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Gun Control and Crime Statistics: Does Gun Control Reduce Crime?


Dan has long been interested in politics, particularly in the field of ethics, and has served his community in the past.


After Newtown, Connecticut

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, there was been tremendous debate in the US about increasing gun controls. It took only hours to find hundreds or thousands of forum conversations, calls from our politicians for more gun control and a general demand that something, anything, be done to prevent such an occurrence in the future.

Many of the forums were simply cries to "Eliminate gun ownership", "Get rid of assault weapons" (whatever an assault weapon is, no one seems able to give a definition) or "Over my dead body!" None of which are particularly productive - all the old arguments, like "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" were raised again (with predictable results) but there were precious few actual facts to be found.

The debates have brought out the question of will gun controls actually prevent, or even help prevent, homicides or mass killings, though. No one seems to know, or even care—we just have to do something—so I went looking for answers and preferably answers from someone without an axe to grind. I've seen the opinions and looked at some options and controls but wanted some hard data to make a decision with—something beyond a simple opinion based on fear or dismay at what happened that sad day in Newtown.

To make it very clear, I am a gun owner. I don't carry a concealed weapon for self-defense, I don't hunt, and very rarely even shoot my guns so the loss of them would affect me very little. On the other hand, I am concerned about any loss of personal freedom, and feel that the government needs to tread very carefully there; that it is important to keep what freedoms we have. The days after the Sandyhook incident were sad ones for me as I watched my grandchildren in their school and feared for their lives. I want a solution to the killings and murders in America, but I very much want one that will work, not just a sop to soothe our conscience until the next time it happens.

Here, then are the statistics and data that I found. It is presented in graph form for easier examination, but the hard numbers are also given at the end of this article. Make up your own mind about the effectiveness of gun controls, just as I have.


Gun Ownership VS Gun Homicides

I found lots of numbers being bandied about concerning gun-related homicides so let's start there. Reliability of data is always a primary concern and the information contained in the graph above comes from UNODC, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and from Small Arms Survey, a highly respected source that the UN often uses itself.

Data was chosen from 42 countries out of the 170+ that were available, and is primarily from 2007 as the most recent year with data from most countries. Data was not always available in or near that year for the areas needed, and a few of the data points come from the closest year to 2007 where it was available. Middle east countries were rejected in total for lack of data as well as for not being representative culturally of industrialized nations and for being very violence-prone.

The bar graph has a few odd "spikes" in it that are almost certainly the result of factors other than gun ownership. Mexico, for instance, has a very large problem with drug lords and in some areas is almost a military operation. South Africa and Brazil were both deleted from this graph because of enormous homicide rates that clearly have to little to do with the question of gun control, although that data is available in the charts at the bottom of the article.

Looking at this graph, there is no firm equation between gun ownership and gun homicide rates, but we can see a rough correlation. In general, as gun ownership rises, so does the gun homicide rate. More guns means more gun deaths. There are some problems with making the connection, though, that need to be carefully considered. There are those odd spikes out of nowhere that should probably be disregarded as being caused by some factor other than gun ownership rates. We can see a correlation, but that is not indicative of cause.

As an example of this type of statistics problem, speed limits on American highways were reduced in the '70s to 55 MPH everywhere in the country. Not surprisingly, car deaths went down right with the speed limit but when the limit was raised again a few years later they did not climb back to where they were. Can we then say that higher speed limits don't have a major effect on car related deaths? No, because in those intervening years seat belts, airbags, antilock brakes and other safety improvements all grew in popularity and were an additional, primary, factor in preventing deaths. In just that manner, the deaths from the drug war in Mexico will skew the figures from that country; extraneous causes must always be looked for and considered.

In addition, even though we find a correlation between the number of guns and the number of gun deaths, that correlation is worthless in deciding whether or not reducing the number of guns will save lives. We need to look at the total, overall homicide rate instead. The premise is that if guns are not available the killers will use another tool, but is it true?


Gun Ownership VS General Homicide Rate

In this graph, we find some of the same huge spikes, but what we can't find is much correlation between gun ownership rates and overall homicide rates.

Yes, as we move from the left (low ownership) to right (increasing ownership) the rate of homicide rises. But then it drops back to near zero, rises again, drops once more and finally rises slightly near the end with a blip (the US) as the last point on the graph. If we disregard those tall single spikes (that are scattered throughout the graph) as anomalies with a different cause we have nearly a straight line with little variance. It wavers a bit up and down, but not significantly so.

So this graph cannot really show that gun controls will affect the homicide rate. What about one particular country that instituted strong controls? One that we have data for both before and after the controls were instituted? Australia is such a country; let's look at that.


Homicide Rates in Australia, Over Time

The data for this graph was compiled from the same source as earlier graphs, UNODC, as well as Wikipedia. The information from the UNODC only went back to 1995 so the years from 1990–1994 were taken from Wikipedia. It's worth noting, though, that Wikipedia agreed with the UNODC data for later years so there is no real reason to disbelieve it for the earlier years.

Australia instituted strong gun controls in 1996, making it one of the most restrictive nations in the world. Did it help?

Prior to 1990, the homicide rate in Australia was in a very gradual decline, and after that date basically continued the same decline as the graph shows. Yes, there was a downward blip in 1998, followed by an even greater upwards blip in 1999. The graph pretty much levels out after that for several years, once more starting a gradual decline in about 2003.

This conclusion is born out by data from the Australian government as well. Graphs of homicide victims located at the link here show the same gradual decrease in the number of victims with no significant change in or shortly after 1996.

Nor is this conclusion unheard of. Joyce Lee Malcom, professor of Law at George Mason University, has looked at both the UK and Australian experience with very similar conclusions. Her report in the Wall Street Journal on the effectiveness of strong gun controls is instructive.

It seems unlikely, then, that strong gun controls had much effect on the homicide rate over the years in Australia. Other factors are most likely causing the slow decline seen over decades.

But if the homicide rate didn't fall as a result of the new law, what about mass murders like Sandy Hook? Well, Wikipedia gives a list of mass murders, or massacres, in Australia. It shows that since the new law there have not only been more such incidents, but more people are being killed as well. When guns were not available the killers turned to matches; the arson rate went up, with more people being killed per incident. It would seem that taking guns away, in this case, resulted in more deaths, not fewer, even though the number of deaths by gun fell.

Is the above video of somber actors and actresses in black, promoting gun control and earning a living from gratuitous violence onscreen, a part of the problem?

We pay lip service, but will not consider changing our culture to one less infatuated with violence, less filled with sights and sounds of killing every day. I can't answer definitively, but it certainly sounds reasonable to me. We glorify violence and killing while wondering why we see so much of it.

So Are Strong Gun Controls Effective?

While the first graph does show that decreasing the number of guns corresponds to a decreasing number of gun-related homicides, that's a no-brainer. Take away the guns and killers won't kill with guns.

Far more interesting is that we find no correlation between gun ownership rates and general homicide rates. Take away the guns and killers still kill, they just don't use guns to do so. This is true whether looking at a variety of countries with a variety of gun ownership rates or at a single country that instituted strong controls.

You will make your own decision as to the effectiveness of gun controls in preventing homicides, but it appears plain to me that it does not do so. If we want to avoid another Newtown incident we need to spend our time and resources looking elsewhere, because it wasn't caused by guns and removing guns won't help. Given that, there is no reason to further infringe on citizen rights to own weapons.

