“The difficulty is whether you look at [gun ownership] from an individual or societal level. As an individual who’s worried and wants to do something to protect themselves—it doesn’t matter what the overall statistics are. From their perspective it would be rational… but if [more people buy more guns], we know from the data that that’s associated with higher levels of gun violence.” – Anupam Jena in Gun Sales Spike as People Buy Deadlier Weapons to Protect Themselves [via newsweek.com]

104 Responses to Quote of the Day: What We Know From the Data on ‘Gun Violence’

  1. Where “gun violence” means “suicide by firearm”, which is the only thing that reliably correlates with increased gun ownership. Not overall suicide, just firearm suicide. Gunn control leads people to hang themselves.

    • Exactly. The cause of suicide is deciding that life isn’t worth living. How about working on that instead of trying to control everyone, a foolish and immoral goal that has never worked in the long run anyway.

      • The US is tied at number 48 on the list of suicide rates by country. India is number 24 and Japan, Finland and Sweden all have higher rates than the US. Guns have nothing to do with it, if guns weren’t available, other means would be used.

        • “if guns weren’t available, other means would be used.”

          Other means ARE used. Japan, Sweden, and Finland show that clearly. Very few suicides by firearm, because they are simply not available. But higher overall suicide rates than the US, just by other methods. This data is clear, unlike the data in the main article. That author isn’t even able to separate causation from correlation.

        • You should keep in mind the gun control lobby will point to Australia which showed a drop in overall suicide with their mass confiscation.So the gun control lobby and its researchers say this proves a causal relationship.
          Essentially they say for every ten gun suicides reduced, five were replaced by suicide by other means and five were not, “proving” that the five suicides that did not occur with replacement methods were lives saved by mass firearm confiscation

          The thing you will not find mentioned is that all the Australian studies that specifically looked suicide rates in the ten years after gun control, found that not only did half of the drop in firearm suicide get replaced by suicide ruled as suicide, but that there was also a large and (still) sustained immediate increase in deaths by “means associated with suicide” (“falls” from buildings, single vehicle into stationary object, self-poisoning, etc) but ruled as “indeterminate” or “accidental.”

          In other worlds, either Australians a) out of the blue immediately became much more lethally clumsy, or b) Australia simply vastly increased the number of suicides that it mischaracterized and miscategorized as accidental with a gun control policy that did not lower overall suicide at all, but simply shifted suicides to means coroners and medical examiners were more likely to rule accident.

          What the peer reviewed studies in Australia show, is that western democracies’ coroners and medical examiners count accurately count self inflicted gun and knife suicide as suicide, but under-count other means of suicide — as do their national statistics.

          So if you have guns in a western society, your suicide stats for gun suicide are probably accurate, but if you don;t have guns you likely have a huge under-count in your national suicide stats. Eastern Societies coroners don’t have the same tabooo.

          The science directly from interviewing Australian medical examiners, and looking at their patterns of findings, shows they begin self inflicted gunshot fatality with a presumption of suicide and do not move away from that without affirmative proof to the contrary. But the exact opposite happens with a building fall, self poisoning, drowning, stepping in front of a transit train, etc etc — the medical examiner begins with presumption of accident and does not change that unless finding affirmative proof of suicide. This is likely the case in all western countries.

          It is very important for advocates of the second amendment to understand this, even though it is complex and not distillable into a tweet.

          \
          .

    • But hanging is so much better for you. So is getting hacked to death with machetes. Because g uns are bad!

      • This does kind of bring up a serious, philosophical question though. If you have to die a violent death…gun is the way to go, right? Assuming the shot is instantly lethal anyways. Who wants to be hanged, gassed, injected, beheaded, wrists slit, electrocuted, stabbed, crucified, drawn/quartered, set adrift or whatever?

        • For whatever weird reason, this is something I’ve thought about from time to time. If I HAD to die violently, I’m pretty sure I’d prefer to die by a direct missile strike to my home. Preferably, while I was sitting inside, content with a bourbon in my hands, completely unaware of my impending doom.

