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LKL
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09 Oct 2013, 5:53 am

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/0 ... ns-murder/

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The largest study of gun violence in the United States, released Thursday afternoon, confirms a point that should be obvious: widespread American gun ownership is fueling America’s gun violence epidemic.
The study, by Professor Michael Siegel at Boston University and two coauthors, has been peer-reviewed and is forthcoming in the American Journal of Public Health. Siegel and his colleagues compiled data on firearm homicides from all 50 states from 1981-2010, the longest stretch of time ever studied in this fashion, and set about seeing whether they could find any relationship between changes in gun ownership and murder using guns over time.
Since we know that violent crime rates overall declined during that period of time, the authors used something called “fixed effect regression” to account for any national trend other than changes in gun ownership. They also employed the largest-ever number of statistical controls for other variables in this kind of gun study: “age, gender, race/ethnicity, urbanization, poverty, unemployment, income, education, income inequality, divorce rate, alcohol use, violent crime rate, nonviolent crime rate, hate crime rate, number of hunting licenses, age-adjusted nonfirearm homicide rate, incarceration rate,and suicide rate” were all accounted for.
No good data on national rates of gun ownership exist (partly because of the NRA’s stranglehold on Congress), so the authors used the percentage of suicides that involve a firearm (FS/S) as a proxy. The theory, backed up by a wealth of data, is that the more guns there are any in any one place, the higher the percentage of people who commit suicide with guns as opposed to other mechanisms will be.
With all this preliminary work in hand, the authors ran a series of regressions to see what effect the overall national decline in firearm ownership from 1981 to 2010 had on gun homicides. The result was staggering: “for each 1 percentage point increase in proportion of household gun ownership,” Siegel et al. found, “firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9″ percent. A one standard deviation change in firearm ownership shifted gun murders by a staggering 12.9 percent.
To put this in perspective, take the state of Mississippi. “All other factors being equal,” the authors write, “our model would predict that if the FS/S in Mississippi were 57.7% (the average for all states) instead of 76.8% (the highest of all states), its firearm homicide rate would be 17% lower.” Since 475 people were murdered with a gun in Mississippi in 2010, that drop in gun ownership would translate to 80 lives saved in that year alone.
Of course, the authors don’t find that rates of gun ownership explain all of America’s gun violence epidemic: race, economic inequality and generally violent areas all contribute to an area’s propensity for gun deaths, suggesting that broader social inequality, not gun ownership alone, contributes to the gun violence epidemic. Nevertheless, the fact that gun ownership mattered even when race and poverty were accounted for suggests that we can’t avoid talking about America’s fascination with guns when debating what to do about the roughly 11,000 Americans who are yearly murdered by gunfire.


I'll start with the last accusation leveled by Dox in one of the feminism threads: 'Think Progress is a liberal org, so this doesn't count.' :P



ArrantPariah
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09 Oct 2013, 6:23 am

You probably wouldn't find a "Conservative" opinion that wasn't supportive of guns, because "Conservatives" know how their bread gets buttered.



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09 Oct 2013, 7:39 am

The study does a great job of determining that more guns = more gun murders. What it doesn't do is determine if more guns = more murders (period). Or, put another way: does the increase in gun ownership result in more deaths, or just more deaths by firearms.


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09 Oct 2013, 8:46 am

sliqua-jcooter wrote:
The study does a great job of determining that more guns = more gun murders. What it doesn't do is determine if more guns = more murders (period). Or, put another way: does the increase in gun ownership result in more deaths, or just more deaths by firearms.


It's probably easier to kill people firearms than by other means. If guns were more restricted, it might just mean more violence and attempted murders with knives instead. However, if it the violence were with knives and other weapons, then there may be less deaths as a result because guns are easier to use and probably more lethal. I'm not saying ban all guns, just that there should be background checks and courses before people are are granted gun licenses. Otherwise, guns can still be legal for self-defence purposes.



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09 Oct 2013, 9:02 am

That's a lot of "might" and "may". There's no conclusive data to back any of that up.


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LKL
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09 Oct 2013, 12:43 pm

how about this: in all of my time working in medicine, not a single suicide or murder attempt by gun made it to the hospital. They were all too dead at the scene to bother transporting. We did get attempted suicides by knife, and by poison on a regular basis, though - and even one attempt by hanging, and most of them ended up glad that they'd survived.



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09 Oct 2013, 12:44 pm

Unless we are selling sentry guns to 18 year old men and women, the above study is a complete farce.

It is the decision of the gun owner whether to murder, or not to murder, not the gun.
And a gun cannot posses people's body and cause them to waste fifty people, it does not have a soul.
The firearm is just a tool, or the means to an end, nothing more.


