Another Misleading Study On Gun Ownership And Violence Chases Its Own Questionable Tail

violent crime chart statista

US Violent Crime Rate courtesy Statista

By Elizabeth McGuigan

A new study seeks to connect gun ownership levels and concealed carry laws with mass shootings and other firearm homicides. The author, Emma E. Fridel of Florida State University, attempts to compare the impact of gun ownership and concealed carry legislation on the incidence rate of mass shootings and firearm homicide in the U.S. from 1991-2016.

How does the author do this? By using questionable data to argue for predetermined conclusions. This is agenda-driven “research” at its worst.

An Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance

The study is a wonderful example of the kind of doublethink required to connect non-existent dots in gun control literature. For example, right off the bat, the author asserts that, “Mass shootings represent the epitome of the firearms violence epidemic.” She then goes onto say that these tragedies “account for less than 1% of all homicides in the United States.”

Civilian owned guns in the US chart

Courtesy Washington Post

Let’s put aside for a moment the bias inherent in calling crimes an epidemic. We know that homicides represent only one-third of firearm fatalities in a given year (the overwhelming majority being suicides, which are not addressed in this study despite the growing trend and large numbers). Yet, the author is claiming that mass shootings are the “epitome” of the problem?

Author’s Anti-gun Bias is Clear

Throughout her study, Fridel makes it clear that she is operating under the assumption that lower levels of gun ownership is better for society. For example, she states that, “Although household gun ownership has been declining since the early 1990s … gun purchases and permit applications spike dramatically in the wake of infamous mass shootings….”

We know that this reported decline is questionable at best, but it is concerning that she frames the problem here as purchases increasing following mass shooting incidents.

In fact, the author notes that “Nearly 80% of American adults experience stress related to mass shootings….” and also that “56% of Americans believe that increased gun-carrying in public makes the nation safer….”

So, if Americans are stressed about the fortunately rare incidents of mass shootings, perhaps increasing the number of states allowing the legal carrying of firearms would help alleviate that stress and serve as a stress-reducing factor for society.

Literature Review Finds Zero Backing for Study’s Assumptions

The author’s literature review is similarly muddied. While noting studies that show a wide variety of conclusions, the author cites a handful of studies — including those from the 1960s and 1970s — to support her claim that “prior research has consistently shown that gun ownership rates are positively associated with the firearms homicide rate.”

Courtesy NSSF

This is false. Throughout recent years, homicide rates are generally declining as gun ownership rates are rising.

The author acknowledges there is not a demonstrated causal relationship later in the study when she notes that, “In most studies, it remains unclear if there are more homicides in areas with more guns, or people obtain guns for self-protection because they live in dangerous areas.” She then goes on to point out the research that shows there is no relationship between gun ownership and mass shooting rates.

It’s not clear why the study doesn’t conclude here, as the mass shootings are allegedly the “epitome” of gun violence, particularly as she goes on to note that the research on the impact of concealed carry legislation is “even murkier” and “decidedly mixed.” This is also misleading, as valid research has shown that concealed carry laws decrease violent crime rates.

Database or Creative Art Project?

Getting into the data sources, the author uses a creative mix of media sources, gun control groups and others to cobble together what she argues is a valid dataset. Seeing as these data are not made public, we will remain skeptical that this is in any way an accurate count of crimes.

When considering the control variables to examine, the author neglects to include some of those widely-accepted to have a causal relationship with crime rates including: population density and degree of urbanization, cultural, education, and recreational factors, effective strength of law enforcement agencies, criminal prosecution rates and other factors. Instead she includes factors such as alcohol consumption and hunting licenses.

Even more concerning is the author’s coding of concealed carry legislation as a binary measure, even as she notes earlier that there are three types of concealed carry laws in the U.S. and that even within these three categories, the laws vary dramatically from state to state.

Lumping together disparate policies is an oversimplification with very real limitations.

Conclusion: More Uncertainty

Despite the methodological bias and flawed data, Fridel determined that gun ownership was not a predictor of firearm homicide and concealed carry laws are not associated with mass shooting incidents.

She did attempt to draw a connection between concealed carry laws and homicide rates; however, her analysis is subject to the same limitations that led her to note earlier that it is just as likely that people in areas with high crime rates purchase firearms for protection. It is stunning, then, that the author is willing to make the unsupported claim that, “permissive concealed carry legislation is a significant contributor to the gun violence epidemic in the United States.”

This is the perfect, albeit unfounded, ending to a study rife with conflicting assertions, questionable data sources and overt bias.

 

Elizabeth McGuigan is Director of Legislative and Policy Research at the National Shooting Sports Foundation. 

comments

  1. avatar MADDMAXX says:

    They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere….