        • “…, I’m pretty sure I’d prefer to die by a direct missile strike to my home….”

          Growing up on US military bases that were very-much targeted for first strike, I have contemplated this.

          A multi-stage thermonuclear device into the megaton range going off a few thousand feet overhead is about as instantaneous as it gets. The raw neutron dose in the first few millionths of a second will pretty much dissolve whatever you may have to sense anything.

          If I had a choice, however, by gunshot on the downstroke by jealous husband wouldn’t be that bad…

          🙂

        • ‘Who wants to be hanged, gassed, injected, beheaded, wrists slit, electrocuted, stabbed, crucified, drawn/quartered, set adrift or whatever?’

          Funny how most of those have primarily been used by governments to punish their disarmed citizens.

        • The best I’ve ever heard was being stepped on by an elephant while having sex with identical triplet cheerleaders.

        • If I am to die while in an act of sexual congress I want it to be on the upstroke.

        • “identical triplet cheerleaders.”

          That would do it for me, don’t bother the elephant.

    • Any time I read an argument which references “gun violence,” my immediate conclusion is that the part making the argument is either uninformed or intentionally disingenuous. Therefore: disregard.

      • It’s a pretty safe conclusion. If “gun safety” and/or “common sense” also enter the picture, it’s a slam dunk.

    • Phrases like “doing something about gun violence” and “commonsense gun-control solutions” are nothing more than metaphors for attacking not only the 2nd amendment but also the larger idea of inviolate constitutional rights.

  2. ” Buy Deadlier Weapons”
    Is deadlier even a word?
    Is my .45 more “deadlier” than my .375? Or the other way around.
    Is my H&K 51 more “deadlier” than my savage .308?

    I’m so confused….

    • It is indeed a word, however one gun being deadlier than another doesn’t really make much sense, unless you’re comparing your H&K to say, a staple gun.

        • How is a nail driven into one’s head NOT deadly? Whether the projectile is a nail driven by compressed air or a lead cylinder driven by chemical reaction is not relevant, particularly to the one with the metal in their brain pan.
          This is one of the many anti traps; “which ‘thing’ is deadlier”?? ALL things are deadly, including rocks and fists. A hammer swung at a skull is far deadlier than my loaded model 29 in the safe.

        • I recently read a quote from some guy about how they tortured suspected VC operatives, where they would hammer a dowel through someone’s ear canal until they died.

  3. WAPO, Dec.5, 2015 — “We’ve had a massive decline in gun violence in the United States”, as gun ownership reaches all time highs under Obama .
    Has that fellow ever read a newspaper ?????

      • It’s about it the only anti-gun source that gives me cause for concern. Just wondering (hoping) if someone here can rebut their arguments.

        • they really hate John Lott over there. the site is mostly one big attack on Lott.

        • It would seem that if you’re unable to come up with a logical rebuttal to an argument, maybe you should consider that point of view?

        • Or research it like Remmi300blk is doing here.

          Again, what specific argument would you like to tackle first?

        • Armed with Reason is run by Bloomberg’s “the trace” writers. It is a bloomberg group.

        • +million Erm. A lot. Honestly, mostly the stats that they use in arguing against the notion that DGU’s are a common occurrence. I’m not afraid of their arguments against “assault weapons.”(Anyone can research on the Internet for 2 minutes and get enough information to beat antis decisively in an argument on ARs, there is just no reason to do anything about them) The thing is I’m not good with stats, and they’re big on stats and it seems to me like they have lots of stats to back up their assertions. (But in the article about “being better off with a gun free zone house” or whatever, they cited a study by David Hemenway that had a sample size of like 127. ? I think either Leghorn or Bruce has done something on that.)

        • Since you are bad with stats, I suggest you ignore statistical studies on guns by medical professionals and only pay attention to such studies by economists and criminalogists.

          The medical community is largely incompetent on this issue.

        • +TX_Lawyer Are you familiar with the work of Andrew V. Papachristos? I’ve heard his little group at Yale have done some cutting edge work.

        • Always remember that 74.3% of quoted statistics are made up on the spot. That will help you understand their statistics.

