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In this article, I would like to present some of the collected empiric evidence on gun ownership and gun-related death.  The need for empiric evidence on this topic is to move the discussion away from opinions and beliefs, and towards what actually happens to actual people.  This article will be critical of gun ownership, so gun enthusiasts may want to avoid reading this article, as it will present a lot of data that puts firearms in a bad light.

It is estimated that 40-45% of American households own a firearm, and that 30-35% of American adults own a firearm (http://www.justfacts.com/...).  According to the Small Arms Survey in 2007 (http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/...), the US leads the world in firearms ownership with 88 firearms per 100 persons.  Our closest competitors were the countries of Yemen (54.8 firearms per 100 persons), Switzerland (45.7 firearms per 100 persons), and Finland (45.3 firearms per 100 persons).

This data is from the CDC web-site (http://www.cdc.gov/...).  During the period 2008-2009, the last year for which complete data is available, there were 62,940 deaths in the US due to firearms, for a crude (non-age adjusted) rate of 10.29 deaths per 100,000 persons.  If you lived in a city of 100,000 persons, you could expect that 10 of your neighbors would die from a firearm injury that year.  1,146 of these deaths were classified as “unintentional” (an accident), and 61,289 of these deaths were classified as “Violence-related” (presumably intentional).  During the same period, there were 145,390 non-fatal firearm injuries here in the US, with a crude rate of 23.8 non-fatal injuries per 100,000 persons.  If you lived in a city of 100,000 persons, you could expect 24 of your neighbors to suffer an injury due to a firearm that year.  Of these injuries, 35,826 were classified as “Unintentional”, while 109,565 non-fatal injuries were “Violence-related”.

For comparison purposes, I looked up the data in bicycle-related injuries and deaths, figuring that bicycles were probably at least as ubiquitous as firearms in American households.  During the same period 2008-2009, there were 1,013,739 non-fatal bicycle-related injuries here in the US, many more injuries than were caused by firearms that year.  But, there were only 785 fatal bicycle-related injuries, for a crude rate of 0.26 bicycle-related deaths per 100,000 persons.  Here I will offer an interpretation: bicycles are less deadly than firearms because firearms, unlike bicycles, are built with the purpose of killing people.  When discussing injury or death due to bicycle use, the classification of events into “intentional” vs. “accidental” is irrelevant, because bicycles are not designed to be people-killing machines.

The FBI released information that showed in 2008, there were 16,272 murders in the US; and that firearms were the cause of 10,886 (or 67%) of these murders (http://www.fbi.gov/...).  Far and away, a firearm is the preferred tool of those who commit murder, precisely because firearms are designed expressedly for the purpose of killing people

This data is from a peer-reviewed article published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 1998 (Krug EG. Intl J Epidemiology.  1998; 27:214-22).  The authors collected data from 36 countries they identified as “high income” (countries as wealthy as the US) and “upper-middle income” countries with populations of greater than 1 million persons.  Total firearm deaths in the US were found to occur at a rate of 14.24 per 100,000 persons, the highest rate of all countries studied, and a rate that was eight-fold higher than the combined rate of firearm deaths in all  economically similar countries, and 1.5 times higher than the combined rate for the “upper middle income” countries.  The three countries with the next highest firearm death rate after the US were Brazil (12.95 firearm deaths per 100,000 persons), Mexico (12.69 firearm deaths per 100,000 persons), and Estonia (12.26 firearm deaths per 100,000 persons).  For all countries studied, the combined death rate due to firearms was 6.9 per 100,000 persons, less than half the death rate due to firearms found in the US.  The take-home message here: the US has more killings due to firearms than any other industrialized country in the world.

This is data from a report released by the CDC in 1997 (http://www.cdc.gov/...).  The CDC collected data from the US and 25 other wealthy, industrialized nations on rates of childhood homicide, suicide, and firearm-related deaths.  Pooling the data from all the countries, 86% of all firearm-related fatalities in children under the age of 15 occurred in the US.  The overall firearm-related death rate among US children under the age of 15 years was nearly 12 times higher than among the children of the other 25 nations combined.  The firearm-related homicide rate among US children was nearly 16 times higher than for children in all other countries combined.  The firearm-related suicide rate was over ten times higher for US children than for children in all other countries combined.  And the accidental (unintentional) firearm-related death rate for US children was nine times higher for US children than for other children combined.  Children here in the US are on average ten times more likely to kill themselves using a gun, and nine times more likely to die by accidental firearm injury than children in other wealthy, industrialized nations.

Owning a gun at home substantially increase the risk of death by firearm to everyone in the home.  It turns out that suicide is the leading cause of death for Americans who have purchased a handgun within the previous year. (data published in the New England Journal of Medicine – Wintermute GJ.  NEJM. 2008; 358:1421-4).  Like cigarette smoke, owning a firearm has deleterious effects on everyone in the home, not just on the one who purchased the gun.  Writing in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Wiebe reported on a case-controlled study in which household were matched on a number of demographic factors, and then incidences of gun violence were compared.  They found that people who keep a gun in their home are almost twice as likely to die in a gun-related homicide, and that the risk was especially greater for women: women living in a home where there is a gun are almost three times more likely to die in a gun-related homicide than men similarly situated.  The risk of killing oneself using a gun was almost 17 times greater for persons who live in a home where there is a gun, compared to those in homes without guns.  (Wiebe D.  Annals of Emergency Medicine.  2003; 41:771-82).

Gun enthusiasts like to claim that keeping a gun handy protects them and their family from violent intruders.  The study by Wiebe shows that having a gun at home is associated with an increased risk of dying by gunfire, so gun ownership does not appear to be protective of violent firearms-related killings.  But the Wiebe study was also able to compute the likelihood of dying by violence other than gunfire.  They found there was no relationship between owning a gun and homicide by means other than a gun.  In other words, having a gun around is not associated with a decreased risk of homicide of any sort.  The study could find no empiric evidence that owning a gun confers some protection on a household from homicide.  To my knowledge, there is no peer-reviewed study published anywhere that provides evidence that guns or gun ownership protects individuals from death or injury.  If anyone reading this knows of such a study, I hope they will tell me so I can go read that study.  

What I have presented here is some of the evidence linking guns to firearms-related death.  This is not all of the data on guns and death; there are other studies for readers interested in knowing the data.  Unfortunately, this and other empiric data on guns and killing will be largely ignored and/or viewed as irrelevant by gun advocates and enthusiasts, because the data does not match their opinions and beliefs.  Just as conservatives ignore the world-wide community of environmental and climate scientists who now have repeatedly replicated and confirmed studies of global climate change and the evidence that human activity is accelerating that change, gun enthusiasts (no matter what their political leanings) will ignore the empiric evidence linking guns to increase fatalities in favor of their personal beliefs regarding the importance of guns.  

Arguments for greater gun availability generally fall into two broad areas: 1) crime is common here in the US, and guns can protect persons from being victimized by criminals; and 2) the Second Amendment of the US Constitution permits gun ownership.  Gun advocates are correct that crime is common here in the US.  However, this should properly be an argument for more and better policing and social policies than an argument for more guns.  Strangely enough, those who advocate for more guns as an answer to greater crime are also most commonly the ones calling for reducing the size of government, which of course, creates a higher barrier to more and better policing and social policy.  To suggest instead that each person should arm themselves and become their own police force is to advocate for greater social unrest and (and as the data shows) greater violence.  Indeed, it is unlikely that owning a gun would have protected Ramarley Graham, the unarmed NY teen who was shot in his own home because police thought he had a gun.  And I have heard no one suggest that the Treyvon Martins of America be given more guns to protect themselves from armed racist vigilantes.

