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A Statistician Reconsiders Her Support for Gun Control After Looking at the Data

If only politicians were so open to contradiction by reality.

YouTubeYouTubeWith so many people insisting that the Las Vegas massacre confirms what they've always thought about gun control, it is refreshing to hear from someone who changed her mind on the subject after considering the evidence. "My colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States," Leah Libresco, a statistician who used to work for the data journalism site, writes in The Washington Post. "We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I'd lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence."

Regarding the much-touted gun control laws of Britain and Australia, Libresco found that "neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun-related crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans." Looking into bans on so-called assault weapons, she concluded that the category is an arbitrary construct with little practical significance.

What about the silencers that Hillary Clinton thinks could have raised the death toll in Las Vegas if they had been used there? "In real life," Libresco writes, "silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don't make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer."

Libresco notes that "two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides," and "almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them." But she argues that "older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help." She also recommends targeted measures aimed at protecting women from domestic violence and preventing deadly disputes among young men.

"A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible," Libresco concludes. "We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves."

Libresco says she still does not endorse gun ownership, "but I can't endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them." The distinction seems to be lost on politicians like Clinton, who define good policy as whatever the NRA doesn't want.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's almost like she has no feelings at all.

  • Rich||

    I'm too lazy to look it up, but IIRC Dilbert said something like "It's a thing call math. Now I'm no longer involved."

  • ||

  • Rich||

    Thanks!

    *** bows and scrapes ***

  • Dr Fallout||

    Welp, this pretty much drops her from the cocktail party circuit.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I'll buy her a drink ;)

  • Cy||

    The echo chamber must remain pure!

  • Sugarsail||

    One who is used to hysterical emoting to "solve" problems rather than resorting to reason and evidence would certainly claim that. It's a good thing doctors don't just say "hey, this just feels right, lets cut into this person here!" You want to actually solve a problem, get the feelsies and ego out of the way and analyze it.

  • colorblindkid||

    But we have to do SSOOOOMMEETTHHIINNGGG.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Common. Sense.

  • BambiB||

    "Common" sense? Common like snake hips and chicken lips.

    I renew my assertion that the average person is a moron.

  • josh||

    Anyone who uses common sense as a statement in fact, rather than an expression of their own opinion overestimates how common "sense" actually is.

  • JFDeplorable||

    Unfortunately, that "common sense" might involve a few other demonized practices, such as profiling. That's right, if a person associates with unsavory people, has had a history involving violence against people or animals, or self-identifies as a member of a terrorist or subversive organization, then they might be prone to misusing a firearm.

  • Longtobefree||

    No. Actually, you don't. The constitution still exists, at least in part, in some locations.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I think her points about Australia and the UK are important. Since those are English-speaking countries, many Americans assume that they're just like the U.S., i.e. they're just Americans who speak with a cute accent. The truth is they're very different countries from the U.S. with very different history, culture, and governing traditions.

    What we'd get from a gun ban in the U.S. is not some idyllic stop to the violence; we'd get a horrible replay of Prohibition.

  • colorblindkid||

    The USA has a history and culture far more similar to Mexico, Brazil, and Chile than it does to any European country or even Australia. America's gun violence is about on par with the rest of the Americas.

  • MikeP2||

    "America's gun violence is about on par with the rest of the Americas."

    No, it's not. The USA's gun violence is highly localized, whereas many other America's countries see violence more evenly distributed. But even that is difficult to compare as it is near impossible to pull out gang-vs-gang violence and violence against average citizens. The latter is what really matters to most. Total numbers give a false picture.

    Maybe better to phrase it as, America's violence is on par with other dynamic, diverse cultures.

  • MikeP2||

    By my latter comment "America's violence is on par with other dynamic, diverse cultures.", I meant to refer to the endless comparisons to low-violence countries that almost all consist of very culturally uniform populations. Switzerland, Japan, Korea (the good one), Sweden, etc. Something the US has not been since the Irish invaded.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    I thought it was them greasy Eye-ties ...

  • MarioLanza||

    "The USA's gun violence is highly localized"

    Thank you! I want to repeat this again: "The USA's gun violence is highly localized"

    If you take away blacks killing blacks, our gun homocide rate is on par with other OECD countries. African americans committed 50% of gun homicides up to 2008. So the Obama administration stopped releasing the information.

  • Nuwanda||

    You're twice as likely to die in a mass shooting in New Zealand (http://bit.ly/2y12bMt), and as likely to die in a mass shooting in Australia, as you are in the US. All three countries are comparable in terms of economic and political systems. The US is by far the most culturally diverse. NZ and Australia have very restrictive gun laws. Despite its firearms liberalism, the US is far safer with regards to mass shooting.

    As far as the overall homicide rate goes, there's some correlation between high rates of gun ownership and gun violence. But there are many outliers, too. A theory has to explain the edge cases or it falls apart. And it's indeed true that of countries in the Americas, the US rates low in gun homicide rates (http://bit.ly/1zKNqVI). It seems the further north you go, the lower the rate. It would be interesting to compare homicide rates in US zones that have the greatest concentration of Central or South American immigrants.

