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View Diary: "Rethinking Gun Control" (open thread w poll) (63 comments)

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  •  The defensive vs. offensive summary (6+ / 0-)

    are not what is uniformly found in the literature. E.g.,
    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/...

    Some controversy exists about the relative frequency of criminal and self-defense gun use in the United States. Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey of over 1900 adults conducted in 1996, we find that criminal gun use is far more common than self-defense gun use. This result is consistent with findings from other private surveys and the National Crime Victimization Surveys. In this survey, all reported cases of criminal gun use and many cases of self-defense gun use appear to be socially undesirable. There are many instances of gun use, often for intimidation, that are not reported to the police and may not appear in official crime statistics.
    http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/...
    Results—Even after excluding many reported firearm victimizations, far more survey respondents report having been threatened or intimidated with a gun than having used a gun to protect themselves. A majority of the reported self defense gun uses were rated as probably illegal by a majority of judges.
    •  Thank you for the links (5+ / 0-)

      https://www.ncjrs.gov/...

      I've been trying to reconcile why there is a 25-fold difference in the different estimates of defensive gun use. Found this in a section about false positives in telephone surveys. From DOJ. It's old (1997).

      But it is written at a layman's level and I don't have a background in statistics, so this made sense to me as one important factor for the large difference in the estimates.

      p10

      The key explanation for the difference
      between the 108,000 NCVS estimate for the annual number of DGUs and the several million from the surveys
      discussed earlier is that NCVS avoids the false-positive problem by limiting DGU questions to persons who first re-
      ported that they were crime victims.
      Most NCVS respondents never have a chance to answer the DGU question, falsely or otherwise.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 12:27:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  From the second link above (5+ / 0-)

      Interesting methods.

      In order to obtain a generous estimate of self defense gun uses, we included incidents even when the respondent refused to give any information about the event or, from the description, it appeared the other party never knew the respondent displayed the gun.

      Self defense gun use incidents were summarized and sent to five criminal court judges (from California, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) who were assured anonymity. The judges were told to assume that the respondent had a permit to own and carry the gun and had described the event honestly from his/her own perspective. The judges were then asked to give their best guess whether, based on the respondent's description of the incident, the respondent's use of the gun was very likely legal, likely legal, as likely as not legal, unlikely legal, or very unlikely legal.

      Two examples from the 1999 survey of incidents that were unanimously deemed probably illegal were:

      • A 62 year old male said that at 6 pm “the police called. My alarm at my business went off so I went there to shut it off. Two men were outside my building, so from my car I shot at the ground near them”. The respondent said the men were trespassing.

      • A 58 year old male was inside his home at 2 pm. “I was watching a movie and [an acquaintance] interrupted me. I yelled that I was going to shoot him and he ran to his car”. The respondent said his acquaintance was committing a verbal assault. The respondent's gun, a .44 Magnum, was located “in my holster on me”.

      Two examples of self defense gun use from the 1999 survey that were unanimously deemed probably legal were:

      • A 26 year old male was with friends at another's home. At 8:30 am “a friend of mine was in the process of getting robbed and he was drunk. We went to help him just as the robbers were leaving”. The respondent's gun was not loaded and “I never really took it out of my pocket”.

      • A 38 year old male was inside his home at 4 am. “Someone broke in; I woke up to the sound. I got my gun from the safe [loaded it] and went downstairs. The person left and I called the police”. The respondent did not know whether the burglar had a weapon.

      Over two thirds (68%) of the 146 self defense gun use incidents from the two surveys were reported by six respondents. Three people claimed 50, 20 and 15 self defense incidents in the previous five years, but refused to describe the most recent event. In the 1999 survey, an 18 year old male reported six cases. He described the most recent incident: “I was at school and they pulled a gun during an argument. They fired and I fired”.

      So basically when you actually look in detail at the self-reports of "defensive use," you find some pretty fishy / soft data. Without looking at this level of detail you wouldn't know that their self report of a defensive use might not actually be what we might think of as defensive use. Furthermore, the 2/3 of supposed DGUs were from just six people? This was after excluding someone who reported 97 DGUs himself. Basically the data on this are really, really weak IMO.

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