a Watertown cop in the leg severing his femoral artery.

                  Out of amunition, and having thrown their remaining bomb at the cops, the older brother charged them on foot and was gunned down. As they were arresting him, the younger brother attempted to run the cops down and ran over his older brother, killing him. He then drove through the police firing line and escaped into the night.

                  Incidentally, I was lying in bed little more than a mile or so away from the gun battle, and heard the whole thing. It was over in no more than a minute and a half.

                  The police imposed a “voluntary” curfew on surrounding towns, while requestign that Dunkin Donuts open stores in the vicinity of the manhunt.

                  They cordoned off an area, and sent armed teams to search the homes. They dragged occupants out of the homes at gunpoint. They had no warrants.

                  After many hours, having searched the cordoned off area thoroughly and found nobody, the police announced that they were suspending their search and that residents could come out now but should limit their activities to neccessary travel.

                  1. A homeowner outside the cordoned off area went to go check on his boat, and saw Tsarnaev curled up in the boat.

                    He called 911.

                    At this point I heard the helicopters which had been flying away from us turn around and come in with engines putting out as much power as they could.

                    The helicopters FLIR system confirmed a living human being hiding in the boat.

                    The cops formed a semicircle around the boat and ordered Tsarnaev to come out. He didn’t move.

                    Then, I heard a fusilade of shots lasting about 10 – 20 seconds. Tsarnaev did nothing to trigger the shooting, and no police officer has admitted giving the order or deciding to open fire let alone offering a rationale as to why they did so.

                    The Tsarnaev brothers are rightly reviled. The police who apprehended them are wrongly hailed as heroes. Panic fire isn’t courageous. It’s a sign of cowardice.

                  2. The Dunkin Donuts detail is either you being a smart ass or proof that you really can’t make some shit up. really?

                    1. I’m not making it up.

                      At cops’ request, Dunkin’ Donuts stays open

                      Law enforcement asked the chain to keep some restaurants open in locked-down communities to provide hot coffee and food to police and other emergency workers, including in Watertown, the focus of the search for the bombing suspect. Dunkin’ is providing its products to them for free.

                      “At the direction of authorities, select Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the Boston area are open to take care of needs of law enforcement and first responders,” spokeswoman Lindsay Harrington explained via email. “We are encouraging our guests to state home today and abide by the lockdown, per the Governor’s recommendation.”

            2. Dang! Hit submit instead of preview!

              To finish up:

              When cops are in a group, and each indivicual faces little consequence for firing his gun, especially if they all fire their weapons, the more guns does = a greater likelihood of gun violence (on the part of cops).

              I think giving cops guns is often a very bad deal. I think that a proposal John floated a while back of the idea of draconian punishments for harming a cop, and having the cops wear very distinctive uniforms and only having them patrol unarmed would be a vast improvement over the current scheme.

              1. We disarm cops and we make it an automatic death sentence to kill a cop in the line of duty and life without parole to attempt it. Give them body armor and put them in uniforms. That would make them safer than they are today. No criminal is going to want to turn an ordinary arrest into a death sentence or life without parole.

                1. For this idea to work (and I think it’s a very good idea), it would also have to be a crime for any unauthorized individual to wear the distinctive uniform of police officers.

                  Cops would effectively have the immunity that medics (wearing a red cross/crescent) have on the battlefield.

                  1. Also, for this system to be enforceable, you’d have to have some higher level cops with guns.

                    Otherwise an armed criminal could simply shoot every unarmed cop that approaches him, death sentence be damned, until either he runs out of ammunition or the precinct runs out of cops.

                2. No criminal is going to want to turn an ordinary arrest into a death sentence or life without parole

                  Unless it’s some violent criminal who’s looking at life in prison or death, in which case yo’ure dealing with someone who has nothing to lose. Certainly anyone tasked with going after such a person should have the means to protect himself.

                  So no guns on patrol, but definitely guns when a specific, highly dangerous operation necessitates them.

                  1. Yes karl. That is true. You need some guns. Just not on ordinary duty.

  9. That’s O.D. P99 looks good. Jacob, Walther owes you a commission shortly.

    1. That’s O.D. P99 looks good,

      It does look good. Are they good guns, though? I’ve never owned or even used one.

      1. In general, Walthers are fine guns. I’ve no direct experience with the P99 though.

        1. I have a P99 and like it a lot. As far as function, I’d compare it to a Glock – accurate, reliable striker-fired 9mm with a 17 round magazine standard (at least, that’s what mine came with). Haven’t had a single failure to feed, but I hear that steel-case might be less reliable in it (I generally run Winchester white-box range ammo). I find the ergonomics of the P99 better than any other handgun I’ve held.

  10. You guys are a bunch of crazy gun nuts. When will you understand that nobody wants to take your guns away?

    They just want a few modest restrictions, like may-issue CC permits, an outright ban on open carry, a 50% tax on ammo, bans on imported ammo, a federal database of all guns and their owners, “safe storage” laws with random inspections by police, background checks for ammo, bans on private sales, bans on gun stores within 1000 feet of a school, bans on assault weapons, bans on standard capacity magazines, environmental regulations for gun ranges, mandatory bullet buttons, bans on interstate firearm transfers, hundreds of dollars in non-refundable licensing fees, and the ability of the state to confiscate the firearms of anyone who is deemed to be mentally ill. And of course, an exemption to all of the above laws for current or retired law enforcement officers.

