On Gun Control: The Question that Keeps Getting Buried

Introduction

The recent debate over increased restrictions on firearm ownership has raised a number of questions. Most of us have made (or at least encountered) several arguments over the proposed changes to firearms regulations, and everyone seems to have opinions on whether having guns available to the public increases or decreases the frequency of violent crime. Activists on both sides of the issue will acknowledge that guns make killing easier, compared to other weapons used at an interpersonal range (including blades, blunt instruments, hands and feet, etc.), but the tension skyrockets as soon as someone expresses an opinion on the implications of that fact.

Although research shows that a gun in the household increases the likelihood that a resident of that household will die in a gun homicide, there are also a small percentage of cases (compared to yearly estimations of violent crime rates) in which would-be victims use guns in self-defense. I have observed during my own research that statistics linking violent crime rates and increased gun ownership are all over the place. Pundits on both sides of the issue have no trouble finding numbers that support their claims.

The question at the center of the gun control debate is whether or not there is something unique about guns, which makes them a greater hazard to innocent people than other weapons. Specifically, does the availability of a gun contribute to the likelihood that someone will get injured or killed, by accident or intent, more so than the availability of a knife, baseball bat, cudgel, sword, or any other relatively close-range weapon? While this is an important inquiry, and has received a considerable amount of media and research attention, I believe that if we want to get to the core of the issue, we need to get even more specific and ask something that is often glossed over. We need to ask if carrying a gun, by itself increases the likelihood that an individual with violent tendencies will commit a violent crime, more so than carrying another interpersonal-range weapon. In other words, we know that “guns don’t kill people, people do,” (for all that argument is worth), but how much does a gun influence the decision to kill?

Of course, this is an extremely loaded question. Many gun law opponents refuse to give it a moment’s consideration, most likely because they believe that asking it insinuates that carrying a gun, (or wanting to) inherently makes a person more violent, which is not only offensive, but also false. Regardless, the question requires close examination before anyone can develop an effective approach to gun law. The purpose of this post is to consolidate the evidence that killing with a gun requires less aggression and less psychological instability than killing with a knife or another interpersonal-range weapon. If true, this would mean that a potentially violent person is more likely to attempt or cause a violent death if they have access to a gun. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is so concerned about empirical research into this question that it has taken measures to prevent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from researching gun violence. However, relevant evidence still exists. Let’s take a closer look at it.

Guns Make Killing Easier

The most obvious way in which guns are different from other weapons commonly used at a similar range is that, physically, they make killing very easy and efficient. They only require aiming and pull a trigger, which requires less effort (and significantly less risk of bodily harm) than any other comparable act of physical violence. If this essay were discussing any other topic than killing, it would seem obvious to assume that making an action easier will increase the likelihood that it will occur, and therefore its frequency. For example, the less security a valuable item has, the more likely a thief is to steal it, regardless of that thief’s commitment to following through with the theft. The easier a test is, the more likely a student is to pass it, regardless of that student’s commitment to learning. The more intuitive a puzzle is, the more likely a child is to solve it, regardless of that child’s intelligence. The easier an outdoor trashcan is to access, the more likely a pedestrian is to avoid littering.

And so on. The examples are endless. So why do we assume that a weapon that makes killing significantly easier and less risky than other weapons won’t result in more death, even in the hands of someone who isn’t as committed to killing as some other murderers? I believe the reason for this inconsistency is that the idea of deadly violence is steeped in mysticism, and many people believe that killing is a matter of good versus evil instead of a bell curve of violent tendencies throughout the population. Examining cultural notions of good and evil and how they skew our perceptions of violence is a topic that warrants its own essay. Since it’s beyond the scope of this one, I’ll move on.

Guns Make Killing Less Psychologically Traumatic

In addition to dramatically decreasing the physical effort and physical risk required to commit most murders, guns make killing more psychologically palatable. Let’s try a thought experiment to illustrate this point: Imagine that you needed to kill someone, either in self-defense, defense of a loved one, on a battlefield, or whatever other circumstances would be necessary for you to contemplate killing another human being. Would you rather wrestle the person to the ground and gouge their eyes out, stab them with a bayonet, impale them on a pike, or shoot them with a gun from a minimum of 10 feet away? If you’re like me (and most other people), you would probably hope that you had a gun available. If it were absolutely necessary to kill this person, the gun option seems the least visceral, the least nauseating, and by all accounts the least horrendous, even though the end result of causing another human being’s death doesn’t change.

