Gun Rights: Part 2: Violent Crime: Will Reasonable Gun Control Save Lives? [202*4]

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TIME PERIOD IS 1976 - 2004 and Rate IS BETWEEN 0 and 45 per 100,000TIME PERIOD IS 1976 - 2004 and Y-AXIS IS NUMBER OF HOMICIDES FROM 0 - 16,000
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TIME PERIOD IS 1976 - 2004 and Rate IS BETWEEN 0 and 45 per 100,000
TIME PERIOD IS 1976 - 2004 and Rate IS BETWEEN 0 and 45 per 100,000 | Source
TIME PERIOD IS 1976 - 2004 and Y-AXIS IS NUMBER OF HOMICIDES FROM 0 - 16,000
TIME PERIOD IS 1976 - 2004 and Y-AXIS IS NUMBER OF HOMICIDES FROM 0 - 16,000 | Source

FACTS

Now, What About Violent Crimes?

WE FIRMLY ESTABLISHED A STRONG CORRELATION between the Rate of Gun Ownership and the Rate of Death for all causes. This needed to be done first because the result is the basis of the conclusion. As you saw in the comments to Part 1, however, the concern among gun advocates is "how does the gun ownership affect violent crime?"; their contention, of course, is that it reduces it. Part 2 will take an initial, but not the only look at that question.

I pause here to note, for the record, that after working on Part 4, I found it necessary to change the titles of this series of hubs! Why? Because the problem with preconceived notions is that they are often wrong. Going into this study, I felt very strongly that, like my original title suggested, "more guns leads to more violent crimes". I went so far as to end the title with "It Is As Simple As That!" Well, after doing additional analysis in Part 4, which is not presented in this section, I determined "It Is NOT As Simple As That!" Consequently, I had to make a very small, yet life altering (to my preconceived notion) change to the hub title by switching the words "It" and "Is" and replacing the "!" with a "?" While the information presented in this hub started pointing me in this direction, I felt that with other independent variables, I could keep what I believed to be true, and prove it as well. Well, that didn't work out as I had hoped.

In this hub, we will consider the category of "violent" crime and its constituents murder, aggravated assault, forcible rape, and robbery; those are the offenses which the FBI tracks as violent crimes. It is worth noting at this point that violent crime has been decreasing since 1994 now, except in 2006 and 2007, when there was a brief uptick. This decline coincides with the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention and Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Acts of 1994; these were the last major pieces of federal gun control legislation passed. Since then, the only significant action was the expiration of the assault weapon ban from the second Act in 2004 leaving them legal to acquire and possess again.

(Just a quick note - a comment was made in Part 1 that implied the US has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world; that is not quite true. America's homicide rate, for example, is 2.8, which is 9.6 times higher than such countries as Norway, Ireland, England, France, Germany, Canada, etc. We do save some face however, for America's homicide rate is 16.3 times lower than Russia, Honduras, Venezuela, and El Salvador.

Similar to the last section, the statistics to establish this relationship are as difficult, if not more so, to determine a similar relationship between Rate of Gun Ownership and Rate of Violent Crime. I won't, however, cover the several different scenarios as I did in Part 1 and just present the simplest reasonable view of "rate of gun ownership" vs. "rate of violent crime". Then, I will present the results of the multiple regression which will consider other variables. So, let's plunge on.

Where Do Criminals Get There Guns?

SOURCE
% FROM SOURCE - 1997
% FROM SOURCE - 1991
COMMENT
ILLEGAL
39.2%
40.8%
 
FRIENDS and FAMILIES
39.6%
33.8%
Notice shift to F & F from retail sales
RETAIL STORES
8.3%
14.7%
Decreased after implementation of Gun Control laws
PAWN SHOP
3.8%
4.2%
 
FLEA MARKET
1.0%
1.3%
 
GUN SHOWS
0.7%
0.6%
 
TABLE 1 - Source: Bureau of Justice Special Report, Nov 2001 (the last time a report like this was allowed to be published due to NRA sponsored law baring public disclosure of gun data.)
 
