Category Archives: gun control

AL Study: More Guns Do Not Equal Less Crime

The idea that more guns = less crime is one of those deeply-held wingnut beliefs which any sensible person knows defies logic and common sense. After all, America has more guns per capita than any other country in the world but we also have one of the highest crime rates.

It’s notoriously hard to detach right-wingers from their cherished myths; remember, these are the same people who remain convinced that lowering taxes increases tax revenues, and “trickle down” is a real thing.

But the main newspaper in Alabama decided to take a look at that state’s number of gun carry permits and compared it to state and country crime statistics, looking to see if any conclusions could be drawn.

It’s an interesting piece. It seems Alabama has the largest number of concealed-carry permits in the country, once all of the out-of-state permits Utah issues are accounted for. Does this correlate with lower crime? Well, not so much:

AL.com gathered the number of active pistol permits for 63 out of 67 counties. (Four didn’t respond despite repeated requests). But a statistical examination of Alabama’s county-by-county permit rates does not turn up any correlation with rates of serious crime. These offenses consist of homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

Higher rates of concealed carry don’t seem to make one Alabama county safer than another, nor do they make a county less safe.

On the pro-gun side, they interviewed the controversial John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center, dutifully noting that Lott is widely regarded as a crank among serious researchers (and if you want to know why, this is a good place to start). They also interviewed Alabama citizens with carry permits, some of whom had personal stories to share about that one time their gun saved them from being a crime victim. Mostly, though, it seems most Alabama CCWers simply repeated the NRA talking points they’ve been fed for years: good guys with guns vs bad guys with guns, criminals won’t mess with people they think are armed, etc.

That last bit is another one of those conservative beliefs taken on faith, absent any proof in reality. Stanford Law’s John Donohue, whose own research joins the increasing pile of data debunking the more guns = less crime theory, says you could just as easily make the opposite argument:

One of the central premises of the deterrence argument is that criminals are reluctant to take on victims they believe are armed. He said the opposite is just as plausible. Perhaps criminals are more likely to arm themselves – or pull the trigger – when they think the victims have guns.

“Probably, the criminal will shoot you quicker in Alabama than in New York City, where they’re not expecting you to have a gun,” he said. “The NRA tends to think of things in terms of checkers, but criminal will think in terms of chess.”

The issue, of course, is much bigger than, “do more guns equal less crime”? Clearly they do not. But they do mean more illegal guns — and the large number of Alabama guns which end up being used in crimes in Illinois, New York, Tennessee, Florida, Connecticut and California highlights something I’ve been saying forever, which is that our hodge-podge of state gun laws have national repercussions. To think guns aren’t being trafficked from easy-access states across state lines by criminal elements is an especially nefarious form of willful ignorance.

There’s also the issue of gun accidents, which this study doesn’t address. I’ve long maintained that we will see an exponential escalation in accidental gun injuries and deaths, what with the post-Obama era of inexperienced, irresponsible people running out to get guns. We shall see.

The American Journal of Medicine did look at the issue of gun ownership and all gun deaths and found a very clear connection:

The team looked at the fraction of people who owned guns across 27 developed nations, including the United States, Switzerland, Finland, Australia and Japan.

Gun ownership was lowest in Japan and highest, by far, in the United States.

Gun ownership rates were strongly correlated with higher death rates from firearms.

In contrast, the incidence of major depression was only weakly linked to firearms-related deaths. (Data on other conditions such as schizophrenia were not widely available.)

And crime didn’t seem to be correlated at all with gun ownership rates. That suggests purchasing a gun doesn’t have an effect on overall crime rates, which include both violent and non-violent crimes.

“We can show that guns don’t make a nation safer,” Bangalore told LiveScience.

The study “provides some very convincing evidence that firearms-related deaths are very strongly correlated with prevalence of guns,” said Dr. Eric Fleegler, a health services researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, who was not involved in the study.

There’s still a lot more research to be done. Now that the CDC and NIH are no longer barred from funding gun violence research, maybe we’ll be getting some answers.

I don’t expect any right-wingers to change their mind. These are the same people who still deny climate change is real, all evidence to the contrary. They’re not operating from an evidence-based worldview, they’re operating from an emotional one. But for those who do use evidence, not emotions, in crafting policy and making important decisions? It’s the death of yet another cherished wingnut myth.

