Saturday, September 14, 2013

Largest gun study ever finds that more guns in the community equals more murder. They needed a study for this?

Courtesy of Think Progress: 

The largest study of gun violence in the United States, released Thursday afternoon, confirms a point that should be obvious: widespread American gun ownership is fueling America’s gun violence epidemic. 

The study, by Professor Michael Siegel at Boston University and two coauthors, has been peer-reviewed and is forthcoming in the American Journal of Public Health. Siegel and his colleagues compiled data on firearm homicides from all 50 states from 1981-2010, the longest stretch of time ever studied in this fashion, and set about seeing whether they could find any relationship between changes in gun ownership and murder using guns over time. 

With all this preliminary work in hand, the authors ran a series of regressions to see what effect the overall national decline in firearm ownership from 1981 to 2010 had on gun homicides. The result was staggering: “for each 1 percentage point increase in proportion of household gun ownership,” Siegel et al. found, “firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9″ percent. A one standard deviation change in firearm ownership shifted gun murders by a staggering 12.9 percent. 

To put this in perspective, take the state of Mississippi. “All other factors being equal,” the authors write, “our model would predict that if the FS/S in Mississippi were 57.7% (the average for all states) instead of 76.8% (the highest of all states), its firearm homicide rate would be 17% lower.” Since 475 people were murdered with a gun in Mississippi in 2010, that drop in gun ownership would translate to 80 lives saved in that year alone.

This of course goes hand in hand with previous studies which proved that a gun in the home was FAR more likely to end the life of a family member rather than protect life or property in the event of a  home invasion.

I want to take a moment to clear something up about my own personal opinion on guns.

I actually DON'T think that nobody should have a gun. I live in Alaska where, for many people in rural areas especially, guns are a necessary part of life.

My complaint is that guns have been romanticized and mythologized to the point that everybody in the country feels they should own one or more and that by NOT doing so they are somehow not true Americans, or are spitting on the memory of our Founding Fathers.

Anybody who wants to subject themselves to a rigorous background check, take comprehensive guns safety courses, and limit their number of weapons to a reasonable amount, has my blessing. However since we know that the vast majority of gun owners have not met the above criteria, I will continue to express my concern, and fear, that our love affair with guns will continue to unnecessarily cost American lives, and attack the NRA for selling our fellow citizens a potentially fatal bill of goods.


  1. Anonymous2:42 PM

    New sales of semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines would be banned in California under a bill passed by the Democratic-led state legislature on Tuesday, and those who already own such weapons would have to register them.

    The measure, which passed the state Assembly 44-31 and is expected to go to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature after amendments are approved in the state Senate, is one of a package of gun control bills passed earlier this year by senators in the wake of the massacre last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

    It would classify an assault weapon as any rifle that accepts a detachable magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and would ban its sale or purchase. People who already own such weapons would be required to register them.

    Read more:

  2. Anonymous3:12 PM

    This is ABSURD. I will keep referencing CHICAGO, a city with strict gun control laws and high crime, until you understand.

    1. Anonymous3:56 PM

      What exactly is absurd other than your comment?

    2. We understand that you are an idiot that can't figure out that areas around Chicago do not have gun control laws like Chicago's and that there is not a magical force field that keeps them out of Chicago.

      We understand that you are lying, willfully ignorant, stupid, or possibly all three.

  3. Anonymous3:52 PM

    Anonymous @3:12 - Chicago is surrounded by counties that do not have strict gun laws. It doesn't take a genius to figure out where the guns come from, does it?

  4. Anonymous3:55 PM


    "mythologized o the" need another letter, your choice

  5. Anonymous4:04 PM

    I think that some right wingers are going to be dying of thirst, just to spite our lovely First Lady.

    Are Conservatives Really Going After Michelle Obama for Promoting Water? Yes. Yes they are.

    1. Please, FLOTUS, announce that breathing is healthy.

  6. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Pfft..the study will be dismissed-out-of-hand by our ruling minority. Nothing to see here....

    I am so sick of that shit.

    Paul in Indiana

  7. Auntie Kim5:42 PM

    I just now had a conversation whit my daughter on the second amendment. (which she can recite from memory, along with the rest of the Constitution,thanks to her mother) She is in her 20's and has many friends that are military and conservative. They own guns. Lots of them. because they 'believe in the second amendment' and feel they should be armed because the 'Govmint is outa control and there WILL be an armed conflict'.

    She loves to watch their faces when she points out that if the "Govmint" starts attacking the "People", it will be the MILITARY (these idiots) that will have to do the shooting.

    It's a funny/sad kinda "Oh, Sh*t" moment.

  8. Anita Winecooler8:19 PM

    Yes, they need a study on this, so that unreasonable people can ignore it and keep selling them guns.

    I agree with you, there ARE valid reasons to own guns, they do serve a purpose. But, for all the things you listed, the owners need to be responsible, especially around children.

  9. I know you're not going to want to hear this, but I was listening to NPR today (or maybe it was yesterday). It was an interview after the verdict came down for the four rapists in New Delhi.

    One of the experts (she sounded British) said they did a study after the death penalty was abolished in the U.K. and she said those offenses that would have resulted in a death penalty increased by 125% after the death penalty was abolished. So she said yes, it is somewhat of a deterrent. She also believes that more countries should treat it as India does; used sparingly and for particularly heinous crimes.


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