April 21, 2013

The effectiveness of guns to reduce violence

Ok, here is a very biased and liberal link.  It is openly anti-gun.  So here is what I would like, Steve.  I am certainly open to critiquing the facts in this letter.  By all means, show me where the sources are incorrect.  But I don't want screeching angry bitching here.  I don't want snark about Mother Jones and I don't want to hear what "an idiot this person is."  Ok?

I also post this because the ABC news story on concealed carry (in admittedly one very particular scenario) was very interesting.  The huge difference between shooting on a range and shooting under duress strikes me as really worth thinking about.

So, let's keep this factual.  I am seriously not in the mood for condescending snark.

An Open Letter To Gun-Toting, Tyranny Fighting, 'Kindergarteners Need To Carry Guns To School' Preaching Americans | Liberals Unite


steves said...

Ok, first of all, I read MJ on occasion and consider it to be a respectable source on many issues.

The author makes some assertions that are incorrect.

"At the same time the NRA has been able to roll back laws enabling government to track guns."

This was never the law. The NRA supported efforts to prevent the BATFE from administratively creating a registry from the NICS. A registry was never authorized by the statute and what the BATFE was doing was questionable, at best.

The BATFE can already track guns. All the information on every FFL sale must be kept for 25 years. The BATFE can run a trace and find out where the gun has been. They do this all the time.

"Currently 8 states allow private citizens to take their firearms with them to bars, and in Missouri intoxicated individuals are allowed to shoot to kill as long as they believe they are “acting in self-defense.”

Two separate issues here. My state does not allow me to take a concealed gun into a bar. It is already illegal to be under the influence of anything (this includes prescription medication), so why shouldn't a person that is completely sober be able to have a gun in a bar?

As for drunks being able to shoot someone, this claim seems far fetched, but I don't know Missouri law. At common law, and in every other law that I have read, you may use lethal force if you believed your life was in danger AND that belief was reasonable. If it turns out that, in your drunken stupor, you thought the pizza delivery guy was an terrorist, then you will likely rot in prison for a long time. I sent an e-mail to a guy I know in Missouri to see if they have some kind of weird law about drunks shooting people.

steves said...

"In Louisiana, citizens are allowed to take guns to church and most alarming (considering the events of last week) Kansas allows ordinary citizens to carry concealed weapons inside K-12 schools."

Two other states, Ohio and Utah, allow concealed guns in schools. I don't believe they have had any problems, but I also understand that this issue is one that is very emotional.

"Currently, 80 percent of our states recognize gun permits from other states, creating grave concern over lax states, like in Virginia where an applicant is only required to complete a brief course online to obtain a weapons permit."

I don't know why the author says this is creating grave concerns. I have never seen any data that has said that out of state permit holders have been responsible for public safety issues. There are a few states, like Vermont and Alaska, that don't require any permit at all.

"Homicides brought about by guns have increased in the past 30 years. Conversely, the number of mass shootings in the U.S. has actually increased steadily."

I am not sure where he got his statistics from, but most of the places I looked show a decrease in homicides and shootings. As for the mass killings, MJ has been critiqued on this assertion by a number of people because of how they included some killings and not others. Minnesota Dept. of Corrections Criminologist Grant Duwe has studied mass killings and said that the worst period in our history was in the 1920s, and that prior to Newtown, the worst school killings were in Germany and the UK.

"A recent study found one striking pattern in the data: “In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. [...] And in recent rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, they not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed."

I am not going to argue about what would happen if a teacher was carrying because I just don't know. I am going to point out that almost every mass shooting has taken place in an area where people were not allowed to have guns, so we don't really know if someone could have stopped it. As for the claim that none have been stopped, a brief Google search proves that is wrong. I can find them pretty easily.

steves said...

“Armed civilians attempting to intervene are actually more likely to increase the bloodshed, says [Dr. Stephen] Hargarten [a leading expert on gun violence and emergency medicine], ‘given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances.’ A chaotic scene in August at the Empire State Building put this starkly into perspective when New York City police officers confronting a gunman wounded nine innocent bystanders.”

