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August 04, 2009

More Guns Don't Necessarily Lead to Higher Rates of Gun Related Crime

Chart p0rn of the day, via Grim, who comments:

...it could be that concealed carry rates have no appreciable effect on gun deaths, as counterintuitive as that would be for both the gun rights and gun control crowds.


In looking at this chart, the Editorial Staff snidely thought to ourselves that the more guns = more gun-related crime meme rests on the assumption that all gun owners (whether they obtain firearms legally or otherwise) are equally disposed to commit crimes.

Doesn't make much sense, does it?

In addition to looking at the supply of guns, I thought it might be interesting to look at what has happened to the supply of criminals over time. Though this tidbit is interesting, I'd prefer to see normalized incarceration data:

the nationwide prison population swelled by about 80 percent from 1990 to 2000, increasing by as much as 86,000 a year. By contrast, from 2007 to 2008, that population increased by 25,000, a 2 percent rise.

Thanks to the magic of Google, here's a time series graph of the incarceration rate over the same time period used in the firearms chart:


What happens if we visually extend the rate of increase over the first decade?


Admittedly this is just a rough visual extrapolation, but what strikes me is that the decade which exhibited the steepest increase in the incarceration rate (1990-1999) just happens to be the same decade that firearm related deaths, per capita firearm related deaths, and per gun firearm related deaths all experienced the swiftest rate of decline.

How conveeeeeeeeeeeenient. Of course, none of this is dispositive. After all, correlation does not prove causation. But it sure is suggestive as all getout.

Which leads me to ask: if you buy into the notion that putting more guns on the street causes more gun-related crime, on what rational basis do you discount the idea that leaving more criminals on the street inevitably leads to more gun-related crime?

'Tater guns don't kill people. Potatoes kill people.

Posted by Cassandra at August 4, 2009 12:18 PM

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I remember a few years ago hearing the incredulous shout of someone that our crime fighting methods are not working because although the crime rate did indeed seem to be going down, the number of people in prison had increased exponentially.


Posted by: airforcewife at August 4, 2009 01:05 PM

Unfortunately, prison isn't a very good solution because it doesn't actually solve the problem. It does take some criminals out of circulation for a while, but it returns them to society as bad or worse than when they went in; and more vulernable to economic pressure to commit crimes, as their record makes it harder for them to be employed.

I'd like to see a much expanded use of capital punishment for violent crimes, with fines and/or service for nonviolent crimes. I also liked bthun's suggestion for a return to corporal punishment for things like burglary, nonviolent theft, or joining Congress.

Posted by: Grim at August 4, 2009 01:37 PM

Corporal punishment should only be administered to first-term Congresscritters.

A second offense would rate Capitol pun


Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2009 01:53 PM

Oh, I'm not saying jail is a *good* solution, Grim.

I was just amused by the thought that putting people who commit crimes in jail may be a better solution than violating the Constitutional rights of people who are not predisposed to commit crimes.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 4, 2009 02:00 PM

While still serving God and country, I was, at times, stationed in states where it was relatively easy to get a concealed weapon permit. These also happened to be states where it was exceptionally rare for crimes to be committed with a handgun. In fact, with the exception of hunters coming in from other locals, it was rare that even an accidental shooting took place. That being said, nothing is going to convince the Chuck Schumers of the world to change their point of view.

As with most things the Left does not agree with in the Constitution, rather than holding a plebiscite on the matter to amend it, they go about it by undermining it with judicial activism. For instance, we have same sex marriage - something of an oxymoron - in Massachusetts. This was ruled upon by the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth when just one justice was missing. He would have voted against, but with his absence, the Left had their majority. The pro same sex marriage crowd insist - despite polls that overwhelmingly disagree - the people of the Commonwealth support it, and refuse to let the people vote upon it. Well, for the next three and a half years, look for more of this at the Federal level.

Posted by: RIslander at August 4, 2009 02:14 PM

"That being said, nothing is going to convince the Chuck Schumers of the world to change their point of view."

I wonder... If Chucky was the victim of a house invasion with perps wielding handguns at him and/or his loved ones (and perhaps spending an hour wringing out his panty-wads after the ordeal) he just might see things a little more clearly?

