Opinion: Gun control in America by the right (and wrong) numbers

March 15, 2016 by Simon Williams, Flinders University, The Conversation
Gun deaths in Australia before and after the 1996 buyback. Credit: Author provided

United States President Barack Obama continues to push for reform on gun control amid concerns that people will "become numb" to any further mass shootings, which he says are now happening on a weekly basis.

His comments followed a shooting in Kansas last month in which three people died and 14 were wounded.

But his attempts to do something have been frustrated by a Congress that reportedly has not approved any major gun-control legislation since the 1990s.

Instead, the president used executive orders in January to announce new rules on background checks on people wishing to buy guns.

The litany of tragic gun deaths and horrifying mass shootings demanded action.

In the aftermath of a mass shooting in Oregon last year, the president challenged the media to compare deaths to terrorism deaths in the US. More than one organisation obliged.

To put this tweet into perspective, more than twice as many people in the US have died at the point of a gun last year alone as have died in terrorist attacks in all of the preceding 44 years put together.

So following on from the president's challenge, what else do the numbers say on the gun debate in the US?

Apples and oranges

All sides in the debate try to use data to back up their assertions, but not everyone uses it responsibly.

This tweet from the National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the most egregious examples of the misuse of data in the whole debate.

It compares gun homicides (a deliberate action) with accidental poisonings to create a wholly misleading comparison.

A ratio can only be constructed between like entities, such as the win-loss ratio of your football team.

A comparison such as this from the NRA only generates a rate; in this case there are approximately three accidental poisoning deaths per deliberate gun death.

The conclusion we are invited to draw is that there are bigger problems that we should deal with before gun deaths, but the comparison is meaninglessness.

This is not just poor data skills, it is part of a pattern of cherry-picked comparisons designed to further a political campaign and muddy the public discourse.

The use of gun homicides here is deliberate as it excludes the largest single cause of firearm-related deaths: suicide. Twice as many people in the US die from a deliberately self-inflicted gunshot wound as are murdered. A fact that makes all gun statistics look much worse.

The NRA would like to exclude these suicides from the debate and, therefore, claim these deaths shouldn't count against the firearm death toll because guns don't increase suicide rates, and if access to guns were restricted potential suicides would simply find another way.

But both of these assertions are demonstrably false. Research shows that 75% of suicide attempts are made within an hour of making the decision and that using a gun means a much lower likelihood of survival. Restricting access to guns, therefore, could save lives.

What ranking?

Another problematic notion is to conflate gun murders with all murders. That leads to such gems as this from the popular conservative blogger and commentator Bill Whittle.

The takeaway message from this video is that, even though the US ranks number one in per capita gun ownership, it only ranks around 100 in per capita murders.

A fairer comparison would be to compare all the damage caused by firearms (injuries and deaths by whatever means) with gun ownership. Using data collated from the Small Arms Survey and GunPolicy.org the following picture emerges.

Only 22 countries are compared here due to the patchy availability and coherence of the injury data, but the trend is very different from the one promulgated by the gun lobby. The red trend line shows that an increase in gun availability increases the rate of injury and death.

Another misdirection practised by the gun lobby is to link gun ownership and crime prevention, but research conducted in the 1990s showed having a gun in your house increased your risk of being murdered by a factor of three.

Like to know more? Well, you can't. The bill funding the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in the US was amended to remove the funding for research on gun violence. Not only that but the ban was also quietly renewed this year.

The US vs Australia

As the US presidential campaign heats up, it will be interesting to see if becomes an election issue. If it does, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the numbers used by various sides in any debate.

Australia's gun laws entered the debate through Hillary Clinton's comments that a similar buyback scheme is worth considering.

The reaction from the NRA and other conservative organisations was swift and negative.

Criticism of the effectiveness of Australia's buyback scheme has centred on the fact that gun deaths were already decreasing and the rate did not change after the new laws and buyback were instituted. A close look at the data for the years around the buyback shows a different story:

Total damage (combined injuries and death) caused by guns versus the rate of gun ownership. The red line shows the trend.

When plotted on a log scale, the trend lines for deaths pre- and post-1997 are identical, showing that the rate was indeed unchanged, but it is clear that the level dropped sharply by around 100 deaths per year following the buyback.