I am trying not to be snarky, but the authors support of the idea that armed civilians are going to make things worse is an incident where the police wounded nine innocent bystanders. I can find any reported incident where an average person did this. Considering that there are some estimated 2 million defensive gun uses every year, there would be some.

If anything, I think that shows that the police should be using more restraint. I found several studies that the average number of shots fired by police in every encounter has gone from 2-3 in the early 1970's to more than 17 now.

"When automobiles, toys or other manufactured goods are deemed unsafe they are recalled. New laws and regulations put into place. When food items, drugs or medical procedures are deemed the same – there are quick solutions put into effect. Yet when tens of thousands of persons are killed by handguns over an incredibly short period of time with numbers escalating significantly in just the last few years – we are somehow deemed un-American for daring to ask questions, for asking for some sort of national dialogue on the matter."

I don't think this is a fair comparison. I am not trying to minimize gun deaths, but the guns performed as they were supposed to perform. They were not defective. We are not talking about accidental discharges.

steves said...

" For those of you wanting to whimper about Mexico, its ban on firearms and failure to curb gun related deaths, don’t forget that a huge majority of those firearms come from the USA."

This is not true. Period. There is no data that is very accurate, but the highest estimate I could find was 17%, which is surprisingly low, considering how close Mexico is to the US. The Cartels use military grade that they buy or steal from the corrupt Mexican Army or from various groups in Central and South America.


(Don’t forget, it’s working out pretty damn well for the rest of the planet.)"

It was working fine before the regulations. In some places, the violent crime rate went up. Regardless, you can't say that gun laws are the cause of people being safer.

"The controlled study documented in these videos show that concealed carry permit holders are fooling themselves if they think they will be able to react effectively to armed aggressors. Most CCW holders won’t even be able to un-holster their gun. They will more likely be killed themselves or kill innocent bystanders than stop the aggressor.

For more details, see “Unintended Consequences: Pro-Handgun Experts Prove That Handguns Are a Dangerous Choice for Self-Defense.” http://www.vpc.org/studies/unincont.htm."

This was not a "controlled study." It was a piece by the VPC, which is an anti-gun lobbying group, that just cuts and pastes statements from a variety of trainers and makes an incorrect conclusion. I have read many things by those trainers and they have never advocated what the VPC is suggesting. This kind of reminds me of the studies done by the tobacco companies that concluded smoking was good for you.

The videos were from an ABC News report. There were all sorts of problems and I would hardly conclude that it was proof that any person would be ineffective. It should be noted that Diane Sawyer did not interview a single advocate for concealed carry or talk to any experts on that side.

"It should be at least as difficult to legally own a gun as it is to legally drive a car."

This tells me that the author does not own one of these things. It is far easier to own/operate/possess a car than it is a gun.

I agree that we should be able to talk about gun laws in a reasonable and rational way. We should find what works and do it. We should also be cognizant that we are dealing with a fundamental rights and any law needs to have strong correlation to public safety and it must be proven that it actually works.

I know that the author of this article is mad, but I am skeptical that the author really wants a dialog or is willing to listen to the other side.

Streak said...

Ok, not bad. Not bad at all. Some good points here. I thought about the police shooting as evidence of bad civilian action too. but I believe there was a very near miss with the Gabby Giffords shooting where a civilian very nearly shot another person involved. I also take your point about the Diane Sawyer interview being rather one sided. I get that too, and nothing there proved that a gun in private hands couldn't stop shooter. But it did raise some of the fundamental questions about that NRA justification. After all, the Police friendly fire issues isn't exactly endorsing more guns in the situation, especially when the police have more training than civilians are likely to.

steves said...

That is a valid point. Non-police have training that varies a great deal, from almost nothing to a great deal.

There are some important differences. Police are expected to use (though not necessarily fire) their guns in a wider variety of circumstances. They also enjoy more immunity from civil and criminal liability (as they should, in most cases).

As for data on how effective non-police are, there just isn't much. In MI, we can look at the annual report of CPL holders and see how many had their licensed revoked and for what reason. There were more than 300 out of several hundred thousand, but most did not involve the use of a gun and this does not include non-CPL gun owners. I am not aware of any national research.