    See? Just a few common-sense safety regulations. You wouldn’t even notice.

    1. The sad thing about your post is that these people are so nuts that it almost obscures the sarcasm of your post.

      1. What do you mean “almost”?

    2. Poe’s law.

  11. Does “legal intervention involving firearms” mean police murdering unarmed individuals over some sort of victimless crime allegations?

    1. Hell, if it’s anything like the NTSB’s accounting of drunk driving statistics, any incident involving a gun and a death is counted. Drunk driver nailed by stop sign-running teenager and dies? Drunk driving death! Cop kills knife-wielding suspect? Gun death!

  12. Simply look at Black population percentages if you want to predict gun shootings.(not just deaths).
    The greater the number of Blacks,the greater the gunfire.

    1. Which itself is merely a proxy for poverty rather than some racial bias toward lawlessness. Illicit activity, like the notably violent illegal drug trade, has more to do with opportunity-killing economic restraints, piss-poor public schooling, and welfare mechanisms engendering dependence.

      1. (Unlike Tony?and, from the look of it, unlike you?I think of black people as humans who respond to incentives act accordingly rather than automata reactively indulging in criminal behavior and pulling the lever for Democrats.)

    2. Hey, American! Been a long time. How have you been? What’ve you been up to? More cross lightings at the klan rally?

  13. Here’s the funny thing. State laws are some magical barrier to gun owners, but when it comes to cities and counties it’s no problem for people to cross the imaginary line and buy guns. This is the excuse used by the left all the time to explain the failure of their laws.

    And gun density being ignored entirely is odd. If New York has some of the higher gun densities in the country, do you really think what separates them from Montana in terms of ‘gun deaths’ are the laws? Well, in the case of the Tony’s of the world, I know the answer. For anyone who spends a few seconds thinking about this, it’s pretty apparent that the whole we look at laws and arbitrarily assign ‘tough’ and ‘lax’ designations, then look at gun deaths thing is bullshit right off the bat.

    1. That’s true of most of socialism/communism. The controlled population must be ever-larger, the walls ever-higher. It couldn’t be that the policy was stupid/unworkable in the first place.

  14. Suicides amounting to 60% of gun deaths says a lot about how religious dictatorship takes the “worth living” out of life. Ironically, in the 1890s and the noughts, morphine overdoses were a preferred method of opting out of “ordered liberty” as ordained by churchly prigs and the police they arm with victimless crime laws. So the Harrison Act subsidized gun sales AND organized drug gangs all in one fell swoop. Who says nationalsocialism is inefficient?

    1. I am pretty sure the suicide rate among the religious is lower than among the non religious. Beyond that, the highest suicide rate in the world is in Japan or was for many years. Japan has one of the most overtly secular societies in the world.

      Whatever the reason for suicide, religion seems to have nothing to do with it.

      1. Considering that almost every religion in the world condemns suicide, I would be willing to bet any amount that religious people have a lower suicide rate. However, I do think that perhaps there is a nugget of truth in that the prudish really can take much of the joy out of living. But make no mistake, the Right doesn’t have a monopoly on teetotalers and scolds.

        1. “I am pretty sure the suicide rate among the religious is lower than among the non religious.”

          “Considering that almost every religion in the world condemns suicide, I would be willing to bet any amount that religious people have a lower suicide rate.”

          I would love to be have the data available to analyze to confirm or refute this conjecture. If you were to include murders committed in the cause of religions however, we atheists would never catch up, even if we tried.

          1. If you were to include murders committed in the cause of religions however, we atheists would never catch up, even if we tried.

            Let us play this stupid question-begging game, because it’s so much fun! What is a religion and what is a “murder committed in the cause of religion”? Why, it’s whatever is most convenient for the argument!

  15. I’m looking at a Daniel Defense short-barreled rifle. drooooooooooool. Me thinks the trust method of acquiring NFA items will eventually be targeted by DOJ/BATFE.

    1. I’m not familiar with the “trust” method . Whatchu talkin’ bout Willis?

      1. Gun Trusts

        When you purchase a Class III device, like a suppressor, SBR or some other item which requires a registration with the BATFE, you as the owner are the only person who may use that item. You can’t give it away, or even sell it if you want to without jumping thru’ a large number of hoops. Furthermore, if the local authorities ever determine (even temporarily) that you’re unfit to own the item, you must dispose of it.

        If the item is owned by a Gun Trust, every trustee of the trust may use the item. The trust will survive your death, and therefore your estate doesn’t need to dispose of any Class III devices that you purchased.

        1. Nor are you required to get your municipality’s top LEO to sign off. Also, I believe finger-printing is right out.

          $100-150 onetime setup fee.

      2. GET AN NFA TRUST.

        It is true that they may impose restrictions later, but they would likely grandfather you in.

