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

Updated on July 19, 2016
Source

After Newtown, Connecticut

In the wake of the Sandy hook Elementary tragedy there has 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 was 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, looked at some options or 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 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.

Source

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 the 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 70's 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 affect of car related deaths? No, because in those intervening years seat belts, air bags, 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 premiss is that if guns are not available the killers will use another tool, but is it true?

Source

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.

Source

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.

Is this 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

Country
Gun ownership rate
Gun homicide rate
General homicide rate
Australia
15.0
.02
1.2
Austria
30.4
.02
.05
Belgium
17.2
.07
1.9
Brazil
8.0
18.0
22.3
Canada
30.8
.06
1.8
China
4.9
0.0
1.2
Cuba
4.8
.02
5.0
Cyprus
36.4
.03
1.2
Czech Republic
16.3
.03
1.9
Denmark
12.0
.01
.07
Egypt
3.5
.04
.09
England & Wales
6.2
.01
1.5
Finland
45.3
0.5
2.4
France
31.2
0.1
1.3
Germany
30.3
.02
.09
Greece
22.5
.03
1.1
Hungary
5.5
0.1
1.5
Iceland
30.3
0.0
0.7
India
4.2
0.4
3.4
Ireland
8.6
0.4
1.8
Israel
7.3
0.1
1.9
Italy
11.9
0.7
1.1
Japan
0.6
0.0
0.5
Latvia
19.0
0.2
4.1
Luxemburg
15.3
0.4
1.5
Mexico
15.0
3.7
8.1
Netherlands
3.9
0.3
1.0
New Zealand
22.6
0.1
1.1
Northern Ireland
21.9
0.2
1.5
Norway
31.3
0.1
0.6
Panama
21.7
8.6
13.3
Peru
18.8
2.1
10.4
Poland
1.3
0.1
1.4
Portugal
8.5
0.5
1.7
Romania
0.7
0.0
1.9
South Africa
12.7
17.0
37.9
Spain
10.4
0.1
1.1
Sweden
34.6
0.1
1.2
Switzerland
45.7
0.8
0.7
Turkey
12.5
0.8
3.6
Ukraine
6.6
0.2
6.3
United States
88.8
3.8
5.7

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    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 4 years ago from Northern California

      Hi wilderness,

      It's refreshing to read the hubs of authors who are not afraid of statistics, and not afraid to put possible confirmation biases on the shelf when analyzing these statistics.

      As you say, there are many factors that influence homicide rates. It's no surprise that firearms ownership is not a great predictor of homicide rates.

      If we want to tease out the relationship--if any--between firearm ownership rates and homicide rates, there are two things we could look at.

      First, we could compare homicide rates between demographically matched cities within the same country--for example within the USA. One member of each pair would would have strict Gun Control, and the other would be more 2nd Amendment-friendly.

      Better still, we could study cities, counties, or states that have made big changes in their firearms laws. These big changes that we choose to study should be in both directions. Let's look at 5-year-average statistical 'snapshots' of homicide rates before and after the big changes. This would filter out economic ups and downs, and some other factors that affect homicide rates.

      Voted up.

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 4 years ago from NJ, USA

      Great hub. I think there are a lot of people trying to blame everything else other than society - Video Games, Movies, TV, Guns all get blamed for the increase in violence but the statistics disagree - we need to fix society, bring back family values etc. All these things are symptoms not the cause!

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      @ Larry Fields: I thought of cities, as you say, but there are problems. Few cities are matched well enough - LA certainly doesn't match Chicago, New York, Boston or much of anything else. Our big cities are almost countries to themselves in culture.

      Before and after works, to a degree, and that's what I tried to show with Australia. The only problem is there is no guarantee that it will in other places; one data point doesn't mean much.

      Thanks for the thoughts - it's good to hear someone actually thinking about the problem rather than just an emotional reaction to a tragedy.

      @Simey: Thanks, Simey. I believe you're 100% correct; the problem is somewhere in our society, and probably more than one thing. We need to change our values somehow, and make them countrywide to boot. Pretty hard when you think of the cultural differences between big city slums, affluent neighborhoods and farms all at once. I don't have an answer, and I've put a lot of thought into it. I just don't think gun control will do anything but make gun owners mad, and Sandy Hook will happen again if guns are the best answer we come up with. Something much deeper in our culture needs changed.

    • profile image

      leftshoe 4 years ago

      Good to see objective statistics as part of the argument. I'm firmly in the "undecided" category, because I've never been good at taking a stand on an issue without plenty of facts to back it up, and now that I have a little information on the topic ... I'm a little disturbed that I still can't make up my mind.

      Thanks, though, for tackling a touchy subject.

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Leftshoe, I fully sympathize. Writing this article has left me in somewhat of the same dilemma; I didn't know what I would find when I started out to look at this, and certainly didn't expect to find such a total lack of correlation. I thought that there might be some, but to nowhere the degree that I found.

      It's a little (or a lot) counter intuitive to think that taking away guns won't help cut the murder rate. Worse, where do we go from here? If taking guns won't help, what will? I still think of Sandy Hook every time I see my grand children at school and I want that problem fixed.

      It's so easy to ignore things like this analysis and put effort into gun control, but if there is any validity at all to this study (and I'm convinced there is or I wouldn't have written it) it means that we aren't going to do anything effective at all and that's completely unacceptable.

      It means we're going to have to make major changes in society. In ourselves, our attitudes and culture, and no one wants to hear that. It's too much work, we like the way we are and as a result we will do nothing.

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 4 years ago from Arizona

      Man this is an awesome hub! I was about to write one just like this, but it looks like you beat me to it. Statistics and numbers are great at showing the unbiased truth of any situation. As long as your data is reliable anyway. Your conclusion is exactly what most people already know - tougher gun control laws won't reduce the number of gun related homicides.

