Study: Americans’ ‘Excess Purchases’ of Guns Mean They Clearly Have Excess Freedom

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By Elizabeth McGuigan

Amazingly, a new “study” is making headlines, despite the fact that it relies on obviously faulty assumptions, irrational methodology and has not been peer-reviewed.

The authors cite themselves as support for spurious statements like “Surges in firearm purchasing…have been well documented in association with mass shootings and significant political events and are followed by population-level increases in firearm violence.” Crime data for the most recent months isn’t available yet, but we know history proves otherwise.

Sure, Americans tend to buy more of something they think will soon be scarce. Just as there was an increase in toilet paper buying during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, adults are more likely to legally purchase a certain firearm they have been thinking about when there is a political discussion of banning that firearm. Does that mean those purchases are, as the author argues, “excess” firearms?

Any chef will tell you they require different types of knives for different kitchen tasks. Any hunter will tell you they would not rely on the same firearm for self-defense as they would in the field. All guns are not the same and do not meet the same needs for law-abiding citizens that choose to exercise their Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms.

The difference is, although there are more homicides each year committed with knives than with modern sporting rifles, no one seems to argue seriously against owning any knives or for limiting the number that a home may possess because more than one is excessive.

The authors of the study do make the smallest mention of a key fact in their opening; “The pandemic has exacerbated factors that contribute to interpersonal violence, including financial stress, tension, trauma, worry, and a sense of hopelessness.”

If data show an increase in violent crimes over the last 3-6 months, it would not be surprising during this unsettling time of national crisis. However, it does not follow that this is due to more Americans deciding to purchase firearms.

In fact, more individuals are buying guns precisely because they feel unsafe and are seeking to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property. Many of these recent purchases have been made by new gun owners, begging the question of how the study’s authors can argue they are “excess purchases.”

Flawed Model

Let’s look at the study’s design. For firearm purchases, the authors use an adjusted number based on the number of checks conducted by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Fine. We’ve been doing that for a long time now and know that makes sense. It’s refreshing to see gun control advocates actually acknowledge that every firearm purchase from a federally licensed retailer must go through a background check.

The data source that is more problematic is the use of the Gun Violence Archive’s collection of media reports as a proxy for actual crime data. It should come as no surprise that the news isn’t always accurate. Particularly when reporting local crimes, the media tends to briefly cover a crime that may or may not have occurred, from a limited perspective with little detail and no follow-up.

There’s a reason for using FBI crime data rather than what a local reporter says in a blog post. When designing a study that purports to argue guns are a problem and too many guns are a bigger problem, it would be great if the authors could at least attempt to use accurate, reliable data sources.

The gymnastics used by the authors to determine what is considered “excess purchases” could alone take an entire study to critique. But picking apart their process would mean accepting that the premise is sound. Which it simply is not. There is no such thing as “excess purchases.” There is supply and there is demand. There are legal, heavily regulated sales. There are law-abiding adults possessing and using firearms in compliance with federal, state and local laws.

To assert that there have been “excess purchases” of over 2 million firearms is a thinly veiled, deeply biased assertion that there is something inherently wrong with the legal purchase of a firearm. With this in mind, the model doesn’t matter. This study comes down to a simple equation: garbage in, garbage out. In fact, the authors recognize that there is no evidence to show these legally purchased firearms have been used in any crimes.

Fortunately, the authors do not claim that there is a causal relationship between the increase in purchases and violent crime. At best they argue there is an “association.” While they can imply more guns causes more crime, even the authors understand there is no evidence to support that, stating, “We cannot infer causality from these observational data.”

Why not consider what happened with crime rates after the 2013 “surge” in firearm purchases? Perhaps because crime rates declined?

Statistic: Reported violent crime rate in the United States from 1990 to 2018 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

What is different now are the unique factors the authors point out earlier that tend to be associated with increases in violent crime. In other words, it’s not the guns.

If we see an increase in crime, it is due the socioeconomic factors that have long been correlated with crime spikes, only now magnified by state stay-at-home orders and societal unrest. This is a fact that the authors do note in their limitations section. Describing the fact that their results, “could indicate reverse causation, i.e. that an increase in violence caused an increase in firearm purchasing…”

Unsurprisingly, despite evidence to the contrary, the authors conclude that this study, “lends support to interventions restricting access to firearms.” This is yet another example of a thoroughly biased report aimed only to achieve gun control goals. The report’s predisposition is not surprising. Several of the authors have a long track record of publishing agenda-driven “research” to advance gun control measures.

The firearm and ammunition industry understands the importance of the Second Amendment, but also the importance of the legal, safe and responsible use and possession of guns. We have proven that with our leadership in getting our FixNICS program signed into law in Congress and 16 states, increasing the disqualifying background checks from 1.7 million to 5.3 million since 2012, a 241-percent increase.

