MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Is it a "Lie" That More People Carrying Guns Can Lead to Less Crime?

The Nation relies on ad hominem attacks on one gun researcher, not facts.

Anti-gun crusaders want you to believe no particular benefits, either to individuals or to society as a whole, arise from more people having access to guns, or being able to carry them legally.

Thus The Nation claims in a new article's subhed that "The NRA doesn’t need just cash to bully legislators—it needs bad information too."

HyperXP.com via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-NDHyperXP.com via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

The actual article, by Ari Rabin-Havt,** provides no real backing for that claim, but places most of its illusory argumentative weight on certain past behaviors of a leading gun researcher, John Lott.

But those particular issues have no bearing on the supposed facts, analysis, or argument they claim to be making about "bad information."

Herewith, an analysis of The Nation's failed attempt to score points again those who prefer to let people carry guns in public with no set legal restrictions or specific permit requirements, a concept known as "constitutional carry" for those who like it.

The Nation calls it "permitless carry" and begins noting that West Virginia is about to get it. (Nine states essentially have such a legal regime when it comes to carrying weapons in public.)

Rabin-Havt posits such loose carry laws are instituted because people believe more law abiding people carrying guns makes their communities safer. Rabin-Havt notes language to that effect from various legislators pushing looser carry requirements.

Rabin-Havt thinks that isn't true. In a rather outrageously unsupported sentence, one he seems to think requires no support, or realizes there is none he could honestly give: "This is plainly not true—social-science research has consistently shown that more guns leads to more gun violence."

Readers of my recent Reason feature "You Know Less Than You Think About Guns" would know that isn't even close to true. On a very basic level, America has seen its number of guns in circulation go from likely around 194 million to likely over 300 million over the past couple of decades while our gun violence problem has fallen nearly in half over the same period.

Nor on any more granular level is there a rigorously proven connection between number of guns or number of people having them and gun violence. (Part of the reason for this is it is difficult to know on a granular level how many guns or people with guns are in smaller communities, but the overall national numbers give little reason to believe in Rabin-Havt's boldly unsupported or unlinked assertion.)

While his counterthesis is untrue and he doesn't even really try to convince you it is except a wan reference to "social science research" that he can't name or link to even one example of, he distracts you by claiming the only reason anyone thinks more guns might lead to less crime is because of the work of John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, currently in its third revised edition from University of Chicago Press.

Rabin-Havt wants you to mistrust Lott. Without naming any specific lies of any relevance to the guns and crime connection, Rabin-Havt writes off Lott as "part of an industry I call 'Lies, Incorporated.'"

Showing no particular sign of any grasp of Lott's actual data and analysis in More Guns, Less Crime, which is, let me tell you, a difficult and complicated work for the layman, and one Lott's fellow social scientists take seriously even as they take issue with it, Rabin-Havt goes on to pretend that Lott's thesis is a "lie" because Lott has been caught in a couple of public and intellectual embarrassments, neither relevant to the data and analysis in the book under question. (His actual intellectual adversaries in his field tend to actually analyze his data and and thinking, not pretend past embarrassments meant they can or should ignore his work.)

The embarrassments in question are Lott claiming to have lost a survey data set under suspicious circumstances, a survey he allegedly conducted about how often weapons used in self-defense are merely brandished and not fired, which is not an issue of core relevance to More Guns, Less Crime or the policy point of this article, which is to claim that permitless carry is hazardous.

The other Lott embarrassment is his use of a fake name, Mary Rosh, to defend himself in online comment threads. Again, not relevant to his data and analysis on the point at issue.

Rabin-Havt does link to an article about one 16-year-old controversy over Lott's methods as if it settles the matter ("as a rigorous study published in the Stanford Law Review noted, 'the more guns, less crime hypothesis is without credible statistical support'") although the complications of that debate shouldn't lead to such a facile conclusion.

A rule of thumb about any discussion of the incredibly complicated and picayune questions methods used to analyze data about changes in carry laws and changes in crime (in an overall situation, it is worth remembering, when over the past few decades carry laws over much of the country have gotten consistently looser and crime rates of all sorts have mostly plummeted), of state v. county data sets and how curves are drawn through the data on either side of the year of a law change, of how to statistically account for counties with no murders and how many years it makes sense to examine for effects of law changes, of how many potential confounding factors are accounted for and what regression methods were used, is: be suspicious of any op-ed length declaration that any of these matters have been authoritatively settled.

Whatever the effects of carry laws on crime are, they require very subtle techniques to tease out in a world of more and more guns and less and less crime, and we'll see later that even Lott's biggest and most tenacious critics understand that, even if Rabin-Havt wants his readers to come away with an unsupported certainty that more guns cause more gun violence.

(Another supposed bit of evidence against Lott in this article is a link to a Newsweek article about a researcher who finds that a certain category of mass shooting happens more in countries with more gun owners, not relevant to overall question of "more guns less crime." )

Another seemingly important source Rabin-Havt cites:

Furthermore, a panel of 16 researchers assembled by the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council studied Lott’s theory. Fifteen found there was “no credible evidence” for his theory.

Since the point of this article is that it is an uncontroversially known point not just that there wasn't sufficient evidence for Lott's thesis, but that the opposite thesis is true (that more guns lead to more crime), it's worth some context Rabin-Havt doesn't give you on this NRC report, quoting from my own Feburary Reason feature:

The council concluded Lott had not fully proved that RTC laws lowered crime significantly; it also denied that the laws had provably increased crime. "Answers to some of the most pressing questions cannot be addressed with existing data and research methods," study authors Charles F. Wellford, John V. Pepper, and Carol V. Petrie wrote, "because of the limitations of existing data and methods, [existing findings] do not credibly demonstrate a causal relationship between the ownership of firearms and the causes or prevention of criminal violence." That statement is perhaps the most important for people trying to use social science to make gun policy to remember, and there is no strong reason to believe the past decade of research has made it obsolete.

It's almost as if Rabin-Havt didn't read any of the National Reseach Council's conclusion except a quote he could pull to bash Lott with.

Given that the Stanford Law Review article he places so much weight on is based on critiques of Lott from author John Donohue (with a co-author) from the last century, it might help to check in on the latest on what Donohue (still a Lott critic) thinks he knows about carry laws and crime.

Again, quoting myself:

[I]n 2011, Abhay Aneja, John Donohue, and Alexandria Zhang came out with "The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws and the NRC Report: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy," a paper in the American Law and Economics Review. Working at a very high level of statistical sophistication and running their data through a huge variety of different specifications and assumptions, the authors concluded that "aggravated assault rises when RTC laws are adopted. For every other crime category, there is little or no indication of any consistent RTC impact on crime." (While this kind of social science is always working with subtle attempts to figure out how much more certain quantities might have changed had things been different, it's worth noting that while the number of states with "shall issue" or unrestricted carry permit laws has more than doubled since 1991, aggravated assault rates overall have fallen by 44 percent since 1995.)

