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We’ve been following The Trace, a new civilian disarmament propaganda tool funded by Michael Bloomberg and his gun control campaigns that claims to not take sides in the gun control debate. Instead, they purport to present facts in an impartial and journalistic manner. Their first article didn’t inspire much confidence in that it proved the authors were starting out the window during high school statistics. Their latest effort isn’t much of an improvement . . .

As they point out in their article “Gunfight or Flee: New Study Finds No Advantages to Using a Firearm in Self-Defense Situations,” most Americans believe that a gun makes them safer. This is a problem, since the constant cries from gun control activists that guns are evil and must be banned will only work if the general public feels the same way. Which will put the civilian disarmers on the side of the angels.

But when the public believe that guns actually make them safer, as they do right now, then the gun grabbers are the bad guys. They’re trying to take away the average person’s ability to protect himself and his family. Not only does that make the task more difficult for Everytowns and CSGVs of the world, but it makes the gun control activists question their moral superiority. They don’t like that.

The solution? Prove that guns are evil, useless, and dangerous.

A recent study published in The Journal of Preventive Medicine offers new support for the argument that owning a gun does not make you safer.

That’s a heck of a claim to make right off the bat. I wonder how they plan to prove that?

The study, led by David Hemenway, Ph.D., of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, examines data from the National Crime Victimization Survey — an annual survey of 90,000 households — and shows not only that so-called “defensive gun use” (DGU) rarely protects a person from harm, but also that such incidents are much more rare than gun advocates claim.

Wait wait wait, hold on a second. Let me get this straight. You want me to believe that this study is definitive proof that guns are useless for self defense, and you’re basing this on a survey? Given just how well The Trace reported on the last “study” they presented as proof, I think we need to look at the actual study itself instead of the reporting.

The work they cite is a paper by David Hemenway which draws its information from the National Crime Victimization Surveys. That’s a product from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, but at its heart the NCVS is still a random poll of about 75,000 households. In other words, Gallup probably has better and more accurate data. That inaccuracy is amazingly apparent the moment you look at the results blurb for the paper in question.

Of over 14,000 incidents in which the victim was present, 127 (0.9%) involved a SDGU [Self Defense Gun Use]. SDGU was more common among males, in rural areas, away from home, against male offenders and against offenders with a gun. After any protective action, 4.2% of victims were injured; after SDGU, 4.1% of victims were injured. In property crimes, 55.9% of victims who took protective action lost property, 38.5 of SDGU victims lost property, and 34.9% of victims who used a weapon other than a gun lost property.

Did you catch that? I know you may have been wowed by the 14,000 incidents that were examined in the study, but as the author plainly states there were only 127 events that fit the criteria of what they were investigating. In other words, the results of the study are based on 127 events elicited from a random survey of the entire nation.

That’s interesting, because according to a report by the Clinton administration Department of Justice there are roughly 1.46 million defensive gun uses per year. Given that this study by David Hemenway looked at data from four years of NCVS reports, during that time period there were roughly 5.84 million defensive gun uses. But Dr. Hemenway is content to base his broad generalizations on a mere 127 events that were voluntarily self reported. So already, the good doctor is working with a fraction of the total number of defensive gun uses that is so small that my calculator has to use scientific notation to express it. Statistical significance is so far out the window that I’m having a very hard time believing this isn’t some sort of April Fool’s joke.

Let’s think about that self reporting thing a bit more as well. The NCVS reports are from surveys, which are voluntary statements from a random selection of households. If someone was involved in a successful defensive gun use, do you seriously believe that they would volunteer that information? As we always tell people, rule #1 is to shut your yap and get a lawyer. That isn’t something likely to be shared with a complete stranger over the phone.

OK, so the study is complete and total bullshit. That’s like someone observing a single classroom of students and coming to a conclusion about the behavior of every student in the entire United States. What does The Trace have to say about it?

The only thing we can know for sure is what we have empirical data on: Namely, that there is a reliable floor for defensive gun use estimates at around 1,600 a year. In addition, according to the most recent data on defensive gun use, we have reliable evidence showing that owning a firearm does not give individuals any significant advantage in a criminal confrontation, and they are no less likely to lose property or be injured by using a gun in self defense.

