The Truth Is Scary To The Gun Prohibitionists!

The cult of personality known as Giffords sent out a fundraising email this afternoon. They called attention to the NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas and, in particular, to a seminar put on by Dr. John Lott regarding the false and misleading claims made by the gun control industry.

This weekend, the NRA gathers for its annual convention in Dallas, Texas.

And on Sunday morning, at 11 am, one of the most important events happens in two combined meeting rooms, D163 and D165, on the ground floor of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Conference Center. It’s titled:

“The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against the False Claims That Will be Made Against Guns During the Election”

Here’s the truth: the American people are wise to the game. They know that if more guns made America safer, we would be the safest nation on the planet.

But change will never happen until candidates and elected officials understand there is more to fear from all of us than what’s happening in Dallas this weekend.

They are correct about two things: the NRA gathers this weekend in Dallas and John Lott’s message is important. If Dr. Lott’s message, facts, and figures were not valid and not important, they would not have brought attention to it. If they didn’t consider it a threat, then they wouldn’t have attacked it.

Notice their sleight of hand in saying “if more guns made America safer, we would be the safest nation”. The former is comparative while the latter is superlative. Thus, in their false comparison used to attack gun ownership, one more firearm would make the US the safest country in the world. No one in the gun rights community has makes that argument.

Jonathan Sullivan aka Linoge at the blog Graphical Represention and its predecessor Walls of the City looked the gun control argument of more guns equal more deaths.  He found a negative correlation between the two. Moreover, he has replicated this study for a number of years as new data has become available. Using both firearms/death per capita and total firearms/deaths, he found a negative correlation. While it can’t prove that more guns equal less deaths, it can be used to show that more guns does not more deaths.

Read Sullivan’s work and read Dr. Lott’s work. Both have delved into the numbers and found the arguments of the gun prohibitionists and their gun control industry lacking.

We Need Hand Registration!

If you were a kid growing up in the Sixties (or maybe any era), there were always playground myths. One of the ones I remember was that if you had a Black Belt in Karate you were required to register your hands with the police. I think earlier generations may have had something similar about champion boxers.

Of course this was just a myth based partly on the unknown. Karate was considered strange and foreign and imbued with super-human effectiveness. You didn’t have karate as an Olympic sport then and you certainly didn’t have dojos on every corner training little kids in the martial arts so as to teach them self-discipline.

I bring this up because I saw an article by AWR Hawkins on the just released 2015 FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

According to the FBI, approximately 252 people were killed with rifles in 2015. Nearly twice that figure–approximately 595–were killed with “hands, fists, or feet, etc.”

These numbers are not unprecedented. Breitbart News reported that the FBI’s 2014 Uniform Crime Report showed the number of people killed with a rifle that year was approximately 251. Over twice that figure–approximately 670–were killed by being beaten to death with “hands, fists, or feet, etc.”

Looking at the individual states, you see places like New York, California, Massachusetts, and Maryland which highly regulate “assault weapons” with ratios as high as 20:1 of deaths by hands or feet when compared to deaths where a rifle was used. I suppose the gun prohibitionists would make the argument that you see such high ratios because of how these states regulate these “killing machines”.

This argument fails when  you see that virtually unregulated shotguns are used just as often as the murder weapon of choice as a rifle in those states. It has similarly high ratios when compared to deaths by hands and feet.

A quick glace at the state by state murder statistics tells me two things. First, the total number murdered in a state is highly dependent on the population of the state. Second, there are going to be states like Louisiana which are just outliers. They have a murder rate that is much greater proportionately than many other states. I don’t know Louisiana law but I’m thinking that great Southern rationale of  “he needed killing” might be a valid defense to the charge of murder there.

Why Pass New Laws If You Won’t Enforce Existing Ones?

Jim Baker, the NRA-ILA Director of Federal Affairs, represented the NRA at the meeting last week with Vice-President Joe Biden and his task force. During that meeting, Baker emphasized the need to enforce existing gun laws. One of the items he mentioned was the low prosecution rate for falsifying answers on the ATF Form 4473.

Biden’s response?

“And to your point, Mr. Baker, regarding the lack of prosecutions on
lying on Form 4473s, we simply don’t have the time or manpower to
prosecute everybody who lies on a form, that checks a wrong box, that
answers a question inaccurately.”

The Daily Caller article summarized the lack of prosecutions:

In 2010, prosecutors considered just 22 cases of information falsification, according to a 2012 report to the Department of Justice by the Regional Justice Information Service. Forty additional background-check cases ended up before prosecutors for reasons related to unlawful gun possession.

In all, prosecutors pursued just 44 of those 62 cases. More than 72,600 applications were denied on the basis of a background check.

Bear in mind that each false answer on a Form 4473 carries a penalty of up to 10 years in Federal prison.

It isn’t just falsifications of Form 4473 that the Obama Administration seems not want to prosecute. In the table below, the number of firearms cases files and the number of convictions in US District Court is summarized by fiscal year for the period FY 2001 to FY 2010. A Federal fiscal year begins on October 1st of the preceding year. Thus, FY 2001 began on October 1, 2000. FY 2010 is the latest year in which statistics are available.

Cases Filed
Federal Firearms
Offenses, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, SUNY-Albany School of
Criminal Justice

The number of  cases brought involving violations of Federal firearms laws is currently at the lowest level since FY 2001. That year the responsibility was part Clinton and part Bush. It is obvious that US Attorneys in the Bush Administration took violation of firearms law more seriously than do the US Attorneys in the Obama Administration. Comparing the high year of prosecutions under Bush – FY 2004 – with the first full year under Obama – FY 2010 – prosecutions have dropped by 33%. This is for all firearms prosecutions which includes felon in possession among other things.

Jim Baker points out the disconnect between pushing new firearms laws when you don’t prosecute existing laws.