TOTAL
HAND GUNS
RIFLE
SHOTGUN
Comment
Type of Firearm Carried by Criminals During Crimes
16.6%
14.1%
1.3%
2.2%
Average of State and Federal
By Type of Crime
STATE
FEDERAL
 
 
 
Violent
30.2%
35.4%
 
 
 
Property
3.1%
2.9%
 
 
 
Drug
8.1%
8.7%
 
 
 
Public-Order
19.1%
27.3
 
 
 
Other or Not Known
39.5%
24.7%
 
 
 
Criminal History
 
 
 
 
 
1st Time Offenders
22.3%
9.5%
 
 
 
Recidivist
17.2%
18.4%
 
 
 
Use of Firearm
 
 
 
 
 
FIRED-Killed or Injured
22.8%
5.0%
 
 
 
FIRED-Other
26.3%
7.8%
 
 
 
BRANDISHED To Scare
48.6%
29.3%
 
 
 
BRANDISHED To Defend
41.1%
24.9%
 
 
 
Who Used During Current Offense
 
 
 
 
 
White
14.8%
16.7%
 
 
 
Black
21.1%
17.7%
 
 
 
Hispanic
17.6%
8.1%
 
 
 
Other
19.3%
17.9%
 
 
 
Educational Attainment (Current Offense)
 
 
 
 
 
GED or Less
40.4%
33.1%
 
 
 
High School Diploma
16.7%
14.5%
 
 
 
Some College
16.5%
16.1%
 
 
 
College Degree
12.1%
8.3%
 
 
 
TABLE 2
RATE OF VIOLENT CRIME vs RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 1
RATE OF VIOLENT CRIME vs RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 1 | Source

Who Brought the Shotgun

WITH NO PUN INTENDED, some of us in statistics call the above graph a "Shotgun" pattern, meaning the data points are scattered all about with no apparent pattern. Despite what looks like a downward slopping trend line superimposed on the graph, it really has no meaning. That becomes obvious when you consider the 1.2% R2 (R2 is discussed in more detail in Part 1). That low an R2essentially implies the equation you see predicts nothing; that the average is the best estimate.

Further, if you look at another statistic concerning the constant associated with the 'X' variable, the " t-statistic", it confirms there is no definable correlation between the two variables I chose. Normally, we look for a t-statistic to be such that it shows we have a 95% level of confidence that our 'X' coefficient is not zero, but is near what the model says it is. In this case, we only have a dismal 68% level of confidence. What that means is, with this model, our best prediction, given the data we have, is the constant - 441 violent crimes per 100,000 population regardless of what the % of gun ownership is. To be honest, while I wasn't expecting that result, I am not entirely surprised.

What did startle me were the results when I looked at the separate components of violent crime using only the rate of gun ownership as a predictor. Graphs 2 - 5 provides those results.

RATE OF MURDER vs. RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 2
RATE OF MURDER vs. RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 2 | Source

UNBELIEVABLE! WERE THE FIRST WORDS to cross my mind when I looked at Graph 2. My expectations were a noticeably upward sloping line, not a flat one. Likewise, I suspect those who advocate less gun control are equally surprised as they would expect the trend line to be sloping downward. How can the murder rate not be correlated with the rate of gun ownership, it is absolutely counterintuitive. But, there you have it, fifty data points is a reasonable number to establish a relationship if there is one.

This isn't to say that when combined with other factors, like we say in Part 1, gun ownership doesn't become more relevant. So, how about Rape?

RATE OF RAPE vs. RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 3
RATE OF RAPE vs. RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 3 | Source

NOW THIS A BIT MORE LIKE IT. The statistics are still in the tank, meaning you cannot use the formula to generate any predictions, but the trend line is much more clear. What is interesting is rape is one of the crimes where they believe gun ownership is much more effective at preventing that specific crime. I am not going to say "apparently not", but that answer is more likely now than the opposite, based on the data.

Now, let's look at robbery.

RATE OF ROBBERY vs. RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 4
RATE OF ROBBERY vs. RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 4 | Source

ROBBERY LOOKS LIKE THE PLOT FOR RAPE except the line appears to slope down at bit. But, like the one for Rape, looks can be deceiving for a glance at the R2 tells us our trend line is not even close to a good fit.

For the time being, the best estimate for Robberies in any state is 245.68 while for Rape, it was 19.48 per 100,000 population, respectively.

RATE OF AGGAVATED vs. RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 5
RATE OF AGGAVATED vs. RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 5 | Source

WITH AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, we are back to our shotgun pattern with no discernible trend. It is not hard to imagine, therefore, why the composite of these, Violent Crimes, also has no pattern when we consider only the Rate of Gun Ownership as a predictor of the Rate of Violent Crime.

The problem with that result is it is counterintuitive to both sides of the debate. The pro-gun lobby insists there is a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crimes, to wit: more guns, less crime, while the pro-gun control lobby believes just the opposite. Neither would believe the results I just presented and neither do I. (In Part 4, however, I do become a believer.)

So, as any good analyst would, you look deeper into the question, you peel back the onion, so to speak. Therefore, like I did in Part 1 when I was considering Total Deaths, I will turn to looking at multiple predictors (independent variables) which, when working together, explain a correlation; and that means multiple regression.