We might look hard at how we view and treat mental illness, we might look at stopping gang activities or drug-related violence. We can put some thought into the violence our kids see on TV or in life: about how to change the violence our culture produces. There is something wrong in America, but it isn't coming from guns. They are only the tool being used to express that violence.

Following the data list below is a section to record your own comments, I and others would love to hear from you; what your decision on the advisability or effectiveness of gun control is and why.

Data in Numeric Form

CountryGun ownership rateGun homicide rateGeneral homicide rate

































Czech Republic












England & Wales
































































New Zealand




Northern Ireland




























South Africa
























United States




This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: You mention homicides, but what about other gun-related death (suicide, accidents)?

Answer: It is certainly opinion only, but I can't see forbidding people to have something they want, simply because someone else will use it improperly and hurt themselves. Ensure that a gun is as safe as possible to use, and let people have it. Otherwise we'd be banning cars, chain saws, lawn mowers, a whole host of things.

And it REALLY isn't right to ban a product because some people will use it as a tool for suicide. That list might include rope, rat poison, cars and razor blades (useful for slitting wrists). Sleeping pills would be high on the list.

So I reject the idea that government is our nanny, our parent responsible to make sure we don't handle anything dangerous because we children are not competent to do so. And left that consideration out of the article as a result.

Question: Can the government disarm Americans?

Answer: Technically, no - the constitution protects the right to own and bear arms.

As a practical matter, yes it can. Enough spin, enough judges willing to sidestep our constitution and laws, enough liberal politicians wishing to control the people and anything can be accomplished. One has only to look at the current uproar over "assault weapons", which nor nothing more than hunting rifles with cosmetic changes to look scary, to see it happening.

Question: Why is the US justice system so weak toward homicides?

Answer: My opinion only, but perhaps because it is so caught up in controlling guns that the real causes of the violence are ignored? Or perhaps because it has become the norm to blame someone else for poor behavior ("He had a bad childhood so is not responsible for his actions")?

© 2012 Dan Harmon


Katharine L Sparrow from Massachusetts, USA on July 12, 2018:

Thank-you, Dan! You are absolutely right to base opinions on facts and figures rather than emotion, which most gun control advocates do. Guns are not the problem. In past decades, there were many more guns per household than today. Most families had at least one gun, it was like having a rake, it was a tool you just had. Yet mass shootings were almost unheard of until recent years. What was the difference? It wasn't the availability of guns, so it is something else. In my opinion we need to spend more time thinking on that than about banning weapons. Great hub with tons of info! Congratulations!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on April 20, 2018:


Mexico was not included in the discussion here (although the stats are given) because of that high homicide rate (half again ours). It seemed to me, and still does, that a great deal of that rate is the almost uncontrolled activity of drug lords. It would be like including Syria, knowing there is war going on, and putting their violent death stats against those of the US.

Any time there is a big anomaly in the statistical data a reason must be searched for or the data discarded. In this case I felt the anomaly was due to an active drug war and did not use the data in drawing a conclusion. Of course the US is a massive anomaly in itself, but if I discard that the whole purpose of the study disappears!

If you follow the forums here, I have repeatedly offered that, given a country with low gun ownership and low homicide rate (or the opposite) I would provide two more with lower guns and higher homicides (or the opposite). That this can be done (or the opposite) plainly says there is no correlation between gun ownership rates and homicide rates. At least it does to me; others have said that it can't be true because everyone KNOWS that taking guns away will save lives.

An interesting point along these lines is that in looking at the US homicide rate through history, there was a huge spike for a short time in the 20's. At almost exactly the period that prohibition was in effect. And another that that coincides almost exactly with our "war on drugs"; as marijuana laws relax the homicide rate has fallen. Now, two data points are not enough to prove causality, but it surely looks like if we take something away that people want enough, they will kill to get it.

Brad on April 20, 2018:


I thought that the stat on Mexico was interesting.

With 17% of the gun ownership of the US

They have gun homicide almost the same as our. 3.7 to 3.8

and a general homicide rate of 8.1 to our 5.7.

Less gun owners, but almost the same gun homicide rate?


Mexico’s gun controls are strict and, when enumerated, read like a wish list for U.S. Senate Democrats. Think about it: For a Mexican citizen to legally acquire a gun, he or she must obtain a license, a process which requires them to pass a background check. That background check looks at criminal history, mental history, physical health and any past drug additions.

Making the background check even more onerous, CBS News reports, is the requirement that applicants submit six pieces of documentation: A birth certificate, a letter confirming employment, proof of a clean criminal record from the attorney general’s office in the applicant’s home state, a utility bill with current address, a copy of a government-issued ID and a federal social security number.

Brad on April 20, 2018:



and the I in FBI seems today to mean incompetence.and not Investigation. When you don't even satisfy your name FBI then that should be at least one of the problems.

I doubt if you are going to hear from Mike or ME on this article.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on April 20, 2018:


We can agree that there were numerous failures at Parkland. It is my hope that they were errors and not conscious, intentional actions taken to increase the death toll. Though I will sat that deputies standing outside with shots ringing out makes that hard to accept even as we saw much the same in another recent shooting when it took far too long to break in. The fear was that it would cause additional loss of life, but I can't imagine how that could be a concern at the Parkland school.

But even if that is true, it is obvious that there was a great deal of political action that was more in line with money and politics than with safety, and you are right in that no one cares. It may or may not be actively concealed, but it surely is not given the attention it deserves and requires...that attention is lost in the cries for more gun controls.

Brad on April 20, 2018:


The most important point was that student lives were lost while sheriff deputies listened to the shots that Cruz fired inside the school, but they stayed outside.

While they didn't go inside the school lives were lost.

This was a big law enforcement failure, yet it wasn't an issue for the gun control people.


The sheriff had a deal with the Parkland school district to not file criminal charges against the students, as the school would lose federal money offered by Obama.

Cruz had numerous incidents that were criminal but not filed.

The police had numerous complaints about Cruz, even from his mother before she died.

After the shooting the FBI said we are not sure if this was the same Cruz. They would have known if they would have followed up the leads they were given.

That to me is something unlike gun control that is straight forward to address and fix. Gun control because it already exists, and fails cannot be directly assessed as to the value in lives it may save by adding to it.

In the case of Broward their sheriff failed to protect or serve, and yet no one seemed to care!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on April 20, 2018:

Yes, I got that, and I pretty much agree with it. I'm not convinced that we had enough evidence on the killer, before he took action, to arrest him, but he certainly should have been under near constant surveillance.

That's another problem - what we need to arrest someone, and when should we do it? Neighbor comments that "He's weird" or even really questionable facebook posts without an actual threat, are not a crime and we cannot arrest based on them. No grand jury would ever indict on that slim evidence, as is proper, that a person MIGHT misbehave in the future. But law enforcement can certainly keep watch. Whether we have the manpower to mount a 24 hour surveillance of every suspect is questionable, so priorities will have to be made, and the public will always second guess those priorities. In this case it appears that the FBI dropped the ball entirely, but in others they won't and may STILL be wrong and putting their resources in the wrong place.

And of course the deputies waiting outside until the shooting stopped in inexcusable. I understand their lives and safety are important, but their job is to risk both when necessary, and an active killer shooting inside an occupied building certainly makes that necessary.

