Thursday, September 01, 2011

Fun gun facts for the week.

As I was listening to a podcast about gun legislation issues from the last 4 decades, a few interesting statistical facts jumped out at me and I thought I would share them.  There has been so much mis-information and dis-information presented about guns and gun ownership.  It was refreshing to hear actual facts from real data.

1.  A woman who carries a gun is 4 times less likely to be murdered than one who does not. (25% of the risk)

2.  A woman who carries a gun is 10 times less likely to be raped than one who does not. (10% of the risk)

3.  20 years ago, 12 million women owned/used/carried guns for self protection.  Today, the number is 17 million.  This is not an isolated or rare event.  In fact, it might be a useful intellectual exercise to describe why you (if you're female) do not carry a gun, given the risk reduction.  Or why, if you are male, do not encourage, support and facilitate the woman in your life to get a gun and learn how to use it.  The book that makes an excellent case for the use of firearms by women for self protection is  "Armed and Female, taking control" by Paxton Quigley:

4. In every state that has made it easier for its residents to carry a gun for self protection, the violent crime rate has gone down (often suddenly and dramatically) or stayed the same.  Anti-gun groups predicted that there would be an increase in violent crime, and often used terms like, "...blood running in the streets."

The seminal academic work on how gun ownership affects crime rates was written by John Lott Jr.  It's not a thriller, it's a sociological examination of the data over 18 years.  So, a bit dense and dry, but very convincing if you care about facts at all:

More Guns, Less Crime

5.  When England and Australia made it virtually impossible to have or use a pistol for self defense, and significantly limited the use of long guns, the violent crime rate went up, dramatically, and stayed up.

6.  The Clinton era "assault" weapons ban did not reduce the amount of crime committed with these types of weapons.  Of course, the amount of crime committed with these types of weapons was very very low before the ban.  When the "assault" weapons ban went away, the number of crimes committed with these types of weapons did not go up.  Of course, it was still very very low, just like before the ban.

It is interesting to note that there is no functional difference between an "assault rifle" and a hunting rifle, with the possible exception that the assault rifle "looks scary".  For example, an "assault rifle" might have a bayonet lug, while a hunting rifle generally would not.  When is the last time you heard of a bayonet used in the commission of a crime?  The assault rifle may have a ventilated heat shield around the barrel, while the hunting rifle would not.  The presence of a heat shield does not appear to cause people to commit more crime though.

The "assault" rifle can use a "high capacity" magazine.  Well, so can a hunting rifle.  Hunters just generally don't, since they don't need to shoot a deer 30 times.  But outlawing the sale of high capacity magazines during the "assault" weapons ban, did not suddenly cause the millions and millions of existing "full capacity" magazines (the proper term) to suddenly cease to exist.  In fact, owning one, was not against the law, just buying a new one.  The law did nothing (and could do nothing) to prevent an evil person from acquiring and using one to commit a mass shooting.

But what possible legitimate use could a private citizen have for full capacity magazines that hold 20 or 30 or more rounds of ammunition?

Ask the Korean shop owners who had SKS "assault" rifles with full capacity magazines during the Rodney King LA riots.  The death toll, and general destruction, were markedly lower in those neighborhoods.  The mere presence and sight of these firearms prevented additional violence and bloodshed.

In fact current estimates suggest that the mere display of a firearm when someone is about to commit a crime against you, stops the event somewhere between 1 and 2 million times per year in the United States.  Not that the gun is fired, not that the bad guy is shot, or even shot at, just the mere display of the firearm.

The 2nd amendment is not about hunting ducks.  It is about the God given right to defend yourself and your family, with lethal force if necessary, which the government recognized and is sworn to protect and uphold.

These and many other facts are available here:

Finest regards,


1 comment:

David said...

Troy - these "facts" are misleading (I'm referring especially to points 1-3). People who choose to carry guns make lots of other choices and do other things that may change their chances of being the victim of a crime. I'm not saying people should or should not have the freedom to choose to carry a gun (though I'll show my hand and say that in general I don't think it's a good idea), but that is one of many choices that might influence crime rates. I'd be interested to hear how carrying pepper spray or a baseball bat affects those odds.

Also in reference to points 1-3, are you suggesting that females ought to carry firearms but not males, or just that they have more to gain?

I appreciate your perspective, as always.

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