The reason for this is that our natural resistance to committing homicide decreases with greater distance, both psychological and physical, between killer and victim. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman expands on this principle in On Killing. According to Grossman’s simple diagram illustrating this argument (shown below), killing with a pistol or rifle presents the least psychological resistance to killing than any other “close range” weapon. The far left of the diagram shows the closest possible proximity, “sexual range,” which would be required for the first option in our thought experiment above, presenting the most psychological resistance.

Image

Of course, we all know from crime dramas and pop psychology that some humans don’t experience the same natural resistance to killing that the rest of us do. Some people have antisocial personality disorder, sometimes known as psychopathy, which is rare in its most extreme forms. However, most criminals do not fit the criteria for APD, so whether or not Grossman’s theory applies to those diagnosed is beyond the scope of this post.

Guns and Impulsive Murder

Another important note about the unique nature of guns is that they not only make killing easier, they make it faster. In other words, guns make instantaneous death a more likely outcome of violence. The below graphic from the Washington Examiner illustrates the overwhelming majority of murders in 2010 that were committed with guns as opposed to other weapons. I have argued that guns make killing easier, more efficient, and less risky than other close-range weapons do, both psychologically and physically, which is a likely reason for the prevalence of guns as a murder weapon. Another plausible factor is that victims of gun violence are more likely to die of their wounds than victims of violence that involves other weapons, whether murder was intended or not.

Image

The decision to kill, just like any other human decision, is subject to impulse. Previous research indicates that most violent crime is not premeditated. In fact, it has been estimated that between 60 and 90 percent of violent crimes are committed impulsively. This contradicts the argument posed by some gun control opponents that choosing a gun instead of another close-range weapon merely reflects a violent criminal’s desire to kill. Since more violent crimes are impulsive than premeditated (which seems unsurprising if you believe in the bell curve of violent tendencies rather than the forces of good and evil), then most violent perpetrators do not “choose” their weapons at all. They merely attack with whatever is accessible, both intellectually and spatially, which is more likely to result in death if they have access to a gun.

If most violence is spur-of-the-moment, and most murder weapons are guns, then it’s likely that guns contribute to deaths that result from impulsive decisions more often than other comparable close-range weapons. Suicide is also frequenly a form of impulsive killing. According to research by Miller, Matthew, Hemenway, and David (2008), about 70 percent of suicide victims make the decision to kill themselves within an hour of the act. Furthermore, an overwhelming 90 percent of people who survive a suicide attempt do not die in a subsequent attempt, and instead go on to die of an unrelated cause. I have already argued that using a gun is easier, quicker, more appealing, and more efficient than other close-range weapons, and that gun wound victims are more likely to die of their injuries. Therefore, the evidence is strong that access to guns increases the risk of death for individuals with suicidal tendencies. This could explain why previous estimates have found that more than 50 percent of completed suicides are committed with guns in the Unites States.

Some gun law opponents argue that access to guns only increases the risk of suicide by guns, not the overall risk of suicide. However, this study from 1999 showed that suicide was the leading cause of death among a sample of recent firearm purchasers. Another study, a literature review by Miller & Hemenway, showed that the rate of suicide is higher among people who live in homes with loaded or easily accessible firearms. While the latter review does not examine the possibility that the availability of guns may affect the rate of attempted suicide, it does look at rates of successful suicides.

Guns and Accidental Death

If you accept the arguments presented so far, it seems intuitive why guns would cause more accidental death than any other close-range weapon. Although yearly deaths by accidental gun discharge are a popular topic in scientific literature, very little data is available for comparing accidental gun deaths with accidents involving blades, clubs, fists, or other close-range weapons. However, it is worth noting that guns are the only close-range weapon to make it into the top ten causes of  accidental death for any age group (10 to 14 in 2010, 2007, and 2005, as well as 5 to 9 in 2007), according to this data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although the purpose of this essay is to compare guns with other short-range weapons, I would like to bring up a popular rebuttal to the citation of yearly accidental gun deaths in the United States. Gun law opponents often compare statistics on gun accidents with the much greater prevalence of accidental deaths from more mundane risks, such as dying in an automobile accident or drowning, which are examples of national leading causes of accidental death by injury. Why don’t we regulate water and automobiles, too? They ask.

First of all, automobiles are already more tightly regulated than guns. Secondly, although automobile and drowning accidents cause more deaths per year than firearm accidents, things such as cars, water, and certain potentially toxic household substances are necessary for our society’s way of life. For better or for worse, we depend on these things, and they are useful more often than they are deadly. We do not depend on handguns or other firearms for any routine, practical purpose. Given their relative lack of utility compared to other potentially dangerous items, calling for more restriction on them than, for example, water, is reasonable.