The study is suffused with an advanced sense of caution. As the authors write in a 2014 update of that study, "we show how fragile panel data evidence can be, and how a number of issues must be carefully considered when relying on these methods to study politically and socially explosive topics with direct policy implications." They stress "the difficulties in ascertaining the causal effects of legal interventions, and the dangers that exist when policy-makers can simply pick their preferred study from among a wide array of conflicting estimates." And "a wide array of conflicting estimates" is definitely what confronts anyone wading into the social science related to guns and gun laws.

In summation, even to Lott's critics, the best conclusion is not that he's a clownish fraud and liar, but that the matter of gun carrying and crime is incredibly complicated and the best evidence regarding the effect of more people carrying guns on crime is still ambiguous, not that Lott's conclusion is the opposite of the truth.

The overarching fact remains: many more guns in the country and more states with the legal right to carry them with fewer regulation coinciding with an enormous decrease in gun crime. This should have given Rabin-Havt pause, but it's a fact he doesn't mention at all.

**Correction: This article originally misspelled Rabin-Havt's last name.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

On select articles, Reason is testing a new comment promotion feature developed by SolidOpinion. Commenters can purchase points and bid to promote their comments and/or the comments of others. Winning comments are displayed at the top of the comment thread for each article, and are identified as “promoted comments.” Point purchases and bidding are handled SolidOpinion. Please send any questions and feedback to promoted-comments@reason.com.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    Would

  • sarcasmic||

    You misspelled "wood."

  • R C Dean||

    See, that's how a girl makes sure that affirmative consent is obtained.

  • Inigo Montoya, Micro-Aggressor||

    I know, huh?

    Ann Coulter looks waaaay better with dark hair.

  • Agammamon||

    That bugs me - 'gun crime' is a bullshit metric. We really don't consider being shot to death being worse than being stabbed to death, strangled to death, or bludgeoned to death. Being robbed at gunpoint is not worse than being robbed at knifepoint.

    They ignore the underlying crime and focus on the gun. Sure, if there were fewer guns there'd be less 'gun-crime'. But there wouldn't be less *violent crime* and THAT'S the reason we have the guns in the first place.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    But crime rates have always been lower in some places compared to others, even before firearms were invented. There are a number of factors involved that have nothing to do with firearm availability, such as population density.

  • ETM||

    You are cherry picking stats, Whether comparing cities, states or countries you can find examples of both tight gun restrictions with ]high and low crime rates and lax gun restrictions with low and high crime rates. The only real conclusion is that there is not cause and effect between the number of guns and gun crime. There is something bigger going on, like society itself.

  • Craig@USA||

    You'd think advocates for undermining the Second Amendment wouldn't need to include suicides and lawful use of firearms in "gun violence" statistics in order to argue their point of view. I agree with what ETM wrote, I think, and would argue culture is a significant and often overlooked factor in violent crime.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Being robbed at gunpoint is not worse than being robbed at knifepoint.

    I'm not so sure. I'd be dead if the guy who broke in had had a gun instead of a knife.

    Yeah, dead is dead, but guns are potentially more lethal and a lot harder to get away from.

  • kbolino||

    I'd be dead if the guy who broke in had had a gun instead of a knife.

    I don't know where the idea that "knives aren't so bad" came from, but it's nonsense. Dozens of people have been killed by knives in China in a single incident--and there have been quite a few such incidents.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Do people really say knives aren't so bad? I haven't seen any of that. I think my Spyderco Civilian gives more people the heebie-jeebies than my gun does.

  • kbolino||

    You posited that one would kill and the other wouldn't, which strikes me as "not so bad" in context.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    "Not as bad" is not the same as "not so bad."

    Anyone who claims that being stabbed in the liver and having the EMT tell the cop to ride in the ambulance with you because you probably won't make it to the hospital is "not so bad" is substantially tougher than I am. It's "not as bad" as bleeding out before you can get to a phone to call 911. Two different things.

  • kbolino||

    Look, it's terrible what happened to you, but you posited a counterfactual about guns vs. knives. That requires something other than anecdote to support.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Look, it's terrible what happened to you, but you posited a counterfactual about guns vs. knives. That requires something other than anecdote to support.

    Before that, you need to define "bad". Are we talking about lethality? Difficulty in disarming? Ease of injury regardless of lethality? etc.

  • kbolino||

    Are we talking about lethality? Difficulty in disarming? Ease of injury regardless of lethality? etc.

    But how do you even assess these things? A trained martial artist might take one over the other, but I'm not a fucking ninja.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I posited no such thing. I said "I'd be dead..." That's all. I made no claims about the population as a whole.

    As far as I know, and I haven't looked in quite a while, gunshots, as a whole, result in death a higher percentage of the time than stabs, as a whole, do. And it's not even close. However, of very serious stabbings and shootings, the outcomes are about the same. There is even some evidence that very serious gunshots are more survivable than very serious stabbings, perhaps due to the nature of the wounds.

  • kbolino||

    As far as I know, and I haven't looked in quite a while, gunshots, as a whole, result in death a higher percentage of the time than stabs, as a whole, do. And it's not even close.

    But why are those even comparable in the first place? Looking only at "stabbings" and "gunshots" still assumes that the weapon is the cause and not the person wielding it.

  • Hrimnir||

    There is a great video from a ER surgeon who was the head of I wanna say a hospital in Chicago for the last 15 years, I think he was german, who goes into extreme detail (including tons of photos) of gunshot wounds. The basic gist is that pistol caliber rounds are actually very survivable provided they don't hit a major organ or the head. There's videos he shows of people being shot 5+ times in the chest at 5-10 feet away who are walking around and talking, etc, for 15-20 minutes before they collapse form blood loss.

    That's not to say that being shot is ever a good thing, but I'd much rather be shot with a pistol than a rifle. A rifle is just about a guaranteed kill, they cause so much physical trauma it's mind boggling. He shows a picture of an officer who shot himself in the left with an AR15, and it literally look like someone took a large hatchet and just kind of split his entire thigh open from the hip to the knee, it was insane.

  • Inigo Montoya, Micro-Aggressor||

    It's just a flesh wound.

  • kbolino||

    Ok, so I took this as a hypothetical. Your personal experience is not a controlled experiment.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Of course it isn't. However, it was the opinion of the medical staff that if I'd been shot in the same place I was stabbed -- that's an "if," of course, and there would be other "ifs," too -- I would have bled out if that were the only changed circumstance.

    All that said, there's probably a reason the phrase "bringing a knife to a gun fight" exists. And I think there are cogent arguments to be made that getting robbed at gunpoint could be worse than getting robbed at knifepoint. None of which means the anti-gun arguments are any stronger.

