More Guns Equals More Gun Deaths

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And lax legislation and elected representatives who run their elections using money from the gun industry make sure there are PLENTY of guns to go around. People who are running for office who have pro NRA positions and/or take gun money should be drummed out of politics.

The rate of gun ownership in a state predicts the rate of gun deaths in that state.

This works across countries as well.

Once again. Politicians who have voted in favor of NRA policies need to go.

Photo above from TIME

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53 thoughts on “More Guns Equals More Gun Deaths

  1. My comment #61 from other site:

    BBD #59 says “It’s such a shame that corporate greed and right wing insanity are preventing this from happening.”

    You say potato and I say patato.

    I think it is Congress and the courts which are preventing this from happening – just as the founding fathers wanted.

    1. I think it is Congress and the courts which are preventing this from happening…

      If you were capable of reasonable thought processes you would realise that it is the NRA which is one entity that is perverting the works of Congress and the courts.

    2. Lionel:

      The NRA can lobby Congress.

      The NRA cannot lobby the courts.

      Absent a change to the 2nd amendment, which will be very very difficult to accomplish, I don’t see the Courts allowing the banning of handguns, rifles or shotguns. And it will be the 2nd amendment which prevents those bans, not the NRA.

    3. The NRA can lobby Congress.

      The NRA cannot lobby the courts.

      The NRA lobbies the Republicans and they populate the SC with right-wing judges who ensure that vested interest gets a return on its lobbying bucks. If you don’t understand this, please stop commenting.

    4. BBD:

      Yeah – all nine supreme court justices are bought and paid for by their respective parties and just do what they are told. They never disappoint their masters.

      Just kidding. I was being sarcastic.

      If you don’t understand that each Supreme Court Justice votes based on their own view of the constitution and the facts, law and policy – than you should just stop commenting.

      On second thought – you can keep commenting, even if you disagree with me.

      I won’t stoop to your level and attempt to control you. That would be rude.

    5. The NRA does lobby to courts, indirectly. Those judges are ultimately all appointed and confirmed by elected officials.

    6. Just because you won’t admit that the SC is a political entity doesn’t change the fact that it is one. Nor does it change the fact that political bias in the SC acts in the favour of the US gun industry and against the interests of US citizens.

      But you’d rather other people kept dying in droves than admit this.

    7. RickA

      I won’t stoop to your level and attempt to control you. That would be rude.

      I’m not trying to control you – how could I do that? I’m suggesting that you control yourself.

      If you don’t understand the influence of vested interest on the SC then you are too ignorant of the way the world works to be commenting on this topic and should not do so. If you *do* understand what’s really going on then your claim that the NRA cannot lobby the courts was dishonest. Lying is *bad* and you should exercise some willpower and cease.

    8. When Scalia was appointed the vote was 98 for and 0 against.

      When Ginsberg was appointed the vote was 96 for and 3 against.

      The appointment process was not politicized then.

      Today it is, as shown by the vote for Gorsuch.

      When Neil Gorsuch was appointed the vote was 54 for and 45 against.

      So it wasn’t, but now it is.

      I think it was better when we just looked at whether they were competent and didn’t try to impose various litmus tests on the justice.

    9. BBD:

      Again with the lying.

      I am not lying and I am not dishonest.

      It is difficult to talk to you when you go there.

      I don’t think there was lobbying when Scalia got 98 to 0 votes.

      I don’t think anybody asked any Supreme Court nominee how they would vote on a future bump stock 2nd amendment case.

      I don’t think the Justices actually answer any questions about how they are going to vote on a particular fact set question.

      So I just disagree with you about how the courts work and how the “vested interests” influence the selection of judges on all levels of courts.

      I will say that the nomination is done by the President and so broadly speaking we tend to know that a conservative president picks conservative judges and a liberal president tends to pick liberal judges.

      I have articulated good solid reasons for why I disagree with your position.

      Maybe I am even wrong.

      But just because I disagree with you, that doesn’t make me a liar.

      I really wish you would stop doing that.

    10. RickA

      When Scalia was appointed the vote was 98 for and 0 against.

      First, who said this was entirely about Scalia? Second, there was no appetite to oppose his nomination immediately after the scrap over Rehnquist. Third, nobody wanted to oppose the first Italian-American SC nominee. Your usual slippery disingenuousness throughout. And since you bring him up, Scalia’s often strenous opposition to minority rights tarnished his legacy.

      But just because I disagree with you, that doesn’t make me a liar.

      I really wish you would stop doing that.