    1. avatar Debbie W. says:

      When are these pompous nitwits with a bone to pick with law abiding gun owners going to do a study on Gun Control being rooted in racism and genocide? The evidence is overwhelming that Gun Control is a racist and nazi based agenda. Gun Control is sick and there are certain people wanting to make it sicker…What Filth.

      1. avatar Don from CT says:

        The term law abiding gun owner is a ridiculous term.

        There are a lot of good people who own guns who are not law abiding. How can they be? The laws in states like NY and NJ(they make states like MA and CT look like a gun owners paradise) so massively infringe on their Constitutionally guaranteed natural rights that you would be completely disarmed if you obeyed the laws.

        Lets stop using that term. Lets find another, like peace loving gun owner. . . or non-aggressive gun owner.

        1. avatar Craig in IA says:

          “The term law abiding gun owner is a ridiculous term.”

          Yep- if you’re not law-abiding you are likely a felon in possession and should not be included in the firearms ownership category.

        2. avatar De Facto says:

          I know people in Cali who have assault rifles that aren’t Cali approved. Does that make them evil felons who must be thrown in jail? Law-abiding is only relevant when the laws are not inherently bad. The Democratic party has made it clear that an Australian style full confiscation and destruction is their endgame here. Will you be law abiding when ALL semiautos are banned? That’s on the horizon.

          “But muh optics” the sheep will cry.
          “The optics” no longer matter. Maybe they never did. If you’re a gun owner, they want to disarm you. If you want to bend over backwards to abide by inane vindictive laws written by politicians whose only goal is to disarm you, well you do you pal. If there’s one thing history has demonstrated it is that appeasement fails. Every time. So many gun owners are Neville Chamberlain’s and don’t realize it or are satisfied with being the last sheep to be eaten. They’re coming for ALL of our guns sooner or later. Imagine complying with the demands of tyrants.

        3. avatar Ing says:

          I opt for “peaceful gun owner” instead of law-abiding.

          It separates the nature of the person from the nature of the law, and leaves open a wide range of resistance. Plus, anyone who knows anything (which excludes a large number of progtards) knows that the American people as a whole are very peaceful…until we’re not. Look at American history and you’ll find that when peaceful people get truly angry, the enemies of peace tend to die very quickly and in batch lots.

          The distinction doesn’t matter to the Left; our terms won’t have any influence on what they inject into the public debate. It can make a difference to our own mindset, however, and maybe to others who are eyeing the green grass on our side of the fence. Maybe “peaceful” is too passive in that regard…I don’t know.

    2. avatar Craig in IA says:

      Thank God there are more firearms than Americans, everyone needs more than one…

      Actually, it’d be nice someday to see a study which takes out the major shooting gallery cities of SCLA, Chicago, NYC, Baltimore, Philly and the like, where the vast majority of “gun crime” takes place among feral gangstas having no male “father figures” other than the local dealer on the corner. The lack of 6000 years of a 2-parent family unit is most-likely the root cause of all violence, not the number of firearms tucked into someone’s pants for self-protection. Concealed carry/open carry is not an offensive firearms use, gang members packing is. Separate them out and things change radically.

  2. avatar MtnDewey says:

    ahhhhhh, another scared person writing about something they are not familiar with. kind of like Trumps niece.

  3. avatar Scooter says:

    I believe a thing because reasons. I can’t provide evidence to support my reasons, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Other people have agreed with me, but also couldn’t provide evidence of their reasons, but I’m going to use their work to reinforce my work. More guns mean more death, although data shows otherwise. Also, mass shooting are a major threat but also 1% of homicides. I am berry smort, and gunz r bad and will make u ded. Thank you for attending my TED Talk.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    The study is not chasing its own tail. Its humping its own leg.

    1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

      “The study is not chasing its own tail. Its humping its own leg.”

      That’s kind of the *point* of the exercise.

      “Literature Review Finds Zero Backing for Study’s Assumptions”

      Guess what? That study now becomes part of the “Peer-reviewed literature”.

      You will see more-and-more of these, and they will be accepted as ‘truth’ by those who want to eventually take your rights. Like Leftist jurists on SCOTUS.

      “Tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” That is what all of these shaky ‘studies’ are for – It’s the lie they will quote as the truth.

      Don’t laugh at how silly it is, they are stone-sober serious about eventually taking your 2A rights…

    2. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Often in academia you have to publish or perish. In this case the study was someone’s attempt at keeping their position or find themselves on the unemployment line.

  5. avatar jean says:

    “Muddied” is putting it mildly. I struggled to get through to the logic of the piece; the article is all over the place. Another piece where “this is my opinion; now let me try to MacGyver data to prove it”.

    1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

      ““Muddied” is putting it mildly.”

      That’s part of the strategy. If you pick their argument apart, they will claim that “You’re just not intelligent enough to understand what the study says”…

    2. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Normal scientific approach is to draw a conclusion that fits the data.