    I think it behooves gun rights supporters to concede that if there are many guns available then guns will be used more frequently for crime and suicide, just as you'd expect to see higher road fatalities in areas where car ownership was higher. The analogy is widely applicable. But that's not an argument for laws that restrict gun ownership just as road deaths are not an argument for generally denying car ownership. Age restrictions are an obvious safeguard in both cases.

  • MarioLanza||

    The gun suicide rate definitely went down in Australia. But wait. Aren't the same ones pushing gun regulations (that won't do anything to prevent las vegas incidents)...aren't they for the "right to die"? Suicide by gun is quick and usually very effective.

  • Johnny B||

    I thought that the founders wanted the 2nd Amendment because they realized that if they had not had guns, they would have never been able to rid themselves of a despotic government. So in that sense, gun prohibition would be much more serious than alcohol prohibition, since the latter was not a tool one could use to rid oneself of a despotic government. Gun prohibition is exactly what a despotic government would want.

  • ||

    So in that sense, gun prohibition would be much more serious than alcohol prohibition, since the latter was not a tool one could use to rid oneself of a despotic government.

    Alcohol is how one rids oneself of a despotic government based on Reason (drink).

  • esteve7||

    the rev. war started when the british tried gun control. when they tried to seize our powderhouses was the event that started it

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That and violence from the gun grab.

    Australians gave up their guns voluntarily like fools.

    Americans would not and violence would ensue, if government tried to grab guns.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Australians gave up their guns voluntarily like fools

    They not only gave them up, they find the entire concept of self-defense to be utterly baffling. You're allowed to own a dog to warn you of intruders (and to presumably attack them if they do break in), but you can't even keep an axe handle under your bed or in your car if the authorities think it will be used to harm someone, regardless of whether you're being car-jacked or your home invaded.

    Not surprisingly, as they've taken in refugees from third-world countries, violent crime rates have gone up in the more "vibrant" urban areas. Laws like these are made under the assumption that they'll be obeyed by a docile white populace; the paradoxical PC/ethnocentric mentality of white shitlibs is utterly incapable of comprehending that these people are from completely different cultures and ways of looking at the rule of law, all while enabling the non-assimilation and ethnic chauvinism of those same populations who consider these laws to be guides more than rules ("Your laws are genocide, bro!"), followed when convenient and ignored when it suits them.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    The rate of compliance with the Australian mandatory gun confiscation is estimated to be around 20%, which is why they just offered an "amnesty" for another go at it. Pretty much on a par with mandatory registration in places like CT [20%] and NY [5%]. As far as gun related crime is concerned, homicides have remained flat [about 300 a year: not much to begin with] since 1995 and the percentage of homicides with guns RTS as well.

    And yet we will never hear the end of how successful it is....

  • MarioLanza||

    Actually it was a gun buyback and since then the number of guns has risen back to the level of before the program.

    The re-arming of Australians caused mass shootings and gun homocides to go back up...oh wait. No it didn't. Gun homicides have continued to fall at about the same rate and mass shootings are a rare event.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    It's also important to know that the UK only considers a death to be murder when someone is convicted. Find a body with a dozen bullet holes or stab wounds, but never arrest anybody, let alone convict someone? Not murder.

    One article I read on it said it deflates their murder rate by a factor of 3-4.

    And on the other side, I think every single EU country has a higher violent crime rate than the US. How "violent crime" is defined probably has a lot to do with it, but I've never seen anything describing such differences.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I saw a similar point made in the book The Samurai, the Mountie and the Cowboy by David Kopel. One item he noted was that Japan's murder rate is kept down by defining what we call a murder-suicide (guy kills his entire family, then himself) as just suicides.

  • BambiB||

    Not just prohibition. Lincoln's War of Northern Aggression too! Sure, there will be lots of violence over the smuggling of guns - but there will also be a segment of well-armed and probably well-trained people who will delight in killing Federal minions - as was intended by the Second Amendment. It's one of those pair-o-Dachshunds: As soon as the 2nd Amendment is abrogated, that's the time to use the weapons to defend it. Gubbmint minions who aren't trying to grab your guns probably don't need shootin'.

  • Juice||

    That's fine and all, but whether gun bans correlate to a drop in the murder rate or not is irrelevant to whether guns should be banned or not. Surely you could show that martial law and a 7 pm curfew has a direct correlation with a reduced murder rate too. So what? It's still a violation of everyone's rights.

  • Rich||

    It's still a violation of everyone's rights.

    "But if it might help save just one life, ...."

  • BambiB||

    Fine. As long as the life we save isn't yours (blam! blam! blam!)

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    That's true, but the gun control advocates can confuse the undecided with their arguments. I think it's unwise to leave the arguments unanswered.

    There's the larger problem in our society that individual rights are no longer valued. Anybody who does value them is an "extremist". I'm not sure how we're going to solve that problem.

  • BambiB||

    Second Amendment. If you kill enough of them, you become the majority again.

  • lap83||

    It shows that the right in question is self defense, not the right to murder people like many leftists seem to believe

  • John||

    Yes, that is a great point.

