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Willfully incredulous. Factually obtuse. Pathetically doofus-like. It seems there’s no end to the number of mainstream journalists who are (or, at least, profess to be) surprised by the correlation between relaxed gun laws, increased gun ownership and reduced violent crime. No matter how many times the facts hit them over the head. And writers in the Old Dominion are evidently no different…

For the latest “revelation,” let me carry you back to old Virginny and the pages of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Their crime and courts reporter, Mark Bowes, notes the increase in justified homicides by both police and individual citizens, then conjures amorphous “changing attitudes about the circumstances in which lethal force can be used in self-defense situations” to explain it all.

To try to unravel this impenetrable enigma, he constructs an ill-defined correlation between changes in self-defense laws in various states and the fact that “increasingly permissive gun laws have made it more likely that people are armed while in public.” Shaking in your boots yet?

But then he lets loose with the real kicker:

Interestingly, the national rise in justifiable homicides has occurred as violent crime levels have dropped. The estimated U.S. violent crime level total in 2009 was 5.2 percent below the 2005 level and 7.5 percent below the 2000 level, according to the FBI.

Shazam! Mark’s evidently agog that the prospect of people having the ability to protect themselves might give criminals pause from time to time.  That’s almost as good as the hundreds of writers who have noted overall crime dropping despite prison populations at record levels. Will wonders never cease?

Bowes notes the increase in both police officers killed in the line of duty and police shootings, neither of which are at all-time highs. Casual readers might fall into Bowes’ trap of being alarmed by (gulp) more guns! More shootings! Which naturally mean more crime! Oh. Wait. No, no they don’t.

Much as they hate to admit it, FBI data has shown an inverse relationship between relaxed gun control laws and the violent crime rate. It’s all terribly inconvenient, but there it is. These unfortunate facts make “common sense” gun control look, well, pretty dumb. I won’t hold my breath waiting for a journo to make that correlation, though.


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  1. I am ambivalent on relaxed gun laws and CC, but I do not think there can be a simple if A then B correlation. I note that Wisconsin and Illinois both have decreasing crime rates and restrictive CC laws.

    • Which simply means that the availability of guns have no relations to crime. Which leads us to invalidate the argument that relaxing statutes relating to guns results in a crime wave.

      We can all go back to practicing our Second Amendment rights now.

      • Agreed.

        Crime directly correlates to rough socioeconomic environments as well as inadequate or failed enforcement of the law.

        Gun availability, and legal gun ownership have little to do with it from the perspective of the crime in society at large, however DO have a lot to do with an individual mitigating the effects of crime on themselves.


        P.S. I grew up in a liberal pro-gun environment.

      • +1 Stats and claims cut both ways. The brady bunch can’t on one hand claim that getting back to the 2A will result in blood in the streets, and then turn around and say that the stats are meaningless when they don’t fit their narrative.

  2. Don’t forget. If you grow up in a liberal anti-gun environment, the truth about guns can be hard to swallow. Most people are still in the denial stage.

  3. I was just remembering years ago when I broke down after work, after midnight, on a rural secondary road. Cell phones weren’t so common then and the town closest to me was 2 miles to the rear. At that time, SC wanted specific reasons to issue a CWP, and only specific jobs qualified. I legally had a pistol in the glove box. Not being an idiot, I was not going to hike an unlit highway unarmed. So, I had to go against the learned politicians who knew better than me on how to protect myself from feral dogs and feral thugs. As I started back to town, a car kept going back and forth. A half mile from my car, I watched the other car park behind mine. I jogged back as it took off. This happened twice-further enhancing my mood. The person(s) in the car must have decided the risk wasn’t worth it-me nor the car. I got into town to find the local PD was closed for the night. This apparently included the night patrol. Ultimately, I used the town’s one pay phone and was told by dispatch that the county did not often come out to the edge of said county (Orangeburg). 2 hours later, a State Trooper was kind enough to help me out. Lesson learned-you are at times on your own. No matter what some politician writes, he isn’t going to be there with you at 0100 on a dark,desolate highway. There actually are bad guys out there looking for the chance to do harm and take what they can. I bet they are armed…

    • Good choice Cujo. I’ve spent many a times in Orangeburg at night; not a place to be wandering around back roads unarmed. Especially since the bad guys are definitely armed there.

