Gun Deaths: Meaningless Metric

GUNS IN OTHER COUNTRIES gun homicides by number of gun in oecd countries

You can get an average citizen to cross their eyes in brain damaging confusion by telling them that “gun deaths” is a meaningless statistic. And it is, though members of the gun control industry continue to use the hollow phrase, and some members of the media never question its meaning or validity. It doesn’t stand up to domestic or international scrutiny. Since it is the job of the Gun Facts project to eradicate bad information, let’s spend a few electrons today killing off the “gun deaths” charade. What in the heck is a “gun death”? This is not a caustic question. In the realm of people dying by catching bullets, there are a number of categories concerning such deaths. And many of these categories are made up of sub categories. And for each of the categories, there are ways of achieving the same result (a dead person) without a using … Continue reading

Trace, Stolen Guns, Ineptitude

When 85% of your study’s data comes from 6% of the states, two of which are known as being anti-gun, you have a poor study and an even worse credibility score. Critique 85% of reporting law enforcement agencies come from just three states (6% of states). 51% of reporting law enforcement agencies come from just California. A mere 1,053 agencies participated (there are over 3,000 counties in the U.S. – multiply by the number of city agencies). Background First, let’s take NBC to task. The Trace is openly backed by Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire politician with a messianic quest to enact gun control laws. For a news organization to collaborate with an established front group calls NBC’s objectivity into question, though many people doubted their objectivity to begin with. “Every news organization has propagandist tendencies, except for MSNBC, which is a propaganda organization with news tendencies.” — Guy Smith What the Trace … Continue reading

California-Nevada Gun Shows – Not What The Media Reported

California gun deaths and injuries rate change before and after gun shows

Page 10 in the appendix is a handy place to put a statement like: No significant relationships existed between gun shows and firearm injuries along known trafficking routes or when California’s 10-day waiting period was excluded. That is where one of many key clues about the lack of viability of a recent piece or research was filed. That tax money from the federal (NIH) and California (U.C. Berkeley) governments was used to generate this paper and the minor media frenzy that followed should give voters something to consider at election time. Key takeaways Raw data shows lower rates of California death and injury after gun shows. Even after questionable adjustments to the data, rates of change in gun misuse were small, possibly within random variations. Controls for other influences (confounding variables) were odd and incomplete. Unexplained, undocumented adjustments leave the quality of the research in grave doubt. No verification that the misused guns … Continue reading

Gun Death Trends – 1999 through 2016

With fresh data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) causing the predictable odd media reporting, I wanted to post a mini-blog showing what is and what isn’t interesting about the numbers. Raw changes Foremost, take the chart at the right with a grain or three of salt. The changes are important, but the scale is misleading. Of note, … Continue reading

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