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      CWanamaker, people may know it in their heads, but their gut hasn't gotten the word yet. People dying, especially our children, override reason any day and rationality goes out the window.

      Somehow, we have to get beyond that, find a real solution and implement it. I just don't know how.

    • Alberic O profile image

      Alberic O 4 years ago from Any Clime, Any Place

      Excellent Hub

      Mistakes on basic statistics people always make is always assuming correlation is causation. I've seen this used on both sides of the gun control argument.

      Fallacies- oh boy there are lots of it. Fallacies appealing to fear and sympathy (lots of it) are used. The thing with fallacies is that they are often designed to sound reasonable- but the reasoning is incorrect. That is why many fall for it.

    • profile image

      GoldenThreadPress 4 years ago

      Years ago when I took my state's hunter safety course, the instructor made it clear: "Guns do not kill, people do." Killing is a choice and the hard reality of this is that we are blaming a "thing" and not the people who are choosing to hurt one another. Even if we take away the guns, there will be other items that will be used to fulfill their wishes. And, sadly, even this is beginning to take shape. I think that we need to get to the root of the problem and study the "why" of these incidents and then figure out how to offer aid to the millions of potential victims in these cases, as well as find a way to diffuse these potential "killers."

      In my state alone, we've had two major shootings (with National coverage), all with individuals who were known to have issues. Yet, they were allowed to continue on, even with a restraining order in one case. No protection for the wife or the others. Those whose lives were lost were innocent.

      Even so, I do stand on the side that high-powered machine guns and such need to be managed or at the very least tracked. And, obviously any convicted felons with records shouldn't have guns--as per their court orders, but again, let's look at the deeper issue before jumping to condemn all gun ownership. Voted Up!--Deb

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      @Alberic O: Absolutely. Statistics do not indicate causality but it is usually claimed anyway. A lack of correlation can indicate lack of causality (as it does here) but the reverse is not true at all.

      Murder and death produce high emotions, but if we actually want an answer the fallacies built around those emotions and grief will have to be set aside for actual answers.

      @GoldenThreadPress: After looking at the data provided here, I agree. The root of our problem is social and it will take a social answer to stop it. Removing the tool from society isn't going to help appreciably.

      Machine guns - those that will fire indefinitely with one trigger press - are already tracked. They are available but are quite costly and difficult to obtain (legally) and they are seldom used in street or mass killings as a result.

      Felons - I can't see a real reason to deny a drunk driver a gun. He has no record of any particular violence and his propensity for disregarding the law doesn't indicate that he will, either. That kind of thing is part of the social problem we've created in that it doesn't have any simple answers. We need a lot of work and study to truly understand what has gone wrong in our culture.

    • profile image

      AntonOfTheNorth 4 years ago

      Query (and apologies if I just missed it) But the gun ownership numbers would reflect weapons obtained legally, correct?

      Much has been said that legal gun owners aren't the problem, and I agree. Law abiding citizens are never going to be reflected in the homicide statistics are they? If you have not broken the law, then you will not be reflected in statistics about breaking the law. The stats reflect legal gun ownership against the crime of homicide with a gun, no?

      Were you able to find numbers on how many of those gun homicides that were committed with illegally owned or obtained firearms?

      In the most recent case, the weapons were legally owned, but not used by the legal owner. 3 weapons causing 27 deaths. The weapons illegally obtained (stolen from the owner, who was one of the victims).

      Also worth noting that the boy attempted to acquire a weapon legally but was stymied by a fourteen day background check. If he had had just a little more patience, he too would have been legally armed. The existing law would have been ineffective at keeping the boy from acquiring a lethal weapon.

      Yes, there is no way the gun merchant could have known what he intended to do with the weapons he would have purchased, but that is just my point. There is no way to know what any random person will do with a gun. We do know how it is intended to be used, though. It should not surprise us when someone who acquires a gun uses it as it was intended. We don't expect cars to sit in driveways or in showrooms. We expect them to be driven.

      Statistics are the beginning of a rational conversation. They are not the end.

      Thanks for the work and the writing . My opinion is that what you have demonstrated is that existing gun control is not really control. Guns are still being used to commit crimes. They wouldn't be if the guns were not obtainable. Gun control can't just be about legal avenue control. It has to be real. They have to be so difficult to get that committing a crime with them is impractical.

      Like you, I'm not sure what the solution is. My belief is that the solution is not LESS control, nor is it MORE guns.

      cheers

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This is a good article with the statistics that make a valid point. My husband and I are gun owners also, but just occasionally go to the shooting range for a little target practice. We don't carry guns around with us otherwise. I don't want the government to take away our rights, but I do not see any use for assault weapons. I think the problems are related to society from children not being taught about gun safety, from one parent homes where that parent must be gone for too many hours a day to earn a living and for all the violence on TV. These are just a few possibilities. I also think we are not recognizing when someone is mentally ill and is planning a violent act. I wish I had some good answers but I do not think we should outlaw guns.

    • Mikeg422 profile image

      Michael Gill 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Wilderness great hub! One statistic that I didn't see represented here, through no fault of your own (I researched and couldn't find any statistical evidence either) is the fact that the states, and cities with the strictest gun control regulations also happen to be the murder capitals of the country. One of which I can vouge for is Philadelphia, we are a small city, very strict gun laws, and punishments, yet year after year we have the highest homicide rate in the country. Then if you look at New York again very strict gun laws, very high murder rate. Detroit, same thing. On the other side of the coin open carry states like Utah for instance had 2 gun homicides for the whole damn state in a whole year. I do agree society has a lot to do with the whole situation, but I do find it odd that media conveniently leaves out statistics that don't lead down the road to trying to ban guns. Thanks for this hub very enlightening.