      • I was just driving through there the other night. Midnight on that entire stretch of highway is no cake walk.

    • You situation reminds me of an argument I had about carrying a weapon in a car.

      Art (not his real name) didn’t see any reason to ever carry a gun in a car.

      I pointed out to Art that I drive late model cars in good repair. But that I also carry tools in the car, even though the chances were slim that I’d break down.

      Art couldn’t answer that argument and maintained his “I still don’t see any reason to carry a gun in a car.”

      Pretty much ended that discussion, though.

        • +1
          I have a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide detector, a fire extinguisher, a basic first aid kit in the house and car, a mobile battery jump starter and a spare cell phone in the car and I’ve never had to use any of those. I “look both ways” before crossing a street and I wear my seatbelt every time I get in the car despite never being in an automobile related accident. My food preparing methods are extremely sanitary despite never having food poisoning. I’ve never had my identity stolen but I shred all my mail, and rarely purchase things online.

          All of this is socially acceptable but carrying a firearm makes me paranoid or a cowboy…

    • Cujo – excellent example. the only point I would disagree with is the statement “Lesson learned-you are at times on your own. ” You are better off assuming that you are ALWAYS on your own when it comes to the government providing you protection (unless you are a politician with a taxpayer-funded bodyguard). Years ago, the Supreme Court held that the police are only there to “maintain a certain level of order in society as a whole”, not protect any individual against criminals. This was a case where two women called 911 after a man broke into their house, beat and raped them for hours. One woman escaped her bonds while the rapist was assaulting the second woman, and called 911. the rapist had returned to the first woman and tied her up again by the time the police arrived. The police knocked on the door, no one answered, and they left the women to the rapist’s “mercy”. The women sued the police – the Supreme Court basically replied “tough shit, ladies”. We are on our own when it comes to self-defense. That’s why it’s called SELF defense, even if the media pukes want to call it “being a vigilante”.

      • Thank you and point taken. I was leaning more to the night in question when no one was on the road except the car stalking me and me. I had a friend ask me later why I didn’t run all the way to town in the dark, I reminded him what dogs and other predators do to running prey. I like solitude sometimes, but that night was not fun! As for the police-I spent 8 years with a badge, and that and a dollar still won’t get help faster when you call for help. I’ve actually been in a shouting match with my local sheriff just trying to get some speed/traffic control in my little subdivision. His response was cursory at best and he sneaked by later and tagged me with a petty code violation for my trouble. A good deputy will be held back by Bubba in charge, who only wants the power but not the responsibility.

  4. Great points Derek, and I’ll bet that you most likely have car, home and life insurance even though you probably won’t use them. It’s better to be safe and prepared than sorry.

  5. There are two theories of crime: (1) criminal behavior is an impulsive random act and anybody could someday decide to commit a crime. (2) Criminals are rational actors. If you believe(1) then you would be inclined to be a gun grabber since we are all one impulse from committing a crime. If you believe that most criminals are rational actors then raising the operating costs of criminal activity be it with longer sentences and higher conviction rates or just the increased likelihood of the victim become the victor then you would believe that increased gun ownership is crime prevention measure, i.e., more guns, less crime.

  6. tdiinva, I’m a subscriber to the third option for my theory for a lot of crime.

    In my theory, many crimes are committed by drug-addled whack jobs who operate according to a set of rules and motivations that the vast majority of sane, sober, non-addicted folks mostly cannot even begin to dimly comprehend, much less understand.

    While these folks may appear to be pretty normal most of the time, when they are under the influence of their drugs of choice they aren’t really rational, and when they are desperately craving their drug of choice, they aren’t really rational either.

