IntroductionEarlier this month, we debunked the Associated Press portrayal of a recent "gun deaths" study in our post Another Fake Gun Control Study.
The study had some good information and some misleading information. One useful piece of information is data on gun control measures in all 50 states compiled by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Yes, we know they are far-left "gun grabbers", but this data can be used to shed light on whether gun laws help or hurt society.
The aforementioned study also used CDC data from 2007-2010. We decided to compare this data with FBI data from the same period (*1). We then used FBI data as a basis to correct some short comings of the debunked study.
Once a base comparison was established, we expanded the study to include all violent crime statistics per the FBI.
Modifications from the study published in JAMA are as follows:
- FBI data was substituted for missing data in Vermont, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.
- The District of Columbia was added to the data set.
- The Brady Legislative Strength Score (median) for the District of Columbia was estimated in comparison to other gun banning states. Due to the District of Columbia v. Heller decision in 2008 (*2), the score was reduced by one from our estimate. Our final estimate is 22.
- Suicides are not included as "Homicides."
- We entered this project with only one concern, the truth. While all human beings are biased and prone to fallacy, we have no illusions to our short comings in the field of statistics. We also have no concern for professional pride, funding, or political agenda. While I am personally pro-choice in the realm of self defense, what follows is pure unadulterated data.
Comparing CDC and FBI data.We can only speculate why these numbers are different. The FBI Murders data is higher than the CDC "gun homicide" rate per 100,000 people. Sixty-seven percent of murders in the USA involve guns per the UN:
In 2009, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 66.9% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearmSo, we expect the FBI gun and non-gun related murder numbers to be higher than gun "homicides" per the CDC. However, the simple averages for the 51 data points are 3.83/4.9 (CDC/FBI). This leads one to believe 78% of murders in the US involve firearms.
It appears that the CDC numbers, used to promote gun control by the AP, are significantly overstated, the FBI murder statistics are understated or a combination of both. We could do a more elaborate comparison, but with such a large discrepancy between the UN and US data the truth would still elude us.
For our purposes, it does not matter. Both numbers will be included on all graphs to give you a visual representation of the available data. (click to enlarge)
By including Washington, D.C. we bring additional clarity to the gun control debate. It appears that in both CDC and FBI data, a few sensible gun laws reduce murder/homicide but additional laws are counter-productive. Fellow San Diego Local Order of Bloggers author Beers with Demo explored a broader representation of this legal reality in a recent post entitled "It's as if we've run out of good ideas..."
Exit question: We may try to expand on this later, but can a Republic reach a point where they've got pretty much all their basis covered but since they maintain a full time legislative body that is sent to the nation's capitol to do something, they wind up being far more counter-productive than not?The data further suggests that there are two optimum points for gun legislation. First, when both police and private citizens are armed, murders are minimized. When both an empowered public right to self-defense and fear of law enforcement cooperate to reduce crime, criminals face a difficult task. The next minimum is upon entering a seeming police state with assured criminal justice, but where citizens offer much less resistance to criminals.
Finally, once gun laws become extreme, such as total bans of lawful gun ownership, criminals are assured defenseless victims. Avoiding law enforcement ensures a successful criminal career. Due to harsh criminal penalties, witnesses may then be shot in the attempt to avoid criminal punishment.
More Gun Laws Leads to More Violent CrimeIn the age of the internet, we don't like to read long posts, so let's keep this direct. Below we explore robbery, rape, and total FBI reported violent crime. The results are mixed, but may be the best data you have seen in your life regarding gun control. We are damn proud of the following, even where it does not fit my political philosophy.
Gun Laws vs Robbery and Rape
Increased gun laws clearly increase violent robbery but there is an apparent minimization for forcible rape. (click to enlarge)
We are using polynomial order 4 smoothing in these graphics to show more detail than a sloped line. If you look closely at the graphic, robbery is almost a straight line in the wrong direction as more gun laws are passed.
Forcible rape falls with a few "common sense" gun laws, then increases slightly as women lose the ability to defend themselves. Once legislative strength becomes very high, forcible rape appears to fall. Complete gun ownership bans then coincide with increased forcible rapes.
There may be additional rape related laws or other factors that coincide with gun laws in a near police state. The data does suggest that a near police state reduces forcible rape to about 18 per 100,000 per year.
New York (*1) and Connecticut are the data points creating the apparently low number of forcible rapes. A quick review to see if warmer weather skewed the results with regard to forcible rape did not find an obvious indication. We leave this question for you to ponder.
Gun Laws vs Total Violent CrimeOverall violent crime information from the FBI is heavily influenced by aggravated assaults. This seems to be a type of crime badly influenced by excessive gun laws. It makes sense, people are less likely to get into fights with armed citizens.
The following graph is damning of strong gun control legislation and serves as my conclusion to this study. (click to enlarge)
ConclusionA few gun control laws are reasonable for public safety. As additional laws are put in place they become counter-productive. As a near police state is enacted, violent crime falls to an average level. When gun bans are enacted, violent crime increases rapidly.
If you are a professional statistician or wish to check my work contact me via twitter.
Notes*1) In 2012, the FBI changed the definition of "Forcible Rape." Because of this definition expansion, which now includes rapes of males and other non-consensual sexual acts, it came to light New York, Chicago and other progressive strongholds under reported or could not be included in FBI statistics for prior years.
U.S. to Expand Its Definition of Rape in Statistics:
For example, the New York Police Department reported 1,369 rapes in 2010, but only 1,036 were entered in the federal figures. However, the police department in Chicago, which had nearly 1,400 reported sexual assaults in 2010, refused to discard cases that did not fit the narrower federal definition when reporting its crime statistics; as a result, the F.B.I.’s uniform crime report — which reported 84,767 forcible rapes that year — did not include any rapes from that city.
The new "Forcible Rape" definition is:
“The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”This change will likely show massive increases in rape reporting in FBI statistics starting with 2012.
*2) District of Columbia v. Heller. After the gun ban in Washington D.C. was repealed, murder rates fell 43.2% by 2011. During the same period, murder rates in Chicago oscillated then ended up 1.9%.
Added link to data.