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      @Anton: I did not actually examine the studies I got the information from; all I wanted was the raw data and not their conclusions. With so many countries involved, I believe that the numbers of guns will be an estimate, a best guess, as to total ownership, not just legally obtained guns. A total of 178 countries were represented in those studies, although not every country had figures for every year, and differing countries and methods of law enforcement will make it impossible to determine only legally obtained weapons. Depending on exactly where the data comes from we will also see countries "hiding" numbers in order to make themselves look better; a hazard we simply have to accept and work with when using their numbers.

      I think you're correct; our current gun control is poor at best and far too many weapons end up in the hands of criminals that should never have them. I don't, however, have an answer to that - look at what the US is doing to both Canada and Mexico in guns and what both are doing to the US in illegally "imported" marijuana. We will never stop gun ownership by those that want them bad enough; the key is to stop people from wanting them.

      In any case, though, the statistics clearly show that limiting gun ownership will not reduce the homicide rate. Although I was able to find only limited stats on gun ownership VS mass killings (two examples are not enough for an analysis) what little I did find in the UK and Australia indicate that it doesn't help there, either.

      @Pamela99: Thank you. "Assault weapons" are a problem I see in discussions in that the term isn't well defined. Most definitions will include the .22 my nephew owns with it's semi-automatic function and 17 round tubular magazine. That isn't an "assault" weapon, but under most definitions it classifies.

      To me, an "assault" weapon is a fully automatic weapon, probably belt fed but with at least 50-100 round capacity. While those are legal to own, they are very expensive and difficult to obtain - very few are to be found outside of drug or Mob cartels. Because of that, they aren't a large problem and we see very few murders using them.

      If the definition instead includes any semi-automatic gun then we will find that they are so popular that they need classified as a "normal" weapon and will be included in the stats on gun ownership VS homicides; removing them won't change anything.

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      @Mikeg422: Good point, but one of the thoughts I ran across in this research was that big cities with big homicide problems react by implementing gun controls. There is already a high homicide rate when controls are implemented and controls are also accompanied by a wide variety of other efforts to limit the violence as well.

      In addition, cities have widely varying root causes for the violence. Inner city Detroit, for example, will be far different from LA or Salt Lake City. It makes actual comparison of control results very difficult and I gave that one up as a lost cause for someone with my limited means.

      We can probably say, though, that gun controls are ineffective there, too. Homicides rates, in the cities I looked at, did not change significantly in less than a decade or so; I doubt that controls were a real cause for any drop but it is possible. Inconclusive data, and not something I cared to present as a result of that.

    • profile image

      Casimiro 4 years ago

      Thanks for writing a factual-based hub (though facts themselves are of course open to interpretation). I think it would be quite interesting if you had used a rate based on the number of shooting victims, not just homicides. I wonder if the data would show a different pattern.

      Also, it appears you are presuming that the effect of the Australian effort should have happened overnight, since you are concluding that the homicide rate didn't drop immediately. Their gun control effort was a difficult one and took quite a while to have its effect. To say that there appears to be no correlation seems rather dubious since the data show about a 70% drop in gun homicides over the years.

      And one picayune point: The word data is plural. :)

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I have always believed that, if you are set on committing a crime, you will find a way to do it with the tools available. Or you'll illegally get the tools you want. As your analysis of homicide rates show, keeping guns from honest people doesn't make homicide less likely.

      What I find amazing is the difference in 'hot robbery' rates in places with strict gun control and places that allow guns. The UK has a very high hot robbery rate because criminals break into people's houses knowing the residents are at home because they know they won't get shot. That just doesn't happen very often in the US.

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      @Casimiro: I would imagine that non-lethal shootings would go down if guns were outlawed, just as gun homicides did. In a like fashion, if you take the guns away then criminals won't have so many guns to use.

      I would also expect to see other violent crime increase - knifings, beatings, etc. but have not looked and cannot say for sure at all. These figures surprised me, and stats for violent crime in general could do so as well.

      I would not expect the homicide rate to drop immediately after gun control laws were instituted, but think that a decade later, or even 7-8 years as Australia found, is too long to correlate the two. Other measures will be continually taken as government fights crime and these will all have an effect too. In something like this, where results trail action by many years, it becomes impossible to assign a cause without a great many more samples to work with and then is problematical.

      @Natashalh: That could make an interesting study in itself - robbery rates vs. gun controls and particularly "hot robbery" (robbery when the residents are home?) rates. I may look into that - it would make a good match to this one.

    • profile image

      Casimiro 4 years ago

      First, I mis-wrote in my first comment: I meant that the data show Australia's gun homicide rate is 70% of what it was.

      Another thought occurred to me, also. I wonder what the data would show if you accounted for the kind of guns owned per country. The U.S. shows a very high rate, but I'm guessing that the vast majority of those guns are used for hunting (maybe not). I'd like to see a study on gun control that focused just on gun types that have no practical use for hunting, such as the semi-autos and so-called Saturday night specials? What do you think?

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Australia's gun homicide rate did indeed go down, but the general homicide rate only continued a slide that had been seen for several years. My conclusion, then, is that increased gun controls only changed the method of killing, not the number of people killed.

      Examining the type of gun used might be advantageous - I don't know. I do know that collecting that information will not be simple - at least I've never seen data on that before. It's probably there, buried in police files, but has never (as far as I know) been compiled.

      Pistol information might be useful, but semi-automatic rifles are popular for hunting. They certainly have a practical use there.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 4 years ago from Jamaica

      The most important factor cannot be measured by statistics, Culture. If guns are banned in America, the price of guns will only increase. Nothing will change. People will then compete to own such weapons because they will become afraid that their neighbours will have one and they won't have one.