  • BYODB||

    Last time I checked more people are stabbed to death in the United States than are killed with a gun.

  • Stevecsd||

    You are incorrect. Death by guns averages 8-10 times more than stabbings.

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004888.html

  • Craig@USA||

    Someone relayed to me his experience being robbed by a junkie at syringe-point. That sounded bad enough to me.

  • Florida Hipster||

    One of the bloodiest traumas I worked was a knife wound to the pulmonary artery. The only reason that guy lived is because 20 year olds men are notoriously hard to kill.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    One of the bloodiest traumas I worked was a knife wound to the pulmonary artery. The only reason that guy lived is because 20 year olds men are notoriously hard to kill.

    The responding cop, the lead detective, and the EMT all testified that this was, by far, they bloodiest crime scene they'd ever witnessed that had survivors. I guess being so big gave me the advantage of having more blood in the first place, so maybe that helped.

    I was 23 and, if possible, even more stubborn then than now.

  • Agammamon||

    Soooooo - you two know each other then?

  • Florida Hipster||

    I hope after a few drinks to know him better.
    *winky face*

  • Rasilio||

    Actually that is highly unlikely unless he was specifically trying to kill you.

    In modern industrial societies with advanced medicine and decent to good first responders only something like 15% - 20%of all gunshot wounds are fatal.

    Obviously a gunman can shoot you multiple times to ensure you are dead if that is what he wants or if you are shot in a remote location and unable to get help your odds go down significantly but much more likely is you get shot, the gunman takes what he wanted and leaves and you have plenty of time to call 911 and make it to the hospital in less than an hour.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    He nearly bisected my liver with a hunting knife. It's fair to say he was trying to kill me.

    But maybe you know more about the situation than the first responders and the surgeons.

  • uunderstand||

    Is your knee or foot a remote location?

  • Tommy_Grand||

    I'm not 100% convinced we'd have less "gun crime" if we had fewer guns. Assume the Hillary brownshirts confiscated 2500 guns from 2500 retired wealthy conservative males age 70+ & living peacefully in Scottsdale or Palm Springs or some such place. We gun crazy 'mericans would *plainly* have fewer guns, but I doubt gun crime would drop one iota.

    On average, those old dudes'd still have, what, 2-3 guns each?

  • AlexInCT||

    I'm not 100% convinced we'd have less "gun crime" if we had fewer guns.

    What we would certainly have is a monopoly on force by the people with it: government and criminals.

  • WuzYoungOnceToo||

    I'm not so sure. I'd be dead if the guy who broke in had had a gun instead of a knife.

    And you know this because your super power is the ability to see the outcomes of alternative timelines? Or is it your certainty that...

    1) He would have shot at you...

    ...and....

    2) He would have hit you...

    ...and....

    3) He would have hit you in a vital location...

    ...and....

    3) Gun shot wounds are 100% fatal.

  • tarran||

    God! You are so full of crap!

    Everyone knows that stabbing is really bad! It's worse than crucifixion even!

  • Restoras||

    Meh. Crusifixion's a doddle.

  • sarcasmic||

    They ignore the underlying crime and focus on the gun.

    Don't you see? By focusing on the cause of the crime, namely the gun, they're trying to prevent more crimes from happening. If there were fewer guns then there would be fewer crimes, because guns cause people to commit crimes. They're totems with magical powers. Get rid of guns, and crime will stop.

  • venerabilis||

    Actually they are not focusing on the cause of the crime at all. They are focusing on an ancillary factor in the commission of a crime.

    It is akin to the statistics of how many felons committed their crimes while wearing white gym socks and then breaking it down by how many wore cross trainers vs running shoes. While it is an excellent demonstration of mental masturbation it does nothing to further the prevention of future crimes.

  • John||

    All of that and more. Not only do these people falsely consider gun violence to be somehow better than any other violence, the ignore the nature of violence that occurs in a disarmed society. "Gun violence" in America is for the most part criminals shooting each other. Most of the gun related homicide involves young men, disproportionately black men shooting each other for various reasons. Meanwhile, the kinds of violence that explodes when the populace is disarmed is things like live robberies, rapes, muggings and assaults, which involve victims of all ages and even more so older people and women, those less less able to defend themselves.

    Disarming the public may or may not give you marginal gains in the amount of violence perpetrated by young men against other young men and in return grossly increases the amount of violence inflicted upon the rest of society. That is a horrible trade by any objective measure.

  • sarcasmic||

    Meanwhile, the kinds of violence that explodes when the populace is disarmed is things like live robberies, rapes, muggings and assaults, which involve victims of all ages and even more so older people and women, those less less able to defend themselves.

    You see, every life is precious. By getting rid of guns you may see more crime, but at least people live through the crimes you listed. They aren't being shot, and neither is the poor perpetrator. Everyone lives. So you have a preferable situation where there is more crime, but fewer dead bodies. Besides, self defense is vigilante justice. Only the government can dole out justice. Doing it yourself should be a crime, like in more civilized places like the UK.

  • kbolino||

    Everyone lives.

    I know you're being sarcastic, but anyone who believes this, or the weaker version "more people live", is a fucking idiot.

  • John||

    Its every woman's duty to risk being raped so that young violent men only beat each other up and don't shoot one another.

  • Agammamon||

    Its more egalitarian if everyone faces the risk of violent crime equally.

    End the crime gap! Down with the 1%!

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    That's one of the conflicting bits of ideology. However much someone wants to believe than men and women are the same, the odds are pretty substantial that a random man would be able to do whatever he wanted to a random woman. Now, if she had a gun...

  • John||

    Guns have been a tremendous for for freedom and equality. The world before guns was ruled by those elite enough to spend their time learning the martial arts or rich enough to hire such people. There were never any successful revolutions in the middle ages. The closest was the 14th Century Peasants Revolt in England. And that lasted just long enough for a young Richard II to find his nerve and assert himself as king and tell his Knights to slaughter them.

    Firearms changed all that. Anyone with the will to pull a trigger could kill someone no matter how powerful or well trained they were. Popular revolutions became possible and the rule of the trained elite came to an end.

  • sarcasmic||

    Now, if she had a gun...

    Then it would be taken away and used on her. Prove it wouldn't.

  • John||

    Totally sarcasmic. I mean it is so easy to just reach out and take a gun from someone. That doesn't require and insane amount of nerve or anything. Nope, anyone could and would do it.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've been told by many a leftist and cop that guns in the hands of ordinary citizens will be taken away by criminals and used against them. Because ordinary citizens don't have the training and other magical powers endowed upon them that are given to police. This makes them unable to use a gun to defend themselves, which means the criminal will take it from them. Only cops are able to do that.