Brad on April 20, 2018:


I am sorry to be persistent, but I think it is an issue bigger than gun control.

I have copied what I am talking about.

"IIf the existing gun control is not sufficient to solve the problem, then maybe that is the evidence that more gun control is not the answer. And the answer may be the person.

In the Parkland shooting, the government already had the necessary info, but didn't follow it. In addition, they already had an armed sheriff deputy assigned to the school, but while he and his other 3 deputies could have saved lives by confronting the shooting. They were in safety outside the school while they listened to the deadly shots being fired by Cruz inside.

Yet, the gun control people don't even think that is an issue.

Why, because that doesn't help their political agenda."

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on April 20, 2018:


I fully agree that (most) of those laws desperately need better enforcement. Those convicted of violent crimes that still carry a gun, for instance. Better background checks, and on all sales. Better record-keeping.

As you say, we have plenty of laws to do the controlling we need to - we just don't enforce them well enough.

Brad on April 20, 2018:


What about the law enforcement aspect that I mentioned in my previous comment?

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on April 20, 2018:

bradmaster: First, I would never delete a comment just because I disagree with it.

But I do think these stats are valid even though taken worldwide rather than just the US. People are people everywhere, and I did make an effort to choose countries closest to ours in culture. These stats also point out that old adage that "Guns don't kill people; people kill people" is too true, and it is the same conclusion that you come to.

You blame it on politics (correctly, IMO) but that does not invalidate the concept. Using politics to ban the most popular gun in the country, that is used to murder less than 3% of the people killed with violence, can be nothing but political activism and cannot possibly have anything to do with reality.

This is a fight that will eventually be won; the American public will be disarmed one day. The loud, ignorant, voices that are using fear mongering rather than reality as their tool will win, for fear will always be a more potent weapon than reason. You are entirely correct in that we have enough laws already on the books to provide the controls that are needed, but those loud voices aren't concerned with control - their goal will not be met until there are no guns to confiscate.

We see politics being used in their fight, we see court attempts to force manufacturers to stop making guns of any kind and we now see the massive financial clout of Big Business being brought into play to stop manufacturing. The fight will not end until we lose our rights completely, but it has nothing to do with reality or reason.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on April 20, 2018:

WillStarr: My point exactly. The entire thing is an emotional appeal to remove the most popular gun in the country from the hands of the public and has nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of the capabilities of that gun or anything else. Just fear-mongering - hysteria - and we have a lot better use for the resources that would be expended than to remove the rights of millions of people so as to drive killers to a different choice of weapon.

Brad on April 20, 2018:


First, I don't believe in more gun control. We should fully enforce the existing laws. We have immigration laws but we don't fully enforce them. And the same is true of most of our laws including gun control.

I am not a believer of statistics, as they don't give the real issues. For example, how does comparing the world wide statistics to the US. The US is a unique country with unique differences. Just look at numbers doesn't do it for me.

This doesn't mean, I don't appreciate the work you put into this article. I do.

My point is that the root of the gun control issue is political.

and their premise is the people don't kill, guns kill.

I believe that answer is more like the "follow the money" saying, but change it to "follow the shooter, not the gun"

IIf the existing gun control is not sufficient to solve the problem, then maybe that is the evidence that more gun control is not the answer. And the answer may be the person.

In the Parkland shooting, the government already had the necessary info, but didn't follow it. In addition, they already had an armed sheriff deputy assigned to the school, but while he and his other 3 deputies could have saved lives by confronting the shooting. They were in safety outside the school while they listened to the deadly shots being fired by Cruz inside.

Yet, the gun control people don't even think that is an issue.

Why, because that doesn't help their political agenda.

Gun confiscation.

del if u wish

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on April 20, 2018:

I once published two pictures of rifles and asked which one should be banned. Both pictures were literally the same rifle belonging to me. It was a Russian SKS with the first picture depicting the original wooden stock and the second picture with an aftermarket black metal and plastic stock. That was the only change, but the left voted 100% to ban the altered rifle based solely on appearance.

This is simple hysteria, especially in light of the hard fact that rifles of all kinds, which would include so-called 'military-style' rifles, are used to murder less than 250 people a year! Compare that to totally unarmed murderers using just hands and feet to murder 660 people and 1567 murders using knives!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on April 20, 2018:

@ Larry: I have a real problem with that "military style" thing. Being painted black, having a pistol grip on a rifle, etc. does not make the weapon any deadlier. It has become a rallying cry to get military guns out of the hands of the public (reasonable and accomplished decades ago) but that "military style" turns it into something else entirely and has come to refer to any kind of gun the speaker wants to ban. Not to guns used by the military or even guns capable of military operation. I cannot support anything so open ended or anything so obviously re-named to spread fear rather than provide an accurate description. Plus, of course, there is the matter of how many murders are accomplished with them - when less than 3% of murders are accomplished with any rifle at all I have to question just why we're spending so much effort and resources to ban just a portion of those rifles in the forlorn hope it will save lives. Surely we can find a better use for those resources.

The mental illness is a different problem, IMO, with the biggest question being how do we determine mental illness? Shall every gun purchase be required to have a currents psychologist's report of fitness, followed every six months by another one in order to keep the gun (people do change!)? Shall we require psychologists and psychiatrists to report their findings of every exam or visit to the government?

Talk about 1984! When a government goes that far it is long past time to find another government. While I support the idea of keeping guns away from insane people, the price of executing that idea seems far, far more than I'm willing to pay.

But you're right - we will all make up our own minds on gun control. The whole point of the article was to provide some real life data rather than emotion based cries we see in the media to for those opinions with.

Larry W Fish from Raleigh on April 20, 2018:

Dan, you have written about a very hot topic in America. I was taught as a little boy how to handle guns as soon as I was able to walk. I was a hunter and enjoyed many years of it. I grew up as a country boy in the 1950s and 60s so things were different in my time. I am against any civilian owning a military style rifle. Those are meant to kill people, pure and simple. I would never suggest that guns should be taken away from hunters, people enjoying shooting target practice, people shooting in competitions, or people owning a gun for self defense. I see the biggest problem in the mass shootings in America, is that everyone that did such a horrible act was mentally ill. Why is anyone that is mentally ill allowed to by a gun, period. We all have our opinions about gun control, I have mine, your have yours, and every American has theirs. When children aren't safe in schools, it is no longer the America that I grew up in. These are just my opinions, Dan. Thanks for writing this article, it was well worth reading.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on March 09, 2018:

Thank you Credence - I appreciate the honesty and, I think, recognize what it took to make the comment. Trust me here - I was as surprised as you are with the results. They were not what I expected and really are counter-intuitive.

Brazil and South Africa - I have not researched this, but suspect that apartheid is still in the minds of many South Africans, and further that racism is AT LEAST the problem there that it is in the US. Brazil I don't know, but believe their overall crime rate is far above ours. Not in homicides only, but in general crime, and that leads to homicides - we see that in our inner cities, too. So does poverty, and that's something that seems common in both countries.

Some of the other exceptions seem obvious - Mexico has a huge drug problem, along with several central and south American countries. The middle East seems obvious as well. But the "why's aren't always so simple and it hurts that we don't make any effort to understand those "whys" in our country. I fully believe that until we do we are NOT going to solve the violent crime in our country.