      Legal gun ownership does help to increase crime amongst other factors but gun control will not reduce gun crimes.

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      @rasta1: I think you're right - the most important factor is culture. There is something with what we're doing there.

      I'm not so sure that legal gun ownership increases crime. It does not increase homicides, and by extension I think it unlikely it would increase other crimes, either. As in homicides, other tools will likely be used.

    • profile image

      Thor 4 years ago

      Great article. I wonder if our war on drugs has anything to do with gun violence. By keeping marijuana and possibly other drugs illegal, we allow the Mexican drug cartels to export some of their violence into the US. 80% of the cartel's business is marijuana. Crime increased during the prohabition era. I'm guessing that keeping drugs illegal is contributing to some of this. I'm sure not all gang violence is drug related, but a lot of it is.

      Makes me wonder what other Federal laws and regulations influence gun or other violence?

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Good point on the drugs, and I'm sure you're right. I'm not so sure about comparing our current violence to that during the prohibition; yes there were lots of gunfights, but all over stills and alcohol. I don't know if it was actually transferred to society in general as we're seeing today.

      It might be interesting to see if there are any stats on homicide rates before, during and after prohibition. If so, did the rate change during prohibition and if it did, was the change greater or less in those states noted for lots of stills (Ky, Tn, Ga, WVa, etc.)? Might be worth a look.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      Hi wilderness,

      Australia's gun control laws didn't ban ownership of guns ... just introduced restrictions on the types of guns available. The biggest c

    • wilderness profile image
      Author

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      @LongTimeMother - yes I understood that - you can tell from the gun ownership statistics. If they banned very many Australia must have had a half dozen per person before the laws changed!

      Either way, though, the homicide rate statistics from Australia clearly show it didn't do much, if any, good. That rate did decrease, but only many years later, and after much more effort was made.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      Hello wilderness,

      I don't know what happened to the rest of my earlier comment, but I'll try again. Gun laws were promptly changed after a massacre at Port Arthur in Tasmania. Even before the changes, only a very small percentage of Australians owned guns. Farmers, yes. But in cities there have never been many gun owners at all.

      The two key graphs on your post cannot really be compared to draw a conclusion that Australia's gun laws didn't have an effect. Firstly, your American graph is for Gun Homicides and it peaks at 40. Yet the Australian graph is for Homicides (not just guns) and peaks at a mere 1.8 ie less than 2.

      Following the link that you provided to the Australian government site I found a graph that clearly shows a decline in murders involving firearms after the law changed. The heading on the relevant graph is "Homicides involving firearms as a percentage of total homicides, 1915-2003" and you'll notice a significant drop.

      The same govt site says "Over the past 18 years (1 July 1989 to 30 June 2007), the rate* of homicide incidents decreased from 1.9 in 1990-91 and 1992-93 to the second-lowest recorded rate, of 1.3, in 2006-07. *rate per 100,000 population." That's a clear drop in homicides in general, and remember there's also a drop in the percentage of homicides involving firearms. It is therefore impossible to argue that the change in our gun laws has had no positive effect.

      Certainly there are still murders in Australia, but generally the victims in multiple murders here tend to be family members. There was a high profile case of three teenage children murdered in their home while their parents were overseas, but there was no gun involved. It is true that gun control won't put an end to murder … but there have been no repeats of the Port Arthur massacre since the removal of semi-automatic weapons from Australian homes.

      Homicide is so uncommon in Australia that every murder victim is mentioned on the nightly news, and months can pass without one murder anywhere in the whole country. I can't imagine the television news in America mentioning every murder victim. Some days there would be little time for anything else in the news bulletin.

      We can still own guns in Australia, but we can't just walk into a gun shop and buy one without having applied via the government and been granted permission to purchase. That process takes time. Plus you have to be licensed, having undertaken safety training and had police checks done etc. My husband and I are both licensed and own pistols because we are sporting shooters although I have decided to sell mine because I find it increasingly difficult to find the time to attend the required number of competitions each year.

      In Australia all guns have to be kept locked in gun safes and unlicensed people including family members are not allowed to have access to the safe. Ammunition is stored separately. Years ago farmers would simply pick their rifle or shotgun up from its resting place on the table or behind the couch and shoot the fox they spotted out the window heading for the chickens. It's not that quick and easy now … but years ago children were killed in gun accidents, and that's no longer a problem here.

      I have seen news reports from America where outraged gun owners are complaining that they need to have their semi-automatic weapons on hand to protect themselves from home invasion. I'm not sure how many people they think will be invading their home at one time. I can't imagine ever wanting to shoot a person, but I know for a fact I wouldn't need more than the six bullets in a standard pistol to protect myself against a handful of intruders. I'm thinking perhaps a lot of American gun owners need to spend more time training to hit a moving target instead of thinking they'll just blindly shoot up their entire home or garden with a gun that's really rather hard to control.

      I am aware that Americans insist they have a right to bear arms. But a right to bear arms is not the same thing as a right to bear automatic or semi-automatic weapons. I'd be very surprised if the American govt suggested that everyone give up all guns.

      What exactly is the precise wording in the Constitution? And what would the wording in the Constitution have been if those who wrote it could have imagined the type of firearms that could cause such damage in a school of innocent children? I doubt they could have imagined a society where guns were responsible for the examples of mass murder America has seen in recent years.

      Australian gun owners complained when our gun laws were changed, but I think it is fair to say that everyone got over it. And I believe that our country is better without the types of guns that cause so much harm so quickly.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      @LongTimeMother. I fear you have misinterpreted the graphs and their meanings. The first graph, as you point out, is gun related homicides and is shown here merely as an agreement that they go down with gun laws. It is not for the US alone, but for 42 different countries; those shown in the data table at the bottom of the hub. The data for the graph comes from that table.