  16. Basically, I think this argument comes down to “People who were killed by guns wouldn’t have been killed by guns if there weren’t any guns.”

    1. Oooh i can play too

      100 million who were killed by socialists wouldnt have been killed by socialists if there wasnt any socialists

    2. People wouldnt be killed if there wasnt any people in the first place!

    3. People wouldnt be killed if there wasnt any people in the first place!

      1. Squirrels wouldn’t squirrel if there weren’t squirrels!

  17. Home intruder gets shot. Family distraught.

    http://nbc4i.com/2015/09/01/ho…..r-answers/

    1. “My nephew was a good kid,” said his uncle, Anthony Bivens. “He was not no thief, no criminal, no thug. He was a good person with a 2-year-old little girl.”

      All of which falls by the wayside when you choose to kick in someone’s door and enter that person’s home.

      As always, play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

      1. Semi-OT, but it amazes me that anyone undertakes home invasion in, say, Texas. I mean, what are the chances that the homeowner is armed? 100%? 115%?

        I have sometimes wondered if it’s a modified “suicide by cop.”

        1. They don’t. The intention (at least for burglary in the US) is to find a place where no one is home to ensure you don’t meet a home owner and his 12 gauge.

          Across the pond where such a deterrent is absent, over half the burglaries are on occupied homes. Worse (for the residents) if they resist and injure the perp they are quite likely to be punished more strongly than the burglar.

        2. In Britain, the rate of home invasions (known there as “hot burglaries”) is about three times what it is in the US. The reason for this is twofold: first, most homes are unarmed. Second, any harm visited upon an intruder by a homeowner can result in stiff criminal and civil penalties for the homeowner. Remember Tony Martin? He’s the guy who shot two intruders in his farmhouse back in the ’90s, killing one and wounding the other. Not only was he prosecuted for murder, but once he got out, the state gave his surviving “victim” to pursue a lawsuit against Mr. Martin.

      2. And sounds like he had a gun so lucky for her she had one too.

      3. He was not no thief, no criminal, no thug.

        [citation needed]

  18. I’m shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that pro-gun control writers would manipulate the numbers to make it seem like stricter gun laws work. /sarc

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  20. 2013 rate for murder from FBI UCR in the 11 excluded states
    This of course being murders, not just those where a firearm was the weapon. It also excludes justified homicides.

    These states consistently have murder rates much lower than the national average, so the 2013 numbers are more or less representative of the level of criminal homicides in these states.

    The permissive states excluded, which all except Alaska are well below the National Average
    Alaska 4.6
    Idaho 1.7
    Maine 1.8
    Montana 2.2
    New Hampshire 1.7
    North Dakota 2.2
    South Dakota 2.4
    Vermont 1.6
    Wyoming 2.9

    The non-permissive states excluded
    Hawaii 1.5
    Rhode Island 2.9

    At the end of the day, the only honest conclusion one can draw from their ‘study’ is that restrictive laws have no real effect.

  21. Strict gun control laws don’t mean a lower suicide rate: As an example, in Japan, private ownership of guns is unheard of… but their suicide rate is almost double that of the US. The preferred method of suicide in Japan appears to be leaping from tall buildings.

    Those countries with suicide rates higher than the US are: Angola, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burundi, Chile, Comoros, Czech Republic, Djibouti, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Moldova, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Korea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe,

    I leave as an exercise for the interested reader which of these countries have stricter gun control laws than the US – but here’s a hint: Probably all of them.

    In general, studies done on US suicides indicate that the presence or absence of guns does not materially affect the suicide rate (one study found a very slight decline among elderly males – within the margin of error), but it may affect the method of suicide – crashing a car into a bridge abutment, driving head on into a semi, jumping from high bridges and the like instead of using a gun.

    Dead is dead. If someone wants to die, is it any business of the state? Or anyone else for that matter?

  22. I’ve had this argument with a lot of people. They never cut out suicide rates. People who are going to kill themselves don’t just do it because they have access to a gun. I always strip those out, and it kind of screws over their own argument. Also, please don’t use the phrase “the way in which.”

  23. In my view, the “facts and figures” that the anti gun apparatchiks come up with were described by the following, credited to Disraeli. “While figures might not lie, liars figure”.

  24. Any gun violence study that does not include race as a factor is misleading.

  25. The exclusion of states with low homicide rates illustrates the same kind of statistical fallacy that Edward Tufte argued contributed to the Challenger disaster. I understood him to say that NASA focused on the outside temperature for previous launches that had shown O-Ring problems while excluding from consideration launches with no such problems. His explanation has been disputed, but the statistical point is valid regardless — to establish a degree of correlation we must include all relevant data.

  26. People committing slow suicide with tobacco, alcohol, and poor diet die at well over 10 times the annual rate than either guns or motor vehicles (there is some overlap here), yet the buzz is almost exclusively about guns. Why? Most gun deaths are suicides, but they don’t get the buzz. Why?

    Just by declaring nicotine a prescription only drug and dispensing it prudently, we could theoretically save 100,000s of lives per year. Are our priorities a little skewed?

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