Conclusion

Although the topic of gun violence is receiving copious amounts of media attention and focus in political discourse, an alarmingly small portion of the discussion even scrapes the surface of the psychological and physical factors that set guns apart from other interpersonal-range weapons. Even most media that advocates stricter gun laws glosses over the logic behind the focus on guns and what makes them more dangerous than other weapons. For a debate that centers on the role of firearms in accidents and violence, we desperately need a heightened focus in this area, since much of it is unintuitive and poorly understood.

The consolidated evidence in this essay shows that guns do require different regulatory treatment than other comparable weapons. The physical ease and efficiency required to kill with a gun, combined with its relative psychological accessibility, indicates a strong possibility that the availability of guns, more so than other weapons, can increase the likelihood and frequency of violent crime.

By increasing restrictions and regulations on guns, stricter gun laws could reduce the likelihood that individuals with violent or unstable tendencies will commit murder, as well as cut down on gun accidents. However, the current gun law proposals have a few flaws that cause me to doubt their potential to make a substantial impact on gun violence. They would probably be more effective –or at least better reasoned– with a stronger focus on handgun regulation, since most assaults are impassioned, one-on-one altercations. Another flaw lies in their hard stance on assault weapons, which is an easy target for critics who observe how few homicides are committed with rifles. Cracking down on assault weapons is unlikely to deter any of the isolated homicides that only require one bullet, especially when these individual deaths are more often the permanent result of a fleeting impulse than a calculated plot. We need to reframe the current gun control debate in terms that make more room for the core issues of whether or not guns are unique among other short-range weapons in their capacity to increase the likelihood of violence. That is, any violence, not just gun violence. Only then can this nation’s gun policies approach sustainability and balance.

Some Ending Remarks

This author does not dislike guns. In fact, like many United States residents, I have fond memories of learning hunter’s safety from my father and accompanying him to a local shooting range. I remember the swell of pride and sense of self-efficacy I felt the first time I hit the center of a paper target with a .22 caliber rifle, and the weighty sense of responsibility I felt the first time I fired a .44 caliber handgun. I do not seek to deprive my fellow citizens of these experiences, unless they must come with a burden of a higher rate of violence and a higher rate of death following violent assaults. I believe a happy medium exists that will allow us to use guns for recreation without them posing a disproportionate level of danger to their owners and the people around them. However, striking such a balance will require a paradigm shift in how we approach guns and gun violence.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “On Gun Control: The Question that Keeps Getting Buried

  1. “Although research shows that a gun in the household increases the likelihood that a resident of that household will die in a gun homicide, there are also a small percentage of cases (compared to yearly estimations of violent crime rates) in which would-be victims use guns in self-defense.”

    You gave a link to “research.” Reading on the study at that link note the following statement:

    “Although an estimated 40 percent of adults in the United States report keeping a gun in the home for recreational or protective purposes (3), the risks and benefits of this practice are widely disputed in the literature…”

    “Widely disputed” is a polite waying of saying that at least some research making this claim have been shown to be totally unreliable and shoddy (or refuse to release their data and methods for critical review).

    The majority of all gun deaths in the U.S. every year are suicides. The claim that having access to a gun increases the liklihood of a person committing suicide seems on the face of it plausible, but hard data often does not support that conclusion.

    It can be difficult for a layman to evaluate the counter claims of researchers, but there is a very simple and easy way for the laymen to see if the claim of “more guns = more suicides” makes sense. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

    If the hypothesis of “more guns = more suicides” was true then there ought to be a very large difference in overall suicides between the U.S. and the U.K. Guns are much, much more accessible in the U.S. and the U.K. Therefore if the hypothesis were true there should be a marked difference in overall suicides. But there are not. U.S. is about 12.0 per 100,000 people vers 11.8 in the U.K.

    When guns are not available those who want to commit suicide will find a way. That is what the actual numbers seem to be saying very convicingly.

    As to homicides those have been on a steady decline since the early 1990s and that trend is still showing in FBI stats today. We are approaching homicide levels not seen since the 1960s now.

    Also if you look at FBI homicide stats for 2011 where the race of the offender was known it was black 52.4% of the time although blacks were less than 14% of the population of the time. The criminal gun violence problem seems to be highly concentrated in our inner cities where black families are largely dysfunctional, a drug was is being fought, schools fail at an astounding rate to educate, and where young black men are largely unemployed and drawn to violent gangs.