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Congratulations, Unidentified OH Man! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

One of our safest, most responsible gun owners EVAH is, well, not. The headline says it all:

Concealed carry holder misses attacker in Cleveland road rage incident; shoots another man

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland man legally carrying a concealed weapon missed his intended target and struck another man when he opened fire during a road rage incident, police said.

Oh, my. And it just gets worse when you read the story:

The Focus stopped and the three people inside — a 19-year-old man, a 22-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman behind the wheel — argued with the offending driver, a CCW permit holder.

The trio in the Focus left after the argument, but soon returned.

The 22-year-old passenger got out of the Focus and hurled a bottle at the permit holder’s car, cracking the windshield. The permit holder shot at the man as he sprinted away. The shooter missed his target and struck the 19-year-old man sitting in the Focus’ passenger seat.

First of all, firing a gun at someone who threw a bottle at your car is not an appropriate response. Give this idiot extra points for missing the bottle-thrower and hitting the innocent passenger, instead.

Once again, people with guns are dangerous, irresponsible buffoons.

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Tennessee Gun Report

A brief round-up … Haven’t actually had a lot of time to look for news. However, we do have one accidental shooting this week.

• September 9, 2014:

1- Two loaded guns were found in different carry-on bags at Nashville International Airport. So, SO responsible, y’all.

2- A Brownsville student brought a loaded gun to school. Sigh.

• September 6, 2014:

A Memphis-area man accidentally shot his friend in the car while it was parked at a Mapco station, killing him.

• September 3, 2014:

A road rage incident on I-26 resulted in one man pulling a gun and threatening to blow off the other man’s finger.

• August 29, 2014:

Nashville’s own open carry loon, who parades around public places with a rifle strapped to his back and wearing a bullet proof vest, is back openly carrying is high-powered weaponry around the streets of Nashville. I have not seen this man, but if I ever do I am leaving. If that means I don’t pay my restaurant check, or bar tab, or whatever, so be it.

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Congratulations, Unidentified CA Man! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Pro-tip: when the gun in your pocket accidentally goes off at a restaurant, maybe pretending it didn’t happen isn’t the best idea:

A man reportedly accidentally fired his weapon while he was at a Heavenly Village restaurant with his wife and two small children Saturday evening.

“The male subject was very apologetic and went back to his seat where he sat for 10-to-15 minutes before paying their [sic] bill and leaving the restaurant,” according to a South Lake Tahoe Police Department Police report based on witness statements.

[...]

A witness told police that the music in the restaurant was loud, but the shot was louder. He also said the man was noticeably stiffened following the shot, then regained his composure and continued to wait for his food. The witness was sure the man had shot himself in the leg and expected blood to start gushing out, but all he saw was a hole in his shorts.

He added that he was surprised no one called the police, but that later several patrons complained to staff and the police were eventually called.

According to the police, several witnesses were surprised that nobody called until several minutes after.

By the way, what kind of moron keeps a loaded gun in his pocket? Our last Second Amendment Hero Du Jour made the same mistake.

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Congratulations, Unidentified FL Man! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Children + guns + Wendy’s fast food restaurant = gun FAIL:

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Clay County deputy’s gun accidentally discharged Thursday, injuring his child.

Deputies said the boy was reaching into the deputy’s pants to get a snack while they were at Wendy’s at 2530 Blanding Blvd. when he jostled the gun, causing it to discharge.

The child was slightly injured by a fragment that ricocheted off the floor and cut his legs and foot, deputies said.

A Wendy’s employee also had minor injuries from the fragments but declined medical treatment.

They said it was the deputy’s private handgun, not a service weapon.

There was no affect on his work status, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Slow clap for the deputy, and the Wendy’s, and all the gun loons who continue to write these daily events off as “just accidents.” Nothing to see here, move along. Meanwhile, those Moms who are demanding that places like Wendy’s and Kroger ban weapons from their premises are — what’s the term the gun loons use? — hysterical gun-grabbing mommies. Riiight.

This weekend I counted what had to have been a record-breaking number of accidental shootings and gun discharges all across the country. In one 72-hour period we had:

• a 5-year-old child shooting himself in the face in Texas;
• a Virginia man killed at a Roanoke shooting range;
• a 4-year-old Virginia child shot in the chest with a pellet gun, who also died;
• a 13-year-old Maryland girl shot in the leg by a 14-year-old when the two found a gun cleaning out a relative’s house;
• a Memphis man accidentally shot and killed by his friend while they were in a car at a Mapco station;
• a gun in a high school student’s backpack discharged at a high school cafeteria in Missouri;
• a gun accidentally discharged at St. Louis County Community College in Ferguson, Mo., as two people discussed the gun’s sale;

.. and these are just the ones reported in the papers. Also, this doesn’t even cover the road rage and other irresponsible behavior that regularly fills the newspapers.

