More Guns Means More "Gun Deaths"

I saw that someone posted this little bit of relatively useless information on facebook. Now, naturally, many folks will interpret this to mean that anyone having a gun is likely to use it to kill someone else. But, let's look a little deeper into this bit of folk 'wisdom'.

Firstly, I would note that if in fact there are more 'gun deaths' and also an increase in the number of guns, it is logical that an increasing number of people killed by the gun were shot by a legal gun owner defending his or her life and or property. That is a good thing.

It is also logical to think that many of the possessors of "more guns" are bad guys, criminals and crooks who are busy doing each other in. This is also a good thing.

A good argument can also be made that with an increase in the number of citizens owning and legally carrying guns for self defense, the number of citizen (read: good people) deaths have decreased since criminals are less likely to rob, assault and try to kill someone whom they suspect is armed. This fits nicely with the notion that the bad guys are doing themselves in more frequently.

On the other side, let's say that there were far fewer guns, that citizens were prohibited from owning or carrying guns. Then, I'd agree that the number of "gun deaths" might decrease overall, but would definitely increase for the poor, defenseless public.

Making bald, unsupported and ambiguous statements like "more guns equal more gun deaths" is like saying "more cars equal more car deaths". Maybe, but getting to what that really means, if it is true at all, requires honesty, research and an unbiased desire to get at the truth.

Like Mark Twain said, there are "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics".

Here are a few facts, not biased in one way or the other, just facts that can be checked for accuracy. From "Gun Control Facts." By James D. Agresti and Reid K. Smith. Just Facts, September 13, 2010. Revised 12/28/12.

A note about the research by Agresti and Smith:

This research is based upon the most recent available data in 2010. Facts from earlier years are cited based upon availability and relevance, not to slant results by singling out specific years that are different from others. Likewise, data associated with the effects of gun control laws in various geographical areas represent random, demographically diverse places in which such data is available.

Many aspects of the gun control issue are best measured and sometimes can only be measured through surveys, but the accuracy of such surveys depends upon respondents providing truthful answers to questions that are sometimes controversial and potentially incriminating. Thus, Just Facts uses such data critically, citing the best-designed surveys we find, detailing their inner workings in our footnotes, and using the most cautious plausible interpretations of the results.

Particularly, when statistics are involved, the determination of what constitutes a credible fact (and what does not) can contain elements of personal subjectivity. It is our mission to minimize subjective information and to provide highly factual content. Therefore, we are taking the additional step of providing readers with four examples to illustrate the type of material that was excluded because it did not meet Just Facts' Standards of Credibility.

See the link below for the source of the facts to follow and to see more for yourself:

In 2011 the US had a murder rate of 4.7 per 100,000. Chicago alone (known for their strict gun laws, even banning handguns) had a murder rate of 15.9. The last time our murder rate was below 4.7 was in 1963. State of Vermont allows anybody who can legally own a firearm to be able to carry it without a permit. Their murder rate is .4 per 100,000

According toBureau of Justice Statistics numbers, each year between 1987 and 1992 about 62,200 victims of violent crimes used guns to defend themselves, while another 20,000 annually used guns to protect property. According to the National Self-Defense Survey conducted by criminology professor Gary Kleck of Florida State University in 1993, Americans used guns 2.3 million times a year to defend themselves between 1988 and 1993.

A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:[21]

• 34% had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim"
• 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they "knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun"
• 69% personally knew other criminals who had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim"[22]

A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 3.5% of households had members who had used a gun "for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work, or elsewhere." Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 1,029,615 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all "military service, police work, or work as a security guard."[19]