    What we really have is not a gun problem. We have a problem that has led to highly disproportionate violence by blacks (and probably Hispanics too, but the FBI classifies Hispanics as “whites” so the stats are difficult to use to discern their exact contribution).

    Finally, you largely ignore the use of guns in legitimate and law abiding self defense.

    Americans use a firearm up to 2.5 million times a year in self defense and upwards of 400,000 lives are saved with guns in the hands of private citizens. That was a conclusion of one study in the 1990s (when homicide and violence were greater than today).

    Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern)
Guns and Violence Symposium,
vol. 86, no. 1, 1995: 150.

    ARMED RESISTANCE TO CRIME: THE PREVALENCE AND NATURE OF SELF-DEFENSE WITH A GUN
    Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz
    http://www.saf.org/lawreviews/kleckandgertz1.htm

    Not only Kleck and Gertz, but somewhere like 12 major studies have shown fairly high usage of firearms in self defense.

    lwk

    1. Thanks for joining the discussion. A few relevant points:

      If “widely disputed” is ‘a polite way of saying’ that research supporting the need for gun control has sometimes been found to be scientifically unsound, then be advised that the same goes for research supporting the view that guns are no different from other weapons. No matter what side of the issue you’re on, you can find numbers that seem to to agree. I touched on this in the article introduction. Please click the link in the introduction that leads to a historical overview of the federal funding freeze, which legally prevents the CDC from researching gun violence. That is why there hasn’t been better research on gun deaths. Research on gun death and gun suicide has been actively prevented. Why would the NRA lobby for such a moratorium if they weren’t afraid of what the research would turn up?

      I did not ignore the use of guns in self-defense. There is a link to yearly numbers on self-defense with firearms in the introduction. Please note that the number of cases per year in which people report to have defended themselves with firearms is much smaller than the overall yearly violent crime rate in the United States. If you take another look at those crime stats you mentioned, I’m sure you’ll notice this.

      Thirdly, there are many factors that affect suicide rates in different world regions. Suicide prevalence varies from nation to nation for reasons that are not fully understood. Therefore, it is much less meaningful to compare suicide rates between different countries than it is to compare suicide rates within the SAME country between households where guns are present and households where they are not. It’s false logic to assume that any one factor, including gun availability, can account for differences in suicide rates between the U.S. and the U.K., because there are more potential confounding factors there than in a sample of households from a single region.

      Fourthly, you don’t get to blame gun violence on black people. I’m not even going to bother arguing that, since it’s a well-known sociopolitical reality that POVERTY and RACISM are what lead to higher crime rates among stigmatized minorities, not “dysfunctional families” and “failing schools.”

      1. “I did not ignore the use of guns in self-defense.”

        You said:

        “… there are also a small percentage of cases (compared to yearly estimations of violent crime rates) in which would-be victims use guns in self-defense.”

        And you said:

        “note that the number of cases per year in which people report ”

        That brings up one of the major points proven by Kleck and Gertz. The vast majority of self defense uses are _NOT_ reported therefore using the numbers of reported incidents, or the number of criminals killed is not an accurate measure of the use of firearms in self defense in the U.S.

        I have had that experience myself. Many years ago I had to walk home at night through a neighborhood that was a little rough. I carried a small revolver because I believed my right to protect myself was morally superior to a law in California in the 1970s that made that action illegal. One night some young thugs started following me and my belief is they intended to probably rob me at the very least. As they came closer I turned around and pulled back my jacket and put my hand on the butt of the revolver but did not pull it out, did not threaten them, or say anything to them.

        But they got the message and decided to go back the other way and leave me alone and I never had any further problems with them. Was I going to report that to the police? Of course not. They would probably have arrested me instead.

        Given the number of states in the past (and especially when the Kleck report was done and homicides were peaking) that banned most concealed carry I imagine that was a common experience. Sometimes people for many reasons will be reluctant to contact the police and fill out a police report. Nevertheless they had a real self defense experience with a firearm.

        Back in the 1990s when the crime and homicides peaked you have the Kleck and Gertz study that suggested maybe 400,000 lives saved in a year by self defense uses of guns and perhaps 2.5 million incidents, many like mine, where what the actual outcome without a gun would have been cannot be known.