It is the firearm industry that leads with Project ChildSafe, passing out over 38 million free gun locks and with manufacturers including a locking device with each new firearm shipped. We’ve led on preventing straw purchases with our Don’t Lie for the Other Guy campaign done in partnership with ATF. It is the industry that has partnered with ATF in Operation Secure Store to reduce the theft of guns from retailers.

And we know that increasing suicide trends is a major issue in the United States today. We are working to reduce these tragedies, which account for about two-thirds of all gun deaths annually, through partnerships with groups like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Department of Veterans Affairs. We know the answer isn’t restrictions on the rights of Americans but is in coming up with Real Solutions for safer communities.

 

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

comments

  1. avatar Leigh says:

    You think this is crazy…wait until November.
    If Biden wins…there will be a buying FRENZY on magazines…semi-auto rifles and shotguns….ammo…reloading supplies…80% guns…whatever he has on his “ban” list
    I suggest people buy some stuff now…just in case…it may get REAL expensive.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Always excellent advice. I’m going to buy some more spare parts for my Glocks tonight. Plus buffer spring upgrades for the ARs, and thinking about a couple of replacement trigger kits.

      1. avatar Markol says:

        I have plenty of firearms but GOTDAMN it’s hard to find ammo right now! Even when you do, it’s twice the price of pre-chinkenpox.

        1. avatar BLAMMO!! says:

          Not to go all off topic but it’s not even just guns and ammo. My wife needs a new computer and I can’t find a suitable laptop anywhere. With so many people now working from home, everything on all the major retail sites is out of stock.

          I started working from home in March and I immediately sent from a new monitor, mouse and keyboard. Glad I got them when I did because a couple weeks later, they were out of stock and have been ever since. Everything comes from the Far East and hardly anything is coming in.

        2. avatar Not Larry from Texas says:

          The only 9mm that SGA was rat shot.

        3. avatar Matty 9 says:

          This is why I spent the better part of last year buying some .22LR, 5.56, and .270 every Friday after work. I refused to ever go back to more than 6 cents a pop for .22LR. I may never have to.

        4. avatar Art out West says:

          My wife thinks I have excessive numbers of firearm purchases. She is probably right 👍
          On the other hand, we can afford it, and I’m glad I have them.

        5. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          @Art,

          Your wife knows about all your firearm expenses? Remember the first rule about Fight Club. 🙂

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      Excess Freedom??????….anyone who could coin that phrase leaves little doubt where they’re coming from….

      1. avatar jwm says:

        That’s what I checked in to say. ‘Excess Freedom’? Don’t worry. If the left wins this fracas we won’t have to worry about that nasty old freedom, excess or otherwise.

    3. avatar henry says:

      The ways things are going, no matter who wins in november…theres going to be all out war.

      Things are not improving, theyre getting worse

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        They sure are being portrayed that way.

  2. avatar Leigh says:

    Suicides are a choice…YOUR body…YOUR choice.
    Maybe not the best choice…but a choice. Excluding murder-suicides…of course.
    Old white guys and young black guys…biggest numbers of deaths by guns. Two entirely different reasons.
    Makes you go hmmmm.

    1. avatar Chris Morton says:

      To a Marxist, EVERYTHING including your body is property of the state. You own NOTHING.

      That’s why the NKVD was so utterly fanatical about preventing people whom they fully planned to murder judicially from committing suicide. You couldn’t kill YOURSELF, only THEY could kill you.

  3. avatar Dennis says:

    Just more bulls**t and obfuscation! We all know why we’re buying more guns, to protect ourselves from the forces who seem to be running roughshod over everything and everyone in the name of “social justice”! Only thing about it that bothers me is ,how many of these sales are to the people we’re trying to defend against.

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    On May 31(coincidentally my birthday) the barbarians invaded my burb. Literally! The scum came in 7 buses. The local 5-O literally did nothing to stop the rioting & looting. Of course we should buy more guns & ammo. If S L O W Joe wins I’m going on a buying spree…if his mate is the leftard ” war hero” Tammy Duckworthless it may end up President. All bets are off😕

    1. avatar Suq Madiq says:

      That’s right. Tammy Duckworth’s brave service is nothing compared to what war hero and self made man Donal Trump has sacrificed for his country. Such greatness!

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Next thing we know, you’ll be saying “I can dere-lick my own balls!” It’s the next inevitable phase.