The second broad argument used by gun enthusiasts is that gun ownership is a protected right under the  US Constitution, and our civil rights are sacrosanct and guns are necessary to protect our civil rights.  Anyone paying attention should have by now noticed that American citizens have recently seen an abridgment and restriction on their rights to free speech, their rights to be free of unreasonable government search and seizure, their right to a trial by a jury of their peers, their rights to have legal representation when accused of a crime, their right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment, and all of this at a time when there are more guns here in America than at any time in our history.  Clearly, increased gun availability has not protected the civil rights of Americans.  Increased gun availability has protected the profits of an active gun industry, who use those profits to lobby state and federal legislatures for relaxation of gun ownership restrictions and de-criminalization of gun use.  

As the data presented in this article shows, guns are associated with a greater risk of death by a firearm.  Both Treyvon Martin and Ramarley Graham would probably enjoy exercising their constitutionally-protected civil rights.  Now that they are dead of gun violence, they will not have the opportunity to do so.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 10:39:10 AM PDT

  •  Let's try it. (6+ / 0-)

    Let's start with police officers.

    Ask your barista what her degree is in.

    by happymisanthropy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 10:48:59 AM PDT

  •  As a gun owner myself... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kroning II, ngk01001

    End the madness and get guns out of society. Another facetious argument gun-nuts will say is they need guns to protect themselves from the government, so they can revolt. Yeah, look how well that's worked in the rest of the world - 'ethnic cleansing', all infrastructure destroyed, people fighting over ownership of heaps of rubble.

    I say keep to the spirit of the Constitution and allow people to only own guns that were available in 1776 - black powder, muzzleloading flintlocks.

  •  I'll go make the popcorn... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moose67, KVoimakas, PavePusher
  •  Reductions in firearm related violence can be (17+ / 0-)

    achieved with the following:

    Jobs
    Single payer health care
    Jobs
    Better social safety net
    Jobs
    marijuana legaization
    Jobs
    Mandatory firearm safety training in primary/secondary ed (for negligent discharges)
    Jobs

    Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

    by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 11:26:20 AM PDT

  •  Oh, and here's a statistics diary from the (14+ / 0-)

    pro-RKBA side of things.

    link

    We are a populous country and our firearms are numerous (see above numbers.) Yes, we have a higher firearm related death rate (even if you don't include suicides) than most other industrial countries (except, ya know, like Russia or Brazil.) We also have more firearms per capita than all other countries out there (again, see above numbers.) Yet when compared to the number of firearm owners and the population of the United States, firearm related injuries and homicides are a small amount.  

    I'm not saying there aren't steps that we can take to improve on the rate of firearm related injuries and homicides because this is such a small number. I am saying that pushing gun control measures impacts an extremely small amount of criminals and a large amount of law abiding gun owners. I want all violent crime to go down, not just the 8% (number taken from 2009) related to firearms. I want all homicides to go down.

    We can take firearm related steps, like strengthening the FBI run NICS background check by giving it some teeth. If you fail to pass the NICS background check due to violent felon reasons or something similar, dispatch the police and charge that person who was trying to buy firearms illegally. Likewise, cracking down on the straw purchasers would reduce the amount of firearms finding their way into criminal hands.

    Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

    by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 11:28:00 AM PDT

    •  Correcting the mistakes in your comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ngk01001, Agathena

      I'm afraid you have made some factual errors in your comment.

      1) The death rate due to firearms in the US is greater than in any other country studied to date.  From the Krug article cited in my OP: the death rate due to firearms in the US is 14.24 deaths per 100,000 persons.  The death rate due to firearms in Brazil was 12.95 deaths per 100,000 persons.  Reliable figures on the death rate due to firearms in Russia has not been published (to my knowledge – if you know of data for the country Russia, please let me know.  I would like to see it).

      2) You say the number of firearm-related injuries and homicides are a “small amount”  Data from the CDC for the year 2008 shows that 62,000 Americans died, and 145,000 Americans suffered a firearm-related injury.  Anything that kills 62,000 Americans in one year alone should be considered a national emergency, akin to an emergency of war-time proportions.  Some 20 Americans were killed from eating tainted vegetables in 2009; this was considered a national emergency, prompting immediate action by the FDA, and resulting the the banning of some consumer items from the supermarkets.  A “mere” 4,400 Americans were killed in the eight years of fighting in Iraq; this is widely viewed as a horrible tragedy.  We kill well over 10 times that many people every year using guns right here in peacetime America.  This is not a “small amount” of deaths.

      3)  You say "I am saying that pushing gun control measures impacts an extremely small amount of criminals and a large amount of law abiding gun owners."  Again, the words "small" and "large" are subjective, not factual.  Given that firearms are responsible for 2/3 of all murders committed in the US (data from the FBI, cited in the OP), restrictions on firearms would have a "large" impact on the number of completed murders, with only a "small" impact on the lifestyles of law-abiding gun owners.  

      On a personal note, I have to wonder why any law-abiding gun owners would object to any measure that would substantially reduce murder rates in the US.  Are law-abiding gun owners pro-murder?  Are law-abiding gun owners pro-murder if it means they can keep their guns?

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:14:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Responses. (15+ / 0-)

        1. I think that comparing the one statistic between countries doesn't show the whole picture. If you compare the pre-gun control homicide rate in England to the US of the same time period, you'll see that England already had a much lower homicide rate. (link)

        The U.S. has a higher non-gun murder rate than many European country's total murder rates. On the other hand, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Mexico have non-gun murder rates in excess of our total murder rate.
        2. CDC statistics do not show this number:
        62,000 Americans died,
        I'm not sure where you're getting it.

        3. Restrictions on firearms would not have a large impact on the number of completed murders because the criminals will not turn in their firearms, will not obey the new laws, and will not stop being criminals. There are 283 million firearms in the US. Would you please give me examples of restrictions that would remove firearms from criminal hands?

        I don't object to decreasing the murder rate in the US. In fact, I've suggest many ways to reduce ALL violent crime in the United States. What you're assuming is that supply side gun control laws (which haven't worked yet) will decrease the murder rate in the US. It is an observation not backed up by fact.

        I also don't appreciate your attempt to paint all gun owners as pro-murder. I don't try to paint anti-RKBAers as pro-NO-SELF-DEFENSE.

        Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

        by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:52:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's the problem... (12+ / 0-)
        On a personal note, I have to wonder why any law-abiding gun owners would object to any measure that would substantially reduce murder rates in the US.
        Supply-side gun control has never been shown to reduce murder rates.

        Never.

        That being the case, asking leading questions along the lines of:

        Are law-abiding gun owners pro-murder?  Are law-abiding gun owners pro-murder if it means they can keep their guns?
        ...is disingenuous, at best.

        The more accurate description would be that law-abiding gun owners are generally not willing to give up their rights based on empty assertions that giving up those rights will lower the crime rate.  It hasn't done so yet, why should anyone expect that it will the next time such laws are passed?

        Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

        by theatre goon on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:03:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Knucklehead wrote (a comment) (11+ / 0-)

        in a diary which decried a gun-related death.
        I wouldn't call it an anti-gun diary, though many commenters no-doubt felt that it should be.

