The Goods on Guns

There is nothing better than real data and hard facts to make or deflate an argument. Let’s apply this then to the argument over gun control that is raging in the US and to a lesser extent in Canada.

Gun-Related Crime Is Decreasing

From the Bureau of Justice Statistics we present the following charts (click on a chart to open an interactive version on the BJS site):

Firearm-related crime has plummeted since 1993.

Nonfatal firearm crime rates have declined since 1994.

After 1996, less than 10% of nonfatal violent crimes involved firearm.

And these stats:

  • According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) in 2008, 303,880 victims of violent crimes stated that they faced an offender with a firearm.
  • Incidents involving a firearm represented 7% of the 5.1 million violent crimes of rape and sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault in 2008.
  • The FBI’s Crime in the United States estimated that 68% of the 16,929 murders in 2007 were committed with firearm

And as far as homicides go, from the National Institute of Justice we get this chart:

As a final piece of data we wanted to show a graph of total numbers of guns owned. Half an hour of searching turned up a single chart:

It shows the obvious fact that total gun ownership has been steadily increasing as the rate of gun-related crime has declined.

 Other Interesting Facts and Data

There is an interactive chart titled Crime vs Gun Ownership,  produced from a site called Data Masher. Because of its nature, we could not embed it on this site. Click the link to view it. There is no data available for Illinois or California so gun stats for Chicago and Los Angeles are not captured. We list the top 15 rankings states and note that they are all (with their political affiliations indicated based on the last 4 elections as blue (4/4), light blue (3/4) and purple (2/4) – see map below) Democratic states.  We then add in parentheses, the state rankings in terms of number of guns purchased based on background checks by the FBI as presented by the Daily Beast.

  1. Massachusetts (blue) (46)
  2. New Jersey (blue) (50)
  3. New York (blue) (48)
  4. Hawaii (blue) (49)
  5. Maryland (blue) (45)
  6. Delaware (blue) (43)
  7. Connecticut (blue) (19)
  8. Iowa (light blue) (31)
  9. Michigan (blue) (37)
  10. Nevada (purple) (32)
  11. Rhode Island (blue) (47)
  12. Ohio (purple) (39)
  13. Florida (purple) (42)
  14. Minnesota (blue) (22)
  15. Pennsylvania (blue) (25)

Eleven of the 15 are solidly Democratic based on the last four elections, 3 are 50/50 and one is mostly Democrat  (3/4). The heavy concentration is in the Northeast. It would seem to be a fertile field of research to study the possible correlation of geography and politics with gun crime.



When we look at the number of guns purchased by state there is a curious inverse relationship. The top six ranked states in terms of gun crime were in the bottom eight ranked states in terms of number of guns purchased. Apart from concluding that Democrats buy the least number of guns but use them to commit crimes, we don’t know what to make of this data. On a serious note we would want to take a look at the degree of socialization in the top-ranked states for gun violence.

And then we found another graph on Just Facts:



What is interesting here is that the blip in this graph in the 1990s corresponds to a similar blip in the graph above from the National Institute of Justice. Applied to the handgun ban in Washington DC, the ban likely had no effect. Rather some other underlying principle was driving the murder rate. This site is rich in facts.

The debate on gun control is like the debate on climate change and driven by the same politics and interests, right up to the socialists at the United Nations. Since it is not a rational debate, presenting facts such as these is likely to have no impact.

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