Skip to main content

Gun death rate vs. percentage gun ownership
I put together a graph that demonstrates that the principal premise of the gun nut fringe represented by Wayne LaPierre and his colleagues at the NRA are (pun intended) DEAD wrong.

They believe that the more people with guns, the safer we all are.  Their motivation is apparently that they are in the gun business, or are flacks for the arms manufacturers, and so make more money if we believe the hooey that they are selling.

I obtained a data set that shows the number of gun related deaths per 100,000 population by state.  I also found a data set that lists the percentage of households that own a gun, again by state.  

Here are the sources.
Gun death data (the data I used is the 2009 data)

Gun ownership data:

If you graph the two data sets against each other, with deaths on the vertical axis and percentage of households that own at least one gun on the horizontal axis, you get the graph shown above.

I also added one other feature, based on my personal curiosity.  The states that voted Democratic in the 2012 Presidential election are indicated by BLUE squares and the states that voted Republican in the 2012 Presidential election as indicated by RED diamonds.

The trend line for each data set is also shown, as are the equations of the lines.  The RED line is systematically approximately two units higher (e.g., representing approximately two additional gun deaths per 100,000 population as a function of gun ownership).

The proof that the NRA is wrong is demonstrated by the slope of the curves.  Because the number of gun-related deaths increases with gun ownership, the slope is positive, and the lines trend from the lower left corner to the upper right corner of the graph.

If the NRA thesis was correct, the lines should trend from the upper left corner to the lower right corner (e.g., FEWER gun-related deaths as the percentage of gun owneership goes up).  But there is no such indication in the data.

Pretty simple.

Pretty conclusive.

A few more comments after the orange squiggle.

Let's look at some of the historical data. In particular, I will mention Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Saint Ronnie.

At Columbine High School, there was a police officer who was on duty every day.  On April 20, 1999 this offices was eating lunch in his police cruiser parked in front of the school.  When the shooting started, he was summoned to go to the rear of the school.  Apparently, he fired his service revolver at the perps four times, hitting nobody, and was then pinned down by the perps who had greater fire power than he did.

At Virginia Tech there was (and is) a university police force of uniformed, trained and armed officers.  Even though they were present and "ready to go" one nut job managed to kill over 30 people before the killing stopped.

Many of us remember, and likely we have all seen, the video coverage of Hinckley shooting Saint Ronnie and James Brady.  In case you don't recall, Saint Ronnie had just finished a speech and was walking to his limo when Hinckley opened up with a handgun.  Hinckley was almost immediately tackled by several Secret Service agents.  But even that did not prevent both Saint Ronnie and Jim Brady from being shot.

Wayne LaPierre never even dealt with those facts in his rambling, foolish presentation on December 21, 2012.

What LaPierre deliberately missed (I wonder if he is as lousy a shot as he is a logician) is that gun violence is the LAST event in a series of events that include obtaining a gun, obtaining ammo, deciding to commit a violent act, preparing for that act, and finally committing the act.

One can prevent the final violent act by eliminating any one of the required prior steps.  Cutting off the ability to obtain a gun or cutting off the ability to obtain the ammo would do the trick.  

i have no idea (except for the obvious FINANCIAL interest of the NRA) why the gun nuts can't see beyond the ends of their noses.

It would be interesting to do this analysis an the basis of each Congressional District, but I didn't find such data.  Maybe somebody like Nate Silver can run that analysis.

I would welcome your comments and discussion.

Update - December 23 - 8:20 PM Eastern:  It has been pointed out that Hinckley used a handgun, so I corrected that. I guess I remembered incorrectly.  But the point is, even with a Secret Service detail, the President of the US is not immune from violence.  That is one more example that would suggest that the NRA "solution" of posting armed guards at schools is not likely to be effective.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." -- Patrick Henry November 6, 2012 MA-4 I am voting for my friends Barry, Liz and Joe (Obama, Warren and Kennedy)

    by BornDuringWWII on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:28:17 AM PST

  •  The "More guns, more safe" argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf, CA wildwoman

    has always been pure lunacy.

    While the number of people owning weapons has steadily decreased, gun sales set new records every year. The people that own guns are buying more of them...a lot more.

    They hold this twisted belief that somehow, rather than the wrongheaded idea that owning just one gun for personal protection, that owning numerous guns will make them even safer!

    Those of us that live a reality based universe understand that the facts tell us just the opposite, but we know that facts don't matter when it comes to irrational fear. These guns give scared people the FEELING of being safer, even if in reality, it puts them AND us in more danger.

    It's not much different from the poll-unskewers or the trickle-downers. Rational thought and facts don't reside on the same planet as them.

  •  Willful Ignorance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA wildwoman

    Just Try getting the Irrational and Willfully Ignorant
    to Look at that Graph.   Good Luck with That.

    The Majority of Gun Owners and NRA Members want New
    Gun Regulations.  The NRA is Ignoring It's Own Members.

    Gun Owners have to Make a Decision.

    Stay with the NRA and the Willfully Ignorant OR Join the
    Majority that want things to Change.

    Full Disclosure: I have been a Gun Owner for Over
    30 Years.  I quit the NRA 15 Years Ago.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 09:08:18 AM PST

  •  I'm Sorry but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA wildwoman

    I'm new to Daily Kos and am trying to become more informed through it. I've always considered myself as liberal as they come but after spending some time here I've begun to wonder just what that means because I'm finding myself constantly turned off by posts like this which, although they may make some good points, are ultimately insulting, close minded and prejudiced. Sorry but I really don't see how insulting people with terms like "gun nuts" or "Saint Ronnie" helps to further a discussion or solve anything. In fact it only confused me because I had to look up who "Saint Ronnie" was. While I was looking him up I learned that you were wrong about Hinckley "opening up with a machine gun" because he used a 22 revolver to shoot Reagan and Brady. I feel if you're going to write a post trying to correct someone else or criticize them for factual errors you should at the very least have your own facts straight.

  •  Hinckley used a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    .22 caliber revolver that he purchased at a pawn shop...

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 09:27:11 AM PST

  •  What happens if you (0+ / 0-)

    control for:

    1. Deaths caused by legally obtained guns.
    2. Households that obtain guns illegally and don't report them.

  •  I see multiple gun ownership more as materialism (0+ / 0-)

    than feeling safer overall.

    The gun makers are the same as the toy makers - they make variations & urge consumers to 'Collect Them All !'

    There are also different makers to collect, different uses to get the ultimate gun for & don't forget the 'Makes A Great Gift for Your Family & Friends !!'

    Some people consider them a kind of investment - if you don't overpay, you can get your cash back by selling to someone else.

    Some people use them to pass the time, like a woodworking hobby.
    'Keeping up with the Jones's' competition is another a factor.

    It's a good thing bombs are illegal - the bigger is better, more is better mentality for bombs is horrible to contemplate.

    Something that doesn't make good sense, makes bad sense. That means someone is being deliberately hurtful & selfish. Look for motives behind actions & words.

    by CA wildwoman on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 06:08:15 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site