        Here's the link to Knucklehead's comment.
        Use "expand" and read the follow-on comments.

        Why did the three sub-human individuals who invaded her house with malice and intent to do harm choose her? She was four feet ten and didn’t weigh ninety pounds. There were three of them with a total disregard for a life her family so valued. They didn’t just take Shelby’s life but they took away a part of each member of her family. None of us will ever be the same.
        Now what device could a 90 pound young woman use to defend herself agains three attackers?
        Innocence?  Didn't work.
        Pleading?  Can't say, but the outcome wasn't so good.
        Running?  Again, might have worked for a bit, though not in total.

        Now we can voice all we want about percentages.  How one young woman killed by a gun, more-than compensates for another young person killed without a gun.
        Why?  How?
        There's so many more people we can point to, also killed with a gun... regardless of drug involvement, gangs, suicides or vigilante Floridians.

        It's not the war on drugs, it's not 50% inner city chronic unemployment, it's not a complete and utter lack of social and psychological support and safety nets.  It's just the fucking guns.  Get rid of them, and we can continue to pay no attention to the other, expensive, issues.

        This is my opinion, I don't speak for Knucklehead or his family:
        To Shelby's family?  A young woman died.  Perhaps they feel affinity to another person's family, but the fact is - that ONE death for that family is all-encompassing.

        31,291 vs. 19,213 is just numbers - put them in any order you want.  

        "1" is all they know, "1" is all that matters.

        A man who stands for nothing, will fall for anything. ~ Malcolm X.

        by 43north on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:37:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some "liberals" feel that all use of force is (5+ / 0-)

          unjustified, that anyone claiming self-defense was obviously looking for a fight, and engaging in provocation, and that one is made somehow holy by being butchered without the capacity for self-defense.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:59:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think a distinction between handguns (10+ / 0-)

    and other firearms (shotguns/rifles) needs to be made.

    Long arms tend to be tools used for hunting, or in rural areas to keep animals away from your property/pets/gardens.   Like other dangerous tools in the household, everyone tends to get trained on gun safety.  Long arms aren't likely to be grabbed in the middle of an argument and they are harder to use in a suicide (things like taking off your shoe to work the trigger, etc).

    Handguns, unless you are a recreational or competitive target shooter,  are for killing people.   There are some rare edge conditions (eg in certain parts of Alaska, .45 caliber hanguns are used in case of bears) but as a rule, that's what they are for.   Handguns are more likely to be "handy" in the middle of an argument, and less time is required to use one for suicide.   Handguns are also more likely to be in households where not everyone is trained in gun safety from a young age, or to have visitors to the household from households that have no guns.

    I would like to see the statistics for households that only have long-arms vs households that have handguns (with or without long arms) vs households with no guns.

    The idea of banning gun ownership is crazy to people who use guns as a tool.   The idea of unrestricted gun ownership is crazy to people who live in urban areas where the typical gun is a handgun and where most everyone has a gun-related-death story.  (I personally have a suicide story in my immediate friends - people who want to kill themselves usually manage, but gun suicides take only a moment of being committed to the act, unlike, say, finding a bridge to jump off of,  and they're usually successful on the first try)

    If you don't address the "gun as tools" scenario you'll end up only speaking to the liberal echo chamber and your arguments will be dismissed.

    •  Recced for good points (10+ / 0-)

      even though I disagree with some of them.

      I do agree with this though:

      Handguns, unless you are a recreational or competitive target shooter,  are for killing people.
      The lethality of firearms (including handguns) is what makes them that useful tool.

      Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

      by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 11:36:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My wife's solution to bridge the divide (8+ / 0-)

        Is to have "gun education" as part of school, similar to "driver's education".  And you have to pass a gun safety test to get issued a gun, similar to drivers license test.

        Of course that doesn't address children in the household, visitors etc, so the idea would need to be developed, or combined with gun-safe/triggerlock type ideas to keep guns out of the hands of people who aren't licensed and trained.

        But if we're going to have guns in our society, then having the majority of the citizens familiar with how they actually work (as opposed to relying on Hollywood), the legitimate ways they're used by people other than your own social bubble and how to be safe with them is probably a good idea.

        •  My idea (9+ / 0-)

          I think that a Switzerland-style militia could be a good replacement for the Army and Air Force Reserve and National Guard. In this case, military training would be a fifth year of high school. Naturally, this would lead to every high school graduate being knowledgeable on safe use of firearms, reducing the accident rate.

        •  So if they're on private property, no license (11+ / 0-)

          needed then right? (just like cars)

          I'd love to see mandatory firearm safety education in school. And you take it until you pass.

          Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

          by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 12:04:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Funny you should mention that. I remember the (7+ / 0-)

          first time I encountered one of these programs. It was in the 8th grade and I was somewhat shocked to find this on my class schedule. I was raised around guns of all types and very serious lessons about them are some of my earliest memories, so I was taken aback when I realized that not everybody knew this stuff.

          I never touched a firearm until I was 10 because kids were taught from day one that these were dangerous tools with only one purpose. This was also the first time I remember discovering that adults didn't know everything, I knew more about firearms than the instructor.

          BTW, my parents were hard-core hippies long before it was fashionable, but coming from an equally hard-core western military family, this was just normal day-to-day life.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

          by Greyhound on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 12:59:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My only experience with guns (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            43north, gerrilea, oldpunk

            was at a YMCA summer camp, where we were shooting .22 rifles at targets.

            The gun safety stuff was quite similar to the bow&arrow training, but it was essentially just a 15 minute talk plus supervision of the kids & collecting guns etc afterwards.

            I'm urban,  my family didn't hunt, didn't target shoot and didn't have any police or military members when I was growing up.   I didn't have any more reason to know about guns than I need to know about how to work a tractor, milk a cow or fly an airplane.

            I was a pretty typical urban/suburban white kid.  There are lots of people like that.

            I suspect if one of my friends had a lot of guns in the house and my Mom heard about it, she'd have tried to get me some kind of safety training.  But it didn't happen.

            By contrast, I was swimming almost as soon as I could walk.  Everyone in my family took that very seriously as a safety thing, and also pool memberships were a very inexpensive way to do summer childcare (send the kids to swim most of the day, supervised by lifeguards etc).   I also learned to drive a stick as an essential part of learning how to drive.   I've run into a lot of adults that never learned either, and it was probably as strange to me as lack of gun education in my childhood is to people comfortable and familiar with guns.

            •  Yep, exactly. We just have to deal with the facts (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              43north

              that America loves firearms and that there are somewhere around 250,000,000 of them in our hands and proceed from there.

              And possibly of no interest to you, but your YMCA class sounds like it was probably more dangerous than no class at all. I see people doing the most astonishingly stupid things at the range every time I go there, and it all stems from the all to casual attitude that many owners have about the their weapons.

              Too many movies, not nearly enough reality.

              "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

              by Greyhound on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:02:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They focused on the basics (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                43north, oldpunk

                1.  The gun is always loaded
                2.  Don't point the gun at people
                3.  Make sure everyone has put down their guns before sending someone out to collect targets and put out new ones

                The adults did all the loading/cleaning/etc of the rifles, probably to prevent accidents.   There was zero tolerance for breaking any of the simple rules (first infraction, the person was gone, and not allowed to return)

                It wasn't a gun class as such.  It was just an activity, like learning how to paddle a Canoe without tipping it over.  Like I said, it was handled in a similar way to the archery activity.   ("This activity uses a dangerous tool to do something fun.  Here is how to do it without getting anyone hurt.")