Based on CDC statistics, the gun death rate in the US is 10.4 per 100,000 people. The figure for Australia, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data, is 0.93 deaths per 100,000 people.

Pause to let that sink in.

You are ten times more likely to die from a gunshot in America than you are in Australia.

I know where I feel safer.

Explore further: Do gun restrictions help reduce gun deaths?

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Scarlett
3.1 / 5 (15) Mar 15, 2016
You guys should really stick to covering science. :-\
rderkis
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 15, 2016
I reread this article 3 times to find where it mentioned we are NOT the free worlds policeman but that we ARE the free worlds military. Who really protects Australia, Europe, Canada and all the other free nations of the world? It is a reality that a true military society must endure weapons. Could you have imagined a law that took the swards away from Sparta. If such a law had been made how long would Sparta have been a great military state before her enemies overran her?
It is said the "Freedom is not free". Few here upon thinking about that statement would disagree. The trouble is most people don't realize what that means.
ogg_ogg
2.3 / 5 (8) Mar 15, 2016
This bleeding heart Liberal analysis has an enormous bias. There is no good reason to compare Oz & the US, apples & oranges. Sydney has a 6th of Oz's population & a population density of 380/km². Compare to Chicago with a population density of ~4400/km², Oz has the world's 5th highest GDP & a predominantly English/Irish/Scottish population (~55%).I would like to see better research on violence, including gun violence but until we as a society begin to deal with mental illness & our broken educational system, and a less intrusive government, there seems little point. There is no doubt that the NRA is strongly biased; it will lie, mislead, and obfuscate - like any other inherently political association, unfortunately. Using the NRA to stereotype the majority of gun owners is a political decision; another without a valid justification. Also confounding gun suicides with other types of gun violence doesn't address mass shootings AT ALL.
vlaaing peerd
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 15, 2016
Who really protects Australia, Europe, Canada and all the other free nations of the world?


Protect? I'm not sure how invading -insert random ME country- and dragging us along in it is "protecting".

Besides that we are not talking about disarming the military, it's about disarming citizens. You know, that type of people that have killed more people in your country than terrorists do.

Could you have imagined a law that took the swards away from Sparta


Again, that was the military, not Spartan citizens.

And as far as I see it, the proposed regulations are not there to take your guns away, it's to make sure not any random idiot can get a gun. Even as a gun-owner or at least a pro-gunner you should agree not everyone handles a gun responsibly?

seems_legit
1 / 5 (5) Mar 15, 2016
To weigh only 'gun injuries', you have to accept the following:

1. Gun ownership does not reduce homicides, assaults, or violent crime of any type.
2. We can be so certain about #1, that there is no need to even look at the data, which is widely available.
3. The number of actual homicides do not matter..only that the 'damage guns do' gets reduced. In other words...more people can die violently, so long as guns are out of the picture.

I would like to analyze your Australia chart, because not one gun control researcher in 20 years has pointed out what you've found, but the 'source' is 'author provided'. When I see a clean break like that, I suspect a shift in how the numbers are actually tallied, but...as you say..."Like to know more? Well, you can't."
bertibus
2.3 / 5 (6) Mar 15, 2016
@vlaaing peerd
The easiest ways to get an answer that you want is to either ask the wrong question or questions.
How about these questions:
1. How many gun deaths have been caused (yearly etc.) in the US by citizens who have lawfully bought their weapon?
2. How many have been caused by stolen or otherwise illegally obtained weapons i.e. where laws would make absolutely no difference because criminals don't obey the law in the first place.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (7) Mar 15, 2016
So often, crucial facts are contained in throwaway lines.
Note that the article refers to Obama being concerned that people will become "numb" to "any further mass shootings, which he says are now happening on a weekly basis".
"Now happening". That means they didn't happen before! And, in fact, they haven't! Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, gun laws were laughably lax compared to today. But there was no pattern of crimes like today! And it's not more people. The population was about half what it is today in 1950, but there were not mass shootings every two weeks, back then! Note, "now happening" even covers back about ten years, when there were about the same number of people, but strict gun laws! Stricter gun laws do not stop gun violence. Liberal party followers claim that a "war on drugs" didn't stop drugs, why won't they admit that stricter gun laws are not preventing gun violence?
rderkis
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 15, 2016
"Freedom is not free". Few here upon thinking about that statement would disagree. The trouble is most people don't realize what that means. It means people die. Sometimes unfortunately innocent people die.( Including women and children). But that is the cost of freedom.