        You might have people with a gun at home who defended themselves. They might live in a state like NY or some others where they might be in some technical violation of the law, or they don’t the law for sure. They are not going to report. And believe it or not, there are a lot of people in this country, many of the reasonably law abiding, who will go to great lengths to not have a conversation with the police. Just the way they are.

        So yes, you _DID_ largely ignore the evidence that there are many self defense uses beyond what are reported to police.

        “No matter what side of the issue you’re on, you can find numbers that seem to to agree.”

        Well here is one big difference. When Kleck and Gertz published their study they revealed their raw data and methods for critical review. A lot of the anti-gun folks, and I am thinking particularly of some at Harvard, don’t do that. So that says a lot about their honesty.

        “you don’t get to blame gun violence on black people. I’m not even going to bother arguing that, ”

        I am not arguing that we should blame it on black people. Yes, a huge amount of the violence and crime today is committed by black folks in proportion to their numbers, but the real blame lies in white people and white politicians than came up with really bad programs that destroyed the black family in the inner city.

        Read Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams, both black intellectuals, on that.

        It is not racism to see the facts and not ignore them (as many liberals do).

        lwk

      2. You said, “That brings up one of the major points proven by Kleck and Gertz.”

        Scientific studies do not “prove” anything. They merely present evidence if they are carried out in an intellectually credible manner. I read the paper you linked, but I also read about how Mr. Kleck has since faced a lot of criticism for his lack of intellectual credibility (check out his Wikipedia page for a summary of quotes and references). Apparently, people you disagree with aren’t the only ones guilty of sampling errors and other biases in their gun use studies.

        You keep insisting that I ignored the role of guns in self-defense in my essay, but in fact, I did not– I linked to statistics on that subject. If you disagree with the source I cited, that is a different objection entirely. The focus of this essay is not on the (arguably) minority of cases in which guns prevent violent crime. Maybe I’ll write on that topic in the future, but *this* essay is about *how guns actively contribute to the likelihood of violence.* The statistics I cited for defensive gun use could very well be under-reported (anything is possible), but we could just as easily argue that they might be OVER-reported, because people tend to overestimate the degree to which they influence their surroundings and the decisions of others. Have you ever heard of self-serving bias? It’s a highly relevant psychological phenomenon.

        If you’re not blaming gun violence on black people, I must wonder why you even mentioned them. What possible relevance could the racial background of violent criminals have in this discussion if, as you said, members of racial minorities are not to blame for the mechanisms behind racially skewed crime rates?

        Lastly, even if defensive gun uses are more prevalent than most research suggests, that doesn’t negate the hypothesis that guns increase the risk of violence. It WOULD require gun law advocates to rethink their positions on gun policy, but until peer-reviewed research emerges that replicates Kleck and Gertz’s findings (which are currently unavailable, according to critics, and will require lifting the federal funding freeze on gun research to produce), gun control advocates still have a defensible position.

  2. “I also read about how Mr. Kleck has since faced a lot of criticism for his lack of intellectual credibility …”

    Yes, he did face a lot of criticism. One reason is that he actually freely made his data and methods fully accessible. Another reason is that a “survey” no matter how well designed is apt to criticism by those who demand “harder” evidence. The problem with self defensive use of guns is that it is impossible to get an accurate view from police statistics (a huge number are not reported for various reasons).

    He won the Michael J. Hindelang Award from the American Society of Criminology in 1993. If you have time you might read Kleck’s response to David Hemenway of Harvard here:

    Degrading Scientific Standards to Get the
    Defensive Gun Use Estimate Down
    http://saf.org/journal/11/kleckfinal.htm

    You can also read criticism of Hemenway here (NRAILA):

    Does Anti-Gun Researcher David Hemenway Have Something To Hide?

    Quoting:

    “t is common practice among legitimate researchers to give their peers access to data used in their studies, so that other researchers can review both the data and the methodology used in their analysis. … Regrettably, however, medical and public health journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, routinely publish articles on studies by anti-gun researchers held to a lower degree of scrutiny and academic standards”

    If you have a source to some of the detailed raw data and methodolgoy of Hemenway’s highly “touted” studies I would appreciate a link.

    That is why I made a large point of Kleck publishing his stuff. Hemenway can sound good when he releases study results which are praised by a similar group and the media but try finding the data needed to really analyze their results.

    “…check out his Wikipedia …”

    Some Wikipedia pages are major battlegrounds for different points of view.

    I have looked at it many times. Looking at it now it appears a hell of lot has been deleted. There used to be a self-professed anti-gun researcher’s quote there that basically said that he totally opposed guns and hated them, but Kleck’s research was exactly what he would have himself designed and said he found no fault with the basic methodology. But oddly enough that has went missing lately.