      The second one is the one that counts and clearly shows there is no correlation between gun ownership and the homicide rates, again over those same countries. Fewer guns does NOT equate with fewer murders. With the single exception of the US with it's extreme gun ownership AND homicide rate no group of countries show such a relationship; it is far more likely that the US problem is rooted in something else and not in gun ownership.

      The third graph, about Australia, shows the homicide rate over time, both before and after toughening the gun laws there. It is applicable only to Australia and no other country. I'm not familiar with the actual laws that Port Arthur produced, but believe there was considerable conflict and disagreement over them as they did limit free ownership of guns.

      While that graph does indeed show a clearly declining homicide rate, it changed very little for a decade after those laws went into effect. While a delay of 2 or even 3 years might be reasonable while still inferring a cause and effect relationship between the laws and the homicide rate, 10 years is simply too long to make that same determination. Rather than seeing an early decline in the homicide rate, Australia continued the same, slow decline it had seen in prior years without any significant change for nearly a decade.

      During that decade Australia undoubtedly continued to do what it could to make the country safer. Cities grew. The economy can ebb and grow. Society changes in 10 years. All of these will affect the homicide rate and such things are why there is no discernible correlation between the laws affected in 1996 and the steeper drop in homicide rate beginning in about 2004 and continuing to this day. It may be the cause or it may not - it cannot be determined from the information given. Indeed, one would think that stronger laws would produce a drop that would then stabilize, but it has continued the downward slide in homicide rates.

      As an example of this, graphing US homicide rates over time shows an enormous spike in the 1920s, a very large "sag" until more recent times when the graph again shoots far up and then begins to fall again. Interestingly, the 1920s were when prohibition (alcohol was illegal to own, produce or imbibe) laws were enacted and the later rise matches up with the US "war on drugs". As prohibition ended, the homicide rate dropped; as marijuana laws in particular began to be overlooked and ignored later on, so the homicide rate eased. Coincidence? Maybe (probably) but it shows a far better correlation to the homicide rate than gun ownership does, at least in the US. Maybe we should be looking more at not taking away what people want and demand and less at banning guns.

      Lastly, the constitution and guns. What that document says is immaterial, really, how it is interpreted is what counts. Either way, though I agree that our founding fathers could not have envisioned a society were people (not guns) could be responsible for such mayhem. I highly doubt that the rugged individualists at that time would have allowed any such person to walk freely among society. Everyone knew of those people and everyone was prepared to do what was necessary to stop any such action; anything else was simply unthinkable.

      ps - I haven't any idea what happened to your earlier comment, either. Genies of the internet maybe, LOL, but no problem in any case.

    • profile image

      Thor 4 years ago

      What about comparing the incarceration rates of different countries to homicide rates? The US has by far the highest incarceration rate for the larger countries. I think Russia is second, while most of the western european countries are about 1/8 to 1/10 of the US rate . A lot of inmates are serving time for various drug crimes (dealing, possession, robbery etc.).

      Different Subject: Why do you think there have been so many large public shootings within the last year? It's weird. Almost like a number of older teenagers/young adults are trying to emulate the Aurora shooter.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Incarceration might indeed be an interesting study, particularly of those locked up for "victimless" crimes. Things that harm no one else but that society finds repugnant; marijuana use, prostitution, public drunkenness, etc. Lock them up with murderers and thieves for a year or two and what can we reasonably expect to get; a good law abiding citizen or a murder or thief?

      Mass killings - yes I think it is partly emulation. It is a large part insanity in my opinion as well, and a pitiful cry to just be noticed. It may be no more than a childish temper tantrum against authority, carried out at the adult level. We treat the mentally ill very poorly in this country while requiring that they integrate with the general community at the same time. It isn't working. In my opinion, however, I feel that only a mentally ill person could or would accomplish those mass killings (particularly of helpless children) and I could be way off base here.

      Interesting thoughts, and I appreciate your checking in with them.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Gun control is not the answer to significantly reducing violent crime in the US. The root problem are the 33,000 gangs and their over 1.4 million gang members.

      I wrote a hub, if you want the details.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Your hub has some very interesting comments to be made, but I doubt that gangs are the actual root of the problem. Gangs play a very significant part, just as you point out, but the problem is far deeper and is rooted in our very society, not merely a small portion of it.

      For readers interested in seeing ib radmasters take on the problem, it is located at https://hubpages.com/politics/It-is-not-the-NRA-or...

    • Steven Dison profile image

      Steven Dison 4 years ago from O'Fallon, Illinois

      Very interesting hub, wilderness. I love how it actually uses statistics. Here's my view of gun control, though. If it indeed does reduce gun deaths (even if they'll find something else to kill with), it is still worth doing. Guns can kill far more people than knives, for instance. At the minimum, I think everyone can agree on universal background checks (ending the gun show loophole), limiting how many rounds per clip, and banning assault weapons. All of which are able to be done while maintaining the Second Amendment, since the Supreme Court said as much in its ruling on the Second Amendment.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Why is it worth doing if it has no effect on the number of deaths? It does reduce gun deaths, but not overall deaths - why then should we put time and effort into something that has no effect except to exert more control over what people can do?

      Actually I would support better background checks as I believe they could well reduce such things as we saw at Sandy Hook Elementary. The reduction is probably too small to show up statistically, but I do believe it would help.

      Banning assault weapons I'm not so happy about, simply because no one seems to agree on what an "assault weapon" is. Give me a good definition and I might support it simply as a compromise that will make some people happy without causing too much harm while it does.