Posted by: ziobuck at August 4, 2009 03:47 PM

In looking at this chart, the Editorial Staff snidely thought to ourselves that the more guns = more gun-related crime meme rests on the assumption that all gun owners (whether they obtain firearms legally or otherwise) are equally disposed to commit crimes.

This is the entire premise behind the modern gun control movement. It's not bad *people* that are responsible for murder, it's the gun. If only they didn't have the gun, everything would have been fine. This thug who had no problem violating laws against murder would never dare violate a law against owning a gun and would thus be magically transformed into a model citizen. Or vice versa: putting a gun in the hands of a model citizen will magically transform them into thugs who have no problem shooting their neighbor because his dog pooped in their yard.


I think it's partially due to projection. If *they* had a gun, *they'd* be tempted to shoot their neighbor over dog poop.

But if you want to see the truly blind just look at all those places with wide gun ownership whose streets are not running red with blood. Yet, every time a gun law is repealed we *still* hear the usual suspects claim that it'll be the Wild West all over again. And dammit if reality just won't cooperate as it just keeps not happening.

Gun control activists are like Linus sitting up waiting for the Great Pumpkin. He never shows up, but they're still convinced that *this time* it'll happen.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 4, 2009 03:56 PM

If Chucky was the victim of a house invasion with perps wielding handguns at him and/or his loved ones (and perhaps spending an hour wringing out his panty-wads after the ordeal) he just might see things a little more clearly?

Nope, he'd just blame the gun. Obviously, if the perp didn't have a gun, he wouldn't be a criminal who would break into houses to start with.

Re: Jails and gun-control...
I'm reminded of Terry Pratchett's Night Watch:

There had been that Weapons Law, for a start. Weapons were involved in so many crimes that, Swing reasoned, reducing the number of weapons had to reduce the crime rate. [snip] Amazingly, quite a few weapons were handed in. The flaw though, was one that had somehow managed to escape Swing' and it was this: criminals don't obey the law. It's more or less a requirement for the job. They had no particular interest in making the streets safer for anyone except themselves. [snip] It wasn’t that the city was lawless. It had plenty of laws. It just didn’t offer many opportunities not to break them. Swing didn’t seem to have grasped the idea that the system was supposed to take criminals and, in some rough-and-ready fashion, force them into becoming honest men. Instead, he’d taken honest men and turned them into criminals.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 4, 2009 04:15 PM

I'm having a

"Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

Your comment was denied for questionable content."

moment and I can't get up... So I'm gonna break the diatribe into thirds to see if I can isolate the affront to good taste and the blog filters. My apologies for the disjointedness of it all...

< Part 1 >

Speaking of Senior Senator from NY, according to information Mark Levin dug up, Chuck has a permit and carries a piece.

Typical of the progressive mind. *rolls variations on moistened b*'s tossing Concealed Carry permits around and comes up with nothing* The unwashed having the means to defend themselves is a threat to the power of the government widgets.

< /Part 1 >

Posted by: bthun at August 4, 2009 05:23 PM

Ha! After a few permutations relocating Chuck -the blog filters are conservative at heart, outstanding!- it took, so here goes with parts two and three.

Funny, but back in my day, kids carried their rifles to school for training and competition.

Rare was the youngster in my neck of the woods who had reached the age of 10 and did not have a rifle, a shotgun and in some cases, a revolver. And of all the little rascals, I can't recall a single one, then or since, that used their abilities with and possession of firearms to harm others. What was wrong with us back then?!

Admittedly, crime was so bad in those dark days that we never locked a door. Property was never vandalized, the exception being T.P. elves decorating the trees and shrubs. Little to nothing of significance was ever stolen in my little town.

Back in the dark ages, criminals were unceremoniously tossed into the jail to be punished for their crimes. Rehab was left up to the individual offender to sort out.

Yep, I can remember when criminals were punished. Made to work on county and/or state property. Made to police trash from the highways under the direction of Walkin' Boss. Sling the tall grass on the sides of the highways. Maintain government property. Work. In the summertime too! Oh the humanity... BTW: The aforementioned Walkin' Boss is no relation to my Walkin' Boss.