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sliqua-jcooter
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09 Oct 2013, 12:59 pm

LKL wrote:
how about this: in all of my time working in medicine, not a single suicide or murder attempt by gun made it to the hospital. They were all too dead at the scene to bother transporting. We did get attempted suicides by knife, and by poison on a regular basis, though - and even one attempt by hanging, and most of them ended up glad that they'd survived.


So what? That doesn't speak, at all, to the societal affects of the increase of gun ownership.


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09 Oct 2013, 1:12 pm

LKL wrote:
how about this: in all of my time working in medicine, not a single suicide or murder attempt by gun made it to the hospital.


Really? The population you service must be unusually good shots, as 20 years ago the overall lethality of gun shot wounds was 31.7%; 21-28% for assaults and 70-78% for self inflicted wounds.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10692193

IIRC, medicine has come a ways since then, and the real lethality number for attacks is closer to 15%, but I can't find a source for that off hand, just something I came across once and lost the link in a hard drive failure.


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09 Oct 2013, 1:14 pm

sliqua-jcooter wrote:
The study does a great job of determining that more guns = more gun murders. What it doesn't do is determine if more guns = more murders (period). Or, put another way: does the increase in gun ownership result in more deaths, or just more deaths by firearms.


I'm not sure that this would be a relevant conclusion even if it could be made. If the proliferation of weapons leads to an increase in homicides, it creates a public policy question that needs to be answered.

Note, however, that it doesn't pre-determine the answer to that question.

One of the issues that I have with this study is that it normalizes for a wide range of criteria, so that it can focus on the proliferation of firearms as a causal factor in firearms homicides. But I think that there is a much more important public policy question that needs to be answered before we start preaching for our favourite legislative solution. Which factors are the largest contributors to violent crime.

To my way of thinking, dedicating time and effort to proving that "guns breed gun violence" is a pointless exercise. The legal framework is simply not going to support significant change in the United States. A much more productive use of everyone's time would be to find out what factors that are actually within government's capacity to affect make the greatest contribution.

Intuitively, I would say that it is income inequality. More than any other factor, it seems to present itself in studies in all manner of different countries.


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09 Oct 2013, 1:23 pm

LKL wrote:
I'll start with the last accusation leveled by Dox in one of the feminism threads: 'Think Progress is a liberal org, so this doesn't count.' :P


That wasn't my point, my point was that you handed me a whole stack of links to justify your opinion, and every single one was left of center, and several were actual gun control groups. If you asked me why I support the NRA and I handed you a stack of links with NRA.com and FOX domain names, you'd mock the crap out of me, and rightly so; why should it be any different when you do it? If you'd posted an individual link, I'd have looked at it and told you what I thought about it, but you handed me a whole stack, and that made it clear that you were looking at the whole thing from a specific angle to start with and not including any diversity of opinion in your "research", which is what I was calling attention to. I know the gun control arguments so well because I visit their sites and read what they have to say, I have a dummy accounts on DU and other progressive sites that I use to lurk in their gun forums, I read Salon and other left leaning online outlets, I read the studies I agree with and those I don't, all so that I get the whole story and understand where other people might be coming from. You clearly don't do that.


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Last edited by Dox47 on 09 Oct 2013, 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

LKL
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09 Oct 2013, 1:47 pm

Dox47 wrote:
LKL wrote:
how about this: in all of my time working in medicine, not a single suicide or murder attempt by gun made it to the hospital.


Really? The population you service must be unusually good shots, as 20 years ago the overall lethality of gun shot wounds was 31.7%; 21-28% for assaults and 70-78% for self inflicted wounds.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10692193

IIRC, medicine has come a ways since then, and the real lethality number for attacks is closer to 15%, but I can't find a source for that off hand, just something I came across once and lost the link in a hard drive failure.

Oh, we got plenty of self-inflicted accidents and accidental wounds of other people: guys who accidentally shot themselves in the foot or the thigh, a guy who accidentally shot their girlfriend (she vouched for him that it was an accident), once one cop who accidentally shot another cop. They all lived, though not without impact. The small number probably has more to do with the fact that it was an itty-bitty, 40-bed rural hospital than with any extreme accuracy by gun users (i.e., not a lot of murders). The gun suicides never failed, though, except for one guy who blew off his face with a shotgun and somehow survived for a month afterward - that happened before my time, though, a couple of decades ago.



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09 Oct 2013, 1:53 pm

visagrunt wrote:
I'm not sure that this would be a relevant conclusion even if it could be made. If the proliferation of weapons leads to an increase in homicides, it creates a public policy question that needs to be answered.

Note, however, that it doesn't pre-determine the answer to that question.


I agree, but I think anything short of a conclusion that shows a rise in *all* homicides is irrelevant in posing that public policy question.