  • John||

    Just ignore the literally hundreds of thousands of times every year that ordinary citizens use guns to effectively thwart crime and defend themselves. And of course ignore that everyone from adolescents to 100 year old women do just such things every year.

    Nope, you need special training like a cop. You know the guys who are known to lose service weapons and accidentally shoot themselves and bystanders on a regular basis.

  • obadiahlynch||

    I sorta doubt that 'hundreds of thousands' figure, frankly. (The NRA claims it's 2 million or something, which is risible too.)

    Legitimate DGUs do occur, but they are crazy rare.

  • commodious spittoon||

    Well, cops also have the option to shoot first and ask questions fabricate a justification later, a benefit civilians don't enjoy.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    If it's so easy to take a gun away from a law-abiding citizen you really have to wonder why nobody thinks to take the gun out of the hand of any of the criminals who use them. How regularly do you have to commit crimes for this particular superpower to emerge? Do misdemeanors count? I mean, I jaywalk all the time, so I should be straight.

  • CJR||

    If it is so easy to take a gun away from someone*, I'd suggest that she just take it back.

    * It actually is remarkably easy.

  • John||

    CJR,

    It is a lot easier than people think. That said, given the stakes involved, easy or not ti take an amazing amount of nerve. I don't know about you, but I really don't want to get shot. If someone pulls out a gun, my first instinct is to leave as quickly as possible. Reaching out and risking my life to get it is not real high on my list of preferences.

  • ||

    Am I stuck on a plane that this person is trying to crash? Are they going to shoot kids if I don't try? Are they going to shoot me anyways? Those are the only situations I'm not getting shot in the ass or the elbow.

  • ||

    * It actually is remarkably easy.

    If you practice at it regularly, so that you recognize when the right scenario opens up the proper technique, then it can be remarkably easy to take away a pistol.

    It is also remarkably easy to use a gun in such a manner that anyone who tries to use one of those techniques ends up with bullet holes.

  • John||

    It is also remarkably easy to use a gun in such a manner that anyone who tries to use one of those techniques ends up with bullet holes.

    Yes. Just don't stick it out there like a TV cop for them to grab. Keep it close to our body and pointed at them. If they are close enough for there to be a danger of them grabbing it, you don't need to aim. Just point and click.

    And making sure they don't get too close to you helps as well.

  • ||

    Agreed. Range is your friend when you have a gun. Unless you are shooting your way through an ambush, back up and give yourself the time to react.

  • Craig@USA||

    Oh man. I have heard that one many times. "If someone breaks into your house in the night and you have a gun, they'll find the gun first and use it on you!" I've heard that since I was a kid and for the life of me I can't imagine a scenario (for me) where this would be even remotely plausible. I attribute this brand of stupid to a combination of complete ignorance and general fear of firearms.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    The five million or so people stabbed to death each year were just faking it for the attention.

  • tao 48||

    "The overarching fact remains: many more guns in the country and more states with the legal right to carry them with fewer regulation coinciding with an enormous decrease in gun crime. This should have given Rabin-Havt pause, but it's a fact he doesn't mention at all."

    There. The science is settled. Now the left can forever stop crying about our Bill of Rights and move on to other topics.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    On a very basic level, America has seen its number of guns in circulation go from likely around 194 million to likely over 300 million over the past couple of decades while our gun violence problem has fallen nearly in half over the same period.

    Expanding on that, the gun violence problem is very largely two issues: suicide and violence constrained to particular geographical areas.

    Including suicide numbers is pretty dishonest. Using the socio-political-economic issues of (almost entirely single-party-ruled) particular areas as a reason to justify restricting the rights of others, even apart from the 2d Amendment issue, is possibly even more so.

  • ||

    Expanding on that, the gun violence problem is very largely two issues: suicide and violence constrained to particular geographical areas.

    And, depending on which geography you're talking about, it's overwhelmingly a social suicide/involuntary death pact situation as well. If you're in the geography and you are a violent felon or know a violent felon, your odds of shooting someone or being shot yourself jump dramatically. Accidental shootings do happen in these areas but they're a relative rarity.

  • R C Dean||

    Including suicide numbers is pretty dishonest.

    Especially in a count of "gun crimes", since suicide isn't actually a crime. Attempted suicide, yes. Successful suicide, no.

  • ||

    I mean, look at the hanging crime numbers. They appear to be rising!

  • Agammamon||

    Anti-gun crusaders want you to believe no particular benefits, either to individuals or to society as a whole, arise from more people having access to guns, or being able to carry them legally.

    Which is irrelevant anyway. The US doesn't work that way. Show me a *specific* harm - and not some bullshit where one type of harm is mutated into another ('gun specific' crime versus violent crime in general). WHEN you can do that, they we can talk about gun control. Until then you've got no leg to stand on.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    "The US doesn't work that way. "

    cite needed

  • Idle Hands||

    Showing no particular sign of any grasp of Lott's actual data and analysis in More Guns, Less Crime, which is, let me tell you, a difficult and complicated work for the layman, and one Lott's fellow social scientists take seriously even as they take issue with it, Rabin-Haft goes on to pretend that Lott's thesis is a "lie" because Lott has been caught in a couple of public and intellectual embarrassments, neither relevant to the data and analysis in the book under question. (His actual intellectual adversaries in his field tend to actually analyze his data and and thinking, not pretend past embarrassments meant they can or should ignore his work.) ..................................

    In summation, even to Lott's critics, the best conclusion is not that he's a clownish fraud and liar, but that the matter of gun carrying and crime is incredibly complicated and the best evidence regarding the effect of more people carrying guns on crime is still ambiguous, not that Lott's conclusion is the opposite of the truth.

    So your conclusion is he's too retarded to be a fraud or liar? I can dig it.

  • Idle Hands||

    In regards to Rabin-Haft,

  • R C Dean||

    the best evidence regarding the effect of more people carrying guns on crime is still ambiguous

    I honestly don't think it is ambiguous.

    There is zero correlation between increases in people carrying guns and increased crime. There is a correlation between fewer people carrying guns and increased crime. Correlation isn't causation, but lack of correlation means there is no causation.

    Hence, its pretty straightforward that there is no case, zip, zero, nada for any claim that more people carrying guns is a bad thing.

  • Rasilio||

    "Correlation isn't causation, but lack of correlation means there is no causation."

    This is not technically true. It usually true but there could be a 2nd factor with an opposite degree of causation obscuring the correlation.

    In othewords More of A cause more of B, more of C causes less of B

    If A is increasing but C is also increasing and doing so in a manner that it overwhelms the contribution of A to B you will see a situation of A increasing with B decreasing even though there is in fact a direct positive relationship between A and B.

    So in this case it *could* be that more guns do mean more violence but that some other factor is driving down violence rates even faster than the growth in the number of guns and gun owners can increase it and no one has yet identified that other factor.