  • Jickerson||

    Careful, there! The disingenuous morons who argue for gun control will pretend (?) to not understand what an analogy is and lambast you for comparing scenarios that are not 100% the same. Arguing with these people is tiring and almost futile.

  • Rich||

    Believe it or not, I tried to use statistics in talking about guns with a prog just yesterday.

    His response: All guns should be banned because they are designed to kill, the NRA is a bunch of murderers, and "you are an unserious ass".

    It's tough to debate logic like that. 8-(

  • 68W58||

    Yes, but it's because of that attitude that the Dems are such a train wreck right now. The problem is-which way are they going to go? Because they will almost certainly regain power at some point and if their policy positions are all about the feelz nothing but trouble can come of it.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Agree: it's like prepper logic: it's not a matter of IF the shit will hit the fan, but WHEN the SHTF.

    Politics certainly seems to follow a pendulum trend and no doubt the other side will eventually have their day, if only for a brief time before enough voting citizens [nobody else counts] have had their fill. Meanwhile, buy em' cheap and stack em' deep.

  • prolefeed||

    My self-described bleeding heart liberal said much the same thing to me when we met, except for calling me names.

    Then Trump got elected, and she started talking about how maybe she should get a gun.

    Small victories.

  • prolefeed||

    ... liberal GF ...

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    How do you manage a "liberal GF" with what you read on this site? I would think that would be a virtual schizophrenic existence.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Liberal women need the Prog fucked out of them, so...

  • Ariki||

    They do indeed.
    I'm currently a solider for the cause and I'm pretty sure I'm winning.
    Small victories indeed.

  • BambiB||

    If you're not sure... fuck harder.

  • mpercy||

    Kinda the theme of the current iteration of American Horror Story.

    Uber-progressive (she voted for Jill Stein while her wife voted for HIllary) faces a series of events that so far have seen her obtain a gun and getting called racist (for an act of self-defense that turned out to be one of her migrant employees at her back door). She's not coping well with being called racist by her fellow LGBTs and the migrants working at her restaurant.

  • albo||

    Honesty is such a lonely word
    Everyone is so untrue
    Honesty is hardly ever heard
    And mostly what I need from you

  • colorblindkid||

    Billy's the greatest of all time, imo.

  • Johnny B||

    that's not what the Nobel committee thinks!

  • Johnimo||

    Nobel or not, it's one, great wonderful piece of song writing.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    That's a good picture to use in the dictionary, next to TRAITOR. (dictionaries have pictures, right? that's not just a TV cliche?)

    And I guess we still have to call Clinton a politician.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The preferred nomenclature is "failed presidential candidate."

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The preferred nomenclature is "twice failed presidential candidate.

  • CptNerd||

    I called her the "unindicted co-candidate".

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I prefer bloviating flesh bag.

  • Johnimo||

    How about "screeching, obnoxious asshole"?

  • ||

    But BUT FEELZ!

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "The distinction seems to be lost on politicians like Clinton, who define good policy as whatever the NRA doesn't want."

    Oh, Clinton probably gets the distinction. She's stupid - far less intelligent than her husband - but she's not as stupid as she thinks her folders are. She may SELL her proposals as whatever the NRS doesn't want, but she makes them because anything that makes it harder for law abiding citizens to own guns is exactly what she wants.

    I think she's scared what's likely to happen when people figure out just what a vicious, criminal, lying bitch she really is.

    No, seriously; She's a Progressivist Socialist Fascist who thinks of herself as belonging to the Natural Ruling Cadre (se probably carefully avoids think of the word 'class'). Disarming the populace - for their own good, of course - is all part of the pogrom - I mean program.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "She's a Progressivist Socialist Fascist who thinks of herself as belonging to the Natural Ruling Cadre"

    I've heard many descriptions of HRC, from the shuttle driver where I work ["Hillary Cliniton's a Cunt!!!"] to Lenny magazine description of her as being greater than light itself.

    I believe your's is both socially acceptable and most apt.

  • Microaggressor||

    "Stronger Together" is literally the ethos of fascism. I don't think there's a more accurate descriptor. Kind of ironic with all the autistic screeching you hear about Drumpf.

  • BambiB||

    If you can get them together enough, you can save ammo.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Would

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Why does anyone need a 12-gauge AK-15 in 5.72, with a collapsable full auto bump stock/pistol grabber, and a sound suppressing dimmer switch button, that can hold a billion rounds?

    I have no idea, so gimme some of that good sweet gun control!

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""and a sound suppressing dimmer switch button,"'

    That's funny. And by "billion" I think you meant infinite.

  • HokiePokey||

    ...with a compass on the stock and this thing which tells time.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Sweet

  • Fooseven||

    I love the utility argument, because it allows me to call for the banning of (TV show/food the other person loves)

  • Longtobefree||

    Because the constitution says so.
    If you don't like that, admit you want to decimate the bill of rights, and submit an amendment to repeal the second amendment.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    It's a constitution, not a love letter to your mom, OK?

  • BambiB||

    Don't forget the "barrel shroud". You know. "I believe it's that shoulder thing that goes up."