Since the issue is whether more guns cause more crimes, which is my hypothesis in other words, one looks for factors which are likely to influence that outcome, one way or the other. To this end, it seems to me, the density of guns in a state might work, it did in Part 1, anyway. The chart below presents one part of the result of the multiple regression.

What Graph 6 depicts is the affect the Rate of Gun Ownership has on the Rate of Violent Crime, taking into account the density of gun.

RATE OF VIOLENT CRIME vs. VARIABLE 1 - RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 6
RATE OF VIOLENT CRIME vs. VARIABLE 1 - RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP - GRAPH 6 | Source

IT SHOULD BE CLEAR TO YOU BY NOW from simple observation that there is no statistical relationship between the Rate of Gun Ownership (Independent variable 1) and the Rate of Violent Crime, even when adjusted for the influence of Gun Density (independent variable 2). But, in case you don't believe me, I offer you something new, Table 1 below. It is the set of statistics one considers in judging whether a multiple regression model is reasonable or not.

Some of the numbers I look at are the probabilities highlighted in red. For the model as whole to have a 95%-level of confidence that it is producing a good result,

TABLE 1
TABLE 1 | Source

FOR ME TO EVEN CONTINUE ON with this formulation, the "Significance F" of the F-Statistic needs to be 0.05 or smaller, as does the P-Value for each of the independent variables and the intercept. By looking at the numbers highlighted in red, you can see neither the model as a whole, nor any of the variables pass this test. As a result, I need to look further.

If you look back to Graph 6, you will see I labeled data points that fell well above and below the red "prediction" data points to see what that might tell me; and it showed me something very interesting. The majority of data points across the top, which is a high violent crime rate, would be considered "Red" states, while almost all of the data points along the bottom would be considered "Blue" states.

Consequently, I used a standard analytical technique and stuck in a dummy variable into the equation where I assigned a "1" to "Red" states and a "0" to "Blue" states to see what would happen. Table 2 is the result.

TABLE 2
TABLE 2 | Source

ADDING WHAT I CALL "POLITICS" INTO THE EQUATION made a dramatic improvement. Now don't anybody get to excited, on either the Right or the Left. This result doesn't mean being a conservative or being a liberal has anything to do with the Rate of Violent Crime. What it does suggest however, is that the factors underneath the reasons of why a state might be Red or Blue could have an influence. One that comes to mind is the prevalence of big metropolitan areas; an area I will dig much deeper into in a later Part.

But, for now, let's look at what we have in Table 2. The first thing we notice is the "Significance F" probability is now under 0.05 at 0.03, so the model as a whole is satisfactory in that regard. Next we can see that the intercept and the political (Red-Blue) variable have significant P-values as well, while the remaining two variables are still not significant, they got very much closer.

This means, of course, more looking. So, I turn back to my last sentence in the first paragraph about big metropolitan areas. That brings to mind one other variable that has been looked at before, population density. It seems reasonable how closely packed people are together would influence the degree they attack each other. Consequently, let's throw that into the mix and consider Table 3.

A MUCH BETTER MODEL, EVERYTHING IS SIGNIFICANT; BUT, IS IT GOOD ENOUGH? - TABLE 3
A MUCH BETTER MODEL, EVERYTHING IS SIGNIFICANT; BUT, IS IT GOOD ENOUGH? - TABLE 3 | Source

IN ONE WAY, EVERYTHING FELL INTO PLACE ... in another, it didn't. All of the statistics we have looked at so far now tell us we have a good model. Each of our variables (t-statistics, p-values) and the whole model (f-statistic, significance f) pass the less than 0.05 test; that is the good news. Why did they do that when each variable was not very good by itself? It is because of the interplay and interaction between the independent variables and how they affect the dependent variable.

For example, the rate of gun ownership seems to have a negative (reducing) influence on violent crime but the relationship is so weak as to be useless. Gun density appears to have a positive (increasing) impact on the violent crime rate, but again, by itself, has a poor correlation with the actual data. But, when the two variables are put in the same model, there is a synergistic effect that improves the predictive capability of each, but only when combined with the other.

The bad news is something I haven't mentioned in Part 2 yet, but brought up in Part 1, the "adjusted" R2. This statistic measures "goodness of fit" of the model, how well the predictions fit the data that produced the model's coefficients in the first place. We see it is .20 or 20%; meaning the independent variables explains only 20% of the variations in the dependent variable values, not a good number.

Nevertheless, I am going to ignore this problem for now because I know I can probably do better later when I do even deeper analysis. For the moment, I just want to illustrate the apparent general relationship; which, in some respects is currently bursting my bubble.

