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Gun ownership vs gun crime

The antis want you to believe that the South’s “weak gun laws” are responsible for higher levels of “gun violence.”  Well, not the South. “Some southern states” have “more gun-related violence than others.” See how that works? The antis cherry pick  – including some states, excluding other – to promote their agenda. (FBI crime stats put gun-control crazed California at the top of the firearms-related homicide table.) They stat with a premise – “The weaker the gun laws and the higher the rate of gun ownership in a given state, the more deaths from gun violence that state will see” and shoehorn stats to fit. We’ve said it before . . .

Correlation does not equal causation. But you can use correlation to rule out causation, to disprove a relationship. Check out the chart above: gun ownership up, firearms-related homicides down. Way up. Way down.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that rising firearms ownership caused the drop in firearms-related homicides. There are a lot of potential reasons for the drop: economics, culture, concealed carry liberalization, soaring gun ownership, incarceration rates, improved emergency care, the arrival of killer bees into the U.S, drug addicts switching to weed. It could be any or those things, all of those things, some of those things, none of those things, or some thing or things not on the list

The key point: none of the variable on the list caused the rate to firearms-related homicide rate to increase – because it didn’t increase. Firearms ownership may have stopped the firearms-related homicide rate from dropping even faster, but the weight of numbers suggest otherwise. Not proves. Suggests. But that’s not the point, really.

This chart leads us to the conclusion that gun ownership is not a major factor in American firearms-related homicide rates. That idea alone is powerful stuff – a fact that the antis will ignore, marginalize, mischaracterize and manipulate. But the truth is easy to see, for anyone with their eyes – and mind – open.

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  1. I recently saw a Southern Poverty Law Center graph that correlated increased gun control with less firearms death. The big blaring notice that stuck out to me was that they said “deaths” not homicide. They couldn’t possibly correlate more gun control with less firearms homicide (I’ve ran the numbers myself, there is no correlation) so they stuck in suicides and found a correlation that fit the narrative. Utah went from the lowest state in the country in terms of firearms homicide to right in the middle of the pack once suicides were factored in.

    Anyway… protecting people from themselves is not a legitimate reason to restrict peoples right to defend themselves from attackers.

    • Not to mention the fact that darn near any gun will do when someone wants to kill oneself. All the arguments about types of guns and features goes out the window. If it can kill an animal then it can kill a human at point blank range.

      • Right? Those single shot break action shotguns that the UK gungrabbers pat themselves on the back for so mercifully letting their citizens own would be just as worthy a suicide gun as any… not to mention that in 2010 a gentlemen went on a rampage killing 12 people and shooting 20 others in Cumbria, England with his break-action shotgun negating their claim that they got rid of mass shootings… but I digress.

        Handguns are probably the most common gun used in suicide, but that’s just a guess since firearm type isn’t recorded in suicide stats like it is in homicide. But we do know that 95% of violence done with a gun is done with handguns and probably 99.99% of that is done without needing an 11+ round capacity… and since the supreme court has already said handgun bans wont fly… it makes you wonder the gun control folks are even trying to accomplish.

        • “it makes you wonder the gun control folks are even trying to accomplish.”

          It’s all about social control, not saving lives. Guns frighten them, but the person carrying one is not buying into their nanny-state, subservient to the government agenda..and that frightens them even more.

  2. This weekend in Portland OR gangbanger #1 shot and killed gangbangers #’s 2 and 3. Is this an example of one of their “daily mass shootings”? No … but yes.

  3. Never trust a graph where only two points are used to plot a line, even if the graph supports your argument.

  4. I thank TTAG for explaining what is presented by anti’s as simple and fact is in reality complex and propaganda.

  5. From the article,

    Correlation does not equal causation. But you can use correlation to rule out causation, to disprove a relationship.

    I was going to bust your chops on this last statement, but then you said this in the article,

    Firearms ownership may have stopped the firearms-related homicide rate from dropping even faster …

    I have actually heard gun-grabbers make that very claim … that our murder rate would be even lower now if we could have somehow made firearms magically disappear.

    In the end it is impossible to accurately define what causes what because there are thousands/millions of variables involved. For example, keeping with the murder rate, I have heard people claim that abortion is responsible for the lower rate. I have heard still others claim that eliminating lead in gasoline and paint is responsible. When such wildly different factors are at play, no one can say that they know what caused the drop in the murder rate. The only thing we can say for sure is that it is lower. Why it is lower is anyone’s guess.

    • I was going to point out that the lack of correlation could indeed be used to show that there is no causation, however that does not apply in this case; there appears to be a negative correlation. That cannot be used to show any causation, but it also does not rule one out. It could be that more guns = less gun homicide, but there is no proof presented here that that is the case. Certainly, though, the negative correlation seems to point to the idea that more guns does not necessarily mean more crime within the same society. But, no proof of that either, just support.

  6. What is missing is granularity, when comparing states. Same with using a national stat when we all know that murder rates are extremely local. I’d rather see county –no, city– comparisons to correlate murder & gun control. That murder map would look a hell of a lot more like a 2012 election results summary than they’d ever care to admit. A much stronger correlation exists between poverty and all types of violence, and between poverty and population density, and therefore between violence and population density.

    The trolls are out in full force this week everywhere, and not one of them will discuss ‘general’ non-gun-specific violence rates. Burn them down using that.

  7. I am wondering why the number of guns runs up to 2015, but gun deaths per only goes to 2010. Have the stats changed to not favor this graph, or are they unavailable? Anyone know?

    • The FBI’s crime data lags at least two years behind (and that’s if they’re doing a good job keeping up and most of the states report as they should).

  8. Sorry but I just don’t believe that murders committed by guns is down as of 2015.
    I don’t have any idea on how to reduce the number of killings by guns but yesterday alone I read about three children under 12 killed in separate incidents in different locations.
    Some of these guns were mishandled by adults and they got these children killed. I think that laws should be enacted, if not already on the books, that if an adult allows their gun to fall into the wrong hands through their own negligence and someone is killed or injured, that adult needs to do some hard time.
    With the number of nut jobs out there, no lawful gun owners should have to give up their 2nd Amendment rights or their guns. Keep them handy but keep them under YOUR control at all times.

  9. The 2nd Amendment was put into the Constitution so the people could protect themselves from a corrupt government. That is why it says “shall not infringe” so we can have what the government has to prevent a Holocaust. I believe the people should have what the government has including machine guns. The only gun control law there should be is that criminals can’t have any firearms. No double standards put DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.

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