Looking back, I think crime and punishment was in a stable state. A state that had evolved over the ages and had served society well. Until The Seers and Psychic Friends of Offenders sought affirmation through their attempts to understand and rehabilitate the criminals. *sigh*

Now following their lead, society wrings their collective hands and wonders what we did that caused the poor convicted criminals to hate us so much so that they were forced to break the laws of our land.

Some mushy, misguided individuals even go so far as to idolize the convicts. Some extend invitations to discuss differences with thugs and criminals. Jawbone evil into submission as it were.

With fruitcakes like that mingling in amongst us, and in some cases running the show, dang right I tote. I don't leave home without it.

Regarding crime versus CCW, for my money, John Lott and David Mustard produced the definitive study in, what 1998? Lott & Mustard not only went out of their way to invite review of and comment on their study/analysis from the gun control folks prior to releasing the study, but Lott has repeatedly debunked the Violence Policy Center, Handgun Control Inc., et al. debunker's with deft precision.

Or what YAG said.

*resumes nap*

Posted by: bthun at August 4, 2009 05:27 PM

Yes, but bthun, Chuckie is an important person who has *legitimate* needs to be able to protect himself.

You? Well, you just aren't that important.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 4, 2009 05:42 PM


*cough* *cough*

Ah, sorry 'bout that...

I think I need a beer. =8^}

Posted by: bthun at August 4, 2009 05:46 PM

After church, one friend and I were discussing women's issues: Revolvers versus automatics.
She nearly passed out when I told her she too, could have a CCW in Our County. She has hastened to get one before they are all gone.

Posted by: Cricket at August 4, 2009 07:24 PM

Already been done, authoritatively and indisputably. Dr. John Lott studied data from EVERY county in the US over a seven year period, and has proven that concealed carry does result in drops in violent crime. Since then many have tried to disprove his results. The best they have been able to do, by ignoring the data from certain counties, is to say that CCW does not raise crime.

Therefore, the WORST that can be said about CCW is that it does not raise crime. So why should anyone object to it, unless they are actually objecting to freedom.

-dan z-

Posted by: -dan z- at August 5, 2009 08:07 AM

I live in the country so aptly referred to by one of your statesmen as "Soviet Canuckistan", and let me tell ya...the only decision we're allowed in terms of running our personal security is whether to laugh resignedly or cry in despair - it's beyond insane and has been for decades, since the famously pink (if not outright red) Pierre Trudeau's AG said, behind closed doors (but thankfully still recorded for the history books):

"We have decided that our focus will be to stop trying to protect society and instead work on rehabilitation of the perpetrator." Words almost exactly to that effect, haven't got the quote handy.

Well, the effects are plain: the violent crime rate has more than doubled since then; a random case in my home town saw a man convicted of a premeditated hate murder released after 4 years in stir.

The same political party famously followed that up many years later with a gun-control bill demanding all owners register their weapons, with restricted weapons to be turned in for destruction. That cost we taxpayers 3 billion dollars and along with the previously mentioned mandate of our Justice Department accomplished just this: not only are violent offenders serving shorter (or nonexistent) terms of incarceration as more and more illegal firearms enter our country; we who are most likely to suffer the effects of violent crime are left defenseless.

In my small middle-income neighborhood there was until recently a meth lab. A known crackhead living with parents performs routine B&Es. Self-styled gangbangers intimidate women and children. And nothing is being done, and nothing WILL be done. After a while you just give up hope for change and pray nothing will happen to you and yours.

Don't ever envy we Canadians; we are a nation of moral cowards run by spineless, ivory tower pseudointellectuals who care about one thing only: whether or not the far-left (government-funded) media helps keep them in power. The insecurity they have deliberately bred into us as a matter of policy is how they keep us obedient.

Posted by: Micahel H Anderson at August 22, 2009 04:27 PM

Mr. Anderson,

Down here in the South end of the US we have a saying.
It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by six.

We're also quite fond of Μολὼν λάβε.

Here's hoping that you and yours recover some of your lost freedoms. Primarily, the right of self-defense.

Best regards.

Posted by: bthun at August 22, 2009 06:45 PM