In other words, defensive gun uses are few and far between and you’re more likely to be hurt than successfully defend yourself with a gun. That’s the same line that the Brady Campaign and others have been trying to sell us for decades, but we know better than that. And so do the vast majority of Americans. I’m pretty sure a survey of 127 events over four years isn’t going to sway anyone, unless some gun control propaganda site tries to hide that fact and spin this as definitive proof that guns are evil.

Oh, wait. That’s exactly what The Trace did. Right.

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    • That’s odd, twice in my 57 years on earth, I’ve had to pull out a firearm to let someone know I wasn’t going to be a victim and both times nobody got hurt. Instant de-escalation.
      Tell me where I’m going wrong?

      • well in today’s push it to the next level society , someone will say you missed two opportunities. I on the other hand salute you for coolness int the face of stress. I too have been stuck into a couple of situations where I was able to not kill someone by swallowing pride and/or by a show of force. it’s really nice when no one gets hurt and the evening news isn’t involved.

  1. Oh, it gets better. Here is a little snippet from the article.
    “By using the NCVS data, Hemenway’s analysis has several key advantages over other study examining DGUs. Even the best-designed surveys fail to produce reliable estimates for defensive gun use because they inadvertently capture a large number of false positives, producing final estimates that don’t comport with reality. The most famous one-off study on this subject, conducted by criminologists Gary Kleck and Mark Gertz in 1992, estimated that guns are used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense. But as we’ve written before, we now know that number to be mathematically impossible in light of reliable empirical data like hospital records, victimization surveys, gun violence archives, and police records.”

    Basically they are saying that the old studies are crap, and ours is better. Likely because it fit their narrative.

    • Given that about 90% of DGUs don’t involve discharge of the victim’s firearm (and only around 2% of DGUs cause injury/death of the perpetrator), how would hospital records dispute Kleck’s findings?

      • Because by only counting those instances where shots are fired and someone goes to the hospital, they are free to ignore the vast number of actual defensive gun uses and thus bolster their position.

      • And that comes from the mindset that the only purpose for a gun is to kill. If you have excluded all other purposes in your mind already, then the idea that a gun could be used legitimately for any purpose without resulting in death doesn’t compute. That means a “defensive gun use” must mean a homicide in self defense using a gun. What else could it be?

  2. I’ve personally had to use my weapon against a knife wielding attacker and just by drawing my weapon he turned and ran, no shots fired . Took the cops and hour and 30 to show up.So much for my my CW being “useless” for self defense

    • The anti-gun Left wants to pretend that the DGU didn’t happen if the good guy didn’t shoot the bad guy dead. Sort of like the internet meme: If there are no pictures, it didn’t happen. This is part of their attempt to minimize the clear evidence of the use of firearms for the benefit of the people of this country. Fortunately they are failing in their mission and more and more people are taking responsibility for their own safety.

    • There are people in this world that refuse to believe anything that didn’t show up in their twitter feed. So since Nicki Minaj didn’t retweet your DGU, it never happened.

    • You naughty boy you! You should have just given the poor man your money, he may have not eaten for several days, or maybe since the last time he stuck a knife in someones face.
      Don’t you realize that now he will have to go into some kind of special program, since you scared him so bad, and he wont be able to pursue work in his natural vocation. shame on you!

  3. It’s bloomberg .org. Like mda. Professional liars. As opposed to the amateur liars we have trolling here. You know, god, willy lunchmeat, blaine cooper/trannysoreass/good riddence/waco biker.

  4. One of my favorite courses in college might have been titled “How to lie with statistics.” Great professor who knew his stuff and had a passion for teaching what he knew. One of the advantages of this course was that it allowed me to spot the liars that figure! Needless to say these guys don’t even pass the sniff test…..