    So they aren’t really under theory number one, as these folks belong to a very specific, very-identifiable sub-set of society (those who are addicted to various types of illegal drugs) and they also don’t fit neatly into category number two, as their drug usage makes them something else than “rational” in the traditional definition of the word.

    And I also think this is what makes these “category three” folks so dangerous. They aren’t following normal procedures as defined by rational behavior. There’s no telling what they might be willing to do while under the influence of meth or cocaine or heroin or angel dust, etc, or what they might be willing to do to obtain more of their drug of choice when they haven’t had a dose in a while, and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

    But at least they are identifiable to a greater degree than defined by “category one.”

    A few years ago, there was a local elderly man shot to death in his own house by a younger man who barely knew him–knew of him would have been more accurate. The younger man, high on meth, broke into the older man’s house, hoping he could steal something, anything that he might be able to sell or pawn or trade to get more meth.

    Days after the murder, the killer was rational enough to understand what he’d done. But not while he was actually doing it. Which is exactly what made him so dangerous. He wasn’t rational while high.

  7. Gun owner and enthusiast here. Also attempting to bring some balance.

    You write:
    “It seems there’s no end to the number of mainstream journalists who are (or, at least, profess to be) surprised by the correlation between relaxed gun laws, increased gun ownership and reduced violent crime.”

    Really? Is there concrete evidence? Last time I crossed referenced state-by-state gun laws with gun crimes (pretty easy to do), there was no consistent correlation. I think both sides have been trying to find one and have come up short.

    We could also attempt to use some age-old, faulty logic by stating: crime is down because there are more guns in our homes now than at any other time in history. Nah, I don’t buy that one either.

    But heck, Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre just wrote in their letter to Obama that “The primary reason why tens of millions of Americans own firearms is that they FEAR (caps added) violent criminals roaming the streets undeterred.” (letter reprinted in American Rifleman, page 17, June 2011)

    I take umbrage at that statement and it clearly illustrates how out-of-touch the NRA is. I own guns for many reasons – and not even a secondary one is out of FEAR.

    It’s time that balanced minds prevail and the extreme left media and the extreme right NRA stop the nonsensical remarks and rhetoric.

    Please TTAG, don’t fall into the trap of being extreme either way.

    • John Lott, a criminology researcher, studied the crime stats for EVERY county in the lower 48, and found that increased gun ownership (and passage of “shall issue” CCW laws) directly resulted in a decrease of violent crime of around 5-7% in the full year after passage of the CCW law. This was a rigoro0us, statistically valid survey. The CCW laws had a larger positive effect of decreasing violent crimes against women and the elderly, because criminals no longer saw them as preferred victims. A summary of the survey and the methodology is in John Lott’s book, “More Guns, Less Crime”.

  8. Now if you could just get the rest of the media and Hollywood to realize it! But, actually they already know it.. See, they’re Marxists with an agenda and guns, in private hands, that might some day be used to remove them from illegal and extra constitutionally acquired power, isn’t part of their plan. Nor is it their plan to let anyone have this kind of information on a massive scale because it makes their conquest more difficult and the lies less effective.

    BUT, this is not and never has been any kind of a conspiracy or anything like that. So you are constantly told by those who benefit from it. Just enough to create doubt about your perception and cognitive abilities. Like Churchill said about truth and the “Bodyguard of lies”. Just enough to create a civil war where they can use the people to seize power.

    But that could never happen here!

    No. Everywhere else but not the good old USA.

  9. Journalists tend to be shocked by truth and facts mainly because they are not journalists. They are socialist progressives who are solely concerned with the advancing of a socio-political agenda. There has been little real journalism in the mainstream media outlets in over 50 years. So when it is no longer feasible for a “journalist” to deny the facts, obfuscate the truth, or skew the numbers, the only remaining response is shock. I used to believe that the socialist progressives were simply incapable of individual critical thought. However, the more I observe the more I come to understand that they indeed are intelligent and capable people. They just happen to be corrupt and evil to the core.


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