"Guns don't kill people; people kill people". The old rallying cry of the gun aficionados, although tiresome and distasteful to many people, is something we've ignored for too long. It's past time to recognize that there really is some truth in it (perhaps a LOT of truth) and think about instead of ignore it simply because we've heard it so many, many times from the "wrong" side of the debate.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on March 09, 2018:

Wilderness, this is well researched, and I, grudgingly, acknowledge this. You have made your point here and I find nothing wrong with the research and the conclusions that you have come to as a result. I won't challenge you from this perspective again. Brazil and South Africa did stand out as interesting exception, relatively low gun ownership with a homicide rate that is quite notable. I wonder what is driving the statistics in these two societies?

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 05, 2017:

I agree that an analysis of the crimes needs done. I considered attempting to look at states or cities, but came up against a problem rather quickly. When I did THIS study I "kicked out" several nations for having known problems - Mexico, for instance, with its drug lords or the whole Middle East with the wars going on.

If I do the same in the US, removing locations for high gang activity or drug problems, maybe for extreme racial tensions, what's left conforms much better to the rest of the world. Without rigid analysis, then, it appears that we already know the major problems, we just don't want to address them.

Solutioneur on October 05, 2017:

I would suggest an analysis of the actual homicides would be helpful. Chicago has a gang problem, not a gun problem. Possessing guns does not correlate with gun violence, crime does.

Appreciate your effort and the data provided.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on April 21, 2017:

There are two kinds of assault weapons, Shyron E Shenko. One is a military designation and the other is left wing propaganda, promoted by the likes of Dianne Fenstein, a liberal nincompoop of the first order.

A true assault weapon has a selective fire switch which usually allows a three round burst or full automatic whenever the trigger is pressed. They are strictly military and not available to the general public.

A Dianne Feinstein assault weapon is anything that looks military. She did not ban the Ruger Ranch Rifle but she did want to ban the exact same Ruger Ranch Rifle with a different stock that was black plastic instead of wood.

She's an idiot who doesn't know what she's talking about. Don't listen to her or any of the other liberal fools.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on April 21, 2017:

Then you would not be in favor of any of the so-called "assault weapon" bans being discussed today for not a single one can fire many bullets in a "fraction of a second". That ability is limited to true "assault weapons"; the "machine guns" used by the military to assault enemy positions. These type of guns, while not totally banned, are so difficult to get and own that no one does. I don't believe there has been a murder with one since the days of the Mob using "tommy guns".

I have to ask what background checks are intended to accomplish, though - outside of another tool (and a very expensive one) for police to perhaps find a killer (and usually not) I'm unable to find a reason. Keep in mind here that very few gun murders are done by the legal owner of the gun.

Banning anyone with a history of mental illness means either a psych test before each purchase, and yearly thereafter, or open access to our medical records. Neither is palatable to me, so while I hate the thought of mentally ill people (aren't all murderers "mentally ill"?) having guns, I haven't seen a plan to accomplish that that I could accept.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on April 21, 2017:

Hello Dan, this is an interesting article, but it does not say where you stand on gun control, but I will tell you where I stand.

Guns for protection/sport are fine with me, but assault weapons, I would be in favor of the ban (same as was in place when Bill Clinton was our President.)

You ask what is an assault weapon, it is a gun that holds enough bullets to kill more people in rapid fire (a fraction of a second) as opposed to having to reload after six shots (giving the children a few seconds to find a safe hiding place while he reloads.)

I am in favor of back ground checks, and anyone with a history of mental illness should not be sold any kind of weapon.

I know from personal experience that any gun control or lack of gun control will prevent all shooting/killings.


Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on January 07, 2017:

Yes, background checks are inconsistent. Likely because there is no general consensus as to their value. For instance, your link goes to considerable lengths to say that gun homicides are reduced with strong checks. Only when homicides in general is mentioned does it stumble, saying that a study of the brady bill done in 2008 shows there was no effect on homicide rates. That little "gun" part of "gun homicides" was suddenly missing, but the link never seemed to catch the difference - just write it off as an inconsistency instead of treating it as the extremely important bit of information it is.

Going on, the link then repeats several times that background checks don't do much because shooters don't get their guns from shows and such, but from theft, family, friends, etc. A good point, and one that raises the question of why we want background checks at all if they aren't going to accomplish anything? If those checks don't stop shooters from obtaining a gun, why force them onto the public?

And finally, we won't make the big lasting changes on the root causes by playing with gun control laws. Regardless of how stringent they become, they completely fail to address the root causes and can thus never provide any meaningful results. Politically, they are useful - the fear of guns is almost palpable in anti-gun rallies, and politicians use that fear to their advantage - but when it comes to results such laws are useless in curbing the violence we have.

I'll just add that Connecticut's approach sounds very reasonable...IF the goal is to reduce gun ownership or to disarm the populace. If it is to reduce homicide rates or the number of murders it is a total failure as all available data says that gun controls will not do that.

sj999 on January 07, 2017:

@wilderness - cheers for the reply. I certainly don't know the ins and outs of gun control laws in the US, so my views may well be ill-informed in some areas.

But there are certain things which, as an "outsider", baffle me. For example the way background checks are inconsistently handled (private seller loophole and some states not feeding important records into the federal database).

Whilst I get that making background check laws fit-for-purpose on the federal level would not solve the root of the problem, the fact no one can get a reasonable Bill through to fix it is actually the reason I would focus on it to start with. If you can't even take small steps to get you moving, you'll never make the big lasting changes on the root causes either.

I quite liked this article on the subject (and personally think Connecticut's 1995 approach sounds very sensible):


Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on January 06, 2017:

@sj999: It sounds like you are under the impression that there are no gun control laws in the US. There are, ranging from no handguns in large cities to no semi-automatic weapons. Background checks are nearly universal. Ammunition limits are enacted in some places or being discussed.

So there are lots of laws, they just aren't solving anything. And that puts us right back to your #1, with #2 being effectively counteracted. Additional controls (about all that's left is to confiscate all guns) isn't the answer and won't help.

#3 - we're back to that "reasonable" level of gun control, with all that's left being total confiscation. Which Australia did, and with no results when it comes to both murder rates and mass murders. The killers just changed weapons; for mass murders arson has risen alarmingly in Australia, sometimes with a very large death toll.

#4 - hard to see where excessive gun controls (removing the possibility of self protection) isn't going to affect law abiding citizens. Might help sales of alarm systems, in the forlorn hope that cops will arrive before anything can happen, but that's about the only good from it.

Finally, you're absolutely right that the whole issue has deteriorated into emotional arguments that help no one. Somehow the matter of reducing violent deaths rather than just "gun" deaths is completely overlooked. Because the gun controls so desperately wanted can't be shown to help? Probably.

sj999 on January 06, 2017:

Interesting topic, for sure. As someone who lives in the UK where gun ownership is illegal, a few thoughts crossed my mind when reading it (many of which I'm sure have been mentioned in other comments, but I confess to not reading all of them!).

1.) Totally agree that tackling the root causes has to be the main long-term priority. Doing so to a significant degree would change the culture in the US over time and I suspect mean gun ownership would decline naturally as a result.

2.) However, I take issue with the idea that focusing on #1 means there is no point considering gun control of any form (leaving aside the obvious cultural/constitutional blockers for a moment). Rarely can something so complex be tackled on a single level - even if guns merely make it easier to commit a crime the person would commit by other means anyway, the stats here aren't enough to determine whether some form of gun control would have a net benefit (non-homicidal crimes and types of homicide need to be considered, at the minimum).