  5. Mostly useless, as would-be offenders take off running when they see a handful of death pointed their way, and you get in trouble for shooting at a non-threat, therefore “no incident”

  6. Wait that sounds like you are actually less likely to be injured and less likely to lose property, even within those 127 cases… Am I missing something?
    And where do they get 1600? If there were 127 SDGU over 75,000 households, and Google tells me there are 123 million households in the US, assuming the rate of SDGU is consistent across the country that gives us like 208,000 SDGU over that same 4-year period using their data?
    I’m so #confused that I #literally #Can’tEven …

    • Actually, we can determine a pretty darned accurate and reliable order of magnitude of the minimum number of defensive gun uses every year. We KNOW the following with a fair degree of accuracy:
      (1) About 20% (1/5th) of all gunshot victims die.
      (2) Police and non police defenders have a hit rate of around 25% (1/4th) in gunfights with attackers.
      (3) The Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports tell us that non police defenders killed about 400 attackers in justifiable homicides last year.
      (4) Attackers immediately break off their attack in about 90% of attacks where the defender does nothing more than produce a firearm. That means a defender has to pull the trigger in about 10% (1/10th) of attacks.

      Thus, the defender only pulls the trigger in about 1 out of 10 attacks. And of those attacks where the defender pulled the trigger, they only hit the attacker about 1 out of 4 times. And of those hit attackers, only about 1 out of 5 died from their gunshot wound/s.

      Based on these four numbers, we can get a minimum estimate of defensive gun uses as follows:
      minimum annual number of defensive gun uses = 400 x 10 x 4 x 5 == 80,000.

      Of course that number will be slightly higher or lower depending on your assumption of the percentages that I listed above. Given that my percentages are incredibly realistic, I believe that 80,000 number of minimum defensive gun uses per year is incredibly realistic.

      And we can even perform a “reality check” on this number. We KNOW that law enforcement agencies reported about 1.5 million violent crimes last year. (See most recent FBI Uniform Crime Reports.) If people defended themselves with firearms in 80,000 of those 1.5 million violent crimes, that would equate to armed defenders in 80,000 / 1.5 million == 0.053 or 5.3% of attacks. I think that number is very, VERY realistic. How many homes have firearms in the U.S.? Something like 35%? And how many adults legally carry (openly or concealed) handguns in the U.S. on any given day? Something like 4%? Yeah, I would say that people using a firearm to defend themselves from attackers 80,000 times — which corresponds to about 5% of violent crimes — each year is incredibly realistic. And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that a lot of people never report being victims of violent crime for various reasons. If everyone reported every violent crime, then the victims who use firearms to defend themselves during violent attacks would be an even smaller percentage of overall violent crimes. That reinforces the realism of my 80,000 number even more.

      Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have a very realistic estimate of the minimum number of defensive gun uses every year.

      • A brilliant piece of work. Now, what can we do to refine it?

        (3) non police defenders killed about 400 attackers in justifiable homicides last year.

        This is the cornerstone of the argument and needs the greatest attention. What more can we say about this FBI statistic? What is the mean and distribution of this figure over several years; is 400 representative? What is wrong with the number? What reasons are there to debate the body-count, if any? Is the FBI’s figure under-reported for any reasons (e.g., not all jurisdictions reporting or not reporting justifiable homicides until they are adjudicated?) Is the FBI’s figures an over-estimate for any reason; e.g., do PDs give the benefit of the doubt to civilians when the police don’t want to try to build the case?

        With a very-well developed critique of this statistic we can establish that it is a solid number; or, that it is a conservative estimate; arguably, we should add a fudge-factor of 10% or 20% to make allowances for under-reporting. We should be able to refute any conjectures that this figure is inflated.

        (1) About 20% (1/5th) of all gunshot victims die.

        Also an important factor; but a soft figure. There are probably several studies that report similar values; e.g., 1/4, 1/5, 1/6. The more studies that are in this vicinity the stronger the confidence we can have. The fewer studies we can find and the more outliers, the less reliable this estimate is.

        The Antis will argue that this figure is too low. They will try to play on the uninformed reader’s prejudice that anyone shot once with any gun (22 short) is almost certain to die. Would that it were so; but it isn’t. We need to prove that the death rate is low. Moreover, we need longitudinal data that shows that EMTs and ERs have served to reduce the lethality of gunshot wounds. The lower this factor – 20% – the higher the multiplier – 5. If the Anti’s could persuade the uninformed reader that this factor is only 50% then the multiplier would be reduced to 2.

        (2) Police and non police defenders have a hit rate of around 25% (1/4th) in gunfights with attackers.

        As with the lethality rate, we need to show that this figure is supported by multiple studies with fairly tight standard-deviation.

        The interesting aspect of this factor is that the Anti’s can’t score points by manipulating this factor.