    And the incendiary device, "...which is a heat-seeking device".

    And don't forget, "It's legal to hunt humans" and of course, if you use high-capacity magazines, once the bullets have been shot, they won't be available. And then there are... ghost guns.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI9tov6A2DI

  • ||

    So, the statistics show that old white guys have a rare but not non-existent failure mode that causes them to kill not only themselves but, on even rarer occasion, lots of people around them for no apparent reason. The statistics also definitively show that 'old', 'white', and 'guys' are not causally linked to said failure modes. So can we, for the love of all things holy, take the nuclear launch codes and ability to declare war out of the hands of any one human?

    I mean if one man with a gun is so flippin' dangerous how do you not wake up every morning and pull every last hair out of your head over the idea that one man (or woman, or off-fleshtone demigod of any variety) with a nuclear arsenal isn't going to initiate the apocalypse that day?

  • John||

    They are out of the hands of one human. The President doesn't personally launch a nuclear attack. He can only order one. That doesn't mean the people in the silos will comply or the people who are charged with transmitting the codes would either. If the President went berserk this afternoon and ordered a nuclear attack, I have no doubt the military would ignore his order.

  • ||

    If the President went berserk this afternoon and ordered a nuclear attack, I have no doubt the military would ignore his order.

    I disagree. Not that the button is literally in his hands but that progressively over the past several Presidencies anything and everything up to and including voiding national sovereignty and killing people en masse has been done (with approvals) in real time and without wider consent or debate. Paddock didn't go berserk one evening and order a missile strike, he took three days to carry his guns up to his room and probably booked the hotel days or even weeks before that. McVeigh radicalized years before hand and started stockpiling supplies months ahead of time.

    I do doubt the military would ignore his order, it's generally recognized (both before and after Clinton 'disclosed' it) that the order-to-launch time is on the order of 4 min. Not a lot of time for everyone in the chain to wonder if the guy above them has lost it.

    More importantly or broadly, it is a pretty obvious moral mismatch with regard to the War Powers Act. The President can/has/does order the execution of hundreds of people and commit Americans (or thousands over decades as the case may be) to their death without approval from Congress but we can't let anybody have guns because one random whacko *might* kill someone? It's like being a lackadaisical X-Ray technician and insisting we regulate cell phones because the radiation might be giving people cancer.

  • BambiB||

    A few might not launch. Most would. The guys in the silos aren't told why they're launching - only that the order has come down.

    Years back when I worked in Missile Warning, the time from detecting an L&I (Launch and Impact within the US based on the ballistic trajectory of a radar track) to verifying the status at Cheyenne Mountain, was one minute. The people at Cheyenne Mountain have a similarly short interval to verify their systems. Within about two minutes, they have decide the warning is false (because they've found a reason for the false alert) or notify the president that we are under nuclear attack. I don't know how much time the president has to determine the response, but I'd be surprised if it was as much as 5 minutes. Once the order comes back down the pipe, the silos are notified and the missiles launch within minutes. It's a pretty tight cycle.

  • Longtobefree||

    Two man rule. Even in response to an attack, it takes two.

  • ||

    The two man rule, since it's inception, has been noted as being a simple and straightforward authentication method rather than a moral or sanity standard.

    WTF is wrong with you libertarians? We can, and then can't, pass national healthcare without a vigorous debate but vaporizing thousands of people and likely triggering a war (potentially-to-likely involving third and fourth states/world powers) can't wait for a night's sleep or even 30 min. of debate (in the era of Twitter)?

  • John||

    Statistics? Who needs those when you have a D list comic to tell you the real truth.

    http://thefederalist.com/2017/.....nt-honest/

    Kimmel's monologue was a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the left. It substituted mawkishness and emotional manipulation for thought. It was factually wrong on every point. It addressed his opponents by attacking their integrity and trying to morally de-legitimize their position rather than address their substantive points. Most importantly, it added nothing to the debate and did nothing to convince anyone who didn't already agree with the speaker. It was an utterly pointless and stupid act of moral narcissism and attention seeking.

    As infuriating as Kimmel is, in many ways we should applaud him. Progressives used to hide behind a fake mask of thoughtfulness and authority. Kimmell shows the world that they no longer even try to do that. And for this, we should be thankful.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    I've mentioned this before, but Trump or some other shitlord Republicans continually miss out on a golden opportunity to stick it to these types where it hurts the most--in their wallet--by not implementing an "entertainment tax" and/or tariff on every studio and actor who films and distributes movies outside the country. Film Star Wars in Morocco instead of Death Valley? 95 percent surtax on all box office revenues and salaries above $100,000 for that production. Distribute your movie in China to bolster your box office? 95 percent tax on all foreign movie receipts. They could call it the "Hollywood American Patriotism Act". Drive a wedge between the film and stage industries by giving Broadway productions a tax break, as long as those productions remain in the US.

    "MUH PRINCIPLES" are fine if the enemy is following the same playbook; since the left follows the political and social equivalent of Calvinball, then it's not a violation of principle to use their own weapons against them.