    • Never heard of the website until you mentioned it. I’ve been clicking around on it some, as Fridays are always slow here at work- it’s definitely a great website for folks on the other side of the gun-control fence. However after reading some of their blog posts, it looks like it’s probably just another echo chamber website. They “debunk” pro-gun “myths”, typically by citing such unbiased, authoritative websites like the Trace. I didn’t see anything in the About section that made me think the two guys should be considered authorities on firearms policy. They both seem to be highly-educated guys giving the same old anti-gun talking points, just with longer posts. A lot of their own personal interpretation of the Constitution and how the Founding Fathers were wrong on certain subjects. My personal favorite was a post entitled “Why I Want Crooks to Know That My House Is a Gun Free Zone” ( https://www.armedwithreason.com/why-i-want-crooks-to-know-that-my-house-is-a-gun-free-zone/ ) where they talk about how having a gun in the house simply encourages thieves to target your home for theft…free guns. However they never mention that not all crooks are bent on stealing when they enter your home. Anyway, after that post I kind of figured these guys were whackadoos simply wearing masks of sanity.

      • By all means, the pro-restriction crowd should use their demonstrated poster-making skills providing people with GUN-FREE HOME signs they can post to ward off burglars.

        • Yes! The true criminal would think, “Great no guns, which means I can break into this home whether it is occupied or not!”

  4. my personal gun ownership continues to grow, but my body count is still at an all time high of ZERO! Stupid broken guns.

    • You beat me. My score is somewhere between 0 and -1.

      I may have saved a life because of having a gun. Therefore my score should be zero (the number of people who died because of my gun ownership) minus the probability that I did in fact save that life.

  5. Did you guys get that? Anupam Jena says that when we buy guns to protect ourselves, we cause “gun violence.”

    Obviously, Jena is enjoying all the benefits of a classical American education. He’s become an asshat.

    • It just responsable people want to adopt more guns and ultimately, support the gun lobby, which is not a bad thing. I guess we could all buy C&R firearms and use those for personal carry, but there are those who want the latest and greatest, so new light guns that are usually cheaper than C&R will be put on the market.

    • I’ll attempt to translate for Mr. Jena:

      “We know that on an individual level, you can’t just bust in on a random IDPA match and accuse the people there of causing some gangbanger in Chicago to shoot up the house of a rival drug dealer. Everybody can see that’s crazy. But if you talk about it on a more abstract level, it does a much better job of hiding the craziness. “

        • Ya… because all the people with guns will kick you in the ass with their feet and throw you out with their hands.

    • It’s not a classical American education, it’s a modern one.

      I have some Latin tattooed on my forearm in a fancy old Bible style of script with illuminated letters and whatnot. Older people might ask what it means, and some of them even know, but younger people (my age group, which infuriates me) consistently ask if it’s a “Game of Thrones” or an “Elvish” tattoo.

      Now I’ll be the first to admit that I have no knowledge of Game of Thrones but Elvish… Jesus Christ people, have you ever watched Lord of the Rings, or God forbid, read the books!?

  6. “but if [more people buy more guns], we know from the data that that’s associated with higher levels of gun violence”

    The sad state of journalism today. A 10 second google search would show that statement is nonsense.

  7. It’s hilarious when the fact is over the last 25 years the number of gun circulation has increased quite dramatically. Yet during the same time gun violence has decreased. As the number of guns in circulation violent gun crime decreases. The individual is intelligent the masses are ignorant.

  8. “The difficulty is whether you look at government from an individual or societal level. As an individual who’s worried and wants to do something to enrich themselves—it doesn’t matter what the overall national debt is. From their perspective it would be rational… but if [more people vote Democrat], we know from the data that that’s associated with higher levels of tyranny.”

  9. “we know from MANIPULATION OF the data USING FLAWED METHODOLOGY TO SHOW A DESIRED RESULT that that’s associated with higher levels of gun violence.” – FTFY

    • Yes, it is making the data fit the theorem, i.e, working back from one’s preconceived conclusion, rather than fitting the theorem to the data.