Unpacking an Equation

YOU KNOW, I NEVER UNDERSTOOD THIS STUFF when I was going to college trying to learn it, instead it took another 40 years for the material to finally sink in; talk about thick skulls! What is bothering me now is the sign on the variables X2 and X4 in the equation presented in Table 3, for my preconceived notion says it should be positive and not negative. Consequently, I need to satisfy myself that the sign is actually correct; I will tell you why in a moment.

But first, let's unpack the equation. In words, what the equation says is that the Rate of Violent Crime in terms of incidents per 100,000 population can be estimated by taking:

  1. 453.6 (the baseline incidents/100,000) and modifying it by adding
  2. 3.1 times the number of guns (X1) in the state per square mile and subtracting
  3. 599 times the % ownership of guns (X2) in a state and adding
  4. 151, if the state is Red (X3) and subtracting
  5. 0.4 times the number of people (X4) per square mile in a state

There are four implications from this equation:

  1. As the density of guns increase, so does violent crime
  2. If the factors which determine that more Republicans than Democrats are elected to the State Legislatures are present, then violent crimes increase 151 per 100,000 population, on average.
  3. The higher percentage of people who own guns in a state appears to drive down the incidents of violent crime
  4. As does the density of people, the higher the density, the lower the violent crime.

Neither of those negative numbers make sense to me, especially #4. Let's consider it a different way, how about the actual impact of variables X1, X2, and X4 (we know what X3 does already).

  1. ALASKA - Alaska is what is known as an outlier, which means its data point lies so far out of the norm, we must consider removing it from the data set; we will do that later. For now, know it contains the lowest density of guns (.73) and people (1.26), and the second highest % ownership (.578) of any State. The overall impact of those numbers is to drop the estimated violent crime rate by -193.5 to 260.1. The actual rate, however, is 632.6.
  2. WYOMING - It has the highest percentage of gun ownership at .597. It is also a largish, sparsely populated state with low densities, guns are 3.49/mile2 and people are 5.85/mile2. In this case, the baseline of 453.6 violent crimes/100,000 is modified by -208.1 leaving us with 245.8. Wyoming's actual rate is 219.3.
  3. HAWAII - Hawaii has the lowest ownership rate at .087, but pretty high densities at 18.86 and 216.8 for guns and population, respectively. The change those variables produce is -80.4, bringing the total violent crime rate down to 373.2 vs. an actual of 216.8.
  4. NEW JERSEY - New Jersey has the honor of having the highest density of both guns, at 140.8/mile2, and people, at 1205/mile2! Gun ownership, however, in that state is only 12.3%. That produces a -155.5 decrease in violent crimes from the baseline, leaving an estimate of 298.1. New Jersey's actual is 311.3.

I want you to notice two things.

  1. Wyoming, Hawaii, and New Jersey have comparable violent crime rates at 219, 217, and 311, respectively. However, they have two counter-veiling characteristics, a) Wyoming has high percentage gun ownership but low gun density, while b) Hawaii and New Jersey have low gun ownership but high gun density. That relationship is not an accident.
  2. Alaska, of course, breaks that mold with high gun ownership, low gun density along with a huge violent crime rate. Consider, however, that Alaska is mostly uninhabited with its small population concentrated in a small area. That effectively drives up the gun density so that you now potentially have a high gun ownership rate combined with a high gun density rate. Now the large violent crime rate is more understandable.

Summarizing Our Current State of Knowledge

FROM PART 1, WE KNOW WITH GREAT CERTAINTY, there is a strong correlation between the Rate of Gun Ownership and the Rate of Death For All Causes, primarily suicides. From Part 2, we just discovered that the Rate of Gun Ownership is weakly correlated with the Rate of Violent Crime, in general, and Murder and Robbery, specifically; there is no correlation with Rape or Aggravated Assault.

However weak that correlation appears to be at the moment, it is becoming clearer the correlation between gun ownership and violent crime is possibly negative, just as gun advocates claim. But gun ownership is not the end of the story. For the Rate of Gun Ownership to be meaningful, it must be considered in relation to, at this point of the analysis, with 1) gun density, 2) population density, and 3) state political make-up (knowing that is a substitute for other factors)

In combination, all of these factors are significant in predicting the Rate of Violent Crime, but, as important as they are, they only explain 20% of the variance in our data; not a very good model at all. Intuitively we know we are on the right track because it makes sense all of these variables are in play. The question is, what else is in play that may help explain more of the variation.

The main take-away from this hub, however, is that increasing the rate of gun ownership among law-abiding citizens, in and of itself, does not guarantee less violent crime as a whole, or of any of its components. On the other hand, from Part 1, when considering Total Deaths, there is a strong, positive (increasing) correlation between the Rate of Gun Ownership and the Rate of Total Deaths from all Causes.