Here’s the thing. Gun accidents happen everywhere in the world. Wherever there are guns there will be gun accidents. It’s called math. In Kenya, a senator’s body guard accidentally shot his employer in the leg. In Saudi Arabia, a 12-year-old girl accidentally shot herself with dad’s hunting weapon. She died. Accidental shootings happen everywhere, because people are not perfect. They forget, they play, they leave things lying around, they screw up. Guns kill and injure, that’s what they’re made to do, and in the hands of imperfect humans accidents happen.

There is no way to avoid that except to limit the number of guns that people are exposed to on a regular basis. That’s called science. It’s also logic and common sense.

And yet, thanks to the loons at the NRA whose only goal is to sell more guns, my daily exposure to weapons has increased, not decreased. So the likelihood that I am going to be accidentally shot going about my daily business (like shopping at Kroger or eating at a restaurant) has increased through no fault of my own.

One of these ads appeared in our local fishwrap this weekend. I do occasionally shop at Kroger but, as long as open carry fanatics are welcomed in their stores anywhere in the U.S., I’m staying away. My life depends on it.

Moms Demand

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Congratulations, Unnamed Idaho Man! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

[UPDATE]:

Our idiot has a name: Byron L. Bennett, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Brilliant.

—————————————————–

Barely two months after an NRA-drafted “guns-on-campus” bill went into effect in Idaho, and on just the sixth day of classes, this happened:

SALMON Idaho (Reuters) – An Idaho State University assistant professor with a concealed-carry gun permit shot himself in the foot with a semiautomatic handgun that accidentally discharged from inside his pocket in a chemistry classroom full of students, police said on Wednesday.

Apparently the professor involved had one of the “enhanced concealed carry” permits required to carry on campus.

Slow clap.

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Filed under gun control, Guns

Tennessee Gun Report

The report is back! We were on the road last week, so I’ve got two-weeks’ worth of gun lunacy to share. Two children accidentally shot themselves or siblings, and a police officer accidentally shot himself.

• September 2, 2014:

A Washington County sheriff’s deputy accidentally shot himself in the leg fending off an attack from a dog.

• September 1, 2014:

A 10-year-old Knoxville boy, who graduated from the TWRA’s Hunter Education Program, accidentally shot himself in the foot while dove hunting.

• August 28, 2014:

A judge has dropped charges against the notorious Nashville gun loon who walked around downtown, scaring tourists and shop owners, wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying an AR-15. He calls himself a “gun rights activist.” I love it that guns have rights but people don’t. Asshole.

• August 25, 2014:

1- A 2-year-old Memphis boy found his mother’s boyfriend’s gun under the couch and shot his 4-year-old sister in the foot with it. Ooops.

2- Guns-in-restaurants fail: This nice old man decided to pull a loaded gun on an acquaintance while he placed his order at the Kingsport Dairy Queen. It’s not the first time he’s threatened the man, either.

• August 21, 2104:

1- Two men were fishing on Todd’s Lake in Murfreesboro when a nutball started waving a gun at them and told them to get off “his” lake or he’d shoot.

2- A Shelbyville man was shot in the arm as he drove down the street. The bullet came through the driver’s-side door.

3- Someone is firing a gun in this Mt. Juliet neighborhood, hitting homes and nearly hitting people.

• August 20, 2014:

1- A Memphis police officer lost his personal weapon and someone found it in the street:

GERMANTOWN, TN -(WMC) – Germantown police say a loaded handgun found in the middle of a busy intersection actually belonged to a police officer.

Police say it was the 23-year-old officer’s personal weapon and that he was off duty when he lost track of it.

Sigh.

2- A bus driver for Murfreesboro schools has been accused of pulling a gun on another driver in yet another incident of road rage. She was in her personal vehicle at the time:

According to a police report obtained by News 2, 41-year-old Robin Snyder was driving on South Church Street and Indian Park Drive Tuesday when she pulled out her handgun and threatened another driver who cut her off.

Guns-in-cars FAIL.

3- A Waren County high school junior was charged after bringing a .22 to school.

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