We are a violent people, I would not argue that for a second. But I would postulate, it is that vary characteristic that makes our freedom so hard to strip from us. Few of us are so naive that we believe that they just want to make sure the guns don't get in the wrong hands. It is divide and conquer with the end results being ban all guns. Tibet one of the most peaceful societies in the world, how are they doing as far as freedom?
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (3) Mar 15, 2016
Chicago!
anonymous_9001
3.8 / 5 (10) Mar 15, 2016
You are ten times more likely to die from a gunshot in America than you are in Australia.

I know where I feel safer.


How about we compare Australia and everywhere in the US that isn't infiltrated by gangs? Suburbs, rural areas, and anywhere in a city that isn't the hood probably have comparable rates. Last I checked, Vermont as a whole has a lower rate than most, if not all, European countries. It COMPLETELY messes up the statistics.

ab3a
3 / 5 (10) Mar 15, 2016
It is disingenuous to think that "gun deaths" are different from any other premature death. Eliminating guns has been shown to have very little effect on overall premature deaths (murders and suicides), though obviously there will be fewer "gun deaths."

In any case, the right to keep and bear arms is not aimed at keeping individuals safe. It is aimed at reminding leaders that they govern only at the will of the people. Given the death toll from rogue governments in the last century, it seems to me that it is more relevant than ever.

antigoracle
3 / 5 (4) Mar 15, 2016
Oh, what happened to the good old days of a gun duel at high noon?
Huns
1.4 / 5 (10) Mar 15, 2016
Why is this opinion piece on a SCIENCE news site?

"It compares gun homicides (a deliberate action) with accidental poisonings to create a wholly misleading comparison. A ratio can only be constructed between like entities, such as the win-loss ratio of your football team."

They are like entities in that they both measure undesirable deaths. You WANT them to be un-like so that you can shoehorn them into your model.

"This is not just poor data skills, it is part of a pattern of cherry-picked comparisons designed to further a political campaign and muddy the public discourse."

There is more than one way to interpret the graph and extract meaning. You cherry-picked the one that made the NRA look worst. You already had a conclusion in mind, and then bent the data around your conclusion while writing the article. You are thinking emotionally, not scientifically, and that is why your OPINION PIECE doesn't belong on this SCIENCE site.
philstacy9
1 / 5 (5) Mar 19, 2016
Removing guns only helps attackers by eliminating victim self defense without removing the people who desire to harm. Law abiding citizens will obey gun laws but criminals will not. Drug control is the model for keeping guns out of criminal hands. How successful is the war on drugs? Who thinks terrorists will obey gun laws? Gun control is OSHA making the work environment safer for employees in the jobs of crime and terrorism. Criminals with guns could actually increase their crime rate with less fear of guns being used for self defense. The gun violence statistics could be mostly self defense.
gkam
2 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2016
Look at ll the scared folk here, afraid we will take their "equalizers", the killing devices which make them "equal" to the rest of us.

Stand up like men, and stop cowering behind your pathetic guns.
gkam
2 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2016
It will not be hard to fill these fora with the reports of gun shootings and killings, whether "accidental", suicidal, from malice, fury, or plan.

Just SCARED little folk, . . just scared.
gkam
2 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2016
Sorry for the stern line here, but one of my own fears here is that of being on the wrong end of a gun owned or held by someone in an emotional state. Having one of my own will only guarantee death.