3.) One obvious example I've seen mentioned in the comments are mass shootings. If that kind of crime were significantly reduced by a reasonable level of gun control, is it worth considering even if there is no statistical difference in overall homicide rate?

4.) I'm reminded a bit of the law-maker paradox, which says that if criminals don't follow laws then putting laws in place merely serves to negatively affect law abiding citizens. In the real world we can observe that, overall, this is not the case (though there will be exceptions, of course). I mention this only because I see a lot of resistance to the concept of any level of control, but is it a proportionate response given complete freedom in most areas is curtailed?

I don't pretend to know whether any of these points are valid, but I think the entire gun debate is stuck on meaningless emotional arguments that help no one. This article is a good starting point for taking the discussion further.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on January 02, 2017:

@ bradmaster: I agree that suicide is a social issue, but at the same time do feel that removing guns from society will reduce suicides. It is too easy to use a gun for that purpose; nearly anything else is more difficult and more likely to result in a botched attempt. Guns are more expensive (if purchased solely for that purpose, but easier and more effective.

At the same time, however, I also feel that it is not appropriate to take rights or freedoms from one person because another may (MAY) use that right to take their own life. It is not an acceptable answer to the problem, IMO.

(Sorry for not replying earlier; somehow I missed the comment)

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 28, 2016:

Yes; I suppose I'll have to check them all. Along with the figures for gun homicides as well, but whether I can use the percentages from UNODC and simply convert them to gun homicide rates I'm not sure. It's hard for me to trust what UNODC is reporting now.

Lyapunov on December 28, 2016:

@wilderness: thank your for your reply. I just checked UNODC data for 2007 and found that the General Homicide Rate for Austria, Denmark, Egypt and Germany should all be multiplied by 10 in the above table (i.e., 0.5, 0.7, 0.9 and 0.9 respectively instead of .05, .07, .09 and .09 respectively) I didn't check the other columns. Hope this helps and thank you very much for your article and comments.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 28, 2016:

@Lyapunov Now that's interesting. I see what you mean - the data given here does exactly what I said cannot happen.

The data is from UNOCD and the Small Arms Survey, with links given in the article just after the first graph. However, the gun homicide rate is now being expressed as a percentage of the total homicide rate; this is not what was shown when the article was written. At that time both figures were shown as actual rates. Personally, I find that really irritating and have to wonder just why it was done.

So it could be a typo, either by myself or by the UNODC. It is also possible that the UNODC has changed the figure either intentionally or in error when they re-did the charts of numbers.

Lyapunov on December 28, 2016:

@wilderness: my point, precisely. The data above shows for Switzerland: gun homicide rate = 0.8, general homicide rate 0.7. Something is not right here, besides the fact that the general homicide rate in this country cannot be 10x the Danish rate or 15x the Austrian rate. I wonder what the source of the data is.

Brad on December 26, 2016:

Half the gun deaths in the US are from suicides. That is not a gun control issue, it is a social issue as to the reasons why people want to kill themselves. Gun control or gun removal is only one way to commit suicide.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 26, 2016:

Lyapunov, the gun homicide rate cannot be higher than the general homicide rate: if one is killed, whether by gun or other tool, that death is represented in the general homicide rate. All gun homicides thus become a part of the general homicide rate and cannot possibly be higher than the figure of all murders.

The number of people killed by guns cannot, under any manipulation of the numbers, be higher than the number of people killed by any and all means.

Lyapunov on December 26, 2016:

Please check the data: the general homicide rate for Switzerland is lower (!) than the gun homicide rate...

Denker1 on December 19, 2016:

I agree completely that gun control is ineffective. Criminals, by their nature, ignore the law. It seems crazy to deny self-defense rights to millions of law-abiding citizens, actually making it easier for the criminals to ply their trade.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 18, 2016:

Denker, as far as I'm concerned any mass murderer is insane and most murderers in general.

But while locking them up (if we can find them) will reduce murders, and will reduce mass murders by guns, the results shown here say that taking guns, or instituting more gun controls, will not reduce the number of mass murders. Indeed, the figures from Australia, before and after their gun buy back, show this to be true; mass murders have gone up, if anything. The murderer just uses a different tool; in Australia Arson has become popular but tools from knives to bludgeons to gas have all been used since taking the guns away.

Denker1 on December 18, 2016:

You neglect a major factor in europe's rates, that of commitments to mental institutions. Theirs is 10x that of the US. Methinks that would change our violence picture, particularly for so-called mass shootings.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on December 20, 2015:

(extremely common for a nube to swing the barrel past/through someone else)

I did that exactly once and my Dad's reaction is still ringing in my ears! I never did it again.


Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 20, 2015:

Yes, that's a pretty common lesson. I think, anyway - my own Dad gave me the same lesson - always loaded and don't point at anything you don't mean to shoot. Learn it, practice it some (extremely common for a nube to swing the barrel past/through someone else) and you've pretty much got it.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on December 20, 2015:

"Although to be fair, it's a lot easier to use a gun (safely) than drive a car (safely)."

That's very true, Dan, and that was also my point. Guns are actually very safe to use with just a few, elementary precautions.

The first thing Dad taught me was that a gun is always loaded, so always keep it pointed in a safe direction and never point it at anything you do not intend to shoot. We were also taught that we were never to touch a gun without his permission and supervision.

Most other shooters were taught the same thing.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 20, 2015:

Which shows just how pitiful our driver's ed training is. Although to be fair, it's a lot easier to use a gun (safely) than drive a car (safely).

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on December 20, 2015:

Arizona still issues concealed carry permits and they do require passing a course. Those permits are honored by 29 states so it pays to get the permit.

BTW, out of a nation of over 320,000,000 people and over 300,000,000 legally owned guns, in 2013, just 505 people were accidentally killed in firearms accidents. While that's still 505 too many, it's an amazingly small number, and many of those accidents were the work of careless criminals who could not legally own a gun.

By comparison, licensed and trained drivers killed over 30,000 people that same year.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 20, 2015:

Overall, I agree with you. Nevertheless, I could support mandatory training before getting a carry permit. There is a reason so many gun accidents happen in the home or hunting, and to spread that possibility (probability?) to our centers of population seems a little careless. I'm thinking of the woman recently that shot at a fleeing shoplifter - something even our cops won't do and she should not have.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on December 20, 2015:

Arizona passed a law that any law abiding citizen can carry concealed with no permit. Opponents and skeptics warned of blood flowing in the streets if unlicensed and untrained citizens were allowed to exercise their right to be armed.

It has now been the law for six years, and contrary to all the dire warnings, nothing happened other than a decrease in armed robberies, hijackings, etc. Apparently, criminals are very reluctant to chance being shot.

While I personally recommend training in self defense, it seems that crazed gun toting vigilantes are a rarity. Most ordinary armed citizens are quite sensible and a threat to no one except criminals.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on December 20, 2015:

Thanks for reading, tsmog - so few people can be bothered to educate themselves, particularly when that education doesn't agree with built in prejudices.

Yes, controls are a puzzle. Necessary, but how far should we go? Obviously, taking guns away won't do anything, and neither will throwing roadblocks in the way of purchase or ownership. At the same time, I'm not very comfortable with the idea of a uzi machine gun in the shoulder holster of the guy next to me! And neither an I particularly happy with laws designed solely to give personal information to police in the hopes it will help catch a murderer after the fact.