  10. People are dying at all times for all sorts of “tragic” reasons. In the time it takes me to write this, someone will be shot to death. Someone else’s head will be split on their dashboard in a car accident, someone else, cancer, etc., etc. I don’t give a shit because I don’t know any of them, and neither does Anupam Jena, or Michael Bloomberg, or anyone else trying to project their so obviously fake sympathy for the dead.

    If we all actually cared about dead people we’ve never met, the world would be a very, very different place. Everything would come to a grinding halt, nobody would sleep, and we would all be in a perpetual state of mourning. Everything would suck. Hard.

    I wish, for once, these people would just be honest with themselves, stop playing their little violins, and accept, nay, embrace humanity for what it is.

    • I would add to your post the notion that these people really only ‘care’ when people die from certain causes. When they die as a result of the policies they enacted… not so much.

      • They care about the causes they’re told to care about, just like little kids.

        Remember about a year or so ago, when that one lion in Africa got killed and every screaming idiot on Earth started clawing their eyes out because they were so outraged? Case in point. Or public breast feeding? That was another good one.

    • ^ This. I’ve been called a pessimist or cold more than a couple of times in my life. But the fact of the matter is that most people do not care about the death or suffering of others. While I”ll admit that bad things happening to good, or otherwise innocent people is a “sad” or “bad” thing, at the end of the day, I and just about everyone else carries on their day like normal. Yea, Pulse was a sad event…however I was more sad when my grandmother died several years ago, than I was on hearing a bunch of people I don’t even know were killed. Again, terrible thing to happen, but I didn’t shed a tear or lose sleep over it.

      For some reason, now if you don’t show emotion over these kinds of things and mumble the mandatory “thoughts and prayers” bullshitt line, people look at you as though you are some kind of monster. Whatever, don’t care. It’s human nature. Death is necessary…hopefully it’s peaceful but for some it isn’t.

      • To call someone a pessimist because they admit they don’t actually care about the death of a complete stranger 1,000 miles away, is like calling someone a pessimist for saying, “Humans can’t breathe underwater.”

        It’s just the way we are, it’s not going to change, and it’s actually beautiful and wonderful. Not giving a shit about all the death in the world allows us to live our lives. How could we achieve anything if we allowed ourselves to care about the misery of others? It would be such a horrible, depressing existence. There are tons of people who don’t know how to deal with their emotions as is, and if we all started empathizing with the rest of the world, suicide and drug addiction would skyrocket as the desperate masses increasingly turned to chemicals just to cope. People just wouldn’t be able to handle it.

        I don’t know why so many can’t admit they don’t care, but I do have my theories. Anyway, I think we should all be grateful for our ability to disassociate, and if anything, we should be celebrating its utility, not making others feel guilty for having it.

        • Agree, I don’t really care if a lefty jumps off a cliff, I for myself have enough problems period

  11. What is always left unsaid is that violence is violence. If we waived a magic wand and removed all the guns in this country, then yes, there would be zero gun violence. Does that mean violence will stop, or even decrease? Nope.
    Put it this way, if we eliminated all swimming pools then there would be no swimming pool drowning. But people being people, they will find other places to swim. Like oceans, lakes, and rivers, etc. Certainly no one would expect us to just stop swimming, right? So one would expect the number of drownings to remain relatively unchanged. Actually one could argue that swimming pools are inherently less dangerous than oceans, lakes, and rivers and therefore an unintended consequence might be an increase in overall drownings. Same thing goes for guns. The overwhelming majority (95%?) of guns are owned by good guys. Since we eliminated all of the guns, now the bad guys have nothing to fear from the good guys and might be emboldened to increase their activities.
    The problem with morons like this guy is that they aren’t looking at guns as a positive thing. They see only the bad uses and can’t even conceive of the good ones.

    • That magic wand of which you speak (the one ‘disappearing’ all firearms) would be a huge gift to the biggest, strongest, meanest, and most well organized of the criminal persuation. And put the rest of us in a continual state of fear and jeopardy.