        If the Anti’s say that civilians have a much lower hit rate – say 12.5% – then that raises the multiplier from 4 to 8. I.e., every civilian lethal wound implies 8 non-lethal/miss incidents. The Antis don’t want the discussion to go there.

        If the Anti’s argue that civilians have a much higher hit rate – say 50% – that that reduces the multiplier. But what does it say about civilian marksmanship relative to the police? The Anti’s want to claim that the police are the “Only-Ones” qualified to carry guns in public; that argument goes out the window if the average self-defense incident by a civilian demonstrates outstanding marksmanship compared to police! I.e., we are much more likely to hit the BG and much less likely to hit an innocent bystander.

        (4) a defender has to pull the trigger in about 10% (1/10th) of attacks.

        This is a critical factor because the multiplier is so high: 10 to 1 for fleeing vs. stand-and-get-shot. If the true number were merely 5 to 1 then the product would be cut in half.

        So, again, we need to cite multiple studies that support this 10% figure.

        We also have to think about how the Antis will want to spin this figure; vs. how we want to spin this figure.

        The reader will not like to see any more blood-in-the-streets than necessary to reduce crime. If criminals did not flee there would be more blood in the streets. The fact that criminals flee is a humane solution. Maybe criminals will be scared straight. We PotG are NOT eager to kill or injure criminals. 90% of the time we refrain from shooting allowing the criminals an opportunity to reconsider their chosen vocation.

        The Anti’s will want to say that criminals are not very committed to attacking victims if they flee 90% of the time. We need to be prepared with the data of injuries to victims who are un-armed; and, the comparison of injuries to victims who are un-armed vs. armed. We want to show that criminals are dangerous; they have a high propensity to act-out their threats of violence. We also need to show that un-armed victims are injured at much higher rates than armed victims. I.e., armed self-defense works.

        I’ll assume that the original author might not be conversant with the range of studies under each and every one of these factors. If one or a few readers who IS familiar with the range of studies for JUST ONE of these factors – and would be kind enough to contribute a write-up – then we might be able to compile a rather complete presentation of this brilliant method of analysis.

        An editor could bring-together the bits and confirm the validity of the links/footnotes. Then, the refined paper could be posted on the various sites that try to cover the gun self-defense debate.

  7. We had stopped for a food break whole traveling some yrs ago. Since we had our dogs we ate outside and used the hood of the vehicle as a table. A scruffy looking man started walking briskly towards us. I slid my hand to my waist and he stopped. “Got any spare food?” Sure. Have a nice day. You don’t always have to draw or shoot.

  8. Even if their numbers are accurate, 300 million people, divided by the 75,000 households give a number of 4,000. Multiply the number of SDGU, 127, by that 4,000 and you get 508,000 SDGU over the entire population of the US in one year. How is this not good news that completely disproves their point?

  9. …another fine report from the Ministry of Truth, I see? bah hah hah.

    So I guess this means that Blumberg, Feinstein, MDA and crew will be firing their armed guards huh?

  10. NCVS, isn’t that the survey that is fundamentally flawed in its methodology with this particular question? Only asking about DGUS if the person reports being a victim of a crime, and ignoring that most people who fend off a criminal don’t consider themselves to be victims?

    Is that the survey used in this study?

  11. Critiques such as this do us no good vis a vis Bloomberg’s The Trace. He doesn’t care who critiques him. Our target needs to be tactical.

    Our target must be the MSM who quote such “research” as that publicized by The Trace. Through the magic of Garbage-In-Propaganda-Out, the MSM turns such “research” into fact established by a scientific consensus.

    Aiming our critique against each MSM outlet – individually – can have an effect. Some of the MSM will decide that they can’t afford to have their reports of “research” criticized by others. If you can’t get away with Garbage-In-Propaganda-Out then you have to find something else to sell newspapers.

    If your readers and advertisers realize that you are nothing more than a shill for somebody’s propaganda then you lose the credibility you need to sell newspapers. Nothing will change the editorial policies of Bloomberg’s empire. Nothing short of bankruptcy proceedings will change the editorial policies of the NYTimes. Still, the 2’nd tier of the MSM is more vulnerable to loosing credibility. They must demand higher-quality BS from The Trace; or, they must cover other “news”. It’s our job to see to it that ONLY the NYTimes can afford to re-publish propaganda from The Trade.