        •  As the statistics show: guns = deaths (0+ / 0-)

          I think you are missing the point of the OP.  The statistics show that a high number of deaths are associated with the presence of firearms.  

          The take-home message should be: if we are going to have guns in our society, we have to expect that some people will be killed by those guns.

          I suggest to you the question should not be whether or not to have class on "gun ed", but whether the free availability of guns is worth the price of having our kids under the age of 15, killing themselves and each other at rates ten times greater than in countries where gun control is the norm.

          How many handgun suicides by kids under the age of 15 are acceptable so that you can own a gun?  Because right now, that number is over 1,000 kids killing themselves every year.  Are gun owners pro-childhood suicide?

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:12:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Free availability? (10+ / 0-)

            You might want to check firearm laws on both the state and federal level again.

            Are gun owners pro-childhood suicide?
            Wow, what excellent framing. </sarcasm>

            Suicide is a completely unrelated issue. Look at the suicide rates for Japan which has a remarkably LOW firearm ownership rate.

            Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

            by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:22:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You conflate available firearms with suicide. (7+ / 0-)

            I've written too much on that topic already.  Including one highly cross-referenced comment, with fresher data than you've used.

            My data:
            ONE child, age 15 "would show her" and killed himself over a former girlfriend.  That's in 18 plus years of busy EMS.
            My suicide-by-train numbers were substantial in comparison.

            The number of unsuccessful cuttings (across the wrist) were often followed by some research and successful cuttings resulting in death.
            These numbered in the tens of dozens over my career.

            Death by overdose, is it suicide - or accidental?

            That car accident, suicide or just drunk driving, or "lost control for no apparent reason"?  
            5500 accidents in my career, with over 1000 fatalities.
            That boyfriend/girlfriend who died on the interstate the other night... did she tell him "we're through, I've been through this before, and you said you'd stop" and 80 mph later he hits a bridge abutment.
            Drunk?  Distracted?  Suicide?

            A man who stands for nothing, will fall for anything. ~ Malcolm X.

            by 43north on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:51:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  ditto (9+ / 0-)
        If you don't address the "gun as tools" scenario you'll end up only speaking to the liberal echo chamber and your arguments will be dismissed.

        A man who stands for nothing, will fall for anything. ~ Malcolm X.

        by 43north on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 12:50:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course my arguments will be dismissed. (0+ / 0-)

          Of course my arguments will be dismissed.  I said as much in the OP.

          My arguments will be dismissed as gun owners ignore the facts in favor of their beliefs and personal opinions.  Just like conservatives do with the facts on climate change.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:14:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your arguments are dismissed because your (9+ / 0-)

            premise is wrong. When the foundation is bad, the house isn't built correctly.

            Your 'belief' that less guns = less gun crime doesn't quite work when you take the liberalization of firearms laws over the course of the last 25 years and then look at the violent crime rate. I'm not saying more guns = less crime, but more guns != more crime.

            Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

            by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:24:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You can't deny (0+ / 0-)

              You can not deny that 62,000 Americans died by fatal gunshot in 2008.  You can't deny that 67% of murders in the US are done using a gun.  You can't deny that the US has the highest rate of firearm-related deaths of all the westernized industrialized countries in the world.  You can not deny that American children are nine times more likely to die due to an accidental gunshot wound than children in other industrialized nations.

              We do not know if Less Guns = Less Gun Crime or if Less Guns != Less Gun Crime, because neither theory has never been rigorously tested.

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:19:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, we can deny that. (4+ / 0-)
              •  Not contesting your figures (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gerrilea

                But without a breakout for the long guns that are used as tools, rather than for "protection" or similar your overall gun statistics aren't going to convince people who consider guns a normal part of life.

                They'll just say "yeah, a bunch of stupid city people who don't respect guns are shooting each other with handguns".  

                Lots of people die in automobile accidents too, but people who need a car to get to work aren't going to care about safety statistics compared to that of people who use the subways in New York.    Subways don't serve their needs, cars do.  So you can talk to them about safer cars, but threaten to take all cars away and they'll freak out.

              •  Contesting your figures (8+ / 0-)
                Table 10. Number of deaths from 113 selected causes, Enterocolitis due to Clostridium difficile, drug-induced causes, alcohol-induced causes, and injury by firearms, by age:
                United States, 2008
                firearms accidents, 592
                "intentional self-harm by discharge of firearms," 18,223
                firearms homicides, 12,179
                "discharge of firearms, undertermined intent," 273

                then down below it says

                Injury by firearms | 31,593
                I'm not sure why the numbers don't add up, but in any case it isn't 62,000.  

                So yes, I can contest your figures.

                Ask your barista what her degree is in.

                by happymisanthropy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 08:27:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Your statistics are wrong. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                hagagaga, theatre goon, 43north

                As shown in another reply to your comment.

                I've already suggested ways to bring down the negligent/accidental (I hate that term) firearm death rate.

                Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

                by KVoimakas on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:08:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  You will be dismissed (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PavePusher, gerrilea, oldpunk

            because you make a premise that contradicts the reality of people who use guns as an everyday tool to kill undesirable wildlife or to put inexpensive meat on the table.

            The studies are usually bad at that level of detail, but from what I've seen is that handguns can be more reliably correlated to various bad outcomes.    The data on long arms is much more inconclusive.   The data on how much gun safety training helps is also rarely asked.

            (ideally, gun safety training should greatly reduce the accidental deaths in gun-owning households by household members.  How much is hard to tell.  Visitors to the house though, can't be trusted to have safety thus even responsible households may want to look at things like gun safes or trigger locks.)

            If you want to convince the typical responsible gun owner that gun restrictions are needed, you need to include that gun owner in your statistics and your argument.   Otherwise they'll just dismiss your concerns as "Untrained idiots who buy guns for dumb reasons and don't treat them with respect shoot each other stupidly.  You're gonna keep me from feeding my family meat in January when my hours get cut or from protecting my dog from the local coyote population because of those yahoos?"

            You have to acknowledge the legit uses of guns, and not just rail against the stupid uses, if you want a reasonable discussion.

            •  Do you have ANY data to back up your assertions? (0+ / 0-)

              I presented a number of studies to back up my statement that freely available firearms are associated with greater gun deaths.

              Again, you are free to ignore the data in favor of your own opinions, should you chose to do so.  

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:27:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, we do have data (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gerrilea

                However, you don't.

              •  Lots of studies say most deaths are handguns (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                oldpunk

                A quick search turns up several such studies
                read the introduction to this one (70% of gun deaths, 80% of suicides are handguns)
                http://www.vpc.org/...

                For rural vs urban (washington state, 90s), see figure 2 - most deaths are still handguns, by a very large margin.  Of course one likely reason is the majority of gunshot deaths were suicides in this sample, with the rural suicide rate being especially high.
                http://www.medscape.com/...

                Another study.   Section 7 says handguns are much more likely for suicide, also locked vs unlocked, unsurprisingly the harder it is to do, the less risk it is for suicide.  This tracks with other suicide studies - how long you have to remain suicidal matters.  Note how nearly every source other than section 7 doesn't distinguish between guns and long arms (so the "gun as tool" crowd is going to be skeptical)
                http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/...

