Dependence of the Firearm-Related Homicide Rate on Gun Availability

I have only scanned the paper Dependence of the Firearm-Related Homicide Rate on Gun Availability: A Mathematical Analysis but I suspect I see several invalid assumptions missed by the 11 people that supposedly did the peer reviews.

  • It appears they only consider cases where the defender shoots and kills the attacker. They don’t include cases where the display of a gun by the defender prevents the attack or is sufficient to stop the attack.
  • It appears they only consider case where the attacker has a gun and do not include attackers that use a different weapon or no weapon.
  • It may be that they include the death of the attacker in the total homicide rate they model and desire the minimization of.
  • The right to keep and bear arms defends against the possibility of a tyrannical government. They do not account for the lives lost in tyrannical government scenarios when the people do not have guns.

Regardless of how the number come out people have a specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms. That is not subject to infringement no matter what the model says the homicide rate would benefit from restrictions. Would a projected lower homicide rate be sufficient justification to infringe on the 13th Amendment? The answer is not just “no”, but “HELL NO!” And the same applies to the 2nd Amendment.


16 thoughts on “Dependence of the Firearm-Related Homicide Rate on Gun Availability

  1. No one’s pain, grief, fear or desire trumps my rights.

  2. This distortion — looking only at self-defense where the attacker is killed — is decades old. Not just Kellerman, but 11 years before. Gary Kleck, in his afterword to Neil Schulman’s excellent book “Stopping Power – why 70 million Americans own guns” called it the “nonsense ratio”. It goes back to something called a “study” from 1975, in which the self-described researchers looked at data from four counties (because those happened to be conveniently nearby) and pretended to be able to draw national conclusions from those.
    Kleck observes, among other things: “What is so deceptive about the ratio is the hint that killing burglars or intruders is somehow a “benefit” to the householder. This is both morally offensive and factually inaccurate.”
    You should assume that this misleading “analysis” is very much intentional. We know from many cases that accurate and honest analysis is not done, and not wanted, by the victim disarmament crowd.
    Another example comes to mind, of a “study” purporting to refute John Lott’s work. As I recall from Lott’s discussion of it, the “researchers” took Lott’s data, carefully selected 15% of it, discarded the remaining 85% (including whole states) and claimed that this carefully cherry-picked “data” proved that Lott was wrong. Yeah, sure.

  3. Statistics, and the liars who use them, are a distraction from the truth. When you start arguing the numbers and what they mean, you have been dragged down into the thesis, antithesis, synthesis trap.

    The truth is, you have an inherent right to live your own life, which of course includes the right to be armed.

    We should uphold and protect that right, not because of the material, measurable benefits to society, which are substantial, but because it is the right thing to do. The benefits are a side effect of doing the right thing, not the reason for doing it.

    • I think that casting statistics aside will not work for us in the long run. We’re going to need peer-reviewed scientifically rigourous studies if we want to start pushing back against gungrabbers.

      Statistical analysis can be a valid means of description, rather than prediction. That said, the n in this study appears to be much too small so any statistical analysis derived is suspect. Yes, statistics can be manipulated but a well-conceived falsifiable thesis supported with accurate statistics and modeling can be a thing of beauty and has a great deal of potential in helping us.

      All that said, I have yet to see a statistical model that tells me anything useful about morality. I can do research for the rest of my life and it will never change the fact that my natural right to self-defense is irrevocable.

      • There are lots of solid statistics available if you want to use those to strengthen the case. It’s wise to combine those with principles, though.
        Read Neil Schulman’s book; it references a lot of them. Read John Lott’s “More guns, less crime”. Read Gary Kleck’s classic study of the prevalence of defensive use of firearms. Look at the FBI numbers. Look at the UN study of “crime victimization” and what it shows about the increasing crime rate in countries were victims are disarmed. Read Glenn Beck’s “Control”.
        Lots of stuff to use. Remember key arguments so you can use them in discussion. Schulman and Beck are among the best I have found for quotable arguments.

  4. I only see a mathematical model — I don’t see any conclusions drawn from this paper. Am I missing something? Are there extra pages I didn’t see? Are we supposed to plug our own numbers into the model?

  5. The paper is all conclusions. The math is meant to fit the statistics that the authors used. It’s like any other descriptive math: if you start from the wrong data, you will end up with nice looking formulas that fail to describe reality.
    I’m not sure I’ll want to read that document. But in skimming through the start of it, I did find one interesting comment: “In other words, either a complete ban of private firearm possession, or a “gun availability to all” strategy minimizes gun-induced deaths.”
    That’s a bit inaccurate. One mistake is the word “private” (consider Waco). The other is the word “ban” — because it mistakenly assumes that a ban of possessing X results in X indeed not being possessed, which any student of prohibition knows to be nonsense.
    But the observation that universal availability of guns minimizes gun deaths is a good one.
    Meanwhile, Lyle is right. Or at was observed earlier (I forgot who said it): the fact that others commit crimes with certain implements has nothing to do with me. You can only reasonably prevent me from owning that implement if you can show that I — not someone else — will use it to commit crimes.

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  7. Math does not involve analytical thinking, only the application/derivation of given rules. That is NOT the same thing as analysis.

    I seem to remember a trial just occurred in which a defensive gun use WAS analyzed, six ways to Sunday. If the prosecutor had math models to use, why didn’t he? Simple answer, in a Court of Law, lying with statistics doesn’t fly (except in Environmental Law, where it’s done all the time).

    The problem with trying to lie with math models is that there’s always a better mathematician around to refute the bad math used in the models.

  8. Maybe we could do a statistical analysis of slavery. What, for example, was the black on black homicide rate during legal slavery verses now? How many black babies were aborted then verses now? No doubt it wold be possible, using Algore logic and Algore statistics, to suggest that black people might have been better off under slavery.


    Should we refuse to even look at such numbers in that way because slavery is simply wrong?

    Same with gun restrictions. If every other gun owner on the planet tried to murder someone last, and I didn’t, then leave me alone, utterly and completely. Your statistical analysis does not, and cannot, ever, make me guilty of something I didn’t do. My business is my business and mine alone, not yours.

    If you’re hell-fired interested in issues of cause and effect, for the purpose of helping people make their own decisions, then bring it on, but the instant you decide you should be making other people’s decisions for them, you have become an enemy of Man and you need to be stopped. Cold.

  9. Here’s a cuase and effect hypothesis (we’ll take it as a given that the purpose of gathering and analyzing statistics is to determine cause and effect, with at least the implication that forcing a cause should be implemented so as to produce an effect).

    Cause; upbringing, culture and education, when serious subjects are brought up at all, have become more focused on figures, suggested causes and effects and less focused on morals. “Moral absolutes” are asserted only by the more closed-minded, backward, or foolish, goes the default mentality.
    Effect; more of us on “both sides” of an argument tend more to attach ourselves to statistics, while moral arguments, if they are presented at all, are given second billing or are presented as an afterthought.

    And speaking of shutting down arguments when youre losing; the moral argument has become effectively taboo in some circles. There’s a reason for that, see.

  10. The right to self-defense is axiomatic. It cannot be proven or disproven.

    • I guess I look at it the same way, though I would not use the word “axiomatic”. Instead, my argument goes like this: self-preservation is what living things do — it’s a necessary attribute of continued existence as living things. Self-defense is simply another word for self-preservation.

      “Even mushrooms understand self-defense”.

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