  • commodious spittoon||

    Not that I disagree, but if that's the case it should be pretty easy to unpack the violent crimes rate into its constituent statistics and show that gun-related crimes rise or remain steady even while unrelated and overall rates decline. Abhay Aneja et al. seem to have put that theory to bed.

  • ||

    Good statistics are a lot harder to do than most people appreciate. Confounding factors and interactions make a lot of real world measurements almost useless for statistical experimentation and many scientific 'design of experiments' end up eliminating real world important factors.

    That is why Dr. Lott's book is hard to digest and understand, and why there is a lot of scholarly discussion of his results.

  • kbolino||

    a situation of A increasing with B decreasing

    That's a bad example. Negative correlation is still correlation. C needs to be variable, such that B is consequently varying in a way that obscures the connection with A.

  • kbolino||

    I might have missed the point; if you are claiming "A causes B" but B is negatively correlated with A, then the correlation doesn't prove the causation even though a correlation exists.

  • kbolino||

    But yes, it is possible to have causation without correlation if there are other causal factors afoot.

  • R C Dean||

    It usually true but there could be a 2nd factor with an opposite degree of causation obscuring the correlation.

    Point taken, but I'm not sure it really refutes my statement.

    If the causative affect of A on B is overridden by the counter-effect of C on B, I'm not sure you can say that A causes B. Its an interesting question, though.

  • R C Dean||

    Point also taken that negative correlation doesn't support causation, either.

  • BYODB||

    True, but that other factor better be pretty damn amazing given the fact they're talking about a ballpark increase of 100 million more firearms, which is itself a ballpark increase of roughly 1/3rd of the total.

  • Agammamon||

    They need to explain why Arizona - which has legal open carry and does not require permitting for CCW, does not have a gun registry, has no other limits on gun ownership other than the already existing federal ones - has the same or less 'gun crime' (and violent crime in general) than equivalent areas in CA or Illinois.

    Or why there was no change in 'gun-crime' statistics (or violent crime in general) after the permitting requirement for CCW was removed in 2010.

    If more guns and easier access to guns = more 'gun-crime' (or more violent crime in general), AZ should be an abattoir.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    They always argue that the blood will flow in the streets and it just doesn't happen. It's like Paul Ehrlich started opining on gun violence.

  • commodious spittoon||

    It's too hot and muggy to go out committing crimes.

  • R C Dean||

    Muggy? Where in Arizona are you?

  • commodious spittoon||

    Muggy in my mind is humidity anywhere north of 20%.

    One reason I like Albuquerque.

  • ||

    the same or less 'gun crime' (and violent crime in general) than equivalent areas in CA or Illinois.

    Chicago-as-aspiration.

  • GILMORE™||

    More of this please.

    Readers sometimes moan that it seems Reason does more 'outreach' (e.g. "attempting to appeal to young independents by emphasizing fondness of Mexicans, Pot, Ass-sex") than vigorously defending libertarian causes.

    I don't personally have a strong view one way or the other, but i do think Reason serves a valuable role in shooting down bullshit claims made by liberal/progressive political rags. Things like this (or e.g. the takedown of the NYT nail salon story) are some of the best things the magazine does, IMO.

  • Restoras||

    Yes, but it's more fun and easier for the staff to vent their OUTRAGE! on issues that are currently at the margin than address ad nauseum the obviously un-libertarian machinations of our various government entities and totalitarian advocacy groups.

  • Agammamon||

    Mainly, I think, its the 'ad nauseum' bit. You can only write about the exact same abuses (with just the dates and names changing) for so many years.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I agree. But according to the snail mail update I recently received from David Nott, it seems that Reason really wants to tout their millennial cred. Which is fine, of course. I think we would just appreciate more stories like this one.

  • ||

    More of this please.

    Readers sometimes moan that it seems Reason does more 'outreach' (e.g. "attempting to appeal to young independents by emphasizing fondness of Mexicans, Pot, Ass-sex") than vigorously defending libertarian causes.

    Let's not forget the occasional call to ban a book from your local library or be lenient on a woman who drowned her own 3-yr.-old because she's crazy.

  • ||

    be lenient on a woman who drowned her own 3-yr.-old because she's crazy.

    This is no place for an abortion discussion.

  • Craig@USA||

    12th trimester abortions are a natural right. There's nothing to discuss.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    Seconded. I'm a gun owner. While bathrooms and cakes and so forth are potentially valid issues from the perspective of fighting government overreach there is no single issue where the abrogation of an individual right by the state is more catastrophic than the right to self-defense. Gun policy is where you see the most bald-faced power grabs based on the least rational arguments. This more than any other issue encapsulates the fundamental argument of libertarianism.

  • sarcasmic||

    Ad hominem attacks? Check.

    Switching the burden of proof? Check.

    Fallacy checklist is complete.

    Not that it matters, since people on the left tend to embrace fallacies as compelling arguments.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'd support First Amendment free speech even if it meant that the Westboro Baptist church got to protest the funerals of fallen heroes.

    I'd support First Amendment freedom of assembly even if it meant Nazis got to march past the homes of holocaust victims in Skokie, Ill.

    I'd support the Fifth Amendment even if it meant rapists, child molesters, murderers, and arsonists sometimes went scott-free.

    I'd support the Eighth Amendment even if it meant the government couldn't torture terrorists in a ticking time bomb scenario.

    I guess I must be a libertarian. Why would it matter to me whether carrying guns can lead to less crime?

    The most basic assumption of progressivism is that the government should force people to sacrifice their individual rights for the greater good. When we argue in their terms--about whether protecting our individual rights is really for the greater good--we're supporting their most basic assumption.

    We could win a thousand battles that way and lose the war.

    Memo to Progressives:
    Re: Me and My Rights

    Dear Progressives:

    I do not exist for your benefit and neither do my rights.

    Sincerely,

    Ken Shultz

    P.S. Up yours!

  • R C Dean||

    I feelz ya pain, Monty. :)

  • sarcasmic||

    The Constitution isn't a suicide pact!

  • commodious spittoon||

    But Das Kapital is.

  • Raven Nation||

    Das Kapital is more murder-suicide than suicide pact.

  • commodious spittoon||

    Good point. Guns in the hands of private, law abiding citizens: awful. Guns in the hands of a murderous statist regime: great.

  • sarcasmic||

    Might makes right.

  • AlexInCT||

    How many divisions does that tool have?

  • ||

    We could win a thousand battles that way and lose the war.

    I could go for winning a battle or a war.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Using a fake name to comment on online threads? We don't take kindly to that 'round these parts.

  • Florida Hipster||

    Shut up Tulpa!

  • ||

    Especially when that name is Mary.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Gun-grabbers lie. News at 11.

    P.s.
    She can handle my "thing that goes up" any day.

  • Loki||

    Just make sure you have a "barrel shroud."