                This history of canadian arms control has a homicide statistic, with long arms being 33% overall, but 62% of rural homicides.  (the chart is near the end).  
                http://www.mapleleafweb.com/...

                One thing that strikes me in most of the studies is the vast majority of gunshot deaths are intentional (homicide or suicide).   I'd like to see crosstabs with injuries, I would expect there you'd see a larger % of injuries.

                Also even where they do break it out, there isn't any connection to gun ownership that breaks it down usefully (like the Canadian study - how many of those rifle/shotgun homicide folks owned a handgun?  If they owned both, which did they use? etc)

    •  Recommended for same reasons as KVoimakas (6+ / 0-)
    •  The Wiebe study looked at types of guns (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena

      The wiebe study (cited in the OP) looked at the type of guns.

      74% of the homicides in the Wiebe study occurred by gunshot.  Of those 40%, occurred due to a handgun, 6% due to a shotgun, 2% due to a long gun, and 25% an unspecified type of gun.  Unfortunately, Wiebe does not present the Odds ratio results for type of gun owned by victims.  Mostly likely because those results were non-significant (not statistically meaningful), though we can't know for sure.

      Wiebe does say that the type of gun used in the homicides studied and the type of gun owned by the victims varied by the location of the shooting.  

      "More than one third (33.8%) of the handgun victims who were shot in a home had a handgun in their home, whereas only 18.8% of the handgun victims who were shot in another location had a handgun in their home.  The disparity was even greater for long guns: more than half (57.9%) of the shotgun victims who were shot in a home had a shotgun in their home, whereas only 6.5% of the shotgun victims who were shot in another location had a shotgun in their home. A similar contrast was seen in persons killed with a rifle: more than one half (55.6%) of those shot at a home, compared with only one quarter (25.0%) of those shot in another location, had a rifle in their home." (Wiebe D.  Annals of Emergency Medicine.  2003; 41:771-82)
      I know this doesn't really get at the point you are making - that certain kinds of guns are used more often in violent assault.  

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:02:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right, you need crosstabs for it to be meaningful (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea, oldpunk

        What you need is:

        % of people who own handgun
        % of people who own long arms, without hand guns
        % of people who own no guns

        then in each category, statistics for gunshot deaths (of any kind)

        That way you can distinguish whether it is primarily handguns that are the problem, or whether there is a statistical difference between the "long arm guns are tools" people and folks without guns.

        Note that some "I don't own a gun" gunshot deaths involve going to the home of somebody who owns a gun and killing yourself or another either by accident or on purpose.   So this kind of a study starts with the idea that there are guns in our society, so what happens with different ownership profiles.

        Then you can maybe compare to countries with no legal gun ownership.   In the case of gun-assisted suicide you'd also want to look at total suicide attempts in a gun-society vs non-gun-society, cross-index them by type and success rate, and see if you can make a guess  at how many "non gun society" suicides found another way to die, to subtract out the number "saved" by having their method of suicide less convenient.

        Ditto homicides - homicide by gun is easier than without it, but # of individuals with motivations to kill will be similar across societies, presumably.

        The accidental deaths by gunshot can all be blamed on having guns around.  no guns, no accidents.

        It's difficult to do a study that really gets at cause and effect.  The studies cited in the main article and the comments try, but I keep wanting more crosstabs breaking things down to really get at the meat of it.

    •  Speaking as the owner of only long guns (8+ / 0-)

      My use of guns and others might differ greatly, but that doesn't negate their right to have one for the use they choose. Even if that use is to kill someone to defend themselves.

      Suicide and uncontrolled anger drunkenness etc are all serious issues and some people just shouldn't have guns, but those are decisions I hope individuals themselves seriously evaluate and decide.

      I'd like a handgun but haven't noticed any raining from the sky.

      “Some students of natural history want no predator control at all, while many hunters and farmers want as much as they can get up to complete eradication. Both extremes are biologically unsound….” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:07:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, that's interesting (7+ / 0-)

    https://msrc.fsu.edu/...

    First column is stiffs
    Second column is control (the living)

    Firearm(s) in home 30.7 34.0
    Handgun(s) 20.1 18.6
    Long gun(s) 18.5 29.1
    Unspecified gun(s) 1.1 0.6
    I wonder what kind of fancy calculatin' your source did to conclude that, even though survivors were more likely to own guns than victims, owning a gun actually puts you at greater risk?

    Ask your barista what her degree is in.

    by happymisanthropy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 11:41:07 AM PDT

    •  Note the handgun/long gun discrepancy (0+ / 0-)

      You own a long gun, ~10% less likely to die from a firearm.

      You own a handgun, ~1.5% more likely to die from a firearm.

      I'd say it depends on what you are sampling.  But I don't find the results surprising.  As I noted in an earlier post, long guns are essentially dangerous tools and people who use them are generally pretty good about gun safety for their family, plus they're just less available for impulse shooting (they're in a gun rack, or a gun safe, or the ammo is somewhere else etc, not in your waistband loaded).

      If your sample size included more handgun owners than long-arm-only owners then you probably conclude gun ownership is dangerous.  If the reverse, you conclude the reverse.  Kinda similar to "likely voter" models.

      •  Sorry - that is not what the data shows (0+ / 0-)

        Sorry, your understanding of the data is erroneous.

        You own a long gun, ~10% less likely to die from a firearm.

        You own a handgun, ~1.5% more likely to die from a firearm.

        The study conclusions are "Having a gun at home is a risk factor for adults to be shot fatally (gun homicide) or commit suicide with a firearm.".  Wiebe did not draw any conclusions regarding differential death rates among different types of gun-owners.  His data does not support that conclusion.

        I have provided the source so you can go look and see what it says for yourself.

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:29:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why are suicides counted? (8+ / 0-)

          I support your right to kill yourself. (I mean that as a general 'you' not a you you.)

          Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

          by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:30:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Suicide is a type of violent death (0+ / 0-)

            I purposefully included data on suicide because of the ugly and controversial nature of that injury.

            The little-known fact (and one the gun industry doesn't want the public aware of) is that for people who purchase a gun, suicide by gun becomes the leading cause of death for the next year or so after purchase of that gun.

            Many people kill themselves impulsively.  A significant  number of those who survive will later say they are glad to still be alive.

            Yes, some people who want to kill themselves will find a way, no matter what.  But removing guns, like putting fences on bridges, is a sensible idea that does reduce senseless death.

            "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:33:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So, you included gun suicides because they (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KVoimakas, hagagaga, theatre goon

              are messy?

              First of all, said studies of "suicide by gun becomes the leading cause of death for the next year or so after purchase of that gun" don't likely control for people who bought the gun specifically for the suicide, even if it is not effected immediately.  In these instances, the gun did exactly what it was intended to do.

              But underlying your comments is a patronizing, paternalistic notion that people don't have a right to take their own lives, that their lives are the state's property, or the community's, or theirs; and thus suicide not their decision to make.

              So, do you believe in putting 'sensible restrictions' on abortion to stop impulsive, scared people from making decisions they'll regret too?

              I mean, if you think everyone but you is too immature to make their own most personal decisions, why not?

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:40:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  More specifically, guns purchased for a suicide (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                hagagaga, KVoimakas, theatre goon

                directly invert the putative causal relationship claimed by those looking to restrict guns for people's "own good".