    • Steven Dison profile image

      Steven Dison 4 years ago from O'Fallon, Illinois

      Yeah, it is hard to get a firm definition of "assault weapon." I think the main reason for that is that when they had the original assault weapons ban, the manufacturers just changed the weapons enough to where they couldn't be considered assault weapons. So, it may very well be on purpose to stop it from happening again.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      That is indeed a part of it, but the biggest problem seems to be that the popular opinion is that anything black and mean looking is by definition an "assault" gun. That obviously doesn't work, so definitions then vary from any full automatic to any semi-automatic and with millions and millions of semi-automatic hunting rifles that doesn't work well either.

      It's also somewhat the same problem - I have asked on the forums here how many deaths have come from legally owned fully automatic weapons and the best (only) answer seems to be one murder in 80 years. Same question, then - why ban them if that is all that it's going to accomplish?

    • NotPC profile image

      NotPC 4 years ago

      I love the points you make in this article. Your theme is well illustrated through country comparison: "Killers will kill whether they have guns or not." One suggestion/request that I do have for you is to clarify the data in your conclusion table. I might be missing something obvious, but it would be extremely helpful if you included the units of measurement for the gun ownership rates and homicide rates. I guess I'm just not sure if the rates are per 1000 people or 100 people or 3872 people. Now I'm actually quite curious to know!

      If you were in my class and turned this in I would grade it a 99/100. Great Job!

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Thanks, NotPC. You're right - my son made the same criticism of the graphs, and I forgot to change them. It will take a day or two as I will have to remake the graph, but I promise I will get it done.

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 4 years ago from Texas

      Oh Wow! I'm so impressed with the thoughtful research you put into this hub, that it makes me want to go delete all of mine and start over. I must admit that I write most of mine based on emotion and what I think of as common sense. I'm so happy to have found you.

      Voted Up and more.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Thanks, KT. It was a fair bit of work, but I learned something I wouldn't have thought true by doing it. In the long run it was worth the effort.

    • profile image

      ladyhawk 4 years ago

      I want to thank you for your post it helped me a little bit.It helped me to gather information for a college paper I'm writing on gun control and why we should be against it.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Ladyhawk, you are more than welcome. I fear the position of your paper is not a popular one, mostly because few people will take the time to truly analyze the problem.

      Looks like you're trying to, though, and I certainly hope the article will be of use to you.

    • JPB0756 profile image

      Robert A. Joseph 3 years ago

      I see it thusly: when someone WANTS to kill another, the tool is merely an expedient.(man first learned to use tools, see evolution), personal acceptance, id est knowing yourself, is the ONLY factor society MAY have any influence on, so we all need to realize the fruitless nonsense of using a dichotomy as a foil. Wilderness, nice work.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Thank you. That is indeed what the data seems to show; that if murder is the intended result, the murder will use whatever tool is available, and the choice of tool does not materially affect the chance of success.

    • profile image

      KaosSh3ph3rd 3 years ago

      Thank you for posting this. It's something that is obvious as the day, but there are so many people out there that will choose to deny it to the day they die. By definition criminals do not abide by the laws, so by making stricter gun laws, the only thing that you accomplish is the dis-arming of law abiding citizens. That what we believe in here: http:locallawyers.indefenseofthe2nd.com People have to open up their eyes and speak up before their rights are not only infringed, but taken completely. Thank you again for putting this out there.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Well, I don't know about it being so obvious; it certainly wasn't the result I expected when I began compiling the data. Nor do I think it is simply a matter of criminals having the guns; it has far more to do with a violence oriented society.

      Guns are not the problem, then; the attitude and infatuation with violence in general is. Remove the guns (from everyone, including criminals) and the violence continues unabated.

    • Sillypineapple profile image

      Sillypineapple 3 years ago from Georgia

      Finally someone that spreads the truth about gun control. 100% agree

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 3 years ago from upstate, NY

      Good handling of the facts! The point that gun violence is just the outgrowth of violence in society, is spot on. Laws don't change hearts. If the government outlawed motor vehicles there would no doubt be less traffic accidents but of course it would create a whole new set of problems.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I like that; laws don't change hearts. Because that is indeed the root of the question here; will new and more gun laws change the violence that is within the American public? And the answer is plainly "No".

    • Susan S Manning profile image

      Susan S Manning 3 years ago

      After Sandy Hook I started researching the same subject myself and came up with pretty much the same information you did. You have done an excellent job of presenting it all clearly.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Thank you Susan. It was a surprise to see the results of the work as they became apparent, but it is what it is. And since writing this, I've seen where others have done similar work and are coming to the same conclusions; guns aren't the problem, the violence in our society is. Removing guns will not help a thing except to make us feel good until the next Sandy Hook happens.

    • Mark Lees profile image

      Mark Lees 3 years ago

      An interesting take would be to compare gun rates and homicides in developed countries more fully and to also look at the number of accidental homicides (such as those when an offender has a weapon as a threat and uses it unintentionally resulting in death or injury) and to look at the number of justifiable homicides where guns are involved in a country.

      Purely showing that guns don't necessarily relate to homicide without taking into account social conditions and other gun related deaths is not a solid argument against stronger gun controls.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Accidental deaths by gun, while not zero by any means, are not high enough in my opinion to justify taking the right to own guns from citizens. Or even gun paraphernalia such as magazines. To take our liberties requires a large positive return, and it just isn't there in the case of gun accidents. Better to put efforts into something more "profitable" in terms of lives saved.