      And I wish you would stop doing that. Selective reading, provocatively disingenuous responses. You oblige me to repeat myself:

      If you don’t understand the influence of vested interest on the SC then you are too ignorant of the way the world works to be commenting on this topic and should not do so. If you *do* understand what’s really going on then your claim that the NRA cannot lobby the courts was dishonest. Lying is *bad* and you should exercise some willpower and cease.

      Read. The. Words.

      And stop trying to change the subject.

  2. The logic of the original amendment still stands. If America is invaded by a hostile force, and the government says everybody grab your guns and resist – the people are allowed to keep and bear arms just for such an instance. That is really what the 2nd amendment is all about.

    If the Second Amendment “is all about” resisting invasion by a hostile force, then it’s anachronistic as BBD and I have previously observed.

    The modern USA has a standing military force that is far more capable of defending the nation than any citizen militia or group of militias. Citizen militias would not only get in the way, their possession of arms leads to the loss of far more lives than are protected by this ubiquitous possession.

    And who are the “hotile force[s]” that threaten the States? Canada? I don’t think so… Mexico? Hardly, but if Trump has his way and builds a wall then the need for the Second Amendment with repect to the southern border is nullified in every conceivable practical contingency.

    A mature nation would confront the anachronism and repeal the Amendment. Failing that, it would heavily amend it so that firearms are strictly regulated. As it stands though the culture of fear and paranoia that is inculcated in so much of American society will likely trump commonsense and push the country further to a caricature of the need (actually, a want) to possess guns, until at some point something* breaks and violent anarchy sweeps uncontrolled across whole cities and states.

    Effectively the country is slowly eating itself.

    [*It’s not implausible to understand that the growing economic/social inequality of the nation, together with the progressing impact of global warming, cybercrime, and the shifting of geopolitical influence, will reach a point where another Katrina/New Orleans-type loss of governance occurs. The bed is being sown across the country with the conditions that will germinate such discord, and the possession of firearms is probably the single greatest facilitator of unrest escalating to a catastrophic magnitude.

    One thing is for sure – the scenario in the preceding paragraph is far more likely than any need for the USA to use citizen militias to protect iself from a “hostile force.”]

    1. Bernard:

      The 2nd amendment may be anachronistic, and guns may kill 50,000 ish people per year (2/3 of which are suicides), but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to modify or repeal.

      I just don’t see any change to the 2nd amendment in the cards.

      So we have to develop policy within the current constraints, in my opinion.

    2. Second Amendment:

      A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

      The irony is that the ‘well regulated militias’ are supposed to oppose tyranny arising within the US itself. But now you have a nascent tyranny in the US, the ‘militias’ (not well regulated, but self-describing) are lining up with the fascists and the gun nuts in support of the Trump administration.

      Clearly, the 2ndA is not fit for purpose these days.

  3. RickA

    I hate to disagree with you (just kidding) – but every male in the USA between the ages of 18 and 45 (going off memory here) is automatically in the unorganized militia.

    I see Dean has already corrected you on this point at the other place.

  4. @ Greg

    Do you want all comments to all future posts to be made here at the X Blog rather than at ScienceBlogs?

    Or is this just for this particular post?

  5. Clearly, removing the Second Amendment is the logical course of action. Then, unfettered by an 18th century concept, we can develop sensible policy.

    1. Which other amendments or provisions are logically removed?
      1st? 4th? 5th? 8th?
      Why hold to these 18th century concepts?
      When does a concept reach its expiration date?

    2. Ron:

      Good points.

      The constitution can be amended two ways – one by the house and senate (2/3 of each body) and then ratified by 3/4 of the states; or two, by 2/3 of the states voting for a constitutional convention, and then the amendments voted on during the convention being ratified by 3/4 of the states.

      So amendments to the constitution can themselves be changed or revoked, if enough people in enough states want to do so.

      It is hard – but it could be done.

      Personally, I am not in favor of changing or revoking any of the current amendment to the constitution.

  6. If America is invaded by a hostile force,
    The notion that the fat losers who fancy themselves to be the civilian militia could do more than be slow moving targets against any military force powerful enough to invade the United States and pose a serious threat is one only the dimmest could believe feasible.

    1. So?

      That doesn’t change the basis for the 2nd amendment, or how it is interpreted.

      None of the arguments about how guns kill or that they make no sense in today’s world have any bearing on whether a particular law is or is not constitutional.

      Now if you want to get a movement going to repeal or change the 2nd amendment, these arguments make sense.

      To which I will only say – good luck with that.

      I don’t see the 2nd amendment being changed or repealed anymore than America will get rid of free speech (part of the 1st amendment) or the warrant requirement (the 4th amendment).