With that in mind, we will next consider the Rate of Gun Ownership vs. State Gun Regulation.

Guns and Violent Crime Question

DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A STRONG RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HIGH GUN OWNERSHIP RATE AND LOW VIOLENT CRIME RATE?

  • YES, I BELIEVE THERE IS A STRONG RELATIONSHIP
  • NO, I DO NOT BELIEVE THERE IS A MUCH OF A RELATIONSHIP
  • I AM NOT SURE
See results without voting

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Comments 6 comments

MarcoMarks profile image

MarcoMarks 3 years ago from Fort Myers, Florida

I appreciate that you put a lot of time and effort into creating this fiction that is obviously meant to legitimize gun control but there are true facts, available to everyone who cares to look, from the Justice Department concerning 1993 to the present. The report came out this week in fact (first week of May 2013) and debunks virtually everything you've concluded.

FACT - not theory: Crimes involving guns where someone was shot and/or killed has decreased 39% since 1993.

FACT - not theory: Crimes involving guns where nobody was shot and/or killed has decreased 69% since 1993.

FACT - not theory (but not from this Justice Department report but from previous ones): EVERY state that has concealed carry licensing sees a decrease in crime overall of a minimum of 25% soon after concealed carry goes into effect and the crime rate continues to decrease slowly after that - EVERY time - proving without doubt that more legal guns reduce crime rates.

FACT - no theory: CT has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country and they do not deter crime, as you can see from the Sandy Hook tragedy. Same with NYC, Chicago, and Washington D.C. where they have the highest gun-related crime rates of anywhere in the U.S. Gun control allows and encourages increased crime.

FACT - not theory: If one or more people in the audience to watch Gabriel Gifford speak in a public place had been legally carrying a concealed handgun to stop the shooter, Gabriel Gifford may not have been shot at all and other lives could have been saved. Instead of being on a rampage to ban guns Gifford would today be on a mission to encourage the concealed carry that would have saved her.

FACT - not theory: The Colorado Batman movie theater shooter chose that specific theater because it had a posted "NO concealed handguns allowed" policy while all other area theaters showing Batman that night did not. He knew no resistance would occur as he committed his atrocity if the law-abiding audience was following the policy and was unarmed.

FACT - not theory: In a successful experiment many years ago, a town in a western state created a law that every household MUST own a legal and operating gun and everyone was happy to comply because most had guns anyway. If someone was too poor to buy one it was provided by the town government. When this odd law and activity surrounding it was reported by the media the crime in that town dropped to virtually zero.

In my opinion, the only thing your hub verifies as fact is that as a population grows the number of guns owned by that population increases as well. And because there are always crimes being committed upon a law-abiding population, the number of crimes in that specific population naturally also increases as the population grows. Because a percentage of those crimes are committed with guns, as the number of crimes being committed increases so does the number of crimes being committed with guns. That's just pure mathematical logic but it isn't a valid reason for decreasing the number of guns owned legally with illogical gun control laws that only affect law-abiding citizens. Key factor you completely ignore - criminals don't obey laws or they wouldn't be criminals. Gun control laws do not affect them except to make it easier and safer to commit crimes.

You go too far and extend the mathematical logic to beyond reality with a conclusion that by reducing known legal guns that crime will be decreased. Not true. Removing illegal guns from criminal types who are not licensed legally to have them would help decrease gun crime but removing the protection that law-abiding citizens enjoy because they own weapons would make crime much easier and far worse.

A better problem to attack is that current laws are not enforced well enough by the court system. Judges lean toward lenient sentences for reasons I do not understand other than possibly wanting to not overcrowd prisons with those who commit theoretically "small crimes." Current punishment for committing a crime with a gun are not tough enough. If all courts were forced to give criminals the maximum punishment allowable when a gun is involved, and judges went to lawmakers and petitioned for even stronger punishments they could use, crime would decrease.

Just two things can work as incentives to decrease or stop crime with guns:

1) Severe punishment to extremes for committing a crime with a gun, no matter what the crime. A life sentence for any crime committed whether the victim was threatened with the gun, shot at, or actually shot. Rob a 7/11 of $60 in the cash drawer with a gun and don't even shoot - life sentence. Shoot up a post office with a gun - life sentence. Shoot your girlfriend with a gun and she survives - life sentence. Shoot your girlfriend or someone at 7/11with a gun and the victim (or even your accomplice) dies - death sentence.

