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The civilian disarmament advocates at took a look at a recent Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council report, a non-profit think tank that publishes studies with the aim to assist the government in their decision-making process. And much to their dismay, it seems to have debunked just about every major claim that gun control advocates made in their recent push for an assault weapons ban . . .

There’s really no better way to summarize this thing than to tease out the salient points from the Slate article (follow the link to read more):

2. Most indices of crime and gun violence are getting better, not worse. “Overall crime rates have declined in the past decade, and violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past 5 years,” the report notes. “Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of firearm-related violent victimizations remained generally stable.” Meanwhile, “firearm-related death rates for youth ages 15 to 19 declined from 1994 to 2009.” Accidents are down, too: “Unintentional firearm-related deaths have steadily declined during the past century. The number of unintentional deaths due to firearm-related incidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010.”

4. Handguns are the problem. Despite being outnumbered by long guns, “Handguns are used in more than 87 percent of violent crimes,” the report notes. In 2011, “handguns comprised 72.5 percent of the firearms used in murder and non-negligent manslaughter incidents.” Why do criminals prefer handguns? One reason, according to surveys of felons, is that they’re “easily concealable.”

5. Mass shootings aren’t the problem. “The number of public mass shootings of the type that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School accounted for a very small fraction of all firearm-related deaths,” says the report. “Since 1983 there have been 78 events in which 4 or more individuals were killed by a single perpetrator in 1 day in the United States, resulting in 547 victims and 476 injured persons.” Compare that with the 335,000 gun deaths between 2000 and 2010 alone.

6. Gun suicide is a bigger killer than gun homicide. From 2000 to 2010, “firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States,” says the report. Firearm sales are often a warning: Two studies found that “a small but significant fraction of gun suicides are committed within days to weeks after the purchase of a handgun, and both also indicate that gun purchasers have an elevated risk of suicide for many years after the purchase of the gun.”

7. Guns are used for self-defense often and effectively. “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year … in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008,” says the report. The three million figure is probably high, “based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys.” But a much lower estimate of 108,000 also seems fishy, “because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.” Furthermore, “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

10. It isn’t true that most gun acquisitions by criminals can be blamed on a few bad dealers. The report concedes that in 1998, “1,020 of 83,272 federally licensed retailers (1.2 percent) accounted for 57.4 percent of all guns traced by the ATF.” However, “Gun sales are also relatively concentrated; approximately 15 percent of retailers request 80 percent of background checks on gun buyers conducted by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.” Researchers have found that “the share of crime gun traces attributed to these few dealers only slightly exceeded their share of handgun sales, which are almost equally concentrated among a few dealers.” Volume, not laxity, drives the number of ill-fated sales.

Is it a slam dunk for gun rights advocates? Nah. But if this is the kind of research that we can expect from President Obama’s recent drive for “understanding gun violence” with federal funding, I’d be okay with it.

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  1. Another exercise in futility.Obama and his cohorts will not permit facts to obstruct their goals,regardless of the source in question.

  2. Wow. I feel so,,,,,,,,,vindicated. And I have never liked that gang of pointy-heads at IoM, although I would feel a bit better about their self-righteous pontificating if they would sit down and eat a rare steak, slam a couple of brews and smoke a cigar from time to time. Just sayin’.

    • I was sort of thinking it may be time for an adult beverage for me. Hesitant to cry out “Miller time!” but it is encouraging, particularly the summary regarding DGUs. About time something line that is recognized. Perhaps time to line up several cool beverages on this hot desert day an begin reading the details in the report, which I just downloaded. 124 pages. May need to send out for more supplies.

  3. “But if this is the kind of research that we can expect from President Obama’s recent drive for “understanding gun violence” with federal funding, I’d be okay with it.”

    It’s just a bait and switch, in hopes of getting us to buy off on more studies. Once they get our buy off they don’t need to be honest anymore.

    • If I were a betting man, I’d bet that the researchers who arrive at results like this simply won’t be recipients of future grants.

      No obvious punishment, just … “Sorry, there were too many worthy projects and not enough money to fund all of them.”

      We’ve all heard about this in the big pharma studies; we know big tobacco operated this way too. My own experience indicates it happens in other fields as well. Sadly.

      • This. If they continue to make reports with these kinds of findings, their funds will dry up.

  4. I would be more heartened by these results if they were not things that were already well-known, and yet studiously ignored by both the mainstream media and the gun control lobby.

    • I’d be even more heartened if the big media accurately, completely reported the results of this study now, without slant, for all to hear, in a time slot similar to every anti gun piece they present.