  12. Funny how you can’t find an “about” section on Trace.

    The average low effort brand-new j-school grad on a deadline with no real clue on math will would find Trace an easy to link to credible resource.

    Of course, thats exactly the point, for the typical non-gun-knowledgeable young j-school grad also wont have the experience, or ability to understand that:

    The Trace was specifically set up as another of Bloombergs poorly concealed agitprop platforms.

    ( right behind Moms Demand Action, now dribbling off into obscurity, after being funded as a “campaign” of the also failed Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Or that MAIG had a mass exodus once clueless pols-for-hire realized it was about gun control over the las abiding citizens.)

    Fortunately, one can easily determine the “voice” behind the Trace, simply by following the people, if yiu can’t follow the money.

    Start by backtracking the earliest and most prolific whores, oops, writers for hire. Here’s one, Mike Spiers who is on the editorial board of the New Yorker, and writes for Slate.

    More spin from the New York media bubble from the Elite-Who-Know-Whats-Best-For-The-Rest-Of-Us Little-People ™.

    Whoda thunkit?

  13. +1, Mark in PA. Good writers realize their brand is the own original content, and if they want to be hired as “jornalists” for objective news, their words and reputations and long-term value will come from integrity. Thats why good writers flee failing progtard platforms like NYT, or arrange for editorial independence, like Volokh at WAPO.

    Given search engines and SEO optimize on eyeballs, there is short-term advantages to places like PuffHo’s that are gamed by tricks like “trading up the chain” (Read Trust Me I’m Lying),

    But, the long term numbers prove that lost of trust is death to Nielson ratings, ad revenues, subscriptions, and stock price…again, witness CNN, MSNBC, HuffPo, and others on the Left following the fate of Newsweek, Boston Globe, CurrentTV, despite massive influx of billionaire bux, from folks like Soros, Bloomberg, and the Sultan of Qatar.

    So, to repeat the advice of the Immortal Blogfather, punch back twice as hard with the facts, and mock them.

  14. A correction, to my above, in the interest of fairness. (See how easy that was, NYT ombudsman…you can do it!)

    Here is the About page for the Trace:

    Couple tips for aspiring online journalists: google the names, and follow the money.
    That will quickly explode the myth of “independent, accuracy, and fairness” as avowed in the mission statement.
    Disclosure of financials is commonly abused by the murky and non-fairly-enforced rules on non-profits tax reporting, so following the money may be problematic, but you can start with the donors, and find your own clues as to conflicts of interest.

    Franly, Columbia and the Dart School of Journalism sacrificed their last remaining shreds of credibility for hosting Bloomies How to Propagandize Against Guns, this past summer (see Dean Weingartens takedown on that farce, here on TTAG), but I am sure a few minutes of google-fu will give any experienced or want-to-become experienced writer yards of material, simply following the trail back, and uncovering bias and blatant propaganda.

    Trace is a slick, well-funded platform, but then Pravda and Izvestia both enjoyed long support, until they became bywords of failed leftist social experiments, too.

    Oh, this is gojng to be so much fun!

  15. Anybody who is paying the least bit of attention and is not already a stone gun-grabber recognizes that Bloomberg and his various cover-organizations are committed to gun-grabbing. And the ones who aren’t paying attention–well, they aren’t paying attention. Bloomie’s attempts to masquerade as “objective” are laughable–or they would be, if they weren’t so flagrantly, intelligence- insultingly transparent.

  16. By the way, speaking of science, and facts, here is Dr Hemenway himself, criticizing another study, on the same flaws as contained in his own research methodology on his latest analysis of “surveys”.

    “We believe the study reflects a limited understanding of gun shows and gun markets and is not statistically powered to detect even an implausibly large effect of gun shows on gun violence. In addition, the research contains serious ascertainment and classification errors, produces results that are sensitive to minor specification changes in key variables and in some cases have no face validity, …”

    And his co-author, Dr Wintermute from UC Davis, criticizing another study from Boston also touted by Bloomberg Gun Grabbers as Truth, for the simple flaws of correlation/=causation.

    Oh, my those poor young journolistas at Trace! Math. Its so hard!

  17. Reading their words are akin to watching Family Guy, pure insane comedy. That said, they must not be ignored as many people are swayed by clever lies. Hit them hard and fast. Don’t allow the infection to spread, my advice.