  • Loki||

    The picture accompanying this article is quite ... distracting. NTTAWWT.

  • SusanM||

    Just remember to polish your rifle and not your gun.

  • Loki||

    *Archer voice*

    I had something for this... something about "abstract masturbation euphemisms..."

  • SusanM||

    Another gripping, ham-fisted metaphor, no doubt.

  • ||

    "I thought you said 'now turn it off.'"

  • commodious spittoon||

    The right to bear arms and bare legs. God bless America.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Ari Rabin-Havt Ari Rabin-Havt is the author of "Lies, Incorporated: The World of Post-Truth Politics" .

    He is clearly on the side of lies in journalism and politics.

  • GILMORE™||

    Ari Rabin-Havt Ari Rabin-Havt is the author of "

    I bet he and Boutros Boutros Ghali could have a really fun double-date.

    oop! time for wapner

  • Anomalous||

    She's hot, but would be even hotter with alt-text.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    Grab it's motherfucking gun!

  • Seguin, the Mighty Monoclops||

    Ok, shut it down. It's over. Reason.com's comment section has been won.

  • ||

    If there was a real correlation between people carrying guns and crime, either way, we would know about it. As such, even if you don't like guns, there's no reason to believe that restricting them would do anyone any good. It's instructive that these people default towards freedom=bad. But of course they do.

  • John||

    Even if there was a correlation, which of course there isn't, you still couldn't say there was causation without having some kind of plausible mechanism for the causation to occur.

    In order for increased legal gun ownership to cause increased crime, there must be some way for legal gun ownership to cause someone to commit a crime when they otherwise would not have done so. When you think of it that way, the proposition is absurd. Why would someone decide to be a criminal just because the government says its okay to carry a gun? That makes no sense but it is the only way the causation could work.

  • ||

    Of course not. But if there was a strong correlation, you would at least have an argument that restricting carry would reduce crime. But there isn't, so these people have nothing. Nothing.

  • John||

    You would have an argument but without a plausible mechanism to explain the correlation, it wouldn't be a very good one.

  • tarran||

    What the hell John?!?

    Next you'll be telling me that pirates don't prevent global warming!!!

  • ||

    Because a certain type of person believes that because they harbor thoughts they would one day have the courage and will to power to use violence as a tool to make the world perfect, everyone else must also.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    It's not about that. On one level, it's people who find guns frightening and alien or people who dislike what they believe guns represent finding a justification for banning them. On another, it's well-meaning idiots reasoning that since people being shot is bad you should make guns illegal so that no one gets shot again. Just like how recycling a newspaper restores forests and makes the Earth smile.

    Reminds me of a fantastic quote, the gist of which is: "Imagine a town where, now and again, teenagers speed down the main drag doing 75mph in a 25mph zone. In response, the town drops the speed limit to 20mph. This is the state of gun policy in the United States.

  • ||

    Magical thinking is a plague. It's true.

  • John||

    They really do attribute a will to inanimate objects. Every gun hating Prog I know, and I know a good number of them, asks me in all seriousness when they find out I own guns "how can you keep guns in your house?" My initial instinct is always to say "I just put them in the closet or my nightstand." To them that would be a real smart ass sarcastic answer. To me it is a completely honest and rational answer. They believe that guns have this innate danger about them. It is really strange when you think about it. I could stab my wife or myself to death just as easily as I could kill her or myself with a gun. Yet no one ever asks "how do you keep knives in your house?" They seem to think that the guns are going to of their own accord harm someone.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    Yeah, same with me. It's funny, because I also have two huge dogs, a collection of knives (kitchen and otherwise), an elderly water heater, and a floor furnace, and it's the guns that give people pause. I mean, shit, the dogs for all I know could be plotting a coup right now, ready to bite the shit out of me while I sleep tonight. I'll bet eleventy billion dollars that my SKS won't spontaneously load itself and shoot me.

  • Horatio||

    Its cultural for the most part. That's why the left is losing this issue so badly: plenty of lifelong democratic grew up around guns and know they're not mystically dangerous totems

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "Lies, incorporated."

  • commodious spittoon||

    Isn't there a law about unintentionally self-referential titles?

  • Akira||

    Ooooh, it's a CORPORATION!! That makes it super spooky!!

  • Alcibiades||

    I see you have to subscribe to The Nation to comment on articles, that's not very inclusive. Probably for the best otherwise some might be triggering.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The entire argument is irrelevant. Safety is not a justification for taking the rights of another. Don't give a shit how safe it makes you (and it doesn't).

    Fuck off, slavers.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    ^This.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ari Rabin-Haft

    The man's name is Ari Rabin-Havt.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    [insert 'You fired Lucy for less' here]

  • commodious spittoon||

    You don't havt to rub it in.

  • GILMORE™||

    BURN LIKE FIRE

  • commodious spittoon||

    Ari Rabin a good time?

  • This Machine||

    I'm gonna Havt to get back to you on that.

  • Swiss Servator||

    *narrows gaze*

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Begs the question: what would L. Ron do?

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    Begs the question

    Grrrrr.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    How are we defining "crazy"? Who makes that determination? How would that be enforced without infringing the Constitutionally protected rights of lawful gun-owners?

  • Agammamon||

    You're crazy.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How are we defining "common sense"? I mean other than "Whatever the batshit insane Scientologist troll believes to be true".

  • Sevo||

    I thought it was sarc! You're telling me this guy is for real?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    More serious than a heart attack.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "Crazy" is determined through Dianetics processing.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If you want a gun, you're crazy and can't have one. If you don't want one, you're sane and can have one.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    There seems to be a catch there....

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It's the best there is.

  • Don Escaped Texas||

    What kind of a name is Yossaria?

  • ||

    Armenian.

  • GILMORE™||

    A rule of thumb about any discussion of the incredibly complicated and picayune questions regarding data over changes in carry laws and changes in crime (in an overall situation, it is worth remembering, when over the past few decades carry laws over much of the country have gotten consistently looser and crime rates of all sorts have mostly plummeted), of state v. county data sets and how curves are drawn through the data on either side of the year of a law change and how to statistically account for counties with no murders and how many years it makes sense to examine for effects of law changes and how many potential confounding factors are accounted for and what regression methods were used should make an aware reader suspicious of any op-ed length declaration that any of these matters have been authoritatively settled.

    Editor, cleanup in aisle 5.

    Did anyone find out what the "rule of thumb" turned out to be? 'general skepticism'? I think that might work better as 3 (or more) sentences. With a smattering of commas.

  • John||

    picayune means "petty and worthless". So the opening sentence in that paragraph effectively reads "...any discussion of the incredibly complicated and petty and worthless questions regarding data..." Maybe he considers the entire topic of his essay to be petty and worthless but I doubt it.