Legal concealed carry licensed citizens are taught to never reveal their gun in public because that is considered "brandishing" - certainly never take the gun out and point it at anyone - even in jest. If they do so, their license and gun is taken away, and they can never legally own one again in many states. Criminals brandishing or actually using a gun in the committing of a crime need life imprisonment for doing so because that was intentionally threatening force or using it - unless a death occurred then death penalty for the crime should apply.

2) The second incentive to stop criminals from committing crimes, in complete opposition to your hub conclusion, is an increased number of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves along with forced local media coverage of the statistics of increased armament. Local media needs to partner with law-abiding citizens and police agencies in reporting how increased gun ownership has decreased crime. Local media needs to spend more time reporting how armed citizens stopped crimes.

So Grandma Midge on Second Street is quivering in fear because everybody on the street is armed now. Who cares. At least Grandma Midge can then make it down her street without being beaten and robbed.

Even criminals interviewed in prisons agree that this works. They say almost unanimously that they'd be less likely to commit a crime upon an intended victim if they knew the person was armed. This is why gun-related crimes decreased 39 and 69% since 1993. Criminals must know that they could be shot and killed while committing even a minor crime. If the criminal is shot during a crime it should also be Federal indisputable law that they cannot sue the victim for damages that occurred. The criminal's family also cannot sue the victim for anything related to the crime that caused the criminal to be physically damaged or dead.

Statistics, actual events, and real facts such I have stated here speak for themselves. I do not have to formulate a theory matrix around anti-gun skewed statistics from sources like the AMA and others because my facts are reality not supposition. I will not jeapordize the safety of our citizenry by committing even a moment of my life to a false hope like disarming our country as European countries have done.

We are surrounded in the U.S. every day by criminals, foreign terrorists, and sociopaths who would kill us with homemade bombs, truckloads of fertilizer, hunting shotguns, knives, ball bats, or whatever they can find. Gun control and taking away the right to self defense is not the answer - it would be detrimental in fact.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for the comments, @MacroMarks. The facts and reasoning you present are well known, often cited, but statistically unsatisfying. Take your first two, for example. I cited the same fact early on in the hub, but then I followed up with a potential reason as to why the decline in the crime rate began, you didn't. What I said was - "It is worth noting at this point that violent crime has been decreasing since 1994 now, except in 2006 and 2007, when there was a brief uptick. This decline coincides with the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention and Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Acts; ..."

-- What national event took place in the early 1990s do you propose caused the precipitous drop in crime?

What you say about concealed weapons is, I am sure, true. But, it is also true, because crime was falling everywhere across the nation, that - "EVERY state that [didn't pass concealed carry licensing also saw] a decrease in crime overall of a minimum of [some percentage] soon after [those states who did pass a ] concealed carry goes into effect" My point of course, is you have to conduct the kind of analysis I present in my hub to determine if there is a statistically significant difference between those two rates of decline before you can even begin to try to attribute the cause to carrying concealed. Right now, you are presenting only part of the analysis.

Your fourth Fact is simple anecdotal and has zero statistical significance, meaning it doesn't prove a thing. Now, come up with several hundred of those scattered around states who have tough and not so tough gun laws, then you can do some analysis. Until then, all you have is interesting facts.

To your fifth Fact. In Fact, there were one or more people in the audience carrying concealed. The one report I watched on TV had the man carrying concealed telling the reporter that he didn't do anything for fear of 1) hitting other people, and 2) getting shot by other people.

So, by your sixth Fact. appear to be saying two things, 1) the shooter scouted out theaters to find the one in the city that had such a sign and 2) that he has confessed to this to authorities. Are you sure about your facts?

I think the town you are thinking of in the seventh fact is in Georgia. They passed that law, they say, in order to get some of the notoriety a town in Illinois got by banning guns in the city limits. Having said that, analyses have shown there has been some impact on lowering some crime, however the studies didn't mention what the increase in suicide rates were.

No, my methodology doesn't verify that as population grows, etc ... My technique is a standard technique used to take changes in population out of the equation by measuring things in terms of 100,000 people. So, whether you are talking about California or Wyoming, the rates are comparable because each is measured in as the number of deaths or crimes per 100,000 people.

FACT - not shown here, but will be in the next Part is that criminals get 61% of their guns from legal sources, mainly family and friends.

You have my vote on current laws not being enforced well enough.

While I feel the same way you do about the severity of punishments that should be meted out when a gun is used in a crime, I will have to leave the analysis of the effectiveness of that to another hub.

Just a note on your comment about European crime. I cite in the hub the following - "America's homicide rate, for example, is 2.8 to 9.6 times higher than such countries as Norway, Ireland, England, France, Germany, Canada, etc. We do save some face, however, by being 2.7 t0 16.3 times lower than Russia, Honduras, Venezuela, and El Salvador"

So you see, you might pick somewhere else to say you don't want to be like.


