Articles for May 2014

Debunking “Your gun endangers your family more than it protects it”

In a discussion over at Politico about this article:

I ended up in a discussion with several folks over at politico on the oft cited anti-gun statement that you’re more likely to be shot by the gun in your home vs. helped by it.  There were a number of different comments from different progressives, but each cited the FACT that you or a family members would be killed or maimed by a gun before ever being helped.

After reading a few of those, I suggested to an anti gunner that your odds of being shot in your home decline greatly if you’re not among a subset of victim-crime categories that correlate directly to gun deaths within that group.

Here is the exchange:

Phil Ostrand Anan 7 • 
Owning a hand gun, endangers your family more than it protects you.
 
Leopold B. Scotch Phil Ostrand
This is a cited stat that fails to take into account: suicide (proven to occur if gun available or not), criminal elements in households (gangs, convicts, drug trade, etc), alcoholism and abuse, love triangles.You eliminate those behaviors and the numbers become extremely rare. You are more likely to die from your space heater.
 
Enter Cayse:
Cayuse Leopold B. Scotch • 
“32,000 gun deaths per year in the United States. Of those, around 60% are suicides” -google. That still leaves 12,800 gun deaths. Now how many from space heaters?
 

I dug through the numbers and here are my thoughts / my reply:

“My point about the space heater number (which is actually 400 deaths in 2011 according to the National Fire Protection Society) is that we’re dealing with ridiculously non-meaningful correlations between gun-ownership and gun deaths when there are very high correlations that should be addressed vs. trying to build bridges across a chasms of near-zero correlations.
To that point, I listed more than just suicide as a subset that needs to be removed from “you’re more likely to die from the gun” stat.   So, its not 400 deaths vs. 12,800, but rather close to 400 vs  2,950, as I’ll explain.
Firstly, you ignored completely the the remaining direct causal factors of gun violence beyond suicide  . Consider:  of the CDC’s 11,101 gun homicides in 2011, 80% were gang-related = 8,900.
So if you avoid being in gangs, your odds go dramatically down. Consider, that leaves 3,965 gun deaths after you eliminate 19,766 suicides from the CDC total of 32,163 for 2011.
So, depending on source, you have anywhere from 270-310 million firearms in private hands. 3,965 deaths = of all guns, somewhere between .00147% and 0.00128% of all guns in existence were used to kill someone in 2011.
So why not focus on the problems of the inner city and the direct causal relationship between the breakdown of the nuclear family in the inner city, poverty, and gangs? Or for that matter, the direct correlation between the War on Drugs and the black market it creates to gang violence and other deaths?