                That is, in the hypothetical case of someone having a bad day offing themselves because a gun was lying around, that would have ridden out the bad day had a gun been presence, puts the presence of the gun as the cause of the suicide. We will argue at the likelihood of this scenario, and precisely how insulting and belittling it is to those who struggle with suicidal thoughts, but for the sake of the scenario, presence of gun was a causal factor in the suicide.

                In the alternate scenario, not controlled for, where someone with a long-standing history of suicidal thoughts eventually decides to act on them, purchases a gun for that purpose, and - either immediately or in the near future - uses the gun for the suicide, the relationship is altered: the suicide caused the presence of the gun.

                This leads us two places.

                Firstly, restricting guns does little to impact the second scenario, since (as is easily shown) a multitude of other means exist to effect a suicide without one; and the impact of restricting guns affects those who will never commit suicide, and those who do so out of pure impulse.

                So we're trying to get at the people who are going to commit suicide by pure impulse, or those we imagine doing so, when we use suicide-by-gun rates in an argument against the legality of gun ownership.

                What does that say about the restrictionist, then? They think that there exists a subset of the population whose ability to make decisions for themselves is so impaired that the entire populace must be placed under prior restraint to prevent these impulsive persons from harming no one but themselves.

                This is a different argument than believing that there exists a subset of the population whose ability to make decisions for themselves is so impaired that the entire populace must be placed under prior restraint to prevent these impulsive persons from harming others; this at least an arguable point.

                But when you tell an entire population, "you're incapable of making this decision because you might hurt yourself", you have stepped outside the bounds of a free society.

                Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                by Robobagpiper on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:18:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Suicides are counted in gun control arguments (0+ / 0-)

            for the same reason homicides are.

            The suicidal impulse is often quite brief in duration, as is the homicidal impulse.

            It's a lot of work, to, say, hang yourself, and the success rate is mixed.   Likewise, beating somebody to death is hard physical work that gives you a lot of time to change your mind in the middle of it.

            The time period required for a suicide/homicide to pull a handgun from his holster and shoot himself/somebody else is measured in seconds.   Just a very brief impulse.

            If you have to go hunting for the gun,  you have a minute or three to change your mind.   So even a shotgun, loaded, in the garage will slow you down.

            If you have to load the gun, it slows things down.

            If you have to take off your shoe to shoot yourself with a shotgun (or rig up some other method) it slows things down.

            Ditto trigger locks, gun safes and all that.

            If someone with a suicidal/homicidal feeling has to go to the room with the safe, open the safe, remove the trigger lock, load the weapon and contort himself to shoot himself (or others) with a long arm, he has more time to reflect on his actions and have the impulse pass.

            Also guns are counted for suicides because the success rate is higher than most other methods...so both the chance of changing your mind is less, plus the chance of actually killing yourself or someone else is higher than with alternative methods.

            •  Asia proves you wrong. Suicide and the (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theatre goon, oldpunk, KVoimakas, hagagaga

              availability of specific means to perform it are not correlated.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:11:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And this correlation is assumed, not proven (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KVoimakas, hagagaga, theatre goon

              The only way to reasonably include suicides in message-neutral "hazard of firearm ownership" is to include only excess suicides.

              That is, if X% of the non-gun owning population commits suicide, total, and Y% of the gun-owning population does the same, only (Y-X)% can really be argued to measure an additional risk factor. Additionally, one has to discover as best as possible, was the gun specifically purchased for the suicide? If not, the incidental presence of the gun in the household was not a risk factor, since the suicide motivated the gun, not vice versa.

              The fact is, not all people who commit suicide in a household with a gun do so with a gun; nor do people without guns when the decision is made find it impossible to use one for suicide. The method of suicide apparently follows gender lines (men seem to prefer "quick", women "clean"), but even that isn't so simple.

              Either way, simply positing that the immediate presence of a means to commit suicide is a major contributing factor to the decision to do so belittles and patronizes those who commit suicide and their decision-making process.

              While it may well appear from the outside that suicides are sudden and come from nowhere (even to near relatives), this has more to do with the refusal of those experiencing suicidal thoughts to share them with friends and family than any suddenness of their onset. The notion that the suicidal are naifs who kill themselves on impulse, and thus could be stopped if their dangerous toys were taken away, is insulting to them, and unhelpful to the underlying conditions or circumstances that drive it.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:02:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are correct in your main argument (0+ / 0-)

                Essentially somebody determined to commit suicide will likely find a way.  That would be the "Y" in your equation, although given that most methods are a bit slower and less certain, "Y" would be reduced slightly by the cases where they wake up in a hospital instead of dying and then respond to attempts to treat whatever the cause of their suicidal impulse was.

                While not all suicides are impulsive, indeed I'm willing to postulate that the majority are not, some are.  In particular people at the low end of bipolar, or who are suffering from acute (rather than chronic) depression or who are having a "this will show them" period of anger in response to a specific trauma, rather than an ongoing and intractable problem with their life.

                Those people, if they have a gun nearby, die nearly 100% of the time.   If they have to improvise some other method, the death rate is significantly lower.   Perhaps the numbers are small, it is very hard to get good statistics on this kind of thing.   Most of the case studies I've seen rely on anecdotal evidence of survivors or even people who gave up on the attempt because they changed their mind while setting up the means of the suicide (got out of the car in the garage, changed their mind while driving to the bridge, the rope broke, they called for help after cutting wrists or taking pills, etc)

                A primary argument for gun control, especially handgun control, is to limit the damage an immediate impulse can have, either on oneself (suicidal impulse) or others (homicidal impulse).   It's very hard to prove how much impact the lack of a handgun would have - even the best studies on handguns tend to ignore other causes of deaths  (so suicide by handgun is counted, but the counterfactual suicide by other method is not).

                What is known from gun studies is essentially:

                1.  Guns being around lead to more deaths from guns, from all causes.

                2.  Half of gun deaths are suicides (and only about 2% are accidents, the rest are homicides)

                3.  Handguns cause most suicide death by handgun.

                4.  Without guns, the number of assault with intent to kill is pretty much the same, but there are more survivors (it is both harder to kill with a knife, blunt object or fists, it also takes longer, so the attacker sometimes relents).

                You can see how you can go from #4 to consider that if some % of suicides are in fact impulsive, some of the same mitigation might occur if you don't have a convenient, very high success rate method right at hand.

                But as you say...not proven.  Merely implied.

                •  Even considering that some may indeed be (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  KVoimakas, hagagaga

                  impulsive, and correlated merely to presence, we now run into the issue:

                  Do we treat citizens as children, or as adults. Do we presume impulsiveness of them, and put strong restraints on freedom as a result, or do we presume restraint on their part, accept that sometimes people will use their freedom badly, and tragedy will result?

                  I refuse to live in the latter society. I don't need parents watching over my conduct with regards to my own body; I certainly don't need the State acting in that capacity to do so either.

                  Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                  by Robobagpiper on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:55:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I personally don't have strong feelings either way (0+ / 0-)

                    Pro or anti gun positions are mostly an intellectual exercise for me.  

                    I can sympathize with the folks who consider guns tools for their family's survival and of course people in professions where the gun is a significant tool (police, military, etc)

                    I can appreciate the position of treating adults as adults, although in my mind some competence should be proven before allowing gun use, similar to a driver's license.  This weeds out mentally ill, children, etc.   As a rule I support things like background checks, and gun safe/trigger lock type rules to keep ignorant visitors to the household or young children in the household away from the weapons when not supervised by a responsible adult.

