TTAG reader RN writes:
Gun control is a huge political issue right now (especially right after the mass shooting in Orlando). Democrats are all about infringing on Second Amendment rights. They claim that Republicans and NRA members are mainly responsible for “gun violence” and are the reason why “common sense gun reform” laws need to be enacted. Like everyone else on TTAG, I had my doubts about their claims and decided to crunch some numbers to see which political party’s members commit more firearms murders.
I began by finding the most recent number of firearms murders (strictly murders, this doesn’t include suicides or justifiable homicides). The source I used: the Center for Disease Control WISHERS website. I chose the most recent year they had available (2014). According to the CDC, there were 10,945 murders involving firearms in 2014.
Next I needed to find an accurate source for murder rates by race. This needs to be broken down by race because each race will have different murder rates and voting rates, which is important for getting an final product based on political affiliation. The source I used was the US Department of Justice’s homicide report published in 2011. The information contained in this report was averaged from 1980 to 2008. Here are the murder rates that can be found on the third page of the report:
52.5% were black perpetrators
45.3% were white perpetrators
2.2% were perpetrators of other races
Lastly, I needed to find the political affiliation for these races. The source I used was Cornell University. I chose to use information from the last presidential election (2012). Here are the voting rates for the Democrats broken down by race:
93% of blacks voted Democrat
39% of whites voted Democrat
67% of everyone else (average of all races other than black/white) voted Democrat
With numbers in hand, I began my calculations. First up was calculating the number of firearms murders by race. There are a few assumptions in this calculation. For on thing, it assumes that the murder rate from the 1980 to 2008 time period is somewhat correct for 2014 (the year I’m using for firearm murders). It also assumes that there is a 1:1 victim to perpetrator ratio (we all know that this isn’t always true, i.e. mass murders by one perpetrator, but this is the easiest way to compute this information). Here are my calculations for 2014 firearm murders by race:
5,746.12 firearms murders by blacks (10,945 x .525)
4,958.09 firearm murders by whites (10,945 x .453)
240.79 firearm murders by others (10,945 x .022)
After this was complete, I needed to bring in another variable: political affiliation.
This calculation would give me the total number of firearms murders for Democrats (this political party is a continuation from the calculations above) in 2014 broken down by race. Again, there are a few assumptions here:
- the 2012 political party affiliation is correct for 2014 (the year I’m using for firearm murders)
- there is a 1:1 political party affiliation to each perpetrator ratio (we also know this isn’t completely correct because it assumes that every perpetrator belongs to one of these 2 political parties). We have to make this assumption because there is no other data to go off of for this portion of the analysis and I believe that any error caused by it would only be +/- a few percentage points (hardly enough to have any substantial influence over the outcome).
Here are my calculations for 2014 firearm murders by race and Democrat affiliation (using this party again to remain consistent):
5,343.89 firearm murders by black Democrats (5,746.12 x .93)
1,933.66 firearm murders by white Democrats (4,958.09 x .39)
161.33 firearm murders by other Democrats (240.79 x .67)
Time to add these up to find the total number of firearm murders that were perpetrated by Democrats in 2014:
7,438.88 total firearm murders by Democrats (5,343.89 + 1,933.66 + 161.33)
Lastly I found the percentage of firearm murders that were perpetrated by Democrats in 2014:
67.97% gun murders by democrats (7,438.88/10,945)
According to my calculations, about 68% of all firearm murders in 2014 were committed by Democrats. Only 32% of all firearms murders in 2014 were committed by Republicans. This means that Democrats committed twice the number of firearm related murders than Republicans (68/32 = 2.125). This leads to three very important conclusions:
- Republicans aren’t to blame for the number of firearm murders, as the Democrats try to claim
- If Democrats stopped shooting people, we could reduce our firearm related murders by almost 70%
- Guns aren’t the problem, Democrats are.