  18. Interesting that authors Hemenway and Solnick have PhDs in economics – not statistics. Hemenway is a visiting professor at Vermont – which is where I guess that he and Solnick sync’ed up. See

    Research that doesn’t support my view doesn’t bother me, but sloppy research does. A quick search turns up dozens of research papers supporting the menace of firearms, don’t find many that point out their benefits or refute blatant anti-gun bias.

    What’s the right response?
    Complaining to journals about poor scholarship might be one. Getting them to publish junk science has been done. Much embarrassment, but not clear it’s resulted in lasting change: researchers need to publish and professional organizations need to perpetuate themselves.

    And I find items like this gem from Harvard’s Public Health, “The journal Injury Epidemiology announced their inaugural award for paper of the year, which was won by HSPH doctoral student April Opoliner … for their article “Explaining geographic patterns of suicide in the US: the role of firearms and antidepressants.” This ecologic study across both states and counties for 2001-2005 found a strong relationship between household gun ownership levels and rates of firearm suicide and overall suicide. There was no association between rates of antidepressant use and suicide. Congratulations to all!”

    Duh…don’t believe one can OD on Zoloft. And if taking antidepressants as prescribed, then one would expect a lower suicide rate. But add a gun to the mix and it’s now a public health matter.

    Anyone know of material or sources that debunks anti-gun claims?

    • I wonder if anyone has done a study on the prevalence of high structures such as skyscrapers and bridges and the prevalence of suicide. Or of mass transit system such as trains and buses. But then “gravity violence” or “large transit vehicle violence” isn’t an issue with which to score political points, so there’s not too much motivation.

  19. A civilized and morally superior citizen passively submits to being robbed, beaten, raped, tortured and/or killed by a gun wielding criminal. Resistance is futile, you must comply.

    This is the line the Bloomberg funded propagandists are trying to sell. As lies go, that is a big one. Has Shannon’s Sugar Daddy calculated how many times the lie will have to be repeated and how much it will cost him before a majority of people in this country believe it? Somebody is taking that old fool for a ride.

  20. Wow… I’m not sure what’s more screwed up; the people who wrote it, or the fact that it has an audience…

    Just when I thought humanity couldn’t stoop any lower, along comes Bloomberg and his cohorts to prove me wrong.

  21. I think I can claim to have posted at least 127 links to stories about successful DGUs on Facebook within the last year. And, I’m just one guy who isn’t even trying hard to find the stories.

    • If it is the oft-referenced recent report, the FBI report dealt with *active shooter* events, and explicitly stated that its scope was *not* mass shooting events.

  22. They seemed to have contacted people and surveyed those that are willing. That pretty much shuts me out.

    Notice they don’t give the actual questions and total the responses. Depending on the structure of the questions you can easily get the responses you want.

    Recently, we had a woman see two strangers outside her home. As they tried the back door she knocked on a window displaying her pistol. They then left. How would they have counted that? ANS: they wouldn’t.

  23. I wish TTAG had a link with a listing of all news reports and videos of DGUs in the U.S. for use in responding to such drivel.

  24. Well the antis are always advocating new laws despite the amount of lawful gun owners it negatively affects, if it “saves just ONE LIFE”
    Well hold on there pardner, with that mentality bull shit in mind, since gun possession is enshrined in our constitution, it seems to me that if a gun in a home saves just one person, then it must be OK then!! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander isn’t it? They want to have a reasonable conversation don’t they? Well then, let’s be fair!

  25. I’m not really concerned about whether or not I’m going to get injured. You get injured in a fight. (The extent of the ‘injury’ isn’t expounded upon, strangely.) I’m concerned about my kid, my wife, or me getting *killed.*

    I mean, you can’t exactly call the people who died to find out if the gun didn’t help. I’m pretty sure 100% of the people who answered the phone were alive, though. That counts.

  26. Glancing at the data, it sure seems like there’s a strong economic justification for the defensive use of firearms. Never mind hunting or sports shooting.