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on December 20, 2015:

Informative article Wilderness. Thanks . . . having listened (seen) it referenced in the forums I finally read it. While loyal to the 2nd Amendment as a purist with rights, I still 'ponder' controls. A puzzle is, a puzzle be . . .

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 16, 2015:

Yeah, the carnival worked out pretty neat. Made a ferris wheel, the kiddie train ride, a car ride for kids and a few N gauge buildings. Turned out nice.

Brad on October 16, 2015:

I will check it out.

And the carnival idea is brilliant

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 16, 2015:

I did. They're in a hub about the Bob Ross method.

The N gauge was perfect for a carnival on an HO setup. The people sat atop the passenger cars, just as they do in little kids rides at the carnival or fair.

Brad on October 16, 2015:

Good for you, I like to watch him but I don't think I could make those color picks from the palette. He really gets a kick out of beating the brush.

You should post some of your paintings.

That N gauge is something, you could make a layout on a chess board.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 16, 2015:

That's what got me started - Bob Ross. And the style of painting I do now.

My HO was a much smaller set, plus a "carnival" section of N gauge trains, houses, etc. It made a good mix.

Brad on October 16, 2015:

I have an HO set and a 4x10 table for Christmas. It has a town, a park, etc.

I wanted to replace the old incandescent lighted village pieces with some leds.

Believe it or not in the multi million population of S California there are only two model train stores within a twenty mile range.

I can't paint, but I watch Bob Ross on PBS.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 16, 2015:

Nope. I did have an HOand N gauge set years and years ago, but had to give it up when the first child was born and needed the bedroom it was in. My brother in law, though, has a giant Lionel set in his home. Pretty impressive.

Now days I'm more into painting (art work) and do have one on that. And one on salt water aquariums (that, too, is gone now from our home - sold it for peanuts to a man with a handicapped daughter).

Brad on October 16, 2015:

Ft I have seen, you do a great job of showing the details and making it understandable as well.

Got anything on model railroads?

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 16, 2015:

Yes, there are other things as well. A whole raft of do-it-yourself hubs plus a few more ranging from camping to several on cataracts (you found one) to a handful of product reviews. Kind of all over, I guess!

Brad on October 16, 2015:

As you saw, I did find other than social commentary in your hubs that interested me.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 16, 2015:

Why thank you! But I don't write much "social commentary"; it was just that I have small grandchildren and Sandy Hook really touched a nerve in me. That and the constant effort to erode our freedoms while we ignore that it doesn't work and pretend that it will.

You know, this isn't the only study that has produced this startling result; there are actually quite a few of them out there. All hushed up and never spoken of because they don't fit the PC result that is desired. That, and the undeniable desire of so many to exert control over others whether it is needed or constructive or not.

Brad on October 16, 2015:

Looking forward to reading your next hub

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 15, 2015:

Absolutely true in the case of guns; take them away, people want them and criminals will pick up the business. Just like alcohol and marijuana. Never thought of it like that, but it's true.

Brad on October 15, 2015:

When I said take away their business , I meant in the context when we fight their illegal activity. We are trying to get control of their business in the sense that we are trying to stop them from doing business.

The more the government controls guns the more it will be another business for the criminals.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 15, 2015:

I would have said that when we make something illegal, something that lots of people want very much, the criminals step in to deliver it. It's not that we take away the business of criminals, it's that we give it to them! We encourage illegal activity!

And with it the murder rate, including innocent people that have nothing to do with the business. And then think that taking guns from honest people will change that. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Brad on October 15, 2015:


What I think is that when we take away the business of the criminals they fight back, and they have the resources from the illegal money they made. Take a look at the Mexican drug cartel, they own the Northeast part of Mexico, and Mexico leaves it alone for the most part.

Unfortunately for us, their biggest customers are here in the US.

There are already 2.2 million people in our jails, and prisons today, so we are losing that battle.

It seem like generation after generation the people get a little less smart.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 15, 2015:

If you look at the homicide rate since 1900 it is interesting to see a huge spike in the 1920's and another much later that is still dropping off. The first matches prohibition almost perfectly and the second comes close to our "war on drugs", specifically the prohibition of marijuana. Although still illegal in most states, the penalties have dropped and that particular "war" is nearly over. We "lost" it the same way we lost the war on alcohol - by giving in.

We take something away that people want and the murder rate skyrockets. Do it again and the rate skyrockets again. Give the people back what we took and the rate drops.

Should we be learning something from this? Seems like it to me!

Brad on October 15, 2015:

I agree

Amen, pass the break lol

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on October 15, 2015:

'Another factor are the gangs and their turf, and most of them are into supplying drugs.'

A very large factor indeed since they commit the vast majority of gun killings (after suicides which account for well more than half of all firearms related deaths).

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 15, 2015:

Yes, it has lost focus on those threats. Instead, we limit the law abiding citizen as to what they can do plus charge them extra for the privilege. And then don't fund or follow up, just as you say.

And then, when it doesn't work, pile on more regulations and stops for gun ownership. Which won't work any better than the last batch, and we'll repeat it all over again until we manage to confiscate all guns from anyone but the criminals.

Brad on October 15, 2015:


There is a new bill that is proposed here in CA to tighten up on guns, and ammunition. The ammunition part would be a new check, and the other part is no large ammunition clips for guns, as it is illegal to buy in CA but possession is not illegal.

I believe that we already have enough controls, but the problem is that there is no funding to follow through on the background checks, and the funding to take the guns away from those people declared legally unstable.

Another factor are the gangs and their turf, and most of them are into supplying drugs. Remember that Los Angeles is the drive by shooting capital of the country. Our war on gangs is doing as badly as our war on drugs.

Unlike the random and unknown potential mass shooter, drugs, and gangs are visible and a known problem. If we can't solve that, then how can we solve the unknown volatile potential shooters?

I am not saying don't try, but put the main thrust of the law enforcement resources on the known and track-able criminals. It seems like the government has lost focus on these threats to society.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 14, 2015:

Absolutely drugs have to be factored in. It used to be only alcohol, but now there are dozens of mind bending drugs, mostly addictive and some cause violent action beyond what it takes to get more of it. That is certainly a part of it as is the feeling that it's OK to use them. And maybe they are making us more stupid as a whole - it wouldn't surprise me as a great many have a bad effect on brain tissue.

The tool - that's what I meant. All we want to do is make more gun controls to restrict the tool of choice, not dig for a real cause of violence.

Brad on October 14, 2015:


A Met fan just got beat up yesterday at a LA Dodger game. This could be similar to the SF Giant fan that got beat sense some years ago. This gives a new meaning to violent sport, and the fans are the violent ones.

Years ago, the Lakers fans rioted when their team won.

So maybe we are missing the obvious, generation by generation kids are less smart.

Illegal and legal drug use continue to increase every year, or maybe the news reports more each year.

Drugs have to be factored into the equation. And maybe it has ingrained itself into the DNA of future generations. Today we have more dangerous and mind bending synthetic drugs.

As for your restrict the tool, isn't that the same kind of problem as gun control?

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 14, 2015:

Well, I watched the same things and it didn't turn me into a mass murderer, either. Or any other kid I knew.