  • chemjeff||

    ""MUH PRINCIPLES" are fine if the enemy is following the same playbook"

    Then it's not a principle, is it?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Then it's not a principle, is it?

    Well, yeah, it is. Just because the enemy won't follow the same principles that you adhere yourself to doesn't mean that they aren't principles. Principles are supposed to guide you in your conduct, but they aren't supposed to handcuff you in the face of hostile threats from those who have no principles to begin with other than the will to power.

    I say if these people want to be taxed more, grant them their wish. They'd prefer to see me and mine destitute and supplicant, so why should I give them the benefit of the doubt?

  • chemjeff||

    "but they aren't supposed to handcuff you in the face of hostile threats from those who have no principles to begin with other than the will to power."

    No, that is exactly what principles are supposed to do.

    For example, a principled belief that "theft is wrong" restrains your actions from stealing from your neighbor, even if your neighbor is a Democrat or Republican or child molester or Nazi or some awful person.

    What you are arguing, is that theft is wrong, except if it's against "the Left", then theft is okay. Which means you don't actually subscribe to the principle that "theft is wrong".

    You are arguing for utilitarianism, not for some principled mode of action.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    No, that is exactly what principles are supposed to do.

    Which is why libertarianism remains a niche political movement, even though many people are sympathetic to at least a few of its tenets. The reason the left is in charge of our cultural institutions now and will likely remain there for generations is precisely because they happily used their opponents principles against them to gain greater power.

    What you are arguing, is that theft is wrong, except if it's against "the Left", then theft is okay.

    As long as the Left continues to not reciprocate that principle, I'm more than happy to hang them with the rope they've used against others, yes.

    You are arguing for utilitarianism, not for some principled mode of action

    The principle is survival. If you think your principles are going to keep the Left from leaving you alone, you're kidding yourself.

  • Brian||

    I thought he was arguing that all's fair in love and war.

  • BambiB||

    And if it's not already clear enough - we are at war.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Thank you for stating that clearly and unequivocally.

  • John||

    Hollywood gets all kinds of special tax breaks that could be easily repealed. Also, there is nothing "libertarian" about endless copyright protection. Make works of art go to the public domain 75 years after their creation, no exceptions. Killing their tax breaks and enacting reasonable copyright protections would hurt them just as much as anything you suggest and not require breaking any principles.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Thanks for that link; Reverend Jimmy is just doing what they all do, preaching to his televised choir.

    Now may I please have an amen.

  • mpercy||

    Mr. Kimmel, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  • IceTrey||

    Lowering gun deaths is simple, end drug prohibition.

  • BambiB||

    That would have the greatest impact - no doubt - and it's something I've advocated for that reason (and many more ) for decades. End drug prohibition and you greatly reduce homicides. You also greatly reduce the cost of policing, courts, prisons and possibly even health care. Billions of dollars in property crime (to feed drug habits) would vanish.

    The drug war makes very strange bedfellows. In one bed are prosecutors, police, defense attorneys and drug dealers - all of whom would lose money if drug laws were repealed. In that same bed, you find the religious right - which seems quite odd unless you admit there's nothing rational about religion. On the other side you have libertarians, rational thinkers, and taxpayers who do not belong to the first set of groups. Wonder if the religious right ever thinks of themselves as allied with drugs dealers and criminal defense attorneys?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "My colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States"

    The total disregard for qualitative criteria is disturbing. If I prefer freedom to some marginal improvement in safety, where does that show up in their statistics?

    I am not a utilitarian.

    If pancakes give people heart disease, does that mean we should ban them? If not, why not?

    Does it have something to do with government's (and scientists') inability to account for our own individual qualitative preferences?

    That, by itself, is an excellent reason to be a libertarian and support free markets. Only individuals can account for their own qualitative preferences and although safety may seem like a universal value, it's still informed by qualitative criteria.

    I rode a motorcycle through traffic to work today. Does that mean I don't care about safety. No. I took all sorts of precautions to protect myself, but I did also accept a certain amount of risk to my safety--a qualitative preference that only I can accurately estimate for myself. Telling me that banning motorcycles is somehow appropriate because they're statistically unsafe doesn't even begin to account for the most pertinent question--my personal qualitative preference for safety.

  • MikeP2||

    pancakes are the Devil's Frisbee. repent sinner, repent.

  • Longtobefree||

    Backsliders, unite!!! (and pass the syrup)

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    Did you have a license when you rode your motorcycle to work?

  • Ken Shultz||

    See the response below.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You want a more relevant statistic than the numbers this lady crunched? How 'bout this: Millions of individuals purchase millions of guns for themselves every year--presumably because their qualitative preferences are such that they qualitatively prefer gun ownership to the alternative. If the statistics about gun deaths are in any way relevant, it is only in a subordinate role informing the qualitative preferences of individuals.

    The idea that statistical safety concerns are paramount to other considerations--to the point that we should support or oppose gun rights for other people predicated upon them--is ludicrous. If we programmed all powerful robots to make our safety their primary concern, they'd strap us into beds in rubber rooms and keep us on a dopamine drip.