    I hate when people use needlessly obscure words even when they use them correctly. To use a word like picayune and then not even understand its meaning is especially grating.

    Where do these ass clowns learn how to write?

  • GILMORE™||

    My point was that it was just a breathless, over-long sentence. I wasn't knocking anything actually being said.

  • John||

    I agree with your point. The sentence is even worse than that. Not only is it overly long, it actually makes no sense as written. The author didn't use the word properly. Its terrible writing.

  • bacon-magic||

    It is terrible writing. John, you are throwing rocks from a glass house sir.

  • Brian Doherty||

    If you had spent the six months I spent researching that REASON feature and reading every goddamn statistical analysis trying to figure out causation when it comes to gun laws and gun availability and crime, you'd understand why "picayune" is a precisely appropriate word for a lot of it. The TOPIC is not; the specific methods and techniques often used are, because they have no chance of actually answering the question.

  • John||

    Fair enough Brian. and maybe that is what the author meant, but it is still an awful piece of writing by any objective measure.

  • John||

    And he says the questions are picayune not the data.

  • Brian Doherty||

    You are right about that, and that was corrected.

  • bpuharic||

    In America you're arguing marginal effects between states since there are no controls over interstate transport of guns. When the US is compared to other developed countries the data is MUCH more clear. America has a gun and murder problem unparalled in the developed world

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    Even moreso than other writers, Doherty has favorite "special" words that he employs over and over. If you read his books in a short time, it's really noticeable.

    This piece was sloppily edited, so I assume he was just motoring along and threw in a favorite word without thinking and then didn't weed it out of the finished product.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    Editor, cleanup in aisle 5.

    THANK YOU. I was going to post the same, I can't believe I had to scroll down this far to see a complaint about this.

    That sentence is waaaaaay too long.

  • Raven Nation||

    OT: fun article at BBC (will only make sense to soccer fans) on odds listed in August, 2015, against various events happening:

    500:1, Simon Cowell become British PM
    500:1, Loch Ness monster discovered
    1000:1, Queen Elizabeth has #1 hit recording
    2000:1, Kim Kardashian becomes US president
    2000:1, Elvis Presley discovered alive
    5000:1, Leicester City wins 2016 Premier League title

  • Rich||

    Rabin-Haft writes off Lott as "part of an industry I call 'Lies, Incorporated.'"

    Is that writing-off a part of the social-science research Rabin-Havt touts?

  • John||

    picayune means "petty and worthless". So the opening sentence in that paragraph effectively reads "...any discussion of the incredibly complicated and petty and worthless questions regarding data..." Maybe he considers the entire topic of his essay to be petty and worthless but I doubt it.

    I hate when people use needlessly obscure words even when they use them correctly. To use a word like picayune and then not even understand its meaning is especially grating.

    Where do these ass clowns learn how to write?

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    It clearly wasn't the Columbia School of Journalism

  • This Machine||

    Can someone please tell that gorgeous young woman to keep her doggone booger-hook off of the bang-switch until she's ready to shoot?

  • commodious spittoon||

    When you're fighting vampires and werewolves and similar agents of darkness, there's no room for range safety.

  • ||

    Fiero != Ferrari

  • Some Engineer||

    Even a cheap Ferrari would take two years worth of work at $85/hr to buy after taxes, and then you still need to insure it.

    Should have just gotten a Ford and taken a nice vacation.

  • GILMORE™||

    I think arguments by anti-gunners tend to jump between talking about general relationships between things like "gun-ownership-levels" & "overall crime levels"...

    ...to talking about specific relationships between things like "concealed carry" and "gun-violence"

    Often you find articles vacillating between them, conflating claims.

    (either because the writers are stupid and lazy, or because they're dishonest, it probably doesn't matter; the effect is the same... mushy arguments)

    Secondly, you tend to find that they LOVE to use the most inclusive definitions of 'gun violence'... for the sake of including suicides... without which, their claims tend to get significantly weaker.

    I always think its a 'tell' of the dishonest researcher when they refuse to strip out 'accidental shootings & suicides' from their claims, and just use things like 'Criminal Homicide using a gun'

    Note that when Pew'updated' their data on this piece, that they also decided to stick 'suicides' back in, and also dilute their headline claim about the significance of the overall decline in homicide. (even though 2005-2015 shows continued decline in *killings*)

  • John||

    The other tell is that they don't take out crimes of passion involving family members and spouses and such. If someone is angry enough to get a gun and murder a member of their family, chances are very high that they would murder them with a knife or something else if a gun wasn't available. The assumption always is that if not for the availability of the gun the murder would not have occurred. That is of course absurd.

  • GILMORE™||

    The other tell is that they don't take out crimes of passion

    I think from a data-gathering perspective that might be asking a bit much. Unless there's some categorization in the Bureau of Justice Statistics for "crime of passion" i'm unaware of. I also don't really buy the argument that they're somehow remotely the same as 'suicides or accidental shootings'

    Its notable that in the past week or so there have been 2 instances of some crazy douchebags killing their entire extended families in one go. And there have been others in the past year. I don't recall where in any of them when they indicated whether the shootings were purely opportunistic, or planned.

  • John||

    Not every murder. But the point is that you can't assume that every murderer would just decide not to commit the crime if there isn't a gun available. Some would but most would not.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    Agreed that it would be difficult to deal with from a data perspective, but you could I think safely assume that any situation where there are two or fewer victims would be just as likely to be committed with a knife as a gun. Hell, knock it down to one and you're still taking quite a chunk out of the number.

  • GILMORE™||

    Maybe. I'm not sure it would help anyone's arguments.

    The actual number of total firearm-homicides (~10,000) are comparatively small compared to the size of the population, and have already declined by half from the 1990s peak.

    I'm not sure how adding a degree of complexity to the data set would help things significantly.

    Even if there were some marginal improvement that showed that guns had an 'even lesser' influence in whether people get killed or not... it just opens up criticism of cherry-picking.

    "Intimates" (family members or spouses or close friends) do represent a very large share of total homicides (like 40+% or so); trying to split these out would take a VERY large chunk out of the data, and i'm not sure if it really makes the resulting case more compelling.

  • bpuharic||

    We still have the highest murder rate in the developed world

  • GILMORE™||

    Bullshit. Define "developed world". In the OECD, Mexico is 400% the murder rate of the US. And Russia would be too if it were included.

    Its a stupid argument. It pretends that 'ethnically homogenous and economically-narrow-wealth-gap' countries are perfect comparisons for the US, which is ethnically diverse and has a far different range of economic disparities.

    The US bears little fair comparison to places like EU and Japan. As Mises.com points out here =

    In truth, there is no dividing line between the alleged "developed" world and everyone else. There is, in fact, only gradual change that takes place as one looks at Belgium, then the US, then Chile, and Turkey, and China, and Mexico. Most countries, as Rosling illustrates here, are in the middle, and this is freely exhibited by a variety of metrics including the UN's human development index.