The numbers do not add up as far as safety goes. The "accidents" caused by negligence, stupidity, depression, anger, or curiosity are too high a price to pay for the false "safety" of a device made only to kill.

http://nypost.com...ospital/

http://www.thegua...70499222

Again, I apologize for the offensive tone.
philstacy9
1 / 5 (7) Mar 19, 2016
Gun control like other left wing issues such as climate change, racism and Islamophoboia are actually things the left does not care about because the left is not behavior from a moral core but unrestrained behavior without a moral core that uses these issues as propaganda lies to organize behavior for the seizure of political power. The left has become a real life super villain that is promoted as a hero by left controlled media and Hollywood. The left is nothing but an ideology to gain political control that has no use for morality except to control chumps. Gun control and environmental chumps are also scared by leftist fear manipulation. This is why there is no increase social justice but Clinton Cash increased by millions while propaganda appears in science.
gkam
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 19, 2016
I'll bet philstacy9 will feel better after another unfunded Republican War of Mass Killing and Corporate Profit.
Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2016
but one of my own fears here is that of being on the wrong end of a gun
@liar-kam
then move to Chicago, DC, NYC or LA where you can live in peace with no gun violence whatsoever because of their strict gun laws!

you should be safe there because of the gun laws surely will protect you, right?

so don't forget to ban cars because of drink drivers, g! (cars kill more than guns)
ban poisons and toxiv chemicals because people are stupid (kills more than guns)
ban hammers and screwdrivers while we are at it, because those kill people too! (kills more than guns)

before you move, make sure you head down to (any) gang-central part of town and tell them they all need to give up their guns because they're breaking the law!

everyone wants to take away the gun, but no one wants to address the core problem

wanna know how to stop a mass shooting?
https://www.youtu...t7j2tUec
philstacy9
1 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2016
I'll bet philstacy9 will feel better after another unfunded Republican War of Mass Killing and Corporate Profit.


The left is the one ring of ideas to rule them all. Political correctness is the dictatorship of ideas which mandates the end of thinking and free speech. What place does science and reason have in the left's world except to construct instruments of oppression to be used on subjects who used to be citizens? A leftist's head is a read only device for leftist propaganda dumbed down like TV programming to reach the broadest audience. These heads are servers networked into a hive mind like an AI that has its own anti-human goals which now control the programmers.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2016
Sorry for the stern line here, but one of my own fears here is that of being on the wrong end of a gun owned or held by someone in an emotional state. Having one of my own will only guarantee death
George kamburoff the psychopath has a superduper ego which convinces him he can talk himself out of any situation.

This also makes him feel more manly than the pragmatists here who would rather use more proven methods to defend themselves and their families.

This is the same kind of cracked thinking which convinces george that posting his personal info online, including his ss#, makes him appear more rational and not less.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
"Miss. homeowner kills escaped murder suspect after week-long manhunt
Published March 10, 2016
Associated Press

"An escaped murder suspect with little to lose made a desperate move before dawn Thursday, breaking into a house at knifepoint and holding a husband, wife and son hostage for hours in a bathroom.

"McCloud tied the man up again, but his 24-year-old wife persuaded McCloud to let her leave the bathroom. She returned with a family handgun and shot the intruder, Williams said. Then she cut loose her husband and he shot McCloud multiple times with the same gun."

-Well that worked out well.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
Sorry for the stern line here, but one of my own fears here is that of being on the wrong end of a gun owned or held by someone in an emotional state. Having one of my own will only guarantee death
George kamburoff the psychopath has a superduper ego which convinces him he can talk himself out of any situation that he happens to talk himself into.

Serial victimizers do have the very rational fear that their victims will take revenge. Disarming the public only increases the victimizers selection set.

Helpless victims are freedom for the psychopath.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2016
"You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness.

"What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)?

"The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same. Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people - whether they have a conscience or not - favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between. There are violent people and nonviolent ones, individuals who are motivated by blood lust and those who have no such appetites. [...]

"Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all."
http://www.cassio...path.htm
Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2016
Stand up like men, and stop cowering behind your pathetic guns
@Liar-kam
what would you tell these women?
that they're cowering pathetic weak women because they defended themselves?
http://abcnews.go...18164812

http://www.thebla...ughters/

http://newsfeed.t...ntruder/

http://www.cbsnew...l-fight/

https://www.youtu...JBpV9YRI

would you tell the women, girls and old lady that they're wrong for protecting themselves from criminals and serial killers?

would you tell them they should take martial arts and quit being cowards?

you're NOT sorry for denigrating those who out you as a liar or who own firearms
you are just scared & pathetic & want to be in control of others
gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
Sorry to have pinned you down so firmly, Stumpy. I do not need guns, because I am not SCARED like you are, hiding in the woods.