                    That said...I also sympathize with people who have dead friends/family that might not be dead if a gun had not been in the hands of the person who killed their loved one.

                    To me the line is drawn on the "define responsible adult" page.   Educate, train, revoke gun licenses for people convicted of impulsive, violent behavior or who have used guns violently before.   Enforce what license laws there are across the board (including gun shows etc), holding the seller responsible for vetting the person who ends up with it, similar to how we hold convenience stores accountable if they sell liquor to a minor.    

                    But that's my line.  I really don't know how my rational viewpoint would change if my wife got shot by some idiot.

                    •  No, absolutely not. Fundamental rights are not (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      KVoimakas, hagagaga

                      predicated on prior restraint until competence is shown. There's a term for those, it's "privilege". I don't need to prove competence in right-speak before I can pontificate on politics, or in theology before I can pick a god.

                      If it's a right, the burden is on the state to prove that you're unworthy to exercise it. This is precisely why "due process of law" is the only standard by which life or liberty may be deprived someone.

                      Ultimately, you're starting from a purely authoritarian world-view. We had quite enough of that shit in the 20th century, and it led to untold human misery.

                      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                      by Robobagpiper on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:31:00 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Excuse me? (0+ / 0-)

                        Are you claiming it is a Fundamental Right to carry a weapon capable of killing yourself or others within seconds from birth to grave, regardless of mental capacity, unless the government proves via due process that you're incapable?

                        Are you saying the only way we can stop a person from carrying a gun is to wait for him to use it to commit some other crime and/or by accident kill or injure somebody?

                        I don't think it is authoritarian to want some restrictions on weapons that impair MY right to life if you aren't trained to use it responsibly.     I'd prefer not to be dead from some idiot who "didn't think the gun was loaded" before I can object.

                        The Second Amendment did not describe an unrestricted, Fundamental Right to carry firearms.

                        The Second Amendment describes a well regulated militia.  That implies REGULATION on who can bear arms and under what circumstances.

                        In 1792, every adult male from 18-45 had to be trained and drilled in a militia.   Attendance in theory wasn't optional.

                        What was unusual about America is you got to keep the gun when you were done with the Militia.  Indeed, the govt was so cheap you had to bring your own gun.  This is a throwback to early Roman Republic, where each legionary provided his own armor/weapons/mule.

                        (IIRCs, the militias did poorly in their first test 2 years later, which started the concept of the draft for a national army)

                        So I'd say that my concept of "you can have a gun if you can pass the equivalent of a driving test" is pretty damn close to the original intent.  Indeed it is a lower bar, as the training they're talking about is 19th century militia training, including drill, marching, etc.

                        Modern interpretations of the 2nd amendment has the conservative justices implying that right to keep & carry are independent of the "well regulated militia" part, with the liberal dissent saying it is clearly tied to a "well regulated militia" - some state sponsored military force.

                        Current law assumes everyone is allowed to carry arms, partly because the 18th century militia WAS every (adult male) person.   It assumes you're behaving in a lawful manner with your weapon (just as you aren't free to libel, even though you have freedom of speech).

                        Concealed weapons and military grade weapons have survived court scrutiny.  You can make laws preventing those options, or allowing them.   The reason for this seems to be that "common use for lawful purposes" extends pretty much to normal things like hunting (you don't do that with a rocket launcher) or self-defense (a concealed weapon will not deter an attack, an obvious one might)

      •  Of course, this doesn't control for the largest (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hagagaga, theatre goon, oldpunk, KVoimakas

        risk factor for being shot with a gun - a history of non-gun-related criminal conduct.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:11:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And I'd be willing to speculate that people (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          theatre goon, KVoimakas, hagagaga

          who have a history of criminal behavior are more likely to own handguns without a long gun than the reverse; so their numbers are going to inflate the "handgun only" demographic pool in a way they don't the long gun pool.

          The problem is this; the average person is not a sociopath. They can own any combination of weapons and never harm anyone except accidentally or defensively.

          Failing to separate out the handgun owning population into a "violent criminal record" group and a control will always seriously overstate the risks of handgun ownership to the law-abiding population.

          Indeed, if such a control were applied, I would expect the difference between handgun and long gun owners to disappear.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:31:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You're looking at the demographic data. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ngk01001, Agathena

      The numbers you have cited in your comment come from the Wiebe article cited in the OP.  The data is from Table 1 of the article, titled: "Characteristics of homicide case subjects 18 years old or older who died in 1993 and living control subjects".  The table presents demographic characteristics of the two subject groups: age, sex, education, family income, and the percentages of persons living in a home with a gun.

      The data does not show "survivors were more likely to own guns than victims" as you seem to think.  The data you have highlighted shows the percentage of persons in each study group who lived in a home whee there was a gun.

      The fancy calculatin' done (yes, it was done by liberal elitist college-educated marxists who want to bring the country to its knees) is called an Odds Ratio.  I can explain this to you more fully, but because you are having trouble even reading and understanding the demographic data, I doubt you would find my explanation helpful.

      Feel free to message me, and I will be happy to explain.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:43:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny. (8+ / 0-)

        I'm an armed, liberal, college educated, lefty Democrat.

        I scored -10 on the Political Compass test X axis. There are plenty of armed liberals.

        Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

        by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:55:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Demographic data (6+ / 0-)

        correlation is not causation, but where there is no correlation you can dismiss out of hand the suggestion that there is causation.

        34% of the control group live in a household with guns.
        30% of the experimental group do.

        survivors have a 34% chance of owning guns.
        deceased have a 30% chance of owning guns.
        34%>30%.

        It means exactly what I said it means, unless you want to weasel on the difference between owning guns and having guns within the household.

        Ask your barista what her degree is in.

        by happymisanthropy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:06:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Go read the original article (0+ / 0-)

          Go read the original article, particularly the section on Materials and Methods.  Then you and I can have an informed discussion.

          It does not "means exactly what I said it means"; it means exactly what the author says it means.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:40:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm the one who (5+ / 0-)

            linked to that article, remember?  You didn't.

            Ask your barista what her degree is in.

            by happymisanthropy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:50:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  ok, now, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hagagaga, gerrilea, theatre goon

            what about the demographic table am I misreading?  I only took one Stats class in college, so talk to me like I'm a kindergartener.

            Ask your barista what her degree is in.

            by happymisanthropy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:55:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK. Let's discuss (0+ / 0-)

              Please read the first sentence of the section marked "Discussion" (pg. 777) and tell me what it says.

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 06:53:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (7+ / 0-)
                A gun in the home is a risk factor for gun-related homicide
                and suicide among this sample of adults in the
                United States.
                So, he's 1) taken a sample of people murdered, 2) taken a control group, 3) used some kind of multivariate analysis to create a synthetic control group that demographically matches the case group, since the case group does not demographically match the United States as a whole, 4) compared the case group to the synthetic control group and found that between these two groups gun ownership is higher among the demised, and 5) he suggests that his findings can be generalized to the United States as a whole, even though they can't be generalized to the real control group that he started with.

                Am I missing anything?