Quote:
One of the issues that I have with this study is that it normalizes for a wide range of criteria, so that it can focus on the proliferation of firearms as a causal factor in firearms homicides.


I had my own doubts as well, but without doing a deep dive into the actual methodology of the study (and calling up some advanced mathematics professor friends) I'm not prepared to state that one way or another. I'll give the study the benefit of the doubt in that matter.

Quote:
But I think that there is a much more important public policy question that needs to be answered before we start preaching for our favourite legislative solution. Which factors are the largest contributors to violent crime.


This is also a very good point.

Quote:
To my way of thinking, dedicating time and effort to proving that "guns breed gun violence" is a pointless exercise. The legal framework is simply not going to support significant change in the United States. A much more productive use of everyone's time would be to find out what factors that are actually within government's capacity to affect make the greatest contribution.


I don't necessarily agree with this - if you could point to a gun control measure that could actually (as opposed to conjecturally) reduce crime, there would probably be a way to frame it while staying on the right side of the 2nd amendment protections.


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LKL
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09 Oct 2013, 1:54 pm

Dox47 wrote:
LKL wrote:
I'll start with the last accusation leveled by Dox in one of the feminism threads: 'Think Progress is a liberal org, so this doesn't count.' :P


That wasn't my point, my point was that you handed me a whole stack of links to justify your opinion, and every single one was left of center, and several were actual gun control groups. If you asked me why I support the NRA and I handed you a stack of links with NRA.com and FOX domain names, you'd mock the crap out of me, and rightly so; why should it be any different when you do it? If you'd posted an individual link, I'd have looked at it and told you what I thought about it, but you handed me a whole stack, and that made it clear that you were looking at the whole thing from a specific angle to start with and not including any diversity of opinion in your "research", which is what I was calling attention to. I know the gun control arguments so well because I visit there sites and read what they have to say, I have a dummy accounts on DU and other progressive sites that I use to lurk in their gun forums, I read Salon and other left leaning online outlets, I read the studies I agree with and those I don't, all so that I get the whole story and understand where other people might be coming from. You clearly don't do that.

I sure got the impression that you didn't read any of those links, but... hey you don't need to! How convenient. At least you're comparing them to Faux now, rather than the KKK.
I do actually read Fox reports on occasion; some of it is even good, at the local level. The farther away they get from the national office, the better the reporting, in general.

So, to borrow a page from your book, can you find me a study anywhere that shows that a gun in the home is more likely to help the owner and/or the owner's family than it is to be used against the owner or family, either in assault, murder, or suicide?
Can you find me a link to any study showing that the average citizen 'needs' a 40-caliber or higher gun, or a magazine with more than 10 bullets?
Can you find me a poll showing that the average gun owner doesn't support universal background checks?



LKL
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09 Oct 2013, 1:56 pm

appletheclown wrote:
Unless we are selling sentry guns to 18 year old men and women, the above study is a complete farce.

It is the decision of the gun owner whether to murder, or not to murder, not the gun.
And a gun cannot posses people's body and cause them to waste fifty people, it does not have a soul.
The firearm is just a tool, or the means to an end, nothing more.

A gun is an excellent tool for killing oneself or other people. That is my entire point above.

To help keep this tool out of the hands of the wrong people, there should be universal background checks.



LKL
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09 Oct 2013, 1:59 pm

visagrunt wrote:
sliqua-jcooter wrote:
The study does a great job of determining that more guns = more gun murders. What it doesn't do is determine if more guns = more murders (period). Or, put another way: does the increase in gun ownership result in more deaths, or just more deaths by firearms.


I'm not sure that this would be a relevant conclusion even if it could be made. If the proliferation of weapons leads to an increase in homicides, it creates a public policy question that needs to be answered.

Note, however, that it doesn't pre-determine the answer to that question.

One of the issues that I have with this study is that it normalizes for a wide range of criteria, so that it can focus on the proliferation of firearms as a causal factor in firearms homicides. But I think that there is a much more important public policy question that needs to be answered before we start preaching for our favourite legislative solution. Which factors are the largest contributors to violent crime.

To my way of thinking, dedicating time and effort to proving that "guns breed gun violence" is a pointless exercise. The legal framework is simply not going to support significant change in the United States. A much more productive use of everyone's time would be to find out what factors that are actually within government's capacity to affect make the greatest contribution.

Intuitively, I would say that it is income inequality. More than any other factor, it seems to present itself in studies in all manner of different countries.

If I had to choose between mitigating income inequality or gun restrictions, I'd choose the former. I don't know if it would help the murder rate at all, but it would probably cut down on the suicides and a whole hell of a lot of other social ills.