As I said, I outgrew them decades ago, and thought most folk would do so as well. Yes, I know you are a nice man, thinking of those poor old ladies. So, why do YOU need them? Scared?

Of Whom?
gkam
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2016
"would you tell the women, girls and old lady that they're wrong for protecting themselves from criminals and serial killers?"
-----------------------------------------

Well, gosh no!

We will just give our Big Guns to our kids in the back seat, and let them protect us!

http://www.thegua...70499222
Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2016
So, why do YOU need them? Scared?
@liar-kam
because i like eating... usually, i eat at least once a day. It's a bad habit, i know... but but i got addicted to eating at birth and just could never shake the habit... blame all that on my parents for making me such a horrible person, wanting to eat every day and addicted to living and all that

besides, it also serves a few other purposes... you know, like keeping my family safe from really stupid criminals and trolls like you who want to threaten me because i proved you were a liar

that is really the bonus though... just the icing on the cake

because in all truth, a coward like you who wants to control and manipulate others and help criminals kill women, children and the elderly doesn't scare me at all!

i know you are just a spineless mouthy gobshite
(man, i like that word! it really describes you, g!)

have you actually read the statistics yet?
gonna ban cars, hammers and screwdrivers now too?
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
We will just give our Big Guns to our kids in the back seat, and let them protect us!
@liar-kam
you really would too...
problem is: those numbers are still dwarfed by car accidents, deaths by hammers, screwdrivers or knives (all taken individually, mind you, not collectively)
https://www.fbi.g...mestats/

http://www.bjs.gov/

so, are ya gonna advocate for banning cars, screwdrivers, hammers, knives too?

what about hospitals, which far outstrip guns?

better ban cookware too!
we can't have concealed carry frying pans!

your whole problem, liar-kam, is that you want to control others
you don't care what the topic is, you will simply denigrate them and argue from your self perceived authority while LYING and ignoring the reality

one last thing your "statistics" don't even consider mr commando engineer:
how many crimes are STOPPED by CC or armed citizens, whether they shoot or not?

gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
"because in all truth, a coward like you who wants to control and manipulate others and help criminals kill women, children and the elderly doesn't scare me at all!"
----------------------------------

Yeah, that's it.

Do you know why I am taking this hard tack? YOU. You started the drumbeat of screaming "liar!" and other nasties with otto your brother. After a while, I got the impression that is how it is done in this unregulated and wild-west forum.

Those of you with no real experience in life cannot depend on Wiki to show how smart you are. You try to cover it with filthy and abusive language, but it only displays your true character.

This forum will change.
Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2016
Yeah, that's it
@liar-kam
at least you can now admit it
YOU
Sorry, i am straight
go find someone else to solicit
You started ... screaming "liar!"
Ah.. no. Otto did. i tried to help you and you decided to attack me instead

besides... i PROVED you were a liar. there is a difference
with no real experience
funny, you use this excuse a lot to attack other people who have just prove you to be a chronic liar

why is that?
You try to cover it with filthy and abusive language
there is nothing in the above posts that you can prove is wrong or abusive

especially as it is factually correct and proven

why don't you stop your pathetic character assassination, g!

is this where you threaten me again?
i LOVE those threats!
OOOooo! scary!
This forum will change
not until you leave and take the other liars with you

it's all in the evidence, commando-girl!
i can prove you lied
you can only prove i dislike your lying

LOL

Estevan57
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
OK, gkam. To summarize your posts so far:

You are scared!
You are scared!
I am scared!
You are bad!
I am scared!
I am scared!
You are bad!

You sound like a f*king Chihuahua. Bark less. Read more.
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2016
Unable to deny it, Estevan tries to ridicule it.

