WIRED ran an article over the weekend which tried to make the argument that America has a gun problem. And something must be done. istsor the children. Or something. The problem is that they debunked their own argument before they got even halfway through their own video.

The argument they intended to make is that the United States has seen an increase in firearms manufactured and sold. By their lights, this has caused a proportional increase in the danger to American citizens.

The problem: the numbers just don’t support that argument. Even with record firearms sales, the murder rate in the United States has steadily declined over the last couple decades.

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Even in places where violence has increased, the primary reason is gang activity and firearms use by people who possess them illegally — not the law abiding citizens who purchase new production firearms (which must be sold, according to Federal law, through licensed gun dealers and then only following a background check).

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WIRED goes on to show that tired old graph of “firearms deaths per capita” in the United States versus other countries. As I keep saying, looking at firearms deaths in the US compared to everywhere else is like looking at the alligator-related death rate in Florida compared that to Chicago. On the surface that comparison would make Florida seem much more dangerous, but in reality the probability of untimely death is far greater in the Windy City.

The only accurate comparison that can be made is by using the overall murder and accidental death rate in each country. Firearms aren’t the only thing that cause murders and death (hammers and fists are used to kill here far more often than long guns). But for some reason the folks at WIRED failed to make that point.

They also try to make the claim that strict gun laws mean fewer gun-related fatalities in the areas that enact them. This might be more convincing if it were restricted to murders only — accidental deaths are a thing that happens, whether with a firearm or your Jeep accidentally rolling over you and killing you in your garage.

But again, their argument doesn’t hold water for one simple reason: Chicago. They enjoy some of the strictest gun laws in the United States along with some of the worst gun violence in the nation.

The issue here isn’t one of gun owners emulating the three monkeys — we agree that more can be done to reduce violence in the United States. The difference is our perception of cause and solutions.

WIRED’s video polemicists believe that firearms are inherently evil and the root cause of much of America’s violence. Gun owners believe that firearms are net deterrent to violence and don’t view the increase in firearms ownership as a major reason for the decrease in violent crime over the last two-plus decades.

That’s a fundamental difference of world views. And not something likely to be reconciled by a 1:45 video.

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35 Responses to WIRED Claims America Has a ‘Gun Problem,’ But Forgets to Check Their Bias At the Door

    • ‘Wired’ is just a sad shadow of itself, nowadays.

      They obviously decided to stop spending money on it, most of their good writers are gone, and half the front page now is re-hashed ‘Wired Classic’ and the real death-knell, ‘Sponsored Content’.

      I used to really enjoy Wired, now, not so much…

      • Wired was bought, as was Ars Technica later, by Condé Nast. There isn’t much room in that enterprise for either tech talent or opposing points of view on anything more serious than “what’s your favorite island escape?”

      • Me, I claim Wired has an adblocker-policy problem, so I really don’t care what Wired thinks, as I won’t read it anyway.

  1. “…your Jeep accidentally rolling over you and killing you in your garage…”

    Hey, hey, hey. Hey. JLM, man. J…L…M. I’m sure that Jeep was just about to head out to the mountains, or something.

  2. Hey Nick, I’m pretty sure that hammers and fists still come behind guns, but it should be noted ahead of the scary black rifles…

    • Yes, criminals use their hands and feet more often than long guns to murder people. (“Long guns” means all rifles and shotguns.)

      In terms of percentages, criminals use firearms to murder about 63% of victims, edge weapons (knives) to murder about 27% of victims, and then use everything else to murder the remaining 10% or so of victims. (Everything else includes hands and feet, bludgeons, cars, suffocation, falls, poison, etc.)

    • My favorite comments are by an anti in the comments named Plubios. He keeps saying ,”No one is willing to have a conversation”, yet POTG keep trying to have conversations with him, at which point he blocks them because he doesn’t like their talking points. The ol’ “I’m taking my ball and going home” strategy. If that isn’t the perfect metaphor for the anti-gun crowd, I don’t know what is.

      • When they say “conversation” what they really mean is “Reasonable people need to come together to have a conversation about why you’re going to do what I say”

  3. Another problem with “gun deaths” versus “gun homicides” is that the numbers are much lower for homicides since over 2/3 of “gun deaths” are suicides and not a crime nor is there a victim.
    But the Antis use “gun deaths” to make the numbers bigger despite knowing full well it is dissembling.

    • The deception is even more pronounced with the States chosen for the comparison – Mass has a 3.6/100K suicide rate, while Alaska has a 35/100K rate, an order of magnitude difference.

  4. Hammers and fists definitely DON’T kill more people than guns, but they DO kill more people than LONG guns (rifles + shotguns). Gotta keep our facts straight.

  5. Whenever anti-liberty types try to use facts and statistics to prove their point, they nearly always paint themselves into a corner that disproves their thesis.

    I don’t like the “alligator-related death rate in Florida” analogy, though. Even though it can help debunk faulty statistical inferences, it’s too short of a leap from “Stay away from alligators and you’ll be OK to “Stay away from guns and you’ll be OK.” We need a more convincing analogy.

    • Feeding alligators and dangling tasty snacks in front of their snouts (like retirees walking little yap dogs at the retention ponds in mobile home parks) is the fastest way to create a gator problem…

  6. Strictest gun laws in the country, are you insane? No handgun limits and shall issue CCW. Yes there is a 15 round limit on long guns, but what effect is that going to have on street crime, especially if all you need to do is go to almost any gun store close to Chicago to pick up 30 round p mags.