    I prefer not to spend my life strapped down for qualitative reasons--no matter what the statistics say.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    Millions of purchases also are made of cars. They kill lots of people. Because of this it is required to obtain a license given after you demonstrate your physical and mental aptitude for operating one. Why shouldn't it be the same with guns?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    The problem with the Las Vegas shooter: he just didn't know how to use guns well enough!

    #moretraininglicensingftw

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    #psychoticshappywithguns ftw

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    #stilllessdangerousthancommunismftw

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't understand what licensing has to do with personal preferences on things like safety and freedom being more pertinent than the statistics on safety. There are people whose primary concern is safety. They're called "agoraphobes", and they stay locked in their homes all day. It's a psychological disorder.

    The rest of us make decisions for ourselves balancing safety considerations against other considerations every day.

    If you're suggesting that people shouldn't be free to make choices that may adversely impact you in some way, I'm going to point out that every choice we make adversely impacts someone in some way--whether it's from deciding to drive down the road and possibly cause an accident. If you're suggesting that licensing in some way guarantees your safety from licensed drivers, 1) you're wrong and 2) that's simply an example of you wanting to use the government to inflict your own personal preference for freedom on other people. It is not an example of statistics somehow trumping or accounting for personal preferences.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Maybe think of it this way:

    The suggestion that your qualitative preference for licensed drivers because of the safety--no matter what the statistics say--is not evidence that statistics trump qualitative preferences.

    The suggestion that people's qualitative preferences can be accurately quantified and considered by objective means has always been the Achilles' heel of utilitarianism. It's also one of the reasons markets are so superior to regulation.

    Government cannot possibly know--much less quantify--our qualitative preferences, but we can represent our own as individuals in markets. Moreover, government can't even quantify a universal preference like safety. We all want to be safer, right? Sure! . . . even as I'm speeding down the freeway on my motorcycle-I want to do so as safely as possible.

    We're all PhDs in our own qualitative preferences, Statisticians who think they should ignore them because they can't be quantified should be publicly ridiculed for it. Creationism is more rational than the belief that we can account for each other's qualitative preferences better than other people can account for their own.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    The notion that someone is competent to operate an automobile because that person has a government license is ludicrous. The state issued "drivers license" is nothing more than an ID card.

  • Jickerson||

    Yes, and the pictures they take of you before you're allowed to get these ID cards are also put in a facial recognition databases operated by the FBI, thereby increasing the government's mass surveillance capabilities. The government is multitasking here.

  • mpercy||

    Have you ever applied for a CCW or filled out a Form 4473?

    In order to get my CCW, I had to take an 8-hour gun safety course, which had to include 30 minutes of range time with a state-certified instructor.

    Then I had to physically go to the county courthouse to fill out a comprehensive bit of paperwork (generally all the same questions as Form 4473). I had to provide two forms of photo ID. I had to pay way more than a nominal fee, which was of course non-refundable if my permit was denied.

    I had to go across the street to the Sheriffs office to be fingerprinted and pay for that privilege separately. Then back to the courthouse to wait for the fingerprints and paperwork to all get merged into one electronic application package and then sit for another photo.

    After the application package was submitted, I waited for 3 months while various law enforcement agencies considered it.

    All that for right that "shall not be infringed".

  • JoeB||

    Although I have not tested this claim, I feel strongly that the process of obtaining a driver's license in no way screens out those individuals who may decide to use their car to run over people.

  • Jickerson||

    Why do you assume everyone here thinks the government should be able to force people to obtain car licenses?

  • BambiB||

    Let's be realistic here: A driver's license is only an indication that at some point in the past you were able to demonstrate the bare minimum of skills necessary to drive a vehicle. Actually, come to think of it, that's not even true. I have never in my life taken a driving test. As it turns out, the fact that I had taken "Drivers Ed" allowed me a license in one state without a test. Once I had the first license, every other state has issued a license based purely on a written test.

    Florida is famous for people aging out beyond their capability to drive. I was nearly killed by a woman who wandered into my lane (I being on a motorcycle at the time). Turned out she was 91 years old, nearly paralyzed, deaf as a post and her vision wasn't very good. I needn't worry, though, she reassured me. She was moving to Texas!

    So let's be honest - the real reason for requiring a license is revenue. If licenses were free, few states would require them.

  • josh||

    I don't have a problem with a basic safety exam to buy a gun. I might be saying that in the wrong place, but it's true.

    The problem I have becomes when people take a simple idea and start expanding on it. They go from a driver's exam situation to saying if you don't pass, you can't retake the test, and therefore buy a gun at all. Or, a simple quiz isn't enough, and what we really need is three days, several weeks, or even months or training with increasing degrees of difficulty designed to weed out as many potential gun owners as possible. And then there are the courts. Our brave men and women in robes who will seemingly see nothing wrong with increasingly more elaborate obstacles to gun ownership because we're doing so in the name of safety, and safety is always reasonable isn't it? Not to mention driving isn't a constitutional right of course, but what are the chances that anyone will remember that once you give them an inch, and start accepting the driving comparison?