“We think it is problematic when the administration takes lightly the prosecutions under existing gun laws and yet does not seem to have a problem promoting a whole host of other gun laws,” Baker told TheDC.

“If we are not going to enforce the laws that are on the books, it not only engenders disrespect for the law but it makes law-abiding gun owners wonder why we are going through this exercise we are going through now,” he added.

With an approximately 20,000 firearms laws already on the books in the United States, one more law passed won’t stop criminals. Some of the laws being promoted by the Obama Administration and the gun control forces in Congress would, however, make it harder for the average, law-abiding citizen to protect him or herself from the criminal class.

Is that what we really want criminal law to do? The answer is obviously a resounding no.

Lies, Damned Lies, And Statistics

Jim Shepherd, publisher and editor of The Outdoor Wire, called out the Associated Press today for some of their reporting on gun sales. We all know that gun sales have been surging throughout the year. However, the AP would have you believe sales in Colorado and Connecticut, scenes of horrible tragedies, were off.

From the AP story “Fewer excited gun-buyers in Colorado and Connecticut”:

The government’s figures suggested far less interest in purchasing guns
late in the year in Connecticut and Colorado, where background checks
also increased but not nearly as much as most other states … Only New Jersey and Maryland showed smaller increases than
Colorado in December from one month earlier.

Sales must really be impacted there, right?

Not exactly as Jim notes:

Sounds reasonable, right? After all, these states are both reeling from the havoc caused there by crazies.

Not necessarily. While the story is accurate that the biggest surges in
background checks for gun purchases were in the South and West, the
numbers weren’t exactly insignificant in either Connecticut or Colorado.
The increases in NICS checks, and as may be implied, gun sales, in
those states were only sixty five and sixty-four percent,
respectively. Colorado’s checks frose from 35,009 in October to 53,453
in December. Connecticut went from 18,761 to 29,246 during the same

It might be more accurate to say that “despite horrific tragedies, the
demand for firearms in both Connecticut and Colorado grew, although not
as fast as the red-hot markets in the South and West.”

But that wouldn’t fit the narrative, although the observation that
“background checks also tend to increase after mass shootings, when gun
enthusiasts fear restrictive measures are imminent.”

 Wouldn’t fit the narrative should be the new motto for the mainstream press when it comes to gun sales and the use of guns for self-protection.

Do Gun Numbers And Fatalities Correlate?

The answer is yes – negatively. In this case, negative is good. The more negative it is, the better.

We know that because of a lot of hard work and number crunching by Linoge at Walls of the City blog. He has just put out his Graphics Matter, Year the Third. He has examined the available data from the last 28 years and has thoroughly debunked the gun prohibitionists’ theory that more guns equals more deaths. His analysis leads him to conclude:

1. The hypothesis of “more guns = more deaths” is demonstrably false over the past 28 years of documented American history. The number of firearms in civilian circulation have been steadily increasing over that time period, and the number of firearm-related fatalities has not been equivalently increasing. However, again, since there seems to be some confusion on the concept, proving “more guns = more deaths” to be false does not prove “more guns = fewer deaths” to be true. Doing so would require accounting for far more variables than I did, and involve far more interesting math than I employed, and require controlling for far more variables than I care to.

2. When comparing raw numbers, there is a weak, negative correlation between the number of firearms in America and the number of firearm-related fatalities, and that correlation seems to become more negative with additional data.

3. When comparing rates, there is a strong, negative correlation between the number of firearms per person in America and the number of firearm-related fatalities per person, and that correlation seems to become more negative with additional data.

And unlike the gun prohibitionists, he provides his full analysis and data. That is very important in this sort of research. It allows other researchers the ability to replicate his results. Being able to do that serves to confirm the validity of his findings.

The work that Linoge did is very sophisticated but very understandable. I have had 5 semesters of statistics over the years and I would say the work he has done here is every bit as rigorous as what would be seen in a peer-reviewed journal article. Unlike a journal article, he explains what he did every step of the way and didn’t fill his page with academic jargon mumbo-jumbo.

The post that Linoge just put up should be read by everyone involved in the fight for gun rights. It is that important.

“Violence Prevention” Researcher Says Gun Owners Are Drunks

The title simplifies it just a bit but Dr. Garen J. Wintermute of the Violence Prevention Research Program, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis does say there is a link between firearms ownership and alcohol-related “risk behaviours” according to an abstract published in Injury Prevention yesterday.


Alcohol use and firearm ownership are risk factors for violent injury and death. To determine whether firearm ownership and specific firearm-related behaviours are associated with alcohol-related risk behaviours, the author conducted a cross-sectional study using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for eight states in the USA from 1996 to 1997 (the most recent data available). Altogether, 15 474 respondents provided information on firearm exposure. After adjustment for demographics and state of residence, firearm owners were more likely than those with no firearms at home to have ≥5 drinks on one occasion (OR 1.32; 95% CI 1.16 to 1.50), to drink and drive (OR 1.79; 95% CI 1.34 to 2.39) and to have ≥60 drinks per month (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.14 to 1.83). Heavy alcohol use was most common among firearm owners who also engaged in behaviours such as carrying a firearm for protection against other people and keeping a firearm at home that was both loaded and not locked away. The author concludes that firearm ownership and specific firearm-related behaviours are associated with alcohol-related risk behaviours.

I’m sure this must explain why the Brady Campaign ranked the state of Utah dead last with a score of zero.  Why it must be full of gun-owning and gun-toting drunks!

Except that Utah is heavily Mormon (about 60%) and the Mormons have a doctrine against alcohol use. Utah also has the lowest alcohol-related fatalities per 100,000 people at 1.93 for 2008.

Cherry-picked data will give you any results you want especially if you start your research with an agenda.

H/T Josh