      2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Suq’s writing format looks suspiciously like All Hail’s…

      3. avatar former water walker says:

        She volunteered dipshite. Worst ILL senator ever. John Kerry volunteered too. He’s still a traitor. AS IS Duckworthless…

      4. avatar LampOfDiogenes says:

        And her having served validates and makes unquestionable her every opinion and utterance??? We can never question or disagree with an active service member or veteran?? Glad to know you Lefty idjits have such a high regard for our military. /sarc

    2. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      I’m not a fan of hers at all. When POTU (People of the uniform, made up term) virtual signal about their service it gets on my nerves. Democratic party members seem to do this more often IMO. John Kerry, Dick Blumenthal….
      I would tell her, “Yes, you lost your legs after being shot down, everyone can see that. But that doesn’t make you smart or a worthwhile national leader, so quit talking about it.”

      One hardly hears Dan Crenshaw say anything about his service.

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        Service doesn’t make you a good politician. Jason Crowe (D, CO-6) is a bronze star recipient with service in 82nd Airborne Division and 75th Ranger Regiment. It’s an admirable record, but he’s a full-on Dem, supporting gun grabbing and any SJW topic you can think of. I’d be honored to be in a foxhole with him (not that commandos hang out in foxholes), but I’d be ashamed if he were my representative.

      2. avatar LampOfDiogenes says:

        Well said. My father spent two years in Korea. My father-in-law (who just passed, bless his soul) served three years in the Pacific as a SeaBee. My uncle was a career Army officer who spent three tours in ‘Nam. I had a roommate in college who was a ‘Nam vet going to college on the GI Bill.

        You couldn’t GET them to talk about their service . . . and I am not exaggerating. When there was an uptick in the news about how our veterans are dying without having told their stories, and we needed to preserve those, I went out an bought a tape recorder for that purpose, and asked all of them if I could record their remembrances. “Get f***ed” was the general response.

        Heroes don’t talk about being heroes, and they SURE AS HELL don’t use their”‘heroship” as a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Tammy Duckworth can go suck the hemhorrhoids of a syphilitic warthog. Her opinions are entitled to not ONE WHIT more consideration than any other Americans.

        ESAD, Duckworth.

  5. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Study: Americans’ ‘Excess Purchases’ of Guns Mean They Clearly Have Excess Freedom”

    Mmmm, I’m thinkin’ that the ones with “excess freedom” are the ones that are rioting, pillaging, plundering and looting unchecked, to me, that’s “excess freedom”…

  6. avatar Mark N. says:

    The article does not link to the study, name it, or identify its authors. If they are the usual suspects, I would like to know who. the Harvard bunch who claim to be biostatisticians who are a disgrace to their profession?

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Yeah there is a link to something (look for “authors” in red) but it’s indirect. If you’re going to attack a study, you really should link to it very early. Unless you are trying to build a strawman and hoping that no one bothers to read it and call you out on it…

      1. avatar c says:

        The report was written in Moscow.

  7. avatar RGP says:

    The study is BS but it is no accident. Right now, a significant percentage of Americans have been sufficiently brainwashed that they would gladly give up “excess freedom” to be “safe” and to avoid the current virus.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    Don’t worry about that “excess freedom.” The Left will gladly take it away.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      How did Dr. Franklin put it, oh yes.

      “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin

  9. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Why argue about the numbers, authors, or anything else in this “study” at all? It doesn’t matter what numbers or statistical relationships allegedly indicate because we are talking about a fundamental, inalienable right.

    How much carnage from arson do people have to foist upon our society — arson fires that people start with tamp0ns — before we start talking about controlling tamp0n sales? The obvious righteous answer should be, “It doesn’t matter. Women should have unfettered access to purchase any amount and any type of feminine products that they want regardless of how often criminals misuse such products!”

    Criminals using items for criminal purposes is no righteous basis for restricting everyone else’s access to such items.

  10. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    The firearm and ammunition industry understands the importance of the Second Amendment, but also the importance of the legal, safe and responsible use and possession of guns. We have proven that with our leadership in getting our FixNICS program signed into law in Congress and 16 states, increasing the disqualifying background checks from 1.7 million to 5.3 million since 2012, a 241-percent increase.

    With friends like that, who needs enemies?

    The National Shooting Sports Foundation is advancing gun control which puts them squarely on the WRONG side of our inalienable right to keep and bear arms.

    And to clarify for anyone who fails to see the problem with that position: it sounds like a great idea preventing convicted criminals from purchasing firearms at firearms retailers, until you realize that governments can literally make anyone and everyone a criminal at a whim.

    1. avatar 9x39 says:

      As I said before, the NSSF is the enemy within. This entire article is doublespeak from the NSSF, complaining about the “excess freedom” whilst they themselves have acted against what they clearly see as excessive freedom w/ FixNICS & the rest. One thing; I’d love to know exactly why WideOpen & the management continually promotes every little thing the utter?

      Something to ponder…

      I don’t find the chain of logically viable answers to that query anything but disconcerting, at the very least.