  5. ….and just like that, I’d imagine the President’s pledge to fund more “gun violence” research just went to the ass-end of the line.

    • That would be just as we’ll; any government funded study would follow the money to the conclusions it’s sponsor envisions in one way or another.

  6. “Established in 1970, the IOM is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which was chartered under President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Nearly 150 years later, the National Academy of Sciences has expanded into what is collectively known as the National Academies, which comprises the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Research Council, and the IOM.”

  7. If Obama acknowledged these studies, supported the 2nd Amendment and responsible concealed carry, repealed the bastard of Obamacare, supported smaller government and government accountability, approved the Keystone pipeline, and pushed for a balanced federal budget, I would respect him. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there is no way he’ll do any of that.

    • I’d add to that list:

      Immediately firing from federal service every one of the Wall Street and finance cronies he hired as his advisors and regulators, after those same people helped lead us to the financial brink

      Immediately forcing the Federal government to drop everything else, no matter what it is, and lined up the necessary number – certainly thousands – of employees from any other agencies to provide the bodies necessary to eliminate the backlog of processing claims at the VA – yeah, it would be inefficient, but so is building airfields by hand, but it’s been done

      Begins his expository speech involving the reversal of stance on your issues with these words, “Sometimes we in governement forget that we are the peoples’ servants, but it is time to set things straight…”

      Required as a condition of ongoing employment in every federal agency, excluding only the DoD, that every interaction with a citizen must begin with the fed saying, “Yes sir/ma’am, how can I help you today?”

      All of those would not necessarily win my approval, but it would at least earn my respect. We could at least refer to him and say he was a leader, even if we disagreed with some of what he believes.

      • @505-

        Heck, he hasn’t even fired Eric Holder yet. You’ll be waiting a long time to respect Obama, paisan.

        But then again, why in samhill would you want to? Obama’s talked out of both sides of his mouth since running for president in 2008.

    • Acurr81-you have high hopes that will remain unfulfilled, no need for you to climb the tree. 505markf while your list is commendable, I see the same for your hopes as that which I see for Acurr81. Just sayin’ guys……….

      • Aye. I’m like that ant pushing the rubber tree. High hopes indeed, but am old enough to recognize it isn’t likely.

    • @ Accur81
      I concur; wrong ideology, wrong platform, wrong crowd; never happen.
      You’re on a very sturdy limb.

  8. Thanks for the citation and summary, Nick. This is exactly the kind of report (and knowledge) 2A supporters should have at the ready. Anti’s often reject the voice of experience and prefer citation to some especially pointy tip-of-the-spear outfit among the point-headed minions. Doesn’t bother me. Give them something they can relate to, almost. Then, of course, quote Madonna.

  9. Wow, I’m really looking forward to seeing the results of this study on tonight’s news!

  10. I just corrected some guy in conversation today. He said crime is getting worse. I told him it is actually getting better and explained some of the stats. He was shocked.

    • Yep. People who get their “news” from the teevee are living in absolute terror of the massive tidal wave of crime they are told about every morning and evening. Well, what little they are told about it, in between the breathless interviews of honey barfbarf and dumpy old white chicks explaining how to save money by cooking mounds of gelatinous vegetarian goop.

      Gawd forbid you disturb their worldview by actually handing them a stack of pages filled with facts, you mean, evil, nasty boogerhead!

  11. Yeah, well duh!! This “study” by the NRC (and thank you by the way) merely codifies and validates what the pro-2A camp has been saying for, what, decades now? Good on them for not going to extremes to tweak it to the preferred narrative. For the times, they are a changin’. We shall overcome….eventually.

  12. Just want to say that William Saletan, the author of this article, is one of the rare writers who every now and then surprises you by going against the liberal party line. Only every now and then, mind you, but still noteworthy given the tediously predictable “stuff” that passes for intelligent commentary in Slate.

  13. I see this in a darker light.

    Expect new attention being drawn to over-regulating pistols.

  14. Nice write up, but I have serious problems with this:

    “Firearm sales are often a warning: Two studies found that “a small but significant fraction of gun suicides are committed within days to weeks after the purchase of a handgun, and both also indicate that gun purchasers have an elevated risk of suicide for many years after the purchase of the gun.”

    I did not know that the act of buying a gun means I now have an “elevated risk of suicide”. Where do they come up with this stuff? Are these researchers sitting around smoking big fat Bahamian joints when they have these epiphanies?

    • It is a post hoc ergo propter hoc conclusion. A small number of suicides by gun have been found to have purchased their instrument just before doing the deed. I bet you would find the same statistic in suicide by rope.