  • Longtobefree||

    If statistical analysis is relevant to constitutional rights, we should ban free speech, because 90% of the 'speech' in web comments and chat rooms and social media is meaningless.

    I don't care what the number are; the constitution says arms can be kept and borne. Either try to repeal it, or obey it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Incidentally, the First Amendment also protects stupid speech, harmful speech, stupid religions and harmful religions, too.

    The idea that people's right to make choices about speech, religion, or Second Amendment rights should only be respected if the choices they make are in the society's best interests is ridiculous.

    People don't exist for the benefit of society--and neither do their rights. I don't know that Nazi propaganda or Scientology serves the best interests of society, but the right of people to say and believe what they want--so long as they don't violate someone's rights--is the very definition of civil society, You're not going to wipe out its foundations without hurting society, that's for sure.

    It's the same thing with the Second Amendment. Whether the misuse of guns is in society's interests really doesn't answer the relevant question. The relevant question is whether people who have committed no crime should have their right to choose to own a firearm respected by government. And the Second Amendment doesn't protect the right to indiscriminately shoot people. It just protects the right of people to choose to own (and carry) a firearm.

    Violating someone's rights with a gun is already against the law.

  • JoeB||

    Hmm...if a religion breaks other laws..human sacrifice, for example?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I covered that in another post:

    "People say things, print things, believe things that aren't in society's general interest every day, but we stick up for the right of people to say them, print them, and believe them anyway--so long as they're not violating anyone's rights."

    Not every aspect of every question needs to be addressed in every post, does it?

    Incidentally, I also pointed out elsewhere that the Second Amendment doesn't protect indiscriminately shooting people, too, since I knew if I hadn't someone would bring that up as some kind of absurd exception to the rule when it isn't.

    You mean violating people's rights by murdering them as a human sacrifice isn't protected by the First Amendment?!

    Duh. No.

    The First Amendment doesn't protect violating people's rights because of your religion, and the Second Amendment doesn't protect violating someone's rights with a gun. It should be amazing that these things need to be pointed out to people, but when it comes to shitheads on the left, these days, who through willful obtuseness can't seem to tell the difference between murder and the right to choose to own and carry a gun, nothing surprises me anymore.

    Maybe save those arguments for when you find a First or Second Amendment defender who thinks murder shouldn't be against the law.

  • TxJack 112||

    Anyone who is honest has known for a long time that the numbers used by anti gun zealots on gun deaths are a lie. They include many crime related shootings as well as suicides to inflate the numbers to make the problem appear much larger than they are. After every event the first thing they want to do is ban "assault weapons" when rifles are the least used weapon in the vast majority of shootings. When you have to lie to gather support, your position is weak. What the anti gun crowd actually wants is a strong central government and the loss of individual freedom as outlined in the Constitution. They want the US to become western Europe so they get to decide what people think, say and do.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    Something is wrong with her analysis. More guns equal less crime-- not have some ambiguous effect. I wish this mass shooter had a beard and a Chuckie-Cheese ISIS card. Then we could be arguing about how we need to stop immigration from Syria and not feeling so triggered by Hillary Clinton and her calls for gun control in the face of another bloodbath. Le sigh.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    Before crowing you guys might actually want to read the article as it calls for what I would call "common sense gun control" laws. This women may not be a fascist, but it's clear that she hasn't entirely backed out of Big Brother Ave.

  • John||

    Since "common sense gun control laws" is a phrase without meaning, the article doesn't call for anything. Beyond that, all gun control laws are unenforcible. Anyone who calls for them is either stupid or just pretending to be reasonable in order to hide their unreasonable agenda.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    I have an Australian question. After the gun buyback program that removed hundreds of thousands of guns from that country how many days did it take a fascist socialist government to take over and start murdering patriots and their womenfolk in the streets?

  • Old Mexican's Speedos||

    Because the ban was pretty ineffective and since the government knows people would still hide their long guns inside 8" PVC piping and bury them innthe outback which makes them available at a moment's norice, the answer is: even Fascists can be not foolish - sometimes. You're the exception that proves the rule, of course.

  • Jordan||

    This is like asking how long it took for your house to burn down after you removed all the fire extinguishers. Completely misses the point.

  • DH||

    OK, so Australia government didn't turn around and kill or horribly oppress its citizens. Would you like to talk about the fascist socialist communist governments that have? Cause they killed an awful lot of people.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Again, you're making the assumption that the government should only respect people's rights when it's in society's best interests to do so, but your standards of what's in society's best interest seem to be all wrapped up in your own personal qualitative preferences.

    I guess that's a typical difference between libertarians and others.

    We genuinely believe in the right of people to do things that aren't in society's interests. People say things, print things, believe things that aren't in society's general interest every day, but we stick up for the right of people to say them, print them, and believe them anyway--so long as they're not violating anyone's rights.

    It's called "tolerance". We believe in a genuinely tolerant society.

    No, we don't think people who haven't violated anyone's rights should have their Second Amendment rights violated by government because of your personal preferences--in addition, our thinking isn't muddled by confusion between our own personal preferences and society's best interests either.. Even if gun ownership apart from crime were not in society's interests, I'd stick up for the rights of gun owners anyway. You're simply barking up the wrong tree. The solution to our problems is not violating the rights of law abiding citizens--not even if we don't prefer gun ownership personally.

