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?
And then you can take a look at other causal factors such as domestic violence situations. From the John Hopkins school of public health and the BJS (Bureau of Justice Stats at the U.S. Gov) you can whittle through the numbers to find in 2007, guns were used by intimate partners to kill about 918 women. (Of 13,824 homicides in ’07, 23.2% were female (4,176), of which 40% were killed by an intimate partners (1,670), and guns were used 55% of the time (918 deaths by gun).
This is a very gray area of stats, since the numbers are relatively small in a country of 300 million, it seems the people pushing the cause to protect women from domestic violence and guns would rather talk in terms of % of likelihoods vs. actual numbers. (e.g. “you’re 5x more likely as a women…” and “if there’s a gun you’re 8x more likely”, etc. with no raw numbers being disclosed in my quick search. (e.g. 918 women among 300 million (0.0003%) of the population doesn’t generate activism)
But often cited in domestic violence is that it’s not just the woman killed that is part of the number (e.g. the 918 number), but often her new partner, children, etc. are part of a group murder-suicide. It is dramatically more common than the very rare Sandy Hooks. Hence, we can assume the 918 number is larger – for example, per the ABA (American Bar Association), males were 85% of spouse murders, and 75% of dating partner murders when the murderer intervened to “set things straight” with the object of his immediate anger. We’ve also all seen the situations where the demented ex kills his ex spouse, her new boyfriend, and takes out the 2 kids before capping himself. Tragically, these are often telegraphed long before, with histories of violence… with protection orders, etc.
Now, what is that number? Who knows, but let it suffice to say, the causal factor is an F’d up domestic situation, which often times does not come out of thin air.
Now, let’s assume the deaths from domestic situations going postal is closer to 1020 (another 102 victims tied to the females murder o f 918), we’re knocking down the unexplained gun deaths of 3965 to roughly 2950, or 0.0012% of 270 mil guns, using the low estimate. So do we focus on that, or on the correlation of f’d up domestic situations? Go after the abusive SOBs with the high correlation %.
What about gun deaths during robbery? In 2011 alone, the FBI cites 100 related deaths from just BANK robberies! What about the countless muggings and convenience store shootings?
The numbers get smaller and smaller. How much do your odds of being killed increase if you live with an ex con?
I think a reasonable number to consider is accidental deaths by gun: 2011 the CDS says that was 851. Again, a tiny number of all guns, so why not focus on gun safety?
Granted, against that number, space heaters at 400. … Accidental Drownings in 2011 at 4,147…
Perspective is needed in this discussion, as is a focus on real causes vs. blaming zero correlated factors. Surely, having a gun in the house means its there if violence is lurking, but it alone is not the causal factor, and action SHOULD be taken against those direct causes vs. broad sweeping measures that affect 99.999123% (or whatever) of guns never being part of someone dying.

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