    2. I don’t see the 2nd amendment being changed or repealed

      Until the bony fingers of the NRA are prised from the throat of American democracy? Maybe thereafter.

  7. You are exceptionally dim today rickA. The “2nd amendment exists so we can defend ourselves from invasion” comment was made as a defense for the existence of the amendment.

    My point is simple: trying to make that defense today is a load of bullshit. I never asserted that my point was an argument against it.

  8. Kevin ONeill

    United States
    October 6, 2017 Edit
    When it comes to the constitution ‘strict constructionists’ – i.e., conservatives – show their hypocrisy. There are three salient points to keep in mind:

    1) a well-regulated militia
    2) security of a free State
    2) to bear arms

    One, in many states militia’s were compulsory by law. And you needed a weapon. But if you’re not part of a well-regulated militia, then the right should obviously be in question. Todaywe have militia’s around the country and those that participate meet this restriction.

    Two, does the security of a free State depend on a well-regulated militia today? It was true 250 years ago, but times do change. The founding fathers hated the idea of a standing army, so their rationale was we wouldn’t need a standing army if we had strong militias. They would be aghast at our annual defense budget.

    Three, ‘to bear arms’ was always used in a military context. The right to an AK-47 or AR15 should not be infringed. Nor should a shoulder fired anti-tank weapon. These are military weapons. Your ‘Saturday night special’ or 30-06 not so much.

    This latter point is emphasized by the fact that during the constitutional debate several states wanted to expand the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms to self-defense and hunting. It was proposed, but did not make it into the constitution. It is also emphasized by the states, like Pennsylvania, that made militia service mandatory, but gave a militia-exemption to those ” conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms.”

    It’s the self-defense/hunting argument that shows the hypocrisy of most rabid 2nd Amendment supporters. They completely ignore the fact that expanding the right to include self-defense and hunting was proposed and defeated when the Constitution was being debated. If they only opposed gun-control laws that affected military weapons they would at least be consistent with their alleged principles, but that’s NOT what I see them doing.

  9. Li D

    October 6, 2017 Edit
    #56. Ummmm.Thats not how dialog actually works between adults. Reasons are given for requests in every culture i have encountered.
    I have no food. Could you give me some.
    Could you stand aside please, im trying to carry this wide thing down the corridor.
    I ask you to be tolerant of any noise eminating from my usually quiet dwelling tonight. Its a family reunion that hasnt happened for forty years.
    Could all yous deniers just piss off . Yous are really annoying idjits.
    Not …, please comment on some other website. Thats some trippy communication right there. Implies a hierarchy that dosnt actually exist, unlike say, a traffic controller and a motorcar driver.
    Perhaps you just tired Greg.

  10. ron

    October 6, 2017 Edit
    “Those aren’t people (therefore they warrant no legal consideration)” is a statement that has been made multiple times in history. Which of them would you care to defend?

  11. Thanks for continuing the discussion here. I moved some comments over, but I won’t move over any more . Thanks.

  12. I may have lost one person’s comment along the way, sory. Had a 403 access problem since I was making so many comments at once!

  13. wasn’t askimet, might have been jetpack

    In the 60s Weekly Reader promised me I’d have flyng cars, everyone would live in two-mile-tall skyscrapers (live as in be born, grow up, work, age, and die in), and have a jetpack by now.

    If jetpacks cause the issues Greg’s been having something has gone wrong.

  14. With respect Greg, can you please provide background to whatever is going on. Cuz it dosnt make sense.
    Continuing to post blogs on one site but desiring comments on those blogs to be posted in another, without explaination is just so much wierdness.
    Honesty and transparency are vital, in science, and
    dialog intended to bring about change.
    Im happy to read your stuff anywhere, but aint gunna cop
    any silly games.
    Sincerely Li D
    PS. The field asks for ones website.????
    Whats that crap about? Even if i owned a website, whats it got to do with writing a comment? Utter irrelevance.
    This crap is like a big red flag that the software programmers are quite useless and to have low expectations of performance.of their product.

  15. Li D, I’m moving most or all of my blogging to, and will hopefully complete the operation in a week or two. I’m not quite yet prepared to make a full on statement about the details, thus the vagueness! But basically, this is the new location.

    It isn’t required that you put down your web site. Also, scienceblogs did that too, it probably just asked the first time. It is a benefit for those who want a pointer back to a site they run. I as a blogger find it a benefit when I comment elsewhere. You can just ignore it. It is not bad programming or anything nefarious . Just gives you a free link if you want it.