    Once we understand these facts, and do not cling to bizarre xenophobic views about how everyone outside the "developed" world is too dysfunctional and/or subhuman (although few gun control advocates would ever admit to the thought) to bear comparison to the US, we immediately see that the mantra "worst in the developed world" offers an immensely skewed, unrealistic, and even bigoted view of the world and how countries compare to each other.
  • ||

    I'm amazed to be the first to bitch about this: Rule 3 violation! Keep your damn finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to fire. The 4 rules apply to everyone, even goth chicks in underworld getups.

  • R C Dean||

    Wait, she's got a gun? I must have missed that.

  • This Machine||

    Uh, I beat you by about a half-hour.

  • ||

    I missed yours because I text searched rather than read the entire comments thread. Search phrases included trigger, guard, rule 3, a few others, but I didn't think to use bang-switch or booger hook.

    Shortcuts don't produce 100% accuracy, but I stand by my decision given the time/value tradeoffs involved.

  • AFSlade||

    The inclusion of suicides in "gun violence" statistics tells you all you need to know about the people making the claims. Complete, fucking, abject liars with an agenda and willing to prevaricate, distort, and obscure to prove a conclusion they already believe is true. It's the "I fucking love SCIENCE!" crowd trying to convince people with bullshit numbers that they hope will catch on. In other words, agitprop at its finest. Like the much-touted "one in 5 women" lie. It's the same fucking thing, repeated to the proles until it sticks.

    Anyone trying to engage with it intellectually should know that this is what they're facing. Showing that it doesn't mean what it claims - or even outright showing it can't prove what it claims - doesn't really work anymore. We are now in the post-Rational epoch and things like mathematics, logic, and virtue no longer hold sway or matter.

  • bpuharic||

    Afslade is right. We gun control advocates too often do include suicides with murder. That is dishonest. But when suicides are removed the US still has the highest murder rate in the developed world by 300%

  • GILMORE™||

    See above link why you are full of shit.

  • LifeStrategies||

    It's difficult to ignore the conclusion that Rabin-Havt, in pointing one finger at Lott for being a liar and a clown, is pointing three fingers at himself - he shows himself to be three times more culpable of exactly the same charges.

  • ||

    Rabin-Havt misspelled Michael Bellesiles

  • juris imprudent||

    Bellesiles for all his faults was never a toady, er I mean advisor to Sen. Reid.

  • Inigo Montoya, Micro-Aggressor||

    You know who else claimed the consensus of research proved something and felt no further evidence was needed beyond that simple statement?

  • Gleep Glop||

    Another very good gun researcher is Gary Kleck:

    http://criminology.fsu.edu/fac.....ary-kleck/

    He is politically liberal but an honest researcher who has published results prior to Lott on this issue.

    Read the first line of his bio for more info...

  • ||

    Jesus. I bet he doesn't get invited to the Gender Studies Prom or the Policeman's Ball. FSU -- We have surprisingly fair researchers. Although Bowmeister and his line are a little oversold.

  • bpuharic||

    His view of Lott is, to saythe least, a bit jaundiced, characterizing his work as garbage

  • AnnaTiffany||

    I'm making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I'm my own boss. This is what I do,

    ------------------- www.Profit80.com

  • american socialist||

    "r, but that the matter of gun carrying and crime is incredibly complicated and the best evidence regarding the effect of more people carrying guns on crime is still ambiguous,"

    Brian,

    Thanks for the article pointing out that this is a complex issue that requires careful analysis that may lend itself to multiple conclusions from people making arguments in good faith. Can I safely now dismiss people who call me a fascist because I dare have *ambivalence* about lax gun laws, that point out that hitler confiscated guns, that say I like gun confiscation because I'm a communist who wants the government to more easily be able to kill unarmed people, that I'm some kind of eunuch that wants to watch his wife be raped Because I choose not to own a gun, etc., etc.

    I'm sick of the name calling.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Call a wambulance, you mendacious sack of shit.

  • bpuharic||

    The pro gun side has many myths. One of them is that hitler confiscated guns. He did not. One of the provisions of the Versailles treaty that ended WWI was that Germany be disarmed. That was accomplished by Weimar Germany in 1928, 5 years before hitler came to power.

  • juris imprudent||

  • bpuharic||

    Your own refernce says Weimar Germany confiscated guns in 1928. And that's from a far right gun nut website. Why not use a more obj ctive source or, like all gun cultists, are you paranoid?

  • juris imprudent||

    It had nothing to do with the Treaty of Versailles asshole. But I rather doubt you actually read it since it does not say there was confiscation in '28. That was when the first German gun control laws were enacted. Typical gun control freak.

  • bpuharic||

  • juris imprudent||

    Oh, you really aren't very bright, are you?

  • BYODB||

    How do you define 'ambivalence' I wonder? Does this indicate that you have no issue with a well armed populace, or can I now expect you to add a number of disclaimers and waivers that indicate that you're absolutely not ambivalent about gun ownership in any real way?

  • bpuharic||

    Doherty makes much of the drop in crime. He neglects to mention that has happened in every advanced country in the world, ALL of which have stronger gun control than we do. If the gun argument were correct, their murder rate should have gone UP in those other countries, not down.

    Instead, the US, the most heavily armed nation on earth, has the highest murder rate of any advanced country. So the idea more guns leads to less crime is wrong.

    Incidentally, Gary Kleck, a leading progun researcher, has called Lott's work "garbage in garbage out"

  • BYODB||

    Huh, I had no idea 'every advanced country in the world' measured their crime in the same way! So, really, the spike in violent crime in both the U.K. and Australia means...what?

    Bonus question: Do you, or do you not, think you can still find an illegal firearm in either of those countries regardless of the law? So, in your view, is it or is it not a good thing that only law abiding citizens can't get one?

  • bpuharic||

    We're talking applies to apples. Every nation has seen its crime rate drop. Since the methods are the same the comparison is valid.

    And if guns are so easy to get why is their gun murder rate 1/25 ours?

  • juris imprudent||

    We're talking applies to apples.

    Ah, you mean a very carefully cherry-picked set of countries. Got it.

  • bpuharic||

    Yeah. Countries like us. The right prefers to compare the US to 3rd world countries because there we don't look so bad

  • Rockabilly||

    The left wants a disarmed citizenry to achieve its totalitarian agenda.

  • bpuharic||

    Just who's going to take us over? Notice the paranoid delusional right never tells us

  • Alan@.4||

    The thoughts and opinions of anti gun types appearing in the article are merely that, their thoughts and opinions, not fact based comments.

  • bpuharic||

    I just cited numerous facts above. Gun cultists are evidence immune

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online