But I don't know that that has much bearing; I didn't have the violent video games to (possibly) add to the effect. Or, as you say, the news channels concentrating on any violence in the country. Or the increasingly violent sports. Or a lot of other things.

I guess I'm trying to say that I believe our violence is a mixture of a lot of things, and no single item can be described as "pivotal" or even a cause at all. It's something that for some reason is building slowly over time and changing the outlook towards violence in our country. Video games may be adding to the fire, they may not; we're going to have to find out (with a lot of other possibilities) but all we want to do is restrict the tool being used as if that is the only answer necessary.

Brad on October 14, 2015:


Were straight, thanks for the effort.

As for child psychology, I agree with you. I am basing my opinion on what I thought when I was a child, and the fact that we didn't see any crazy reaction from kids that watched the cartoons. If there was some, I didn't hear about it, but then we didn't have the 24-7 news then.

Thanks again

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 14, 2015:

It was not there - I found it and approved it when I saw the third comment. But we're straight now (I hope!). It was just that this hub was receiving a lot of comments in a short time and I simply missed yours. Didn't pay enough attention to the email, I guess.

You may well be right about the cartoons - I am simply too ignorant in the field of child psychology to have much input there. I would like to see some (meaning a dozen or so) professional opinions on the matter, though, as simply saying "they'll have to understand".

Brad on October 14, 2015:


I didn't see my second comment when I made my third comment.

If it was there, I apologize.

As to the Coyote, it is probably much dangerous for children that you can be flattened by a falling bolder, and then get up.

But because that cartoon was run for decades and we didn't see any bad actions from it. The children must have been smart enough to know cartoon characters are not real.

And the video gamers children have to make that same conclusion.

Thanks for the reply.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 14, 2015:

Wba, that is the conclusion I draw as well. While there might be a few things to help prevent suicides or stolen guns, we have already taken most of the steps we should until we can show some real results from them. Something beyond simply assuming that it works and then watch as another school goes down.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 14, 2015:

Poolman - I can agree with most of that. Particularly the welfare part - it is well established that idle hands will find trouble, and that is exactly what we are doing with virtually unlimited welfare programs for any that want them. Producing idle hands that then get into trouble.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 14, 2015:

Bradmaster - I really apologize for missing your first post and assure you it was not intentional. I value all comments on this hub whether I agree or not.

But to reply to your comment; I think it has merit, and do believe that it may be (probably is) a good stress relief mechanism. For an adult or even older teen in full possession of their mental capacities. For those whose aim is to beat the game, not simply kill people on the screen.

For young children, well, I kind of cringe when the blood spatters and they shriek in joy and amazement at the bloody screen. For those kids, growing up finding pleasure in the gore rather than winning over the game designer, it could be a different story. I don't know - I'm not psychiatrist enough to determine that - but think it is possible.

Cartoons - don't forget that Wile E was never killed or even damaged. He popped right back up, still chasing the road runner. Elmer Fudd never shot the rabbit and Sylvester never actually got to eat Tweety. And none of them could be confused with depictions of living, breathing people. Again, it might make a difference - I don't know.

I apologize again for missing your post, and repeat that it was not intentional.

wba108@yahoo.com from upstate, NY on October 14, 2015:

I agree, unless you can absolutely prove the connection between gun ownership and violence there should be no further restrictions imposed on law abiding citizens the would risk their Constitutional liberties.

Old Poolman on October 14, 2015:

You both make excellent points. With that said I will throw in my own observations.

At some point in our past, many parents quit teaching their children the same things we were taught. The work ethic of many of our young people is almost non-existant. As a former employer I could see the decline in work ethic over the years I owned my own business. There is much said by politicians regarding our high unemployment numbers, but very few applicants apply for even good paying jobs. Our welfare system has evolved to the point where it is far easier to just not work than it is to take a job and have to learn new skills. Very few schools even have vocational training anymore.

Our educational standards have sunk to the point that many high school graduates can barely read and write, let alone do simple math in their heads. There is much more emphasis on brain washing young minds than there is with filling their heads with knowledge.

God has been removed from almost every public school, perhaps from all of them.

We are so afraid of the PC Police that we give in immediately if something like the American Flag, a Nativity Scene, or something of that nature offends even someone who is in this country illegally. I seriously doubt that any other country in the world gives a damn if someone is offended by anything in that country. And that is how it should be.

Abortion has become so easy that many teen aged girs have had several, often without their parents knowledge. None of the fathers of these children are ever held accountable for their actions.

I truly believe we have sunk so low it is now impossible to restore this country to what it used to be. The mindset of so many is now so distorted that they honestly believe everything should be free. The thought of working and saving for something they desire just goes against the way they believe.

Sure, there are still some really good people out there, young and old, but they are now outnumbered by those who believe the "progressive" way is the right way.

Violence will continue to increase as the value we place on human life decreases.

I don't believe any civilization has ever survived and they all destroyed themselves. We will most likely be the next civilization to self destruct.

Brad on October 14, 2015:

First you don't acknowledge my comment. and then you don't publish my second comment.

Don't both replying

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 14, 2015:

I dunno, Will. Personally, I find that our moral structure has improved over 2 centuries; blacks are not suited only for slavery, women aren't sub class non-citizens, we can marry who we wish and we no longer tolerate any specific religion being forced onto the rest of the population.

Yes, teen pregnancies are rampant (though I don't see that as a moral matter) and boy-dads slink away (which IS a moral consideration) and both (I think) have an effect on violence.

But along the way we've also lost the reverence for human life; it isn't valued as it used to be. It's OK to take extreme, violent, action because we're upset at something or maybe just just despondent or depressed today. We've also lost our sense of responsibility and ownership - if we want something we'll steal it - and I tend to think that the two forms of violence (personal and theft or vandalism) are connected somehow.

So yes, it runs very deep and we don't know why or what is at the root. I refuse to believe it is a lack of religion - some of the worst examples are from religious reasons - but I don't really know where else to look. And those with the resources to truly investigate aren't doing it, mostly for political reasons.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on October 14, 2015:

I don't like gratuitous violence either, but if that's the real cause, why do fatherless kids commit crimes at far higher rates than kids living with both mom and dad, since they both watch such movies?

I have a vast collection of old time radio shows complete with old time network announcements. It's stunning for today's generation to hear CBS and NBC announcers encouraging listeners to attend churches and synagogues to worship. Imagine the angry uproar if that happened today.

We have drifted far from our national roots and moral standards due to progressive demands that "Susie Homemakers" get out of the house and abandon their children to day care, and that God be banished from public view. The stigma attached to out-of-wedlock sex and pregnancies has disappeared, and high school girls now proudly show off their swollen abdomens or get an abortion through their school without parental awareness. The boy-dads slink away with no intention of raising their child/children.

This problem runs very deep, and the solutions are not acceptable to progressives, so it can only get worse. The greatest nation on Earth is in a steep decline, and we may not be able to recover.

Brad on October 14, 2015:


I respectfully disagree with arguments about video games.

First, even the cartoons were violent way before video games. The Coyote versus the Road Runner, Yosemite Sam versus Bugs Bunny.

A normal child never confused these cartoons with reality.

As a video gamer of first person shooter genre, I don't associate the events on the screen with real life. I have no tendency from playing these games to taking the violence outside into the real world.