      Let’s be honest when an American wants to do himself in he is likely to reach for a gun where his British counterpart will reach for a rope or someone in Japan will visit the local train station.

      • Yeah, I think we all agree with the findings that suicide rates are not in any way related to firearms availability. I think it shows how much BS is out there demonizing firearms that it can be confusing, even when someone is actually helping us.

      • Dingdingding!!! We have a winner. The simple fact is when a person is serious about killing themselves they will do it. Method is irrelevant.

  15. You can published proven facts all day long but it will be in vain when it comes to convincing a liberal that they are wrong about gun control and global warming. These dam fools are birds of the same feather that flock together and fly further north in the winter to get warm.

  16. Okay, this is what I don’t understand. The main argument in point 5 is primarily that mass shootings are not the problem because, the death rate of mass shootings are quite small compared to the overall death rate from gun violence. However, to some people, this somehow justifies not having restrictions on guns. Whenever people hear the words “restriction” and “gun” together they freak out and start shouting out the 2nd amendment. I don’t think that criminals should be allowed to have guns. It’s a pretty simple concept. In fact, 40% of mass shootings were related to domestic violence, in which 6 of the 17 shooters already had been charged for domestic violence. Now, why were these people allowed to have guns, if they were charged for domestic violence? Sure, I guess you could say if person A really wanted person B dead that badly, they would figure out a way. So does that also mean we should make killing person B as simple as possible? Guns are way to accessible by way to many people. In some countries (e.g. Australia) most guns are not permitted. The only type of gun there that is permitted is “private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is only permitted subject to stringent conditions.” Now I understand for some of you that might be a hard concept to grasp. But, gun-related deaths are comparatively low (2010: 236 vs. 1995(year prior to implementation of gun laws):470). Furthermore, they have not had a mass shooting. What I’m getting at is that American society is so hung up on our freaking gun obsession, that we don’t even want to give up any part of our priveleges for the betterment of humanity. It’s pride combined with ignorance which is creating an awful outcome.

    • A couple of things…

      Guns aren’t used only by bad guys. They can be and are used by peaceful people in self-defense all the time. The best estimates range from a minimum of 400,000 defensive uses per year to as many as 2.5 million. Every one of these uses represents a rape prevented, a robbery stopped, a brutal beating prevented, a life saved…and most of them are successful without even firing a shot.

      There is no law that can take guns out of criminal hands without having a disproportionate effect on law-abiding people. Criminals, by definition, don’t care about the law. If they really want a gun, they’ll find one. Meanwhile, fewer law-abiding people will have them…and the numbers above should indicate why that’s a very bad thing.

      “Gun deaths” are only a small part of the story. Look at the overall rate of murder and violent crime in England and Australia, and you’ll see that even though gun violence is far lower than in the US, the murder rate is not. And there’s far more violent crime overall, especially in England. Murders and violence happen with or without guns — the difference is that self-defense is much more difficult.

      Okay, that’s three things. Overall, my point would be that the gun control question needs to be seen in light of the very real benefits of civilian gun ownership, not just the negatives. And furthermore, a right is a right, is a right…and no right is more fundamental to human dignity and individual worth than the right to defend your life and your loved ones in the most effective way possible.

    • Sweety?What fantasy world are you living in where “not having restrictions on guns.” is a legitimate statement? You ever buy a firearm, honey? Ever been through a background check? America, at Fed, state, municipal and county levels has 26,000 pages of restrictions and laws concerning firearms, you idiot.

      And as for Australia, murder, assault, rape and robbery all jumped after they enacted their firearms bans. But hey! Keep throwing your lies out there, and real human beings will continue to laugh at you.

    • And as for ” the betterment of humanity.”, medical science is working on finding the genetic triggers for socialism, and once they are defined we can eradicate the political left from the human race and step forward into a bright and shining future, one devoid of your political ideology’s penchant for genocide, totalitarianism and luddite-ism.

    • Um, no, it’s because SO MANY firearms rights have been surrendered already, with no end in sight, that we ‘freak out.’ I have a suggestion; let’s start a ‘discussion about guns’ and some ‘compromises’, okay?

      How about we do away with the NFA rules, since they don’t prevent any crime at all?
      How about we do away with waiting periods, since stats show they don’t prevent any crime at all?
      How about we do away with microstamping, case collection and silly ‘chamber loaded’ indicator rules, along with states’ mandatory manual safety rules?

      See, we’re not against compromise; just against the ‘compromise’ that always and inevitably goes ONE WAY.

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