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July 1, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

U.S. has sterling gun safety record

Another view?

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Regarding the recent column, “And in last week’s gun news”:

Let’s assume there are 300 million guns in the United States, which is probably a low figure. And, according to the National Institute of Justice, “In 2005, 11,346 persons were killed by firearm violence and 477,040 persons were victims of a crime committed with a firearm. Most murders in the United States are committed with firearms, especially handguns.” So let’s just say there are 500,000 gun-related incidences in the USA each year. That leaves us with 299,500,000 guns that were not involved in any nonlegal activities, or 99.998 percent of all guns. That is one extremely excellent track record! I cannot recall any other safety record of any kind, ever, that comes anywhere close to that.

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  1. The US can always do better on gun controls. Always. The debate is about how.


  2. Tell that to the millions and millions of victims over the last few decades. Just because the vast majority of guns in the United States are not misused doesn't mean it is safe to walk down the streets. 477,000 gun crimes a year is a despicable number.

  3. ". . . according to the National Institute of Justice, "In 2005. . . Most murders in the United States are committed with firearms, especially handguns."

    Moiseve -- all of which were prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) decisions. These were that court's greatest Second Amendment pronouncements, with stiff opposition from cops and prosecutors trumpeting exactly what the NIJ said.

    "Just because the vast majority of guns in the United States are not misused doesn't mean it is safe to walk down the streets."

    zipper -- of course not. But one should have the good sense to walk down those streets. Yes, when I had a family that was prime concern -- one's community safety is largely up to that community. But not at the expense of perpetuating a police state. I once heard you know a community is safe by the number of men walking the streets with their kids. Maybe that's what we need more of.

    "...government security is just another kind of violence." -- Rep. Ron Paul @

  4. Imagine how low the number of gun murders, suicides, and woundings would be with zero guns...

  5. "Imagine how low the number of gun murders, suicides, and woundings would be with zero guns..."

    mschaffer -- and knives, and razor blades (R.I.P. Jade Morris!), and teeth, and cars, and subway trains, and ... How long do you want your imaginary list to be? Especially with our fundamental freedoms gone with the stroke of some official's pen.

    "We must choose between freedom and fear -- we cannot have both. If the citizens of the United States persist in being afraid, the real rulers of this country will be fanatics fired with a zeal to save grown men from objectionable ideas by putting them under the care of official nursemaids." -- Scales v. U.S., 367 U.S. 203, 270 (1961), Justice Douglas dissenting

  6. More gun control does not make us safer. It appeases the Left, yes, but it doesn't make us any safer. Fact.

  7. Mark says "Imagine how low the number of gun murders, suicides, and woundings would be with zero guns..."

    And how do you propose to get to "zero guns"? A gun ban?

    Please explain why you think any legislative action to restrict guns would be any more effective than previous legislative action to ban various drugs.

    Because while we can all imagine the reduction in drug related crime with zero (heroin, cocaine, etc. - or pick another to fill in the blank), laws banning the manufacture, sale, import, and ownership of those drugs don't seem to have really impacted availability or possession by criminals.

  8. Per nemesis: "I sure hope you're joking, but if not, well, let's look at automobiles. There are 300,000 cars in America."

    Check your source. One car for every 1,000 people??

  9. As my wife & I were taking our daily constitutional yesterday, I was attacked by a large stray dog. I managed to keep him off a couple of times by punching him in the face but a ferocious charge caught me in the chest and knocked me to the pavement. Having never been attacked by a person with a gun, and using zippert1's logic (You breathe, whales breathe; therefore you must be a whale."), perhaps we should lobby to get rid of dogs. After all, in my case, they are much more dangerous than guns. Now, had I been carrying a pistol, I surely would have had a greater chance not being injured by that animal. As it was, I was defenseless. It was not a good feeling while lying on the pavement. Thankfully, after I was knocked to the pavement by its final charge, my wife managed to shoo the dog away. Later, I learned animal control came and captured him & a companion dog. I was very relieved by that news as we walked without incident this morning.

  10. Bymschaffer,

    "Imagine how low the number of gun murders,suicides,and wounding would be with zero guns".

    As a example the United Kingdom had 51 gun deaths in all of last year.Compared to the USA with over 30,000 gun deaths in the same year.As John Lennon used to sing, "Imagine".

  11. sam gets my point while the rest seem incapable of basic logic and while making a mockery of Joan Respondi in particular.

  12. Sam, Mark et al:

    Let's look at the toatl picture for Great Britain by answering a few simple questions.

    --How about the other crime rates in Great Britain? Up and/or down compared to past years?

    --Are the increases in those crime rates year over year a function of the stricter gun laws?

    --Why/why not?


  13. PS: I hear/read that some police in Great Britain have actually started to carry hand guns in direct opposition to their life long tradition. What say you here about that?


  14. Carmine, Are the descriptions exactly the same for types of crimes in the U.K.?

  15. Things guns can't replace:
    free speech
    a good meal
    a quiet evening
    a good movie
    national parks
    a good workout

    Feel free to add to this list.

  16. sam and Mark, you point out "As a example the United Kingdom had 51 gun deaths in all of last year."

    And I respond "They had 49 in 1996, the year before the gun ban".

    So I can "Imagine" that the gun ban did not result in a reduction in gun deaths at all.

    When analyzing the effect of an action you have to compare data for "before the action" to data for "after the action". You persist in comparing apples and oranges and assuming that the ONLY difference between crime int he US and the UK is availability of guns.

  17. "Carmine, Are the descriptions exactly the same for types of crimes in the U.K.?" Mark Schaffer

    As long as we still both speak English it is!


  18. Carmine,
    Post the actual descriptions for both the U.S. and U.K.

    How long did it take from inception for the ban to become effective