                Ask your barista what her degree is in.

                by happymisanthropy on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:43:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nice summary (0+ / 0-)

                  You have done a good job at summarizing the study methods and findings.  A couple of important points:
                  1) The case subjects (the dead ones) were not chosen due to being murdered, but chosen because they had died, and had been included in the National Mortality Followback survey, a survey of people who had died (regardless of cause) in the US.
                  2) The statistical analysis used was logistic regression in order to calculare an odds ratio.  An odds ratio is simply the ratio of two odds (i.e. (the odds of having a gun and dying by gunshot) / (the odds of not having a gun and dying by gunshot)).  A value > 1 indicates that the nominator is larger than the denominator, while a value < 1 indicates that the denominator is larger than the nominator.
                  3) The issue of whether a sample can be generalized to a population is tricky business, and is an issue for any study that hopes to use a small sample to make inferences about a large population.  You may fairly question whether the sample in this study allows making inferences about the population (tho' it appears that the editors of the Annals of Emergency Medicine and the peer-reviewers who reviewed this work were content that such a generalization was acceptable or believable).   Please note that almost all studies (including studies purporting to show the law-abiding nature of gun-owners) use the same methodology: draw up a sample, analyze the data derived from that sample, and then make an inference about the population.  So if that technique is not good enough for studies of deaths among gun owners, it is probably not good enough for studies of the law-abiding nature of gun owners.

                  So now that we have covered those basics, do you want to discuss those demographic numbers in Table 1?

                  "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                  by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:02:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    theatre goon, hagagaga

                    you're wrong, the two case groups represent subsets of the NMFS, not the entire NMFS data set.

                    Specifically, the first case group represents people killed in homicide.  A non-random sample of the whole data set.  That's why the table is titled

                    Characteristics of homicide case subjects 18 years old or
                    older who died in 1993 and living control subjects.
                    If they had done it the way you're saying, they only would have needed one case group to cover both homicide and suicide.

                    Ask your barista what her degree is in.

                    by happymisanthropy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:39:09 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Correct (0+ / 0-)

                      You are correct.  However, this sample was collected from the NMFS data; subjects became part of the NMFS not because they were murdered, but by virtue of being dead of any cause.

                      So, are you satisfied with the study methods, findings, and conclusions, or do you have concerns that prevent you from accepting the study results and conclusions?

                      Do you still think the data in Table 1 on gun ownership negates the results and conclusions?

                      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:50:56 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  they don't negate the conclusion (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        hagagaga, theatre goon

                        they just show that they don't apply in the real world.

                        Ask your barista what her degree is in.

                        by happymisanthropy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:10:46 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Wha? (0+ / 0-)

                          Your statement is non-sensical.

                          Either the conclusions apply in the real world, or the conclusions are erroneous.  Wiebe is not writing about imaginary life on Jupiter or Mars.  The Annals of Emergency Medicine does not publish research about fictitious worlds.  

                          Tho' I take it you no longer maintain that the data in Table 1 somehow negates the study conclusions, correct?

                          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:25:19 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  but they do (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            hagagaga, KVoimakas, theatre goon

                            see fit to publish articles on guns, when their specialty is supposed to be medicine.

                            Ask your barista what her degree is in.

                            by happymisanthropy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:55:14 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Now you are just babbling (0+ / 0-)

                            You have yet to make one cogent argument criticizing the study on the grounds of method, findings, or conclusion.  

                            Yet you continue to impy the study is without merit.

                            Just like the conservatives do with the findings of scientists regarding the facts of climate change: you ignore or discount the facts because the facts do not argree with your opinions and beliefs.

                            Bush reminded us that "facts are stubborn things".  To me, this means the facts continue to be true, whether you acknowledge them or not.  

                            Whether you are willing to acknowledge it or not, the emprical data shows that guns are associated with human death and injury.  Those who are not blinded by their pro-gun prejudice understand this readily.  

                            Unfortunately, America continues to be held hostage by the wealth of the gun industry, ready to use its money to corrupt our law-makers, and the willingness of gun enthusiasts such as yourself to turn a blind eye to the demonstrated factual consequences of such actions.

                             

                            "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:44:34 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

  •  Dooohh... (smack!) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hagagaga, KVoimakas, PavePusher

    I just got your username.

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 11:50:56 AM PDT

  •  If you want a conversation, great. I, for one, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldpunk

    always welcome debate.

    It seems to me that this, and many other constitutional debates, boil down to this basic fact; The Constitution of the United States of America was, and remains, a prototype, an alpha in geekspeak. It was created within a context of the times and the men who created it.

    An alpha release is (usually) the first stable version of a program released internally, it is rife with errors, bugs, inconsistencies, and frequently doesn't have all of the functionality that is specified in the project scope. It is a barely working model that is good enough to begin testing, fixing, and improving until it delivers the intended functions.

    Where we have a problem in America is that instead of recognizing the nature of this effort, that being a first try at something that had never before been done and then working to improve it, we instead enshrined it in some pseudo-religious mythos and declared it inviolable and divine in its perfection. We then we spent the next 173 years tweeking and nibbling around the edges instead of defining and perfecting the excellent starting point we had. Any cursory glance at the next 16 amendments demonstrates a remarkable lack of willingness to do the real work required. Hell, it took 4 amendments just to say that slavery is wrong for everybody in every circumstance.

    Now you and I can argue indefinitely over the context and true meaning of the second, but the fact is that neither of us know for sure. All these statistics can be, and regularly are, spun to fit this position or that as your diary clearly demonstrates, but still the problem remains and all we accomplish are hurt feelings and the continuation of avoiding what needs to be done.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 12:45:07 PM PDT

    •  I take issue: (0+ / 0-)

      I take issue with your characterization of my work:

      "All these statistics can be, and regularly are, spun to fit this position or that as your diary clearly demonstrates,"

      Please point out where and how I "spun to fit" the data I have presented here.

      Yes, I have an opinion, and yes, I stated that opinion.  But the data I presented was done without error or mis-statement, and I have provided the sources so you can verifiy that.  If you feel I have erred in drawing the incorrect conclusion from the data presented, please point those errors out.

      Please support your statement that I have spun the data, or "big up " and offer a retraction.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:23:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK, the fourth paragraph serves (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hagagaga, theatre goon, oldpunk, KVoimakas

        no purpose whatsoever (and you say so) other than to set up the later false premises (The CDC, IGE, and NEJM studies), that is spin.

        For example, no valid comparison can be made between the U.S. and the other 36 nations in the IGE example as none of them are anything like the U.S., governmentally, socially, or most especially as an amalgamation of such a diverse population.

        Your conclusion that handguns are

        "Far and away ... the preferred tool of those who commit murder, precisely because firearms are designed expressedly for the purpose of killing people"
        clearly falls into the no-shit category and has no relevance other than adding a link to the FBI and bolstering a facade of credibility.

        And that's as much time as I will devote to this unless you genuinely want a discussion, as opposed to another feces flinging "guns are bad", "guns are good" waste of bandwidth.

        And WTF does "big up" even mean?

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

        by Greyhound on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 11:19:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, well done. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ngk01001

    Here are some interesting stats from The Guardian.

    It appears that the US national gun crime rate is skewed because, Florida refuses to give up its numbers and Illinois' numbers are "incomplete." So the guardian gives a state by state graph, compiled from FBI figures.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    This is the "follow the money" reveal:

    Increased gun availability has protected the profits of an active gun industry, who use those profits to lobby state and federal legislatures for relaxation of gun ownership restrictions and de-criminalization of gun use.  
    Thanks for presenting the facts.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 12:50:26 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for your good work here N/T (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena
  •  You are listing/twisting your data... (5+ / 0-)

    incorrectly.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...  and it links to the CDC pick-your-stats page.

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