      This is a study where the data is selected to fit the predetermined conclusion.

      1. avatar Dude says:

        The scientific method has been deemed racist. No one wants to be a racist.

    3. avatar hoosier_grand_daddy says:

      No, no. You just missed all the subtle “nuance.”

  6. avatar Imayeti says:

    Super! I need it! I’m doing a study to prove idiotic studies cause gun violence.

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    TBF, they can’t really work with actual data because statistics and math are racist constructs.

  8. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Facts and truth be damed,Leftards must push the agenda, another glass of kool aid, perhaps.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      She wants Bloomberg’s cash without prostituting herself as much as Shannon Watts did.

  9. avatar Mark N. says:

    The OP confuses epitome with acme. Epitome means ” a perfect example of.” The context of the use of epitome is as follows:
    “Mass shootings represent the epitome of the firearms violence epidemic. Defined as the killing of four or more individuals (excluding the offender) with a firearm within 24 hours, mass shootings occur 23 times a year on average and account for less than 1% of all homicides in the United States (Fridel, 2017; Krouse & Richardson, 2015). Despite their rarity, mass shootings have fueled moral panics, inspired social movements like March for Our Lives, and sparked calls for policy change on both sides of the political aisle. Nearly 80% of American adults experience stress related to mass shootings, and approximately one third avoid certain places and events due to their fear of victimization (American Psychological Association, 2019).”

    A more accurate use here would have been to say that mass shootings are the perfect example of the perception of a gun violence epidemic, notwithstanding that they account for less than 1% of homicides annually. And so forth and so on.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “The OP confuses epitome with acme.”

      The difference is easy to see. Road Runner never dropped an Epitome on Wile E. Coyote.

      1. avatar enuf says:

        He could have, ACME made everything! Check the catalog!!!

      2. avatar Manse Jolly says:

        https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/optics-review-acme-machine-6-24x50mm-ffp-tr-scope/

        I bought one based on this review for one of my 308 bolt guns, no regrets at all.

        Has the Coyote logo on the side. If I ever see a roadrunner (not the car) in South Carolina it’s done for. lol

        1. avatar NJ2AZ says:

          I had a roadrunner on a my roof last summer, eating a snake it just killed.

          Roadrunners are bad asses. Its a hoot every time I see one.

        2. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

          “Roadrunners are bad asses.”

          Birds in general can be bad asses. The dinosaurs mostly went extinct, but the birds in waterside burrows survived…

    2. avatar Ing says:

      Come on, man. You can’t expect a PhD holder to actually have a grasp of English vocabulary. There’s only so much space in the progressive moonbat’s brain.

  10. avatar enuf says:

    Their Hoplophobia demands the data fit the fear. Therefore, the data becomes the perfect proof of their fear no matter how hard they have to work to mangle it and ignore the truth. Facts are meaningless, usless and off-topic unless they can be presented in a way that proves their fear is correct, even if it is a bald faced lie.

    Not unlike certain right wing voices on the vote fraud bandwagon.

    1. avatar Waylon says:

      You can already vote by mail. It’s called an absentee ballot and it’s been around for ages.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        And it’s not the same thing. Absentee is requested by the voter, mail in is carpet bombed by the govt to be used by anyone who finds them.

      2. avatar MADDMAXX says:

        You actually have to request an absentee ballot AND register your signature for a verification match, Mail in ballots are shipped out in bulk to every address that has a “registered voter” or a licensed driver (do you REALLY want the USPS to be responsible for a National election) … Anyone at any address where those things are delivered can fill it out and mail it back… If anyone thinks it’s a good idea just look at the primary fuck up in NYC, primary was held June 23rd and they are STILL trying to count ballots… Several states are still going ahead with this for the National elections, guess it’s a lot like Socialism, it’s NEVER worked, but everybody wants to try it because their plan WILL succeed, until it doesn’t… But by then it’s too late, the damage is done

    2. avatar Dude says:

      You’re right, banning guns and banning fraud are exactly the same. You’re a genius enuf.

      1. avatar enuf says:

        Incorrect and a distraction from the issues at hand.

        Banning guns is a violation of an enumerated right under the Constitution and the natural born right of all persons to defend themselves, their families, their communities and their State. Banning guns is a massive violation of Civil Rights, deserving of contempt and great efforts to correct the wrongs that have been done.

        Vote Fraud is a rare thing with no significant impact on elections. In 2016 the national total of vote fraud charges and convictions barely holds at 0.01% of votes cast. That rate is the very definition of “extremely rare”, and in severity is the very opposite of the wrongs committed against Second Amendment Rights.

        Even so, everyone should have to prove their citizenship and residence to register to vote.Whatever problems that stem from that should be defined by the politicians and activists making their complaints and solutions devised that maintain the integrity of the right to vote and the accuracy of the count. Only partisans ignore the patriotic duty of zero compromise on both points. That voting is a sacred duty to be energetically encouraged, supported and protected from error be it deliberate or otherwise.