    • Susan S Manning profile image

      Susan S Manning 3 years ago

      When I was doing my research, I did make a comparison like that. I never managed to pull it all together because I looked into so many different things to try to see the real picture beyond the rhetoric. I even compared convictions and acquittals relative to shootings to try to get some idea of the number of justified homicides. When you start breaking down the statistics, they just don't show that public ownership of guns is a major threat to our civilization.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      No, public ownership of guns is not a major threat. While our country has a major problem with violent death, it isn't caused by guns. Guns are a red herring, and one that continues to draw our attention while the real roots fester and grow, causing every more violence and death. We would be well advised to look for that cause and find a real solution instead of wasting our time chasing the gun phantom.

    • profile image

      brian 3 years ago

      Black skin is all the protection I need.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 2 years ago from Europe

      It would be interesting to see the stats for gun deaths, not just homicides, but incorporating suicides and "accidents".

      The UK reduced its suicide rate by limiting the number of painkillers a person could buy in one transaction to 32. Some people go ahead, shop at several stores and kill themselves. Some change their minds - there was a 25% drop in people dying as a result of painkiller overdoses, and a 30% drop in the number of people needing liver transplants after unsuccessful suicide attempts.

      A gun in the house doesn't offer much time for reflection.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      There are lots of stats for gun deaths, both homicide and other, and there is little doubt that suicides will decrease with no guns and gun accidents will go to zero if no one has a gun. The question then becomes "Do we wish to curtail freedoms of millions to protect a handful from themselves?" And my answer is "No".

      If we were truly serious about going down that road there would be no cars, no dangerous sports and no sleeping pills. Even such things as ropes would be outlawed (might hang oneself with that evil rope).

    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 2 years ago from western pennsylvania

      One thing that I have not seen mentioned here is the 24 injured at Franklin Regional High School. http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/04/09/multiple... He didn't use a gun and thank goodness that he didn't kill anyone. He did come close.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      An interesting link (thank you) that pretty plainly points out that guns aren't the only thing used to attempt murder.

    • profile image

      brian 2 years ago

      You may not realize this but black skin can reduce your chances of getting robbed big time. Black skin is very good for protection. Maybe if you dyed your skin black you would not need a gun for protection.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I doubt that that can be backed up with numbers - I suspect that, percentage wise, blacks are more likely to be robbed simply because of where they live and the financial status they have. Like it or not, blacks are much more likely to be poor and live in crime ridden inner cities.

    • profile image

      brian 2 years ago

      You are right wilderness. But what I am trying to say is that if I changed my skin color to black it would reduce my chances of getting robbed.

      if I am walking in through the ghetto or the Suburbs black skin gives me a better chance to get from point a to point b without getting robbed.

      black skin is like a monster truck.

      white skin is like a standard car.

      If you take the monster truck on dangerous roads and keep the car on safer roads than it is safer to be in the car.

      but if I had to live in a dangerous area I would trust black skin over white skin to keep me safe. And robberies and crime can happen anywhere.

      I also think the cops should dye their skin black.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      You may be right, Brian, you may not. I have never seen any evidence, hard statistics, to show that this idea has any merit to it or that it is wrong.

    • profile image

      John 2 years ago

      The problem is not guns it's godlessness. The highest gun death rates are in the countries with the lowest moral and religious standards which directly correlates to a lower sanctity of life. I am not referring to any particular religion. China and Japan Have very strong religios convictions crntered on Buddhism which is a very peaceful religion. The murder rate amongst primative tribes is extremely low because they mostly have a very high regard for life. When you remove God, whether you believe in Him or not, then the Devil is in charge, whether you believe in him or not. Satans primary job is to kill, steal and destroy. God's primary function in this scenario is to create life everlasting. If you want to lower murder rates, GO TO CHURCH and take your children with you!

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      While we can agree on the gun issue, I'm not sure at all that the problem is rooted in godlessness, nor that the solution is to force anyone to join a church. After all, the countries you mention do not worship a god in the manner you suggest, and a great deal of the current killing and mayhem in the world today is coming straight from such worship.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 24 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      How did I miss this one! Great Hub!

      When I first began to study this, I puzzled over the fact that other high gun ownership countries like Austria, Germany, Sweden, Canada, and Switzerland had much lower homicide rates that the US. But when I looked into their demographics, the reason became clear.

      None of them have the large minority population the US has, and further investigation revealed that the young black males who make up less than 4% of the US population commit over 50% of all gun homicides! Add in the other minorities like young Hispanic males and we find that almost 70% of all US gun crime is committed by inner city minorities killing one another.

      If we factor out the US minority crime that the other countries simply do not have, we find that we compare favorably with all of them.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 24 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      I'm not sure I can agree with this - other countries have inner city slums just as we do. That the ancestors of those in the US immigrated 100 years ago doesn't seem particularly germane, and neither does the color of their skin. Their economic status DOES appear to matter, and there we find low income groups in other countries.

      In any case, it doesn't say anything, one way or another, about whether gun ownership leads to homicide. For example, look at the similar sized cities of Houston vs. Chicago - Chicago bans guns while Houston encourages them. Yet Chicago has several times the homicide rate of Houston (can't speak to whether they are GUN homicides or not, but also don't think it matters to the dead).

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 24 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      These are just facts. They are not opinions, nor bias. Most of the US gun crime is committed by a very small segment of society, and I attribute that to fatherless homes more than race.

      On any given day, an average of 13 young black males will die at the hand of other young black males and that is the source of over half of all US gun crime. That simply cannot be ignored when comparing our gun crime rates to other countries. It's a huge factor.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 24 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      I didn't mean to doubt the figures; I accept them. What I doubt is that it is because of being a minority. I think it far more likely it is because of living in the slums regardless of race. To blame minorities you would have to compare crime rates of those minorities with other residents in the same environment, and make sure it was the RATE being compared, not just the number of homicides.

