Unscientific American

The fastest way to destroy a brand is to do the opposite of the brand’s claim. Scientific American’s brand is now hopelessly corrupted by publishing the most unscientific of screeds. A recent piece in Scientific American titled “More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows” is a case study in the anti-science of cherry-picked data. Were I in a more charitable mood, I might assume the author, Melinda Moyer, of merely suffering from acute confirmation bias syndrome. However, the oversights were so vast and so egregious that I cannot bring myself to believe such. Hers was likely not a sloppily written article, but rather adroit agitprop. My initial clue that Scientific American had devolved into a propaganda rag came in the first paragraph that wasn’t literary fluff (the same tired, suicide saturated misstatement about “guns took more than 36,000 U.S. lives …”). The next was when she cited … … Continue reading

Las Vegas Perspectives

As any good researcher would, I waited a few days for most of the relevant information about the Route 91 Massacre to emerge. I await the police report before making too many conclusions. But enough is now known to see some old and new issues with this mass public shooting. Summary of the important Route 91 Massacre Highly unusual and well planned event Body count due primarily to the “cattle pen” situation Unusual firearm/accessory involved Possible mental health and medication complication Highly unusual and well planned event The killer (I decline to repeat his name) thought this attack through very well. This is an important variable for two reasons. First, he planned a scenario not only for maximum carnage but also to forestall his own capture or “death by cop”. When anyone puts a lot of thought into such, odds of preventing mass murder go way down. Second, the approach … Continue reading

Concealed Millions

I missed a tiny tidbit on my first pass through a recent Pew poll covering gun issues. The key paragraph is: “Among those who own a handgun, about one-in-four (26%) say they carry their gun with them outside of their home all or most of the time, a share that rises to 41% among those who think of their local community as unsafe.” The number was surprising to me only in that the concealed carry permit holders I know make holstering a standard part of their grooming process. If anything, I thought the rate of daily carry would have been higher. What does this mean in terms of guns on the street? The number is … Continue reading

Stanford Stumble

Chart showing violent crime rates between U.S. Michigan and Detroit

’m having doubts about Stanford University. My wife died in their care, and now they are supporting some suspect researchers who like to mathematically model non-lucid, if not outright insane, crime stats. Quick Take-Aways Paper claims right-to-carry (RTC) laws increase violent crime by 13–15 percent. Uses mathematical modeling to “predict” what crimes rates would have been without RTC. Serious methodology flaws. The usual suspects The paper in question (“Right-To-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-Level Synthetic Controls Analysis”) received some press notice, but not as much as I would have expected given the paper’s outsized conclusions. Perhaps reporters are getting smarter about the quality, or lack thereof, of some gun policy research. The list of sins in this paper are … Continue reading

Gun Polling Alignment and Surprises

Pew Research Center

There were two significant polls covering gun topics this week, but we’ll only focus on today. It is interesting for a few reasons, but important in part because now three of four trending polls have rough agreement concerning how many households have guns (though data indicates all these estimates are low) Whew, Pew For gun owners, Pew’s recent survey work belatedly agrees with the polls taken by ABC and Gallup, noting that around 42% of households report having at least one gun. The other firms score a bit higher. But Pew used to say that only 33% of households … Continue reading

Charting Homicides

Homicide Rate per Gun Ownership Rate - international - map

At the Gun Facts project, we like to add perspective. This is the opposite of what various gun control groups do, which is to mask perspective. That perspective stuff can be inconvenient. What is the measure One claim by the gun control industry is that more guns leads to more murder. Over the years we have demonstrated that, on an international level, there is no statistical correlation between gun ownership rates and homicides. Some of our charts have become quite popular with the media as they vividly show your odds of death are significantly higher outside of America. But we were never happy with the measurements. Homicide rates are too abstract. We wanted a better way to display the chance of being murdered against the chance that someone you met owned a gun. In this very brief spasm of charting, for each country that reported them, we took the homicide rates (odds of being … Continue reading

Leaden Assumptions

“If you cannot ban guns, then make shooting very expensive.” That is not an exact quote from any of the gun control industry organizations, but a sentiment stated by many therein and a few people who should know better. In an ongoing attempt to find ways of making owning arms unaffordable, parts of the gun control industry have targeted shooting itself. Since nearly all common bullets are made of lead, and since lead in sufficient quantities can be dangerous to the health of people, there has been a concerted effort to ban lead bullets. But, since bullets are “arms” and cannot be banned, and since there is little evidence that casual shooting causes people’s exposure to lead to be dangerous (aside from being shot), a move is afoot to do the next best thing, make recreational shooting illegal or expensive. Home on the range Number of Studies BLL 31 > … Continue reading

Guest Blog: The Truth Behind the Myths of Purchasing Firearms

gun show sales

Barack Obama’s careless statement that “it’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable,” is just one example of misleading rhetoric about purchasing a firearm in the United States. Sadly, it has become quite the common misconception that guns are easy to purchase, perhaps too easy, which is why so many criminals are armed with them. Unfortunately, this huge misunderstanding of the actual laws and regulations–which have been in place for years–has tainted the public’s perception of the true process that’s required of every gun manufacturer in order to avoid penalties. The half-truths and blatant lies about gun sales and how criminals obtain firearms in the first place have either zero basis or are being partially reported to skew the public’s view of gun facts. It is unfortunate that the public has been so misled about the truth behind … Continue reading

Constitutional Carry Certainty

arizona constitutional carry firearm homicides vs. surrounding states

Back in 1988, when Florida became the first large state to enact shall-issue concealed carry, there was a great deal of uncertainty about the outcome. But their post-passage lack of bloodshed led to all but a handful of backwards thinking states (talking to you California) to pass similar legislation. The same thing might be happening with permitless carry (a.k.a. constitutional carry), where the whole concealed carry licensing process is jettisoned. I got curious about the criminological realities of permitless carry when a Gun Facts fan emailed to ask what we knew about the subject, which was nearly nothing. The reason is that aside from one outlier state, this is a new phenomenon and statistics are limited at best. But curiosity is a demon, and we had to take a peek. After a little number crunching, our extremely preliminary investigation concludes that permitless carry at very least causes no mayhem. The … Continue reading

Suppressed Insights

I wonder if I can buy a suppressor for the car stereo the teenaged kid across the street has. As best as I can tell, he not only has the loudest sound system since Woodstock, but he also possesses the worst taste in music of any human. It is a terrible combination. Which brings us to the suddenly erupting debate over suppressors for firearms. Since I am not a firearms enthusiast, but as someone who dabbles in music, technology, engineering and other forms of mayhem, the rush to modify the regulatory and tax burden for obtaining firearm suppressors is interesting. The propaganda backlash is sadly amusing. A bit of background Back in the early 20th century, when America had massive social upheavals – from bathtub gin to communist agitators – fear drove the creation of the National Firearms Act (NFA), America’s first federal brush with gun control. Knowing that the … Continue reading