  • Cavadus||

    "I guess that's a typical difference between libertarians and others."

    Not typical, KEY. Non-libertarians all proselytize THE WAY and it must be forced on us all because it is the ONE and TRUE WAY.

    As libertarians, we don't even presume to know ANY ways; we just want everyone to have the liberty to have find it on their own and so long as others' rights aren't validated everything is fine.

    It's what attracted me to the idea in the first place; we do not presume anyone must live any certain way and we want all to have the individual freedom to choose one's way for one's self.

  • Iseethestrings||

    There's another story in the news that has to do with guns.. Catalonia. Just look to that situation and see how a populace with 2 guns for every 1000 citizens is going to fare when Spain starts enforcing compliance.

  • Otis B. Driftwood||

    Tony hardest hit.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    You fools! The answer is obvious. Since criminals aren't going to comply with a law against murdering someone, we must pass laws making it illegal to be killed by a firearm.

    My work here is done.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: A Statistician Reconsiders Her Support for Gun Control After Looking at the Data
    If only politicians were so open to contradiction by reality.

    Reality is a rare commodity in the political arena in this country.
    I honest wonder how many people on the SCOTUS and in the HR and the Senate could pass a ninth grade civics test.

  • m.EK||

    Clintion is and has been a NWO putz. Whatever has to do with protecting authoritarian rules/"laws" is part and parcel to her masters and her agenda.
    I'm not sure what kind of interpretation of her "body of politics" is required to see this. I would think even her most devoted followers would be able to see that everything she advocates lead from and to more authoritarian rule(s)!

    We could only be so lucky to have the real reason she advocates this tripe to be that she is power hungry. That she is just another puppet should scare the hell out of even her ardent followers.

  • Fmontyr||

    Duh! Another dumb-ass article by Jacob Sullum who does not understand that the fewer guns in private hands (and in police hands) the fewer are the deaths by guns.

    Unfortunately, Libresco does not understand that either. She needs to do a regression analysis, but it is doubtful if she any knowledge of that.

  • DrZ||

    Fewer guns in few hands? What about the homicide rate from drug war shootings? How do you propose to reduce the guns in the hands of the people that commit the most homicides in the U.S.?

    Suicides? Not clear that we have more due to guns. Japan has a higher rate of suicide with a much, much lower rate of gun ownership. Sweden also has a higher suicide rate and a lower gun ownership rate than the U.S.

    How many guns in private hands saved lives? You are only looking at one side of the coin.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    He wants to start with the conclusion, and work backwards. He ignores the fact that taking guns from most people will result in exactly the same homicide rate, as we don't go around killing people.

  • Fmontyr||

    Another lame-brain comment from one who hasn't the slightest knowledge of about guns and deaths.

    https://www.vox.com/policy- and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun- violence-statistics-maps-charts

  • JoeB||

    Ahh, regression analysis. The philosopher's stone of armchair statisticians everywhere :-)

  • DrZ||

    Regarding the silencers....what did she say?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    If only it worked that way.

  • John B. Egan||

    'Libresco found that neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun-related crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans' .. Really? I took Statistics and PRobability in college and this chart has me flummoxed if Australia's gun laws and buybacks did nothing:

    http://www.abc.net.au/cm/lb/49.....s-data.jpg

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    That's quite interesting, seeing the drop off after they ratified the national firearms agreement. In fact, it seems to follow the same curve as US gun deaths over the same time frame, without gun control.

    http://thehigherlearning.com/w.....te-pew.jpg

    So it does look like it had no impact. But what do I know. I didn't take Statistics and Probability in college. I took stochastic analysis. In grad school.

  • MarkF||

    Last year, researchers from around the country reviewed more than 130 studies from 10 countries on gun control for Epidemiologic Reviews. This is, for now, the most current, extensive review of the research on the effects of gun control. The findings were clear: "The simultaneous implementation of laws targeting multiple firearms restrictions is associated with reductions in firearm deaths."

    https://tinyurl.com/y7lxl9c9

  • MaleMatters||

    Reason has by far the best discussions on guns.

    I quote it in:

    "Gun Control and Mass Killers"
    https://relevantmatters.wordpress.com

    Under "Politics."

  • ||

    So the epidemiological study found a decline in gun-related deaths. But what about the changes in the overall murder rate? Is a decline in gun related deaths something to celebrate if people kill each other using other methods?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Before pietistic altruism wrote the laws, suicides relied on cheap laudanum and morphine as their poison of choice. But progressives insisted on sending men with guns to change all that. If the idea is to force people to live under a coercive State, why not ban cars and trucks? There were none of those when the Constitution was ratified, and the Bill of Rights does not explicitly protect the right to keep cars.

  • AndyWingall||

    I stopped reading after, "My colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States," because statistically there are only about 15,000 homicides in the U.S. each year, most of them committed in inner city Democrat-controlled enclaves.

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