MarcoMarks profile image

MarcoMarks 3 years ago from Fort Myers, Florida

First, thanks for your civilized response. Many responses to comments are personalized flames.

The major problem I see with using methodology to scientifically "prove" something with statistics is that statistics themselves are suspect.

If I do a poll and ask, "Do you think handguns and rifles should be banned?" I will get a different result than if I ask, "Do you think large caliber automatic (many say automatic when it's really semi-automatic) handguns and assault rifles should be banned?" Whomever is taking the poll has flexibility to lead, in subtle ways, the poll to the end result they desire.

Every statistic can be erroneous, even government reports when there is a bias. U.S. government officials who are voted into office do it all the time to impress constituents. Look, for example, at the two ways of measuring unemployment. State the low one - hide the high one.

Scientists have the gall to say that they know where the end of the universe is now, based on calculations done with methodology. Technology on earth and in space provide estimated distances between specific markers but the farther away the markers are the closer they seem to become. Thus, based on the big bang theory, which itself cannot be verified as true, they feel that by calculating the difference in distance between markers as they get farther from us that they can define where the distance becomes virtually zero and determine how many light years away that is - thus that's the end of the universe.

Unfortunately, one tiny flaw in theory, one missed decimal point, one tiny measurement error, a tiny inaccuracy in the telephoto effect of convex magnifying glass, one bug in a software program, one little anything could throw the methodology so far out of whack that the result is completely erroneous. Besides, wouldn't the other half of the universe be on the other side of the zero point? How far does that half go? Preposterous conclusions.

I prefer to make my judgements and conclusions about things affecting my life by using a common sense approach from grassroots experiences. For example, I put emphasis on statistics from those who have guns, use guns, sell guns, practice to excel in shooting, make ammunition, and see the illegal and legal use of guns on a daily basis - police officers on the street specifically.

My brother and I carry concealed. He had a retail store until 2013. In 2009 an armed robber came in and stuck a revolver against the head of my brother's employee at 11 a.m. as he sat at the counter. The robber said, "Give me $200." The employee said there wasn't $200 because they just opened but there was money in the back room. The robber put his arm around the employee's neck with the gun still at his head and walked him toward the back room - my brother's office with a narrow entrance into it. The employee called out with a high pitched nervous voice, "I need some help out here." which tipped my brother off that something was wrong. He stood up from his desk and pulled his .45ACP out of the paddle holster in his pocket. As the robber came around the corner into the office door, my brother could see his elbow in the air and his hand and gun grip, and took his stance. The robber was shocked to find a .45 pointed at him and pulled the gun away from the employee to shoot at my brother - missing by more than 4 feet. The employee took a dive behind some stuff. My brother got off four shots that hit the robber and he finally ran off, staggering and collapsing farther down the street, and was taken to a hospital by the arriving police and ambulance. He survived and was put BACK in prison for 11 years. He had recently been release from an 8 year prison sentence for armed robbery.

My conclusion is not based on how many out of 100,000 are coming into that store to rob it, how many were previously imprisoned, what the percentage of success rate is for those having a gun fight during a robbery, whether a .45 out-powers a .357 in pound-feet or velocity at 15 feet, and analyzing, graphing, and calculating other statistics concerning nationwide criminal activity of the same type. My conclusion is: a robber with a gun (whether it was legal or not) was stopped from killing two people during a criminal assault because of legal concealed carry in that state and preparedness for assault. Carrying concealed legally is a good thing. I need nothing else to make that conclusion.

In another instance, my brother, my wife, my toddler, and a friend of mine were at a very large Chinese Buffet, sitting far from the front doors. It was a holiday, the place had been very busy, but it was about dusk and business had rolled off for the day. The owners are a nice couple with three young daughters who work there.

As we were sitting and talking after eating we heard a lot of loud hostile talking at the register. Two black guys were at the register, one saying he ate there earlier and gave the register girl a $50 bill but only got change for a $20. I've been in retail a long time and noticed the second guy was standing back about 6 feet behind and 6 feet to one side of the loud one - more toward the entrance to the register surround. They also both had very loose fitting jackets - easy to conceal guns. There was also an older Chevy Impala sitting outside the doors with a driver in it. To my brother and I these were all signs of a robbery about to happen.

Our friend looked at us and he knew what we were thinking. So we all casually moved closer to the front of the restaurant where there was a waist-high solid wood separator wall. The two men didn't see us moving up closer behind them. The owner came out and was yelling back at the man that his daughter at the register is completely honest, there had been no $50 bills that day, what they were saying was not true, and he was going to call the police.