    1. Thanks to mudpuppy for link: it’s a treasure trove of factoids.
    2. Thanks to uncommon_sense’s analysis and inspiration

    Combined with a few more data sets: the value of human life from ‘usual and customary’ actuarial data; the direct economic loss of crime (DOJ). can probably make a good estimate of the indirect costs (e.g., public safety + criminal justice system); frequency data by type of crime (DOJ). Maybe some more data sources to have an impressive list of authoritative citations. Combine ingredients. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve piping hot.

    Netnet: Give me a few days to write; will appreciate a peer review by some of the fine minds on this site. Maybe it will get published, but probably not by Harvard.

    Disclosure: no PhD, but an MBA. Take perverse delight in using data from borked studies and “proving” a contrary conclusion. Keep the fainting couch and smelling salts handy for Bloomberg’s minions.

  27. The minions behind The Trace aren’t stupid, just evil. True stupidity is anyone who even gets past the title without laughing. A mind that can even begin to believe that having a gun in a self defense situation is not an advantage has no business being respected as intelligent life.

  28. Hey Nick,

    Just wanted to let you know that The Trace appears to have made modifications to their article based (maybe) on (your) criticism. I’m not sure what all they did to it, though it is certainly different from my last read through. The 127 appears to have magically vanished, at least. As though they can simply delete inconvenient data. Just thought you’d like to know.


    • Joe, Thanks for the link. So far, haven’t been able to penetrate the paywall to avoid its $31.50 fee (prefer to use the money for ammo). Am happy to scrutinize if someone can post a link to the article or transfer to the cloud / Dropbox.

      I’ve sent a request to the author and he may send a copy – stay tuned.

      In poking around, I keep finding some amazingly clueless research that shows an utter absence of critical thinking skills. Keep waiting for the research shocker that ‘100% of gun deaths are caused by guns’

      Then there’s Kleck & Patterson’s (1993, Journal of Quantitative Criminology) paper at

      Their research appears to completely contradict some other studies: “What effects do gun control restrictions and gun prevalence have on rates of violence and crime? Data were gathered for all 170 U.S. cities with a 1980 population of at least 100,000. The cities were coded for the presence of 19 major categories of firearms restriction, including both state- and city-level restrictions. Multiple indirect indicators of gun prevalence levels were measured and models of city violence rates were estimated using two-stage least-squares methods. The models covered all major categories of intentional violence and crime which frequently involve guns: homicide, suicide, fatal gun accidents, robbery, and aggravated assaults, as well as rape. Findings indicate that (1) gun prevalence levels generally have no net positive effect on total violence rates, (2) homicide, gun assault, and rape rates increase gun prevalence, (3) gun control restrictions have no net effect on gun prevalence levels, and (4) most gun control restrictions generally have no net effect on violence rates. There were, however, some possible exceptions to this last conclusion—of 108 assessments of effects of different gun laws on different types of violence, 7 indicated good support, and another 11 partial support, for the hypothesis of gun control efficacy.”

      Separately, the legal response to CA’s statute forbidding the display of handguns advertising on gun stores (Tracy Rifle case) is illuminating. Turns out it was enacted in 1923 at the behest of a Sacramento rifle club concerned about the spread of firearms among Chinese and hispanics. The theory was that immigrants were illiterate and images of handguns would result in more owning guns if images were displayed.

      California followed New York’s action when licenses were halted, then revoked in Italian and Irish neighborhoods around 1905 as part of the Sullivan Act. The Irish and Italian immigrants, like the Chinese and hispanics were presumed to be predisposed to violence.

      Seriously – not making this up; it’s in the brief.

      The brief didn’t mention anything about blacks being prohibited from firearm possession or ownership in the antebellum or reconstruction period South. Not sure if that were the case. Nevertheless, gun control has its roots in racism – a fact that’s conveniently omitted.

      Seems like an opportunity to link gun control advocates with racism. I believe Oakland’s Black Panthers made that claim when they threatened to cary into CA’s Capitol building in the 1960s. Open carry was quickly stopped by CA’s legislature shortly thereafter as I recall.

  29. My answer is the same as it has always been.

    When the hollywood elite give up their armed guards, the cops give up their guns, and the secret service adopts the “louisville slugger” as their default sidearm. I’ll seriously consider giving my guns to a museum or something.

    Until then, I think I’ll just assume anyone who says they’re unnecessary or evil, is dumb.

  30. If Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield were around to make the argument that a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun, it would be a lot more credible.


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