Whenever you have millions of people doing something, there are those few that see it differently. In the case of video games, the fault lies in the user, and not in the games.

As far as I know there are no games where Suicide is the game winner. And over fifty percent of the gun deaths in this country are caused by suicide. Most of the rest of the suicides come from drugs, and mental conditions.

The violent video games allow a release of tension as do other ways of blowing off steam.

My martial arts instructor, would relieve his tension and stress by playing these video games. He could have just as well went to a bar and killed someone, or several people with his skills.

So don't underestimate the positive value of these video games.

There are truly sick people that play these video games, but they were sick before they played the games.

As in everything in life, there are always some exceptions to the rules. But if you were normal in mind, then you could play any of them without taking it to the streets.

my opinion

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 14, 2015:

Stats, no. However, compare the movies and TV shows to those of 50 years ago; "Leave it To Beaver" or "The Waltons" is just not the same as "CSI: Special Victims" or "Delta Force". Look at video games; outside of those intended for a 5 year old they are almost always violent "shoot-em-up" games. Sports have become increasingly violent with such things as MMA, and even coaches of the 10 year old baseball leagues have to be prepared for ugly confrontations with parents, sometimes culminating in violence.

Where little boys used to pound each other and walk away arm in arm, now it's bad enough we require a zero tolerance policy for anything even resembling a weapon and little girls taunt each other to the point of suicide. As a kid, I spent hours with matchbox cars, making towns and roads - now kids spend hours seeing how much blood they can spatter across a screen. Mass shootings were unheard of, but now it is becoming an accepted way of taking out frustration and the name is spread far and wide.

Media concentrates on violence, with but a rare and almost random "feel good" story - they do it because that's what people pay to see. We WANT to see and hear about violence; it titillates and fascinates us somehow.

It can even be seen in the gun industry; used to be that targets were either the bulls-eye sort or a game animal. Now half of what you see in the store is a human silhouette and it isn't to learn to shoot where the heart is.

So...no stats, just a conclusion from what I see around us every day. Do you disagree? Does the sight of parents at a little league game, fists waving and face red, screaming in huge anger at a referee play a part? When my 11 year old grandson is playing football and tackled then slugged repeatedly under the pile, or opposing team members carefully walk up and stomp his arm does it begin the process of teaching violence? When the winning team, at 50-0, walks off the field laughing and without a handshake or "Good game!", does it say anything about destroying the opponents rather than winning a game?

When the favorite video game is the one with the most blood, does it say anything? Or when the object is to run down pedestrians with baby strollers? When the response to an abortion clinic is to murder the physician and blow up the building...and the pro-life group applauds the vigilantism?

Watch the video in the side bar above, and think about saying one thing while actions are completely different, and then ask yourself "Why?". What makes it so profitable? Why do we pay lip service to ending violence and then promote it? Why does it work and earn millions?

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on October 13, 2015:

There are lots of stats concerning lack of a father in the home and crime, but I'm not aware of any concerning "fascination and glorification of violence".

Do you have a source?

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 13, 2015:

I agree that those things would make a good start, but only a start. We all, IMHO, have a very real problem with our fascination and glorification of violence. Until we address that we aren't going to have a real solution.

A good family life is necessary but insufficient in and of itself.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on October 13, 2015:

The solution for a great deal of the violence is an intact, functional family with a loving father in the home. Nearly 80% of all prisoners either grew up without a father in the home or lived in a violent, dysfunctional home.

We need to reintroduce the stigmas that were once attached to drug usage, unwed mothers, divorces, domestic violence, and sex outside of marriage.

That may horrify some liberal people, but stigmas are very useful societal tools.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 12, 2015:

Understood, Will, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to figure out just why our culture is so violent. Because we're ALL affected by it, very much so, whether it actually kills us or not. Our loved ones are injured or die. We live in fear for both them and us (how many people are armed for self protection?). For every death there are many injuries. We spend uncounted billions for both protection/security as well for the political battles to take guns.

So while it is not the crises many would have us believe, it IS a problem and one that needs a solution.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on October 12, 2015:

Sure, but it's not the 'crisis' hysterical liberals want us to believe. If you don't do any of those things, you are far more likely to die from a fall.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 12, 2015:

True, Will, but it's that "collateral damage" that gets us. From the mentally ill that kill indiscriminately. From wild bullets fired at someone else. From the armed thief, whether at your home or the bank you entered.

Statistically it is indeed near zero but we need to get it a lot closer.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on October 10, 2015:

In the end, if you are not a criminal, not suicidal, don't use the illicit drugs that force you to deal with criminals, and are not a brave police officer, your chance of being shot in America is near zero.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 10, 2015:

It's the opposite of most thinking. And so different that most people just assume that is somehow wrong and ignore it. A very big mistake.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on October 09, 2015:

I'm glad I stopped by to read this and look at the graphs. The data in numeric form is telling about different countries.

I think it is very wise that the mayor of Jerusalem is encouraging everyone with a gun permit to carry in light of the people who have been attacked and killed recently by enemy forces.

* It is the complete opposite of Obama's reasoning.

(will share this)

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on August 06, 2015:

But if you had a bomb, what of your chances of killing then? That guns are easier than knives doesn't mean they are the ultimate killing tool. Or that by taking them away we aren't slowly driving killers to more effective tools than guns. Just something to consider

Henry Wordsworth from United States on August 06, 2015:

Statistics...Awesome! I like how you mention correlation does not equal causation Mr. scientist man. Very wise. But, your main point that guns do not really effect homicide may be true. However, I would argue that guns do effect homicide rates just a little. I reason this because guns help killers become more effective in their killings.

If you had a knife, it would significantly reduce your chances of killing as many people as possible than if you had a gun available. This simply just relates to mass murder, which is a very tiny portion of the homicide rates. Most homicides are committed in a spur-of-the-moment type fashion. Homicides are largely caused by uncontrollable emotions that burst up and cause destruction. Most homicides are committed by intimates and are not planned. Thus, guns would not really effect the majority of homicides and therefore gun control will not significantly effect homicide rates.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on August 05, 2015:

That's the way it works, alright. And yet the continue to limit guns, with the only result being to quieten the fears of the people...until the next rampage, whereupon they demand more controls.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on August 05, 2015:

When guns are outlawed, criminals simply change tools. Now that no one legally carries a gun in the UK, knifings are on the rise.

Brad on August 05, 2015:

Gun control can do no more than Prohibition did for Alcohol. abuse.

We have strong drug laws, and prisons filled with drug users, and drug dealer, yet the drugs keep a billion dollar criminal activity alive.

Half of the dun deaths were suicides.

Laws cannot change human nature, it can only hide it.

People are still smoking, even after the 1964 warning.

People still driving drunk, and still drinking a lot.

People are still taking illegal drugs, and today we have custom drugs, so there are many to choose from today.

Gangs in the world feed off the addicts in the US, and they have weapons, and arsenals that are bigger and better than the police.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on July 31, 2015:

"The way the world is going, perhaps I should carry all of the time?"

That's something I wonder about too. What if a shooter or terrorist(s) shows up and that's the day I chose to be unarmed? It's not likely at all, of course, but still...!

Old Poolman on July 30, 2015:

People are very creative, they can find a way to kill someone else whenever they want to. Like you, I do have a Concealed Weapons Permit and I do carry at times. The way the world is going, perhaps I should carry all of the time?

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