Do you have a gun? Why or why not?
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2016
Estevan tries to ridicule it
@liar-kam
why don't you stop your pathetic character assassination!

besides, that was a pretty accurate summation of you
and he even included all of your evidence supporting your conclusions to boot

what is there to deny anyway?

you posted your opinion (and fears)
-therefore *any* opinion is equivalent enough as refute and holds the exact same legitimacy as your claim

you are ignoring statistics to promote your political agenda and stupidity

plus, you can't differentiate between a tool and it's user, which is important for this topic

you think that making laws might somehow automagically make criminals disarm themselves despite the fact that it has never historically worked (and you don't know the definition of the word criminal)

worse still, you project your fears and then use transference as an argument

you have zilch
wanna stop mass shooters?
watch this video
https://www.youtu...t7j2tUec
Estevan57
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
gkam, I deny nothing, but I ridicule you. Yes I own guns. I have a pistol in a small safe in my nightstand because I travel and my wife asked for one. She has shot it about 20 times, me twice.

I own a few rifles for deer and elk hunting. It is a heritage handed down from my father, and his father before him. He and I have an annual hunting trip with whoever is inclined, or can spare the time. Ladies invited too.

I personally don't care for your opinion of gun owners because like all things, you generalize other people based on your own fears.

And you are just a god damned pussy. Any more questions?
Uncle Ira
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
To summarize your posts so far:

You are scared!
You are scared!
I am scared!
You are bad!
I am scared!
I am scared!
You are bad!

You sound like a f*king Chihuahua. Bark less. Read more.


You left out,,,

I have experience.
You are just the goober.
I have expertise.
You are just the goober.
You have done nothing.
I have experience.
You are just mad.
I have experience.
You have ego.
I have done.
You are just the goober.


Oh yeah, I almost forget.

I have experience AND expertise and have done everything, but you never did anything, never learned anything, never been anywhere, never saw anything, and another never did anything.

When I get most science and technical things wrong it doesn't count because I have experience and you are the goober so it doesn't count if you get it right.


That sums up the body of glam-Skippy's debate of the issues and the science and the technical stuffs for the last 18 and a half months.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2016
That sums up the body of glam-Skippy's debate of the issues and the science and the technical stuffs for the last 18 and a half months.
If i could give 20 stars, i would!
because that is right on the money accurate!
LOL

of course, interspersed in all this would also be threats
LOL
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2016
until we as a society begin to deal with mental illness & our broken educational system, and a less intrusive government, there seems little point.
Personally I won't have a gun in my house. I base that decision on insurance actuarial statistics. Quite literally: I have a liability policy that gun owners cannot get for any price.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2016
1. How many gun deaths have been caused (yearly etc.) in the US by citizens who have lawfully bought their weapon?
You can't get this data. The US government organization that would collect it has been banned from collecting it.

Any questions?

2. How many have been caused by stolen or otherwise illegally obtained weapons i.e. where laws would make absolutely no difference because criminals don't obey the law in the first place.
Less guns = less opportunity to steal guns. Duh.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (4) Mar 20, 2016
@Stumpy, I'd rather have liability insurance and cops than a gun. In fact I'd rather have a cell phone than a gun; I can bring more guns than anybody can handle in a hot minute with a cell phone. Let the guys who are trained handle it.

Now, your situation is different; you have to deal with wild animals. I don't. And that might change the calculation for me. But where I am, in the suburbs, it just doesn't make any sense to increase my chances of dying by being shot in order to deal with a purely theoretical threat of being shot.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
And that might change the calculation for me
@Schneib
oh yeah, it changes the calculation a lot, really

in fact, it is not just areas rural like mine that are important to talk about though... lets talk about poor areas of Chicago, Miami, NYC or DC...

some folk just want to eke out an honest living and be left alone, and in places like those i just said, response times aren't measured in minutes unless there is already a SWAT team in the area getting ready to hit the place anyway

Plus, none of the laws or even the current arguments really address the core problem which isn't the tool, but the people who are violent

that is my biggest beef with "gun control" really... and especially with people like gkam etc
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2016
@schneib cont'd
Less guns = less opportunity to steal guns. Duh.
Not sure i agree with this though
i lived in some tough areas in my life... and most of the people i saw who were armed were criminals who were not legally allowed to own firearms in the first place - and i grew up all over the world

so, banning them might make someone feel good, but it is no guarantee that there will be no gun crime