    There is not silly game, no lack of transparency, no unscientific behavior, I am not, in fact, ruining the universe. I’m just trying to switch activities from one site to another while at the same time very busy with a couple of other things, and also, by the way, having some technical difficulties with both sites!

  16. ” …. I’m moving most or all of my blogging…”
    Thankyou very much. Best wishes for the move.
    Obviously most transition processes also have stresses to certain extents.
    Certainly happy to continue reading your stuff here at the new site once you get settled in.

  17. Even Salon says that gun control is racist

    “It is perhaps counterintuitive to say so but gun control responses to mass killings – whether racially motivated or otherwise – are a deep mistake. The standard form of gun control means writing more criminal laws, creating new crimes, and therefore creating more criminals or more reasons for police to suspect people of crimes. More than that, it means creating yet more pretexts for a militarized police, full of racial and class prejudice, to overpolice.

    As multiple police killings of unarmed black men have reminded us, the police already operate with barely constrained force in poor, minority neighborhoods. From SWAT to stop-and-frisk to mass incarceration to parole monitoring, the police manage a panoply of programs that subject these populations to multiple layers of coercion and control. As a consequence, more than 7 million Americans are subject to some form of correctional control, an extremely disproportionate number of whom are poor and minority.”

    Not to mention that most of the early gun control laws were pointed directly at minorities:

  18. This is of interest:

    Last year, a study published in Epidemiologic Reviews “systematically” reviewed studies examining the links between gun laws and gun-related homicides, suicides and unintentional injuries and deaths. Researchers eventually gathered evidence from 130 studies in 10 countries, finding that in certain places, gun restrictions are associated with declines in gun deaths. For instance, laws that restrict gun purchasing, such as background checks, are associated with lower rates of intimate partner homicide; while laws addressing access to guns, such as safe storage policies, are associated with lower rates of unintentional gun deaths among children.

    The study’s findings are a mixed bag — some of the gun laws studied seemed to reduce gun deaths, while others seemed to make no difference or increase deaths. For example, a number of studies examined found no association between concealed carry laws and gun homicides in the U.S. However, one study using injury data from southern Arizona found higher proportions of firearm injuries and deaths associated with concealed carry. Yet another study in Colombia examined the effects of laws banning the carrying of guns during weekends after paydays, holidays and elections days in two Colombian cities, Cali and Bogota. That study found a 14 percent reduction in homicide rates in Cali during no-carry days and a 13 percent reduction in Bogota.

  19. One other reason studies need to be examined carefully is that the guidelines for things like “open carry” can differ widely from state to state. Any studies need to take those differences into account, and given the small samples sizes …

    We also need to have data over a reasonable period of time: looking at changes over only a year or two is meaningless, whatever side you come from. Uniformity of definitions is important — several of Lott’s claims that “more guns mean less crime” fall apart when you realize that he uses definitions of “no gun zone” and “open carry” that are not the standard ones: he’s cherry-picked them specifically to make his numbers look good. (His poor statistical methods are the other side of the story.)

    The gun law studies from other countries also need to be taken with a grain of salt (Admission: I haven’t seen the ones you reference) — differences in crime trends (we’ve had decreasing levels of violent and non-violent crime for some time, unlike other countries) and other social factors have to be considered.

    1. I think the main point about the overseas data is this: Gun proponents state as a fundamental fact of reality things like more guns means less crime, gun control simply does not work, etc. Then, as you note, they cherry pick some data where there is a result that favors their position. The international data shows pretty well that reducing gun numbers is broadly associated with reducing gun violence. Since the argument this is refuting is general, the general observation that it is not true is sufficient to show that, well, it may simply not be true.

      In other words, the burden of proof of the counter-intuitive claims should be on the claimants, the gun proponents. Meanwhile, we have this chart that conforms with expectations from simple logic, and is different than they predict. Since the usual methods of funding research on this topic in the US are effectively iced, by the self same gun proponents, they lose the argument by the Rule of Asshatitude.

    2. In other words, the burden of proof of the counter-intuitive claims should be on the claimants, the gun proponents.

      No doubt — as with any of the claims by deniers in any area. But the caveat with looking at these studies from other countries is that they don’t address the cultural differences between the United States and them. Even the strongest bit of evidence (strongest IMO), the reduction in mass shootings in Australia that came when they changed ownership guidelines should not be taken as an indicator of what would happen there, as the culture and history of gun history there is quite different than it is here.

    3. Federal money cannot be used for gun studies.

      But that does not mean gun studies cannot be done in America – they just have to be funded without Federal grant money.

      To a certain extent, gun studies are irrelevant (which is part of why they don’t get done).