      Keep in mind that, outside of the first graph, I am not particularly interested in GUN crimes, but only homicides vs gun ownership and did not compare GUN crime rates between countries. Just crime rates. The two are very definitely not the same, and the only use I made of gun crimes was to show that gun ownership does equate with gun crimes; a foregone conclusion. After all, if you take away the guns those missing guns cannot commit a crime.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 24 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      My interest in this is defending the right to keep and bear arms, and in order to do that, it is absolutely necessary to know the facts about gun deaths, including who is being killed and who is doing the killing. Frankly, I was shocked to learn all this several years ago during a debate about American gun crime rates vs other countries.

      If we simply ignore the fact that a small segment of our population is committing over half of all gun crime, how is that helpful? It may be politically correct to look the other way, but simply ignoring it is costing the lives of thousands of young black males every year.

      BTW, I firmly believe that the root cause is the nearly 75% out of wedlock birthrate and all the fatherless homes in the black community. And that is why the 'rate' of crimes committed by young blacks is almost ten times that of any other race.

      With that, congratulations on a fine Hub!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 24 months ago

      I still don't think the problem is with guns. The problem is with people.

      Most gun related homicides are by people who don't even legally own a gun. In other words, they are criminals, gang members, drug dealers, etc.

      Even if every gun was removed from the entire planet earth, there would still be homicides using other means. Guns just make it easier than using a knife, rock, baseball bat, feet, or fists.

      If we could somehow or other eliminate all the criminals then we would greatly reduce the murders.

      But as you know, we are doing a very poor job of keeping criminals off the streets and are currently in the process of releasing many more hardened criminals out of our prisons.

      We have existing gun laws now that are rarely enforced. We need some harsh gun laws that are enforced on anyone using a gun to commit a crime. My thinking is that would produce better results than removing guns from honest citizens.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 24 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      Will, I still think you are too tied up with "gun" deaths. I just can't see that it matters how one dies, and the simple fact of the matter is that more guns do not produce more deaths.

      I tend to agree (without having facts to back it) that out of wedlock children are a major problem. Again, though, that has nothing to do with guns, and more guns does not produce more homicides by that or any other group.

      And thanks for the kind words - I worked hard on this one.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 24 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      Poolman, I agree with you. Harsher laws that are enforced...on criminals, not just ones using guns. I can't see that shooting someone deserves any harsher treatment than beating them to death. It's a scare tactic (that doesn't work very well), and a sop to those that think guns are the killers, not people.

      So no, there doesn't seem to be a reason to consider they method of killing when sentencing, but there is most definitely a need to get killers off our streets.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 24 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Most gun related homicides are by people who don't even legally own a gun. In other words, they are criminals, gang members, drug dealers, etc."

      Exactly, and that was my point. 'Gun control' proposes to take guns away from exactly the wrong people leaving them helpless. In countries where law abiding citizens cannot own guns, the criminals are now using other weapons, like knives, like Scotland, which was recently named most violent country on Earth by the UN. Australian knifings are also now common.

      Just as guns were the great equalizers, lack of guns means reverting to the days when those who were young, big, strong, and skilled with weapons like swords ruled the world, and the rest had to obey.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 24 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      Exactly. The old, old saw that "Guns don't kill people - PEOPLE kill people" is all too true. It may counter-intuitive, but it is true. Take away the guns and the killing goes right on - Australia is a very good example and while Homicide rates in Canada and the US are not very close at all, it is interesting to note that knife killings are way up in Canada, as are bludgeoning deaths, when compared to the US. They don't have guns so they kill in some other way.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 24 months ago

      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?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 24 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "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...!

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 23 months ago from Orange County California

      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 profile image

      WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

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

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      Dan Harmon 23 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

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      Chase Honeycutt 23 months ago from United States

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 23 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 21 months ago from Minnesota

      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)

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 21 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      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.

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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 profile image

      WillStarr 21 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      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.

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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 profile image

      WillStarr 21 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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 profile image

      WillStarr 21 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      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?

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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?

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      Wilderness

      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

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 21 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      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.

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

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

      Don't both replying

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 21 months ago

      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.

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 21 months ago from upstate, NY

      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.

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      Wilderness

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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".

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      Wilderness

      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

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      Wilderness

      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?

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      Wilderness

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 21 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      '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).

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      I agree

      Amen, pass the break lol

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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!

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      Wilderness

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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?

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      Looking forward to reading your next hub

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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

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

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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!

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

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

      Got anything on model railroads?

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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).

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

      I will check it out.

      And the carnival idea is brilliant

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 19 months ago from Escondido, CA

      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 . . .

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 19 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 19 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 19 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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 profile image

      WillStarr 19 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      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.

    • wilderness profile image
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      Dan Harmon 19 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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 profile image

      WillStarr 19 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "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.

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      Dan Harmon 19 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

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      WillStarr 19 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      (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.

      ^-^

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      Denker1 7 months ago

      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.

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      Dan Harmon 7 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

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      Denker1 7 months ago

      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.

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      Lyapunov 7 months ago

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

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      Dan Harmon 7 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

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      bradmasterOCcal 7 months ago from Orange County California

      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.

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      Lyapunov 6 months ago

      @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.

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      Dan Harmon 6 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      @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.

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      Lyapunov 6 months ago

      @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.

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      Dan Harmon 6 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

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      Dan Harmon 6 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      @ 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)

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      sj999 6 months ago

      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.

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      Dan Harmon 6 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      @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.

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      sj999 6 months ago

      @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):

      http://www.npr.org/2016/01/09/462252799/research-s...

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      Dan Harmon 6 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 months ago from Texas

      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.

      Blessings

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      Dan Harmon 3 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      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.

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      WillStarr 3 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      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.

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