If they had opened the drawer to see if there was a $50, I'm confident it would have been a robbery. The second guy finally saw the three of us from the corner of his eye and told his friend, "Come on, let's get out of here." The loud one then saw us and they walked briskly (semi-running) out and into the waiting car, leaving with tires burning. They knew the odds that we 3 were carrying concealed (we were) because we didn't scatter and were stone faced. Again, this conclusion is based on experiences not national statistics.

I am one to defend my loved ones, friends, and self - not hide under a table or seat like a pacifist weeny. If there were concealed weapons in the Batman theater and they were not used, the carriers should be guilty for the rest of their lives for not acting to save dozens of lives. I'm ashamed of them. Another non-methodology conclusion.

I'd recommend scaling your methodology downward to local analyzation, talking to street police officers, interviewing prison inmates, reading local newspaper crime reports, etc. to get a solid handle on grassroots reality instead of using overwhelmingly large international numbers that are more likely than not very skewed. Your current method is like determing how many ears of corn are in a 40 acre field while observing with binoculars from an airplane instead of walking the rows and counting.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I pride myself in not becoming ruffled, regardless of the provocation, although sometimes I do fall to the temptation of becoming sarcastic. I understand the power of anecdotal evidence, especially personal anecdotes. The problem with anecdotes, however, is they don't cover the universe of possibilities. I suspect, those supporting gun control can find anecdotes where the outcomes were just the opposite as the ones you describe and it will be a tit-for-tat argument with no conclusive outcome because each side can find counter-anecdotes.

That is why the field of statistics exists, and I am not talking polling, but formal statistical analysis of sets of data. The purpose of statistical analysis is to gather enough sets of data points which include the variable you are interested in; in this hub's case, the rate of violent crime and the potential independent variables which may influence that rate. Here, I looked at rate of gun ownership, gun density, population density, and Red- Blue (this only came in because looking at the data points suggested it might be a player, so I included it and found that it was.) Because, and this is the most important part, each state has different combinations of each of these variables, and I have 50 of them, which is a sufficient number, then I have enough to do meaningful analysis.

Why is it meaningful? Because the data is sort of like having a "blind" experiment where one group is given a medicine and another group is given a placebo, but nobody knows who got what. Then the results are compared to see if there is any statistical difference between the two groups. What I am doing instead, is seeing if an equation can be developed which will predict, with a reasonable degree of certainty, the rate of violent crime based on knowledge of gun ownership and density, population density, and whether the state legislature is predominantly Republican or Democratic.

It turns out I can. Although the "fit" is poor at this point, meaning I am missing some important variables, but the relationship seems right.

I do it this way, by the way, because this is what I did for a living for the Air Force, and I was reasonably good at it.

I appreciate your first comment, and agree with your next three, statistics can be misused, and often are, so it comes down to the reader discerning which are bogus or slanted, such as the questions you posed, or which are neutral and us proper methodologies.

The reason scientist accept the Big Bang now as a near certainty, is that predictions made from the theory can be observed in today's universe, no other alternative theory can do that. Of course, the Big Bang may still be wrong, but the probability that it is, is becoming smaller and smaller.


MarcoMarks profile image

MarcoMarks 3 years ago from Fort Myers, Florida

Well, this has been a good conversation. I can appreciate your reasoning for the statistical analysis and why you approach it in that manner. We have chosen different paths for supporting our stances on guns and that's our Constitutional right to do so. The main difference being that the next time a convenience store is robbed with me in it, I'll be able to defend myself, wife, and child and you won't because I'm pro and you are anti.

Most U.S. citizens will not give up their guns voluntarily and there will unfortunately be a revolution of some sort if the government continues to dabble in gun-control at the behest of radical special interest groups like the former Brady Bunch and achieves outlawing them enough with legislation to try a confiscation scheme before Liberals lose control of 2/3 of the federal government - in my view that loss of control will be in the next two elections.

Revolution may just be states leaving the U.S and breaking off on their own because of ObamaCare's failure and it sucking states dry and maybe combined with attempted government gun confiscation, such as Texas has threatened before, or something else entirely different. Hard to say.

I would think after a career of doing this with the Air Force (and you ARE very good at it by the way) I would prefer to sit in front of Jerry Springer and Walking Dead re-runs, and WWE Wrestling, every day instead and let my poor tortured mind rest!


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

The thing is, @MarcoMarks, nobody of any merit is seriously asking anybody to give up their guns, except maybe automatic assault rifles or worse. The debate, and my series of hubs, is about sensible regulation.

But, yes, it has been a good conversation.

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