      • Not mine, but I cannot remember whom to attribute it to:

        A GUN FREE WORLD (THE LIBERAL UTOPIA)

        I wish we could go back in time and uninvent the gun. Because then, bigger stronger men who could swing swords and axes harder than their enemies would go back to ruling the world. No more of this bullshit female “empowerment” and all minorities would be enslaved just the way they were meant to be. Without having disgusting guns to fight back, the weak and disenfranchised would have never forgotten their place in life, a life they should be thankful they were even allowed to have to begin with.

  12. Here’s a societal issue for this guy to consider. There are 65 million refugees in the world today. 2.5 million from Syria alone. And how many of those refugees are from the US? NONE. There never have been and never will be as long as we are armed. That is the difference between us and the rest of the world.

    • Well maybe someday, Lefties keep promising to flee the country if (insert random Republican) gets elected right?

      • To be fair, there were a number of promises to leave if ObamaCare were enacted, if Obama were re-elected, if the Supreme Court upheld homosexual marriage, etc. Raising false hopes is not confined to the left wing.

      • Its the free stuff, look at all the kerchiefs they are getting or buying. Kerchiefs are up 45%. I look at this way That’s a lot of stuffing material for there a _ _. Knot the material together and wallah you have another tool.

  13. The truth of the matter is…. they dont care about gun violence. I hate that phrase.
    Guns dont commit violence. Guns are not evil.
    They are a tool. And just like any other tool they can be used to do evil things.
    For these “educated” people its all about control. They think we are simpletons that they can confuse using big words.

    • that kids study is funny. so since the early 1990’s as guns increased, gun murder of kids is down 60%, gun fatal accidents with kids is down about 65% and they don;t even mention it.

      Nor do they mention what local jurisdiction police departments have found, the VAST majority, over 90%, of both fatal gun homicide, and fatal gun accidents involving minors is from a CRIMINAL living in the domicile with a gun used on or by the kid. Most commonly a boyfriend of the mother with the boyfriend involved in gang activity or drugs

  14. People are increasingly buying more lethal guns, and arming themselves for purposes of protection rather than for hunting or recreation, new research shows.
    Not only are more people buying more deadly firearms, but these firearms—like .38-caliber pistols—are often compact and easy to conceal.
    In a study of gun manufacturing and sales from 1990 to 2015, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers shows that the production of larger-caliber handguns skyrocketed in this time period. The paper found that since 1994, the manufacture of .38-caliber guns rose 12-fold, with nearly 820,000 of the pistols produced in 2015. The manufacture of 9 mm guns also increased seven-fold in this 15-year stretch, while those larger than 9 mm jumped 150 percent.
    Anupam Jena, a researcher and physician at Harvard Medical School who wasn’t involved in the study, notes that while the number of shootings per capita has risen, deaths have stayed about level, as medical care for gunshot wounds has improved.

    So which is it? If more people have more lethal guns than by what miracle is the medical care community saving them? If these guns are so deadly then certainly the only thing the medical care community would be getting is corpses.

    • I’d bet the guy or gal who wrote this nonsense is unaware of the fact that .36, .38, .380, .357 and 9mm all shoot the same diameter projectile, and that the .36 goes back at least 175 years, or that, other than the .357, none of these are perceived as particularly deadly compared to larger caliber pistol rounds.

    • The paper found that since 1994, the manufacture of .38-caliber guns rose 12-fold, with nearly 820,000 of the pistols produced in 2015. The manufacture of 9 mm guns also increased seven-fold in this 15-year stretch, while those larger than 9 mm jumped 150 percent.

      I don’t suppose they mention legislation against “Saturday Night Specials”, or so- called “high-capacity magazines”, do they? Both were significant in the migration to larger caliber handguns.

  15. What we know, from the POS (D) gun grabber world is that people are making a good living to “study” and “spout off” on this sh_t, in a way that supports a pre-determined opinion and outcome, namely ‘guns are bad and need to be taken away from people so that the evil (D) can do tyranny’. You can’t trust any of this.