      No matter how reasonable it would be to regulate guns or ban them, based on studies or other countries data, it won’t matter unless the 2nd amendment is changed or revoked.

      For example, I am sure that a careful study would show that if all guns were removed from households in the USA, that accident gun deaths would be cut down dramatically.

      But that isn’t relevant, because no such law, even if passed (doubtful) would be upheld by the courts – because it would violate the 2nd amendment.

      That is just an example – but I think you see my point.

    4. To a certain extent, gun studies are irrelevant (which is part of why they don’t get done).

      Wrong. They were able to be studied at one time, and the right shut that down for a variety of bogus reasons, but not quite with a ban.
      In the 1990s, after a study funded by the CDC demonstrated the increased risk of accidental death guns in the home were responsible for, the “Dickey Amendment” was passed at the behest of the NRA. It was proposed because the false argument that such studies were aimed at supporting and expanding gun control, and the
      amendment itself stipulated that

      None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.

      Since the research had nothing at all to do with gun control the dots between this and the false claims over the study weren’t connected, and the damn thing passed. “Amazingly” the bill also cut the CDC budget by just under $3 million, which was the amount that had been spent on studies on the risks of guns the previous year. Essentially the same thing was in the 2012 appropriations act.

      The notion that the studies are irrelevant are complete bullshit — which is why rickA repeats it, no doubt. Studies are done all the time to understand things that put lives at risk. It’s just that the right has, again, managed to make their lies about something seem like the truth.

    5. Yes dean. But just because the CDC cannot do gun studies, doesn’t mean that gun studies cannot be done at all.

      They just have to be done without CDC money.

      If you cannot use a study to try to pass a law, what is the point of the study?

      I bet if guns were banned in the home, it would cut down on suicides. A study would probably show this correlation.

      However, since guns cannot be banned in the home, what is the point?

      Of course you could find the same thing for sleeping pills, knives and alcohol in the home, but we have not banned these, and they don’t even have a constitutional amendment to protect them (well you could argue alcohol does I guess).

      Guns are dangerous, by design.

      This is not going to get fixed – no matter what the studies show.

  20. They promote ridiculous studies like ‘gun ownership makes you more likely to be killed.’ You know what else makes you more likely to die? Going to a hospital.

    1. Why am I sure you never read any of the studies? That would be a requirement before you make a judgement about it being good, bad, or anything else. Well, that and understanding it, which I’m also sure you haven’t done.

    2. Agreed.

      It would be like doing a study to show that if we got rid of cars, there would be fewer car accidents.

      Or, if we got rid of stairs there would be less falls.

      Or, if we got rid of alcohol there would be drunk driving.

      Or, if we got rid of tobacco there would be less cancer.

      Well – good luck trying to get rid of all of those things (or guns).

      Not going to happen.

      So what is the point of that kind of study?

    1. Christopher:

      Thank you for posting a link to that study.

      Not only does this show that gun safety research can actually still be done in America, but waiting periods have not been held to violate the 2nd amendment. Congress could pass a federal law directed to a short waiting period and save 900 ish lives per year.

      Very interesting.

    2. The numbers in that study are good, but they are an estimate, as noted in their introduction (I bolded the word estimate for emphasis).

      We estimate the impact of waiting periods on gun deaths, exploiting
      all changes to state-level policies in the Unites States since
      1970. We find that waiting periods reduce gun homicides by
      roughly 17%.

      but it is good.

      This article

      done by folks in England and department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at U-Penn looked at what happened when Florida adopted its modified “stand your ground” law. It wasn’t good.

      Prior to the stand your ground law, the mean monthly homicide rate in Florida was 0.49 deaths per 100?000 (mean monthly count, 81.93), and the rate of homicide by firearm was 0.29 deaths per 100?000 (mean monthly count, 49.06). Both rates had an underlying trend of 0.1% decrease per month. After accounting for underlying trends, these results estimate that after the law took effect there was an abrupt and sustained increase in the monthly homicide rate of 24.4% (relative risk [RR], 1.24; 95%CI, 1.16-1.33) and in the rate of homicide by firearm of 31.6% (RR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.21-1.44). No evidence of change was found in the analyses of comparison states for either homicide (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.98-1.13) or homicide by firearm (RR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.99-1.17). Furthermore, no changes were observed in control outcomes such as suicide (RR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.94-1.05) and suicide by firearm (RR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.91-1.06) in Florida between 2005 and 2014.

      The reason seems simple: Florida law already gave people who were threatened in their homes to “stand their ground”. The law expanded that to outside the home and cases where the person with the gun him/herself started the confrontation.

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