Magazine Capacity Muckraking

Deaths in Mass Public Shootings by Magazine Capacity - 1998-2018

The capacity of a firearm magazine should not make anyone high. But given the hyperbole over “high capacity” magazines, I fear some politicians are positively stoned. Whenever there is a mad rush to legislation, accompanied by exaggerated sound bites, we at the Gun Facts project just have to take a closer look. Research is our drug of choice. Main Take-aways Magazine capacity is only applicable to mass shootings Mass shootings are rare events Magazine capacity is not the underlying factor in high death rates The number of people killed at mass shootings is a tiny fraction of homicides Legislative Limberness Exactly what is a “high” capacity magazine? It depends on who you ask. Ardent firearm enthusiasts consider a 30 round magazine commonplace and can cite meaningful usefulness for 100 round mags. Some gun control supporters believe anything over six is excessive. As with “assault weapons”, “high” capacity is in the … Continue reading

Impractically Useless

Crime Gun Acquisition by Source

Legislation that does nothing is almost as bad as legislation that overtly harms. It gives people the false notion that the government is doing something for their benefit, a common enough delusion. This is the basis for the recently proposed ‘‘Background Check Expansion Act,’’ which is the name for the Senate version of the “universal” or “comprehensive” background checks for firearm purchases and transfers. SIDE NOTE: At this writing the House version has not been filed. The Senate version is the least objectionable variation of such bills. A common legislative technique is to get one body to float a bill to which fewer people would object, let the public believe that is the stated plan, then introduce something more draconian in the other chamber after the public has generally consented to the lesser bill. At the Gun Facts project, we won’t take ideological sides, but we will see if the … Continue reading

High Gun Death Perspectives

Firearm Homicides and Suicides - United States - 1981 thru 2016

Whenever you see breathless reporting of the same core story across multiple media outlets, odds are there is more to the tale. In this case, the recently recirculating headlines noting that “Gun deaths at highest level in 40 years, CDC says” and “More than 100 people killed every day in the US as gun deaths spiral to highest level in 40 years.” Naturally, we at the Gun Facts project had to dig below the headlines to see what the heck was going on. The big take-aways Firearm suicides are up, but in the key group, the rate of suffocation suicides is growing fastest Homicides are up, but astoundingly so for young blacks The upward trends started at different times and for different reasons First, let’s take the long view As is well known – because this has been rehashed more often than the corned beef at the local diner – … Continue reading

AR-15s: Mostly Harmless

AR-15 and Violence - infographic

The AR-15, allegedly the most popular consumer rifle in the United States, has become the poster child of the gun control industry. But from a homicide statistics standpoint, they are mostly harmless. Main Take-aways AR-15s constitute maybe 4% of all American firearms. AR-15s are used in 0.4% of firearm homicides, maximum. Just How Many AR-15s Are We Talking About? There is no doubt the AR-15 is a popular rifle. The firearm industry notes this. Users note this. Even the gun control industry notes this. Knowing how many are out there is crucial for understanding if they are a problem or not. The AR-15 has been around since 1959, but the last eight years has seen a significant increase in its popularity. And no wonder. The rifle is lightweight, meaning anyone can shoot it (YouTube has a bunch of videos of tiny young girls firing them). They don’t recoil much due … 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

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

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

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

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

Target on Taradiddle

New York’s attorney general produced a report on crime guns and their alleged rates of trafficking. I cannot say the report is flawed. Instead I must ask “Sweet Jesus, what kind of medications was he swallowing wholesale?!?!?” Major Take-Aways: Half of the crime guns had insufficient data to complete their analysis, so they ignored it. Most crime guns, by an overwhelming margin, still come from New York itself. The report claims that a full half of crime guns come from inside New York. In-state sourced crime guns exist despite New York having so-called “universal background checks“. No attempt was made to study guns that enter the state via normal human relocation, instead assuming such movements were intentional trafficking. Used an arbitrary and statistically inept scoring system to create a “trafficking index”. Demonstrated that their key indicator for trafficked guns accounted for a minority of recovered crime guns. Brushed-over the fact that the lion’s share of crime guns are recovered … Continue reading