  7. You’d think that the folks at a tech publication would have at least a basic grasp of statistics.

    Comparing Massachusetts to Alaska is an apples or oranges comparison. I’m not even going to get into the rest of this nonsense because… it’s nonsense. Suffice to say that with millions more guns in private hands each and every year, if guns were the problem we’d know it.

    Finally, Japan? Who gives a rip? 0.0 gun deaths, because somehow it’s better when people kill themselves or others with other methods? It’s some how acceptable just because they didn’t use a specific tool to get the job done? WTF kind of logic is that?

    • The people working for the tech magazine are probably liberal arts/media majors who have some interest in tech things but no real tech knowledge.

      I don’t read Wired any more.

    • Yes, Thank you for mentioning the People’s Republic of Massachusetts…Good example of government run amok…A bastion of Liberal Progressive utopianism, a benign vision of an Authoritarian Police-Safety State…Where the local/state police have absolute control over a MA. Residents Constitutional rights…Place where US constitutional-Bill of Rights is infringed upon daily…A place that was originally the Birthplace of Freedom…

  8. So, the US has more guns than anybody, and just can’t stop, yet we’re #6 in a carefully cherry-picked firearms death rate?

    It seems we have the responsibility and safety thing down.

    ‘murica.

  9. “Chicago. They enjoy some of the strictest gun laws in the United States…”

    STOP IT.

    For the love of God, Nick, stop writing such obviously false statements. Chicago is in Illinois, which has shall-issue concealed carry with state preemption. Sure, we have the unconstitutional FOID card and a few other supid hurdles for gun buyers to jump over, but compared to California, Hawaii or most of the upper east coast, Chicago is a gun lover’s dream.

    You could make such a statement back in 2010 before the McDonald Supreme Court case slapped down Chicago’s handgun ban. But our laws have changed, and it’s time for the TTAG writers to acknowledge that.

    • Is this true?

      I left Southern* Illinois in 2009, so I never thought the gun laws were particularly bad. I was also told to never, ever, under any circumstance take a firearm with me north of Kankakee.

      There are laws and then there is police enforcement. Is Chicago really the kind of place where legally carrying a concealed handgun is okay? I’m not asking if it’s legal, I’m asking if someone can legally carry a concealed weapon without any fear of getting faceplanted into a sidewalk and then spending the night in jail just because someone caught a glimpse of the gun while they were walking down the street.

      I honestly have a hard time believing that cops in Chicago magically transformed into constitution-respecting peace officers because of a single court case, but, like I said, I haven’t lived in Illinois since 2009, and even then, it wasn’t in Chicago.

      *Perry County

      • Concealed means concealed.

        In the short time we have had the “privilege,” there have been some well publicized defensive gun uses in Chicago. From what I can tell, the good guys who justifiably cleared leather were treated fairly.

        Personally, I avoid the city like the plague. But the state gun rights organizations I belong to have not been reporting police abuse of lawfully armed citizens.

        • Concealed means concealed, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to get the crap kicked out of you because you’re “a man with a gun” just randomly reaching up on the top shelf for that jar of pickles.

          Good to hear about Chicago. No doubt there’s a lot of problems there, but if the powers that be are willing to follow supreme court decisions that fall on the side of liberty, even if they hate doing so, then there’s hope for the city yet.

  10. “The media . . . will not accept the truth that if you take all the guns off the street you still will have a crime problem, whereas if you take the criminals off the street you cannot have a gun problem.”

    Jeff Cooper

  11. “we agree that more can be done to reduce violence in the United States”

    You reduce violence by greater aggressive violence against criminals. Once they know they’ll die, crime is reduced significantly.

  12. Message I left for the good folks at wired:

    SHEESH……make way for the elephant in the room people!

    The owner of the product you’re reading a civilian billionaire named Sam Newhouse.

    Like all billionaires, Sam maintains multiple hired gunmen with multiple automatic weapons. This is in their mansions, vehicles, jets and yachts…. everywhere they go. This, of course applies to Karsh, Bloomberg, Soros, Redstone, Sulzberger, Buffett, Zuckerman, Zuckerberg, Murdock, and the billionaires of DisneyCorp, Comcast and TimeWarner….heck…even Oprah!

    Why do these rich folk NEED to carry so many weapons of war?

    Isn’t it time to close the billionaire gun loophole? But, as Sam’s media product demands little people disarm…..I say you first, Sam Newhouse!

    • Yup! No Special Privileges for Politicians, Police, Unions, Elitist Hollyweird brats, and Multi-billionaire philanthropists illuminati types….!

  13. Given that “Wired” is an “avant garde techie” type magazine (or was originally – I haven’t read one in quite a while), I wonder how they’d report a statistic that shows more people are killed in car accidents caused by texting, than are killed in gun accidents; not to mention that the incidence of the former is increasing, while the incidence of the latter is decreasing. Do you suppose they’d call for more restrictions on cell phone purchasers? Background checks maybe? Do you think they’d call for more laws (which of course are NOT followed by the folks causing the problem) on cell phone use in vehicles? You gotta wonder.

  14. TTAG Excerpt:

    Even in places where violence has increased, the primary reason is gang activity and firearms use by people who possess them illegally — not the law abiding citizens who purchase new production firearms (which must be sold, according to Federal law, through licensed gun dealers and then only following a background check).
    ——————————————————————-
    1. Clear Constitutional infringements !
    2. No such thing as “Pre-Crime !”
    3. Murder is a “Capital Crime!” It is already against the Law !!!
    4. The 2nd Amendment is the law of the land ! Anything else is just an infringement !

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