        1. avatar Dude says:

          “Vote Fraud is a rare thing…”

          So is needing to defend yourself with a gun. So is your house burning to the ground. So is catching Covid-19. However rare it is, it does exist, and it has the potential to do harm. Some elections are so close they have to be recounted. Some local elections are won by a handful of votes. A recount was even requested in the 2016 presidential election. It was a big deal for Gore vs. Bush. Any honest, sincere person would be against fraud. Ask yourself why democrats are always going out of their way to claim it doesn’t exist while they are simultaneously trying to loosen rules for voting ID, etc. Fairness shouldn’t be partisan.

        2. avatar Dude says:

          “everyone should have to prove their citizenship and residence to register to vote”

          Agreed. One thing that gets overlooked is, it isn’t just other Americans trying to influence our politics. Go spend some time in DC. Every major country in the world is here trying to work things in their favor. Foreign countries committing election fraud here is a national security concern. Remember all that talk about Russian influencing the election? That specific situation was a joke if you look at what actually happened, but the principle of being concerned about election interference is very real.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          How in the world can you claim voter fraud is a rare thing? Do you understand that fraud is not meant to be discovered? You have no idea how much *successful* voter fraud has occurred, but common sense dictates it would be more than it could be if valid photo ID was required to vote.

  11. avatar K2 says:

    Once again, a study on gun murders which fails to mention the fact that somewhere over 80% of murder victims are CRIMINALS. Criminals which more likely than not were murdered because of their criminal lifestyle.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      And the deaths of criminals should be listed as civic improvements.

  12. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

    There is a bit of positive overnight news in the culture war started by the Leftist scum :

    “Trader Joe’s Reverses Course, Refuses To Kowtow To Outrage Mob”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/trader-joes-reverses-course-refuses-kowtow-outrage-mob

    And some news that demonstrates why living in America is the very best in the world :

    “Hong Kong Police Arrest 4 Teens For Mere Online Posts Under New Security Law”

    “On Wednesday four activists were arrested for merely making online posts expressing pro-independence sentiment. The AP reports that all of the them are young, between 16- and 18-years, and were further said to have been ‘organizing’.”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/hong-kong-police-arrest-4-young-people-mere-online-posts-under-new-security-law

    And finally, look what happened at a funeral for a noted Black civil rights’ leader :

    “Obama Turns John Lewis Funeral Into Political Rally”

    “Former President Barack Obama turned a eulogy for the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) into a Democratic political rally – urging Congress to pass a series of measures he said would ‘continue Lewis’ life’s work.'”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/obama-disgraces-john-lewis-turning-funeral-political-rally

  13. avatar tdiinva says:

    How can permissive concealed carry laws be associated with increased homicide rates at the same time every study shows permit holders represent the most law abiding component of the population. So much for peer review.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Not to mention the huge, sustained decline in the rate of violent crime while gun purchases were going up and up and up. The truth would fit on a single page, but obfuscating something so huge and blindingly obvious takes a lot of very serious academic work.

  14. avatar silverwarloc says:

    I read her study though not thoroughly. I looked at her methodology, primarily. Her sources, as indicated in the study, needless to say, she is cherry picking data to say the least. The majority of her sources are anti-gun orgs. She is jumping all over with her interpretation of the data sets. I find her definition of mass shooting confusing. In one instance, she defines mass shooting as deaths of four or more. Yet, she references Mother Jones data sets where Mother Jones defines mass shootings of three or more deaths. So which is it? She never says. Her statistical method is questionable at best. In the beginning she mentions 344 mass shootings from 1998-2015. In her Analytical Strategy section, she mentions the rarity of mass shootings. Contradiction, much?

    As poster’s previously mentioned, her study will most likely take as gospel.

    1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

      “As poster’s previously mentioned, her study will most likely take as gospel.”

      That’s the point of everything – They are building what they will call a ‘scholarly’ case against gun rights some time in the future.

      The only way to counter this is to put in the heavy grunt work of our own peer-reviewed studies to use as ammunition against them for that day in the future.

      They are taking this far more seriously than we are. If we don’t act *now*, one day our decedents will regret it…

  15. avatar gus says:

    you are arguing about a UTILITY when you should be addressing a RIGHT! arrrgh!

    (actually I just couldn’t think of anything funny to say)

  16. avatar gus says:

    communism has killed MILLIONS. ask the dumb twat if communists such as the Democrats should be made illegal.

  17. These precious friendship quotes are sure to get a smile out of your friend.

  18. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    good. he might have hurt someone or himself.
    people that say things should not have guns.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      this comment appears under the wrong article- i posted this under the red flag law.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Seems to be a lot of that going around.

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