    “You keep insisting that I ignored the role of guns in self-defense in my essay, but in fact, I did not– I linked to statistics on that subject.”

    You stated your conclusion right at the beginning saying”

    “there are also a small percentage of cases (compared to yearly estimations of violent crime rates) in which would-be victims use guns in self-defense.”

    Most people are not going to track down all your stats, so I think you briefly stated conclusion is deceptive if you are not at least mentioning some 12+ studies that showed significant use of firearms in self defense, especially Kleck. If you don’t know about them that means your opinion is of little objective use.

    You clearly stated your view they were a “small percentage of cases” which is just not an objective conclusion given the evidence that they are not a small percentage.

    “If you’re not blaming gun violence on black people, I must wonder why you even mentioned them.”

    A lot of blacks are involved in gun violence. That is a simple fact which FBI stats consistently demonstrate. Even comic Bill Cosby made a joke about it some years ago (a joke to make a point, not a real “hah, hah joke.” He said he was walking down the street and thought he heard some kids following him, and was afraid, but then looked around and saw they were white and was relieved. Now if Bill Cosby says that maybe you ought to consider it is not a racist rant.

    2011 – FBI stats- 52.4% of murderers where the race were known was black. Fact, not fiction.

    “What possible relevance could the racial background of violent criminals have in this discussion if, as you said, members of racial minorities are not to blame for the mechanisms behind racially skewed crime rates?”

    I don’t know that I said exactly that. I think that a lot of well meaning, but totally clueless liberal white people and politicians bear a lot of the blame. Read Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams some time – great black intellectuals.

    The detail how bad public policy has destroyed the black inner city family and the resulting violence is largely a result.

    Black people are not more prone to violence because they are black. They are more prone to violence because of an engineered social situation. If the tables were turned I imagine whites would do the same. The book “Black Rednecks & White Liberals” by Sowell is a good read on the details of how black inner city families degenerated into the hell hole they are now.

    And yes, a lot of white liberals have blood on their hands for what they have done to blacks for generations. The Democrats were the party of the KKK and lynchings in the South. I can’t see that the modern Demoncrat Party is any more benign to blacks.

    And I am old enough to have personally seen “Whites Only” signs in businesses in the south. I am old enough to have watched Dr. King’s “I have a dream speech” on a black and white TV and was moved greatly by it. I am old enough to have given money to the NAACP when they were still hosing down blacks in Birmingham.

    Facts are facts whether or not you like them. And a significant portion of the problem of violence today has a racial component and a lot of liberal whites deserve a lot of the blame.

    “… federal funding freeze on gun research …”

    Came about due to great abuses of Federal money producing bogus anti-gun research.

    lwk

    1. At the risk of repeating myself:

      1. The rate of defensive gun use is NOT a conclusion, a thesis, or a supporting argument in this article.
      Therefore, I am not obliged to include Kleck’s dubious contributions, regardless of how you may feel about them, since all I set out to do was summarize prevailing research on DGU as background for the article’s main topics. Perhaps you misunderstood what the article’s main focus is…?

      2. I agree that not everyone who reads articles wants to follow the links to their sources. I guess those links are really only there for the people who do.

      3. No one, liberal or otherwise, is denying the higher rate of violent crime among minority communities. No matter how many times you bring it up, race is still irrelevant to a discussion about why more violent crimes involve guns than other weapons.

      4. It’s interesting that you want to blame “liberal whites” for most of the world’s problems. However, that’s not a debate I’m going to entertain here, since nothing that I wrote about is a partisan issue.

      I have addressed your concerns to a degree far beyond what is necessary for intellectual honesty and prudent clarification. If you have something new to bring to the discussion, I’ll continue modding your comments. Otherwise, I think this conversation is played out.

  3. “We need to ask if carrying a gun, by itself increases the likelihood that an individual with violent tendencies will commit a violent crime, more so than carrying another interpersonal-range weapon.”

    The following research pretty much refutes the idea that some correlation (owning or carrying guns) implies causation (“increases the likelihood”).

    WOULD BANNING FIREARMS REDUCE MURDER AND SUICIDE?
    A REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL AND SOME DOMESTIC EVIDENCE
    DON B. KATES* AND GARY MAUSER**

    Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

    regards,

    lwk

  4. And while you are at it you ought to read “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. There are factors that enable killing that you have not remotely considered yet.

    regards,

    lwk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s