  11. avatar BOBO says:

    I like that violent crime chart that shows an uptick in 2014 and what 2 things happened in 2014?

    Odumbutt and Ferguson shooting!!!!

    and after the shooting cops stopped working for fear of BS…I wonder what that chart will look look after this mess!

  12. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    No such thing as too much freedom and liberty,guaranteed by arms of all kinds and calibers. Unless one is a braindead Leftard as freedom and liberty are dangerous to tyranny.

  13. avatar edward kenway says:

    I have a picture of my MIL in an old dumpy Mao suit before she came to the US.
    After the old woman arrived she got a realty license and dressed up with gold and jade.
    Anyone who complains about “excess freedom” will risk a getting a fist in the face.

  14. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    “Any hunter will tell you they would not rely on the same firearm for self-defense as they would in the field.”

    Um no. For millions of Americans the gun that puts food on the table is the same gun to defend the family that sits around that table.

    We don’t all have to have Tupperware pistols and Made by Mattel rifles. If that is what you use, great. More power to you. But I know plenty of men who will make you dead right there with their 30-30 or 870.

    1. avatar J.B. says:

      That old trope “made by Mattel rifles” sure exposes those who use it as just what they are…FRAUDS. 🤦🏻‍♂️

      1. avatar jwm says:

        That’s what we called the m16 50 years ago. How does that make me a fraud?

        1. avatar LampOfDiogenes says:

          Because, you dolt, while I have SERIOUS reservations about the 5.56 as my personal defense choice round, the M16/AR15 is a time-tested and proved platform. I think the 5.56/.223 “poodleshooter” cartridge is suboptimal as a defense round. I’d take the AR platform as a defense weapon (in any caliber, but hopefully something with more oomph than the poodleshooter) any time.

          But, not to be too pushy, is your effing point???

    2. avatar nanash says:

      Even with MSRs, they’re plenty fine for a lot of medium game

      More importantly, I would hardly criticize someone for using a 12 gauge for hunting and/or home defense.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        [screams] msr’s are not rifles! shotties are for birds!
        (tries to figure out how to eat a jack crevalle).

  15. avatar Monte Johnson says:

    Typical crackhead liberal thinking

  16. avatar enuf says:

    True Believers and frightened people are rarely if ever moved, impressed or disabused of their delusions by mere facts. Hoplophobes are no exception.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Coronavirus or AIDS? 🙂

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        patience.
        “that’s fine, you must come over and try mine sometime.”

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I’ll try to be better in the future. But knowing me, I’ll fail.

  17. avatar Stephen Foff says:

    “Excess freedom” is a great new liberal expletive. The fear fear that people are about to lose their gun rights if democRAT politicians win more power is driving the gun and ammo purchase surge, If you need an AR, silencer or more ammo now is the time to buy.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I don’t think the fear of dems gaining more power is driving this surge. The fear of the dems foot soldiers in the street and their apparent desire to get rid of cops is what’s driving this surge.

  18. avatar John Brown says:

    I hunt coyotes with the same Ar15 I use for home defense. Guns can fill multiple roles.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I’m not a big fan of the AR platform. But I know folks that use it as a coyote popper and it seems to work well in that regards. If you want a rifle for a house gun it works well for that role as well.

      I just prefer a shotgun for the house.

  19. avatar Herman Nelson says:

    Excessive freedom? Seriously..? If we had excessive freedom, then I should be able to order a 1918A2 BAR, have it show up in the mail without a tax, background checks, fingerprinting, a passport photo, a letter from my local popo stating I’m a upstanding citizen, excessive approval times.

    Naaa… We’re living in the times of marginalized freedom created by communists -er democrats.

    Reset Day is coming.

  20. avatar John E says:

    You make a good rebuttal, however I didn’t see a link to the original study? Did I miss it?

  21. So much of this virtue signaling I see about #BlackLivesMatter and #DefundThePolice is being done because the media tells these signalers that is the IN thing now, not because these signalers really believe it.

    The next time the media focuses on a story of some kids gunned down in front of a school during a drive-by shooting by gangbangers, so many of these same people who are calling for defunding the police today will call for more “common sense” gun control, more stop-and-frisk, more cops to go to the ghetto and disarm the gangbangers.

    And they will not care how many black men are suffocated to death by these cops via a knee to the neck!

  22. avatar P-Dog says:

    Just a quick tip: please provide the link to the flawed report.

  23. avatar P-Dog says:

    Here is the study. It was done at UC Davis . And indeed it is a crock of poo.

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.02.20145508v1.full.pdf

  24. avatar John78723 says:

    So by their logic; people have been buying a lot more toilet paper in the same time frame, should we deduce there is a lot more shitting as an effect?

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