ALSO- americans don't like to pay for cops, so that is a serious problem too

we want them around when trouble starts, but how many people want to increase taxes to increase police presence on the streets? especially when they see just ONE in uniform relaxing for lunch...god forbid one should ever relax with a uniform on (goes for FF's, EMT's, etc too)

we just don't like paying for it

we have only one true fundamental right that no law, nation or religion (or anything else) can get rid of - the right to self preservation
it is biologically programmed into us
Osiris1
1 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2016
All you need to keep in front: All 'gun control'....actually weapons confiscation propaganda, are centered on rendering Americans defensless in front of moslem terrorists and international monopolists. As such, all gun grabbing gun 'controllers' are treasonous allies of international state sponsored islamic terrorism and of other combinations with malodorous designs on our nation and its people. Just think of those kids in 'Newtown', often prattled about by advocates of being shot like fish in a barrel being somehow 'good for our souls'. They were slaughtered, just like Trump said. A far far different outcome would have happened if that had been a Texas school with anonymously ARMED teachers and even janitors. Those assasins would have never claimed even close to the number of victims' lives they had been given as a prize by traitorous cowardly public officials and their 'gun free zones'!!
Phys1
5 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2016
Oh, what happened to the good old days of a gun duel at high noon?

Nobody survived.
Phys1
5 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2016
... And, in fact, they haven't! Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, gun laws were laughably lax compared to today. But there was no pattern of crimes like today! And it's not more people. The population was about half what it is today in 1950, but there were not mass shootings every two weeks, back then!

The number of guns per citizen may have been smaller.
Stricter gun laws do not stop gun violence.

Obama proposes to make existing background checks effective, that's all. That is the weakest form of action that could be taken and it makes absolute sense.
Liberal party followers claim that a "war on drugs" didn't stop drugs, why won't they admit that stricter gun laws are not preventing gun violence?

Because effective checks do limit gun violence.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2016
This has been a really productive thread for identifying nutjobs to put on ignore. :D

Stumpster, my solution is to not live in areas where I don't feel safe without a gun. And I don't complain about cops (or other emergency responders) taking a break unless I see excess. I don't mind taxes, generally; I get ripped off more by banks and health insurers than I do by the gummint.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (6) Mar 21, 2016
Sorry to have pinned you down so firmly, Stumpy. I do not need guns, because I am not SCARED like you are, hiding in the woods
You're not scared because psychopaths are fearless.

"James Blair of University College London, holds that the fundamental dysfunction lies within the amygdala, a small almond-shaped structure that plays a critical role in processing emotion and mediating fear. Recently, using PET scanning, Blair has shown that activation of the amygdala in normal volunteers is involved in responding to the sadness and anger of others, and he hypothesizes that amygdala dysfunction could explain the lack of fear and empathy in psychopaths."

-Your recklessness in posting personal info online and lack of fear are symptoms of your disease.

Your profound mental deformity.

Cowards and heros are people who have a choice. You dont.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2016
@Stumpy, I'd rather have liability insurance and cops than a gun. In fact I'd rather have a cell phone than a gun; I can bring more guns than anybody can handle in a hot minute with a cell phone. Let the guys who are trained handle it
Your logic is the same as the people who blamed Zimmerman for shooting trayvon Martin as he was pounding his head into the concrete.

You guys don't even LOOK for contrary evidence. You're content to accept what you're told because it comes with compliments on your superior intellects and reasoning faculties.

You love that don't you? See how easy it is for someone to convince you you're not capable of defending yourself? What's next - your repro rights?

Funny. I've never been asked about gun ownership for insurance purposes. What king or queen or politburo are you the subject of?
BackBurner
1 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2016
"To put this tweet into perspective, more than twice as many people in the US have died at the point of a gun last year alone as have died in terrorist attacks in all of the preceding 44 years put together.

So following on from the president's challenge, what else do the numbers say on the gun debate in the US?"

-------

To put it in perspective, more people die from peanut allergies than die from "terrorism". More people die from cardiac disease than from "terrorism", yet the US government spends approximately 6000 times more on "fighting terrorism" than it spends on cardiac disease research.

This is what we call "the abuse of statistics". I've noticed it quite a bit on your site over the past month and it's getting much worse. I suggest you either treat the issue scientifically or stop pretending to be scientists.
BackBurner
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2016
"research conducted in the 1990s showed having a gun in your house increased your risk of being murdered by a factor of three."