    And, again, while it’s great to know what your enemy is doing, they likely increased their exposure to the public four fold just by posting it here.

    NEWSWEEK used to be thick with ads then it became overly expensive to “print” it. We were very excited to see this NEWSWEEK cover : http://i.huffpost.com/gen/915945/thumbs/o-NEWSWEEK-570.jpg?6

    And we think they are half way to where we need them to be, which is history.

    F em all.

  16. Cool story bro. I just bought my first firearm, A revolver because Clint Eastwood that’s why.

    • Awesome, welcome to the fold! But it’s a gun site man, make and model of your new revolver please.

    • Good on you! Revolvers are the easiest to learn, the most intuitive, the most reliable, and (by far) the safest. I did NOT say semiautos don’t have a place, I own several. But for a beginner, there really is little to choose. The revolver wins hands down.
      I will take a guess that your new revolver is a Ruger in .357(excellent choice!)?Based upon the availability today, even though I’m an old S&W man myself.

      • If I had been introduced to revolvers first, I probably never have gotten into guns. The heavy triggers make them unusable for me. I’ll take a striker fired or single action any day, but double action is just not an option.

        • So, shoot single action, most triggers exceed those on any pistols short of 1911s. I bet of my first 1000 rounds of .357, not more than 20 were shot double action. But a revolver or DA/SA pistol gives you that choice.

  17. Sounds like he is trying to equate gun ownership to the Tragedy of the Commons. The critical detail he misses out on is that freedom and personal responsibility are not finite resources. Living freely doesn’t require another to be enslaved, and providing one’s own security does not require another to be left vulnerable. This is regardless of scale because freedom by definition takes from nobody.

  18. If by an increase in “gun violence” he means more criminals shot by people who refuse to be victims, well, I’m ok with that.

  19. Newsweek actually links to the study which says in its abstract:

    “Mortality from all causes during the first year after the purchase of a handgun was greater than expected for women (standardized mortality ratio, 1.09), and the entire increase was attributable to the excess number of suicides by means of a firearm. (Emphasis mine.)

    The paper goes to to state that the vast majority of those suicides occurred within one week of acquiring a firearm.

    It sounds an awful lot like people decided to kill themselves, purchased the tool to do it and then did, in fact, take their own life. I’m not seeing how gun regulations would change this.

    • Agree! And I will add, for all I know, the increase in opioid overdose deaths has the same cause! Maybe we should ban opioid overdoses, see how that works.

  20. “we know from the data that that’s associated with higher levels of gun violence.” Complete BS. This has been proven false so many times there is not enough room here to post all the evidence. Every line of 99% of “the data” the anti gun nuts use is based on three things, lies, disinformation and emotion. In EVERY case nation wide, Chicago, Detroit
    and every other liberal democrat run city in the nation the violent crime rates are at times 10 times as much as the rest of the country. Gun control does NOT work because it does NOTHING about the crimes being committed.

  21. If you actually read the study it’s mainly about suicide.

    From their abstract it becomes clear that a huge number of the people they’re discussing decided to kill themselves, bought the means to do it and then did it which is why most of the deaths are suicides within a week of purchase.

  22. I get it, gun control for Republicans, no gun control for democrats. Look back to Abe Lincoln the democrats(or liberals shoot) they are in the mass killings, Oklahoma, Sandy Hook, President Reagan, Kennedy, etc! This is not done by Republicans nor NRA members. Says it all.

  23. If it wasn’t “gun” violence then it would be SWORD violence or AXE violence or PHYSICAL violence or MARTIAL violence…

    GUNS are not the issue but no one wants to look at it like that. VIOLENCE is the issue and no matter how hard we try we will NEVER get rid of it! It is part of being alive. Period. There will always be that little part of our brains that lashes out and gets mad or even enjoys the violence. Can’t get away from it.

    Go ahead. Take ALL the guns in ALL the world! Then next you’d better start with knives, then clubs, then rocks, etc…

    We will find ways to hurt or hunt each other. There is no gun violence health epidemic. There is a human epidemic. Conflict has always been and will always be in our nature.

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