--------

You folks are really on a roll today.

A person buys a gun because they perceive a threat. People who perceive threats are often correct. Therefore, people who perceive threats own guns and are about three times more likely to be murdered than people who do not perceive threats and don't own guns.

You shouldn't try lying with statistics when you're speaking to an audience that use statistics everyday.

And what happened to Physics? If I wanted to read fascist tripe I'd read the Washington Post.
BackBurner
1 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2016
This forum will change.


I'm very sad to say it already has. This subject has nothing to do with physics and everything to do with dividing people, most especially thinking people who might be more interested in intellectual debate and new understanding. Over half of the articles I see posted here now concentrate on social issues (Climate Change, Gun Control, etc.).

If these subjects were, at the very least, presented in a scientific light it might be marginally acceptable as sort of an "op-ed" topic, but they aren't. They've actually come to dominate.

So much for this place. A very obvious bait 'n switch. The propagandists and chicken little fear mongers have taken over.
BackBurner
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2016
I have a pistol in a small safe in my nightstand because I travel and my wife asked for one. She has shot it about 20 times, me twice.


OK, sorry, but this really did make me chuckle. So your wife's only shot you twice? Out of 20 tries? Not bad but she needs work. A 10% hit rate isn't going to get her in the door.

:) Again, sorry, but it really was funny.

For the record, I've only shot my wife once out of maybe 10,000 tries, and that's disputed; it was much more likely her brother in-law. :)
BackBurner
1 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2016
Phill writes:
The left has become a real life super villain that is promoted as a hero by left controlled media and Hollywood.


I don't know what to call them anymore. "The Left" seems a bit banal. "Liberal" is so completely wrong it doesn't even bear discussion. "Fascist" is a real possibility since they fly the Socialist flag, insist on being called Democratic, but openly admit to being elitists, both financially and intellectually. They deride their opponents without offering logical argument. They seek power through regulation rather than referendum. They don't argue, they bludgeon and ridicule. Yes. I think "Fascist" will do nicely.
BackBurner
2 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2016
"Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all."
http://www.cassio...path.htm


Great reference Otto. Thanks. I'm not a professional student of human nature or human consciousness so this was very much appreciated.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2016
... very much appreciated.
@BackBurner
here is another link you will enjoy then: http://ocw.mit.ed...ychology

totally free and you can enjoy a multitude of topics
Over half of the articles I see posted here now concentrate on social issues (Climate Change, Gun Control, etc.)
you can adjust what you see by setting up your notifications in the newsletter https://sciencex....wletter/

or under your profile under my news
https://sciencex....file/my/

i suggest ignoring the recently commented articles as they typically are flooded with trolls and spam (like above)

this is a pop-sci news distribution site, not a forum for intellectual discussion (not anymore)
but you can use the articles to start discussions other places, like SciForums
http://www.sciforums.com/

sites that are moderated tend to weed out trolls, etc
PO isn't moderated (not really)
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2016
Therefore, people who perceive threats own guns and are about three times more likely to be murdered than people who do not perceive threats and don't own guns
This is no doubt because they are three times more likely to be gangbangers and drug dealers.
Great reference Otto. Thanks. I'm not a professional student of human nature or human consciousness so this was very much appreciated
Yeah we have a little field study going on involving a persistent (aren't they all?) psychopath who posts here.

Very informative.
BackBurner
1 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2016
This is a pop-sci news distribution site, not a forum for intellectual discussion


In other words, it's now a propaganda site. You just all write whatever you like. That's more than apparent by the way. If you somehow think you've hidden it you're confused.

I think I'm going to stick with "fascist". Thanks for your input.
BackBurner
1 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2016
This is no doubt because they are three times more likely to be gangbangers and drug dealers.


Really? you can prove the source of the threat? It's nature?

Let's discuss this Otto. How many people in the United States of America hold real estate and personal property? How many hold guns? How many are "gang bangers"?

You guys just make stuff up. Out of whole cloth.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2016
First you've got to source this:
Therefore, people who perceive threats own guns and are about three times more likely to be murdered than people who do not perceive threats and don't own guns
I was ad libbing the same way you were.

But there are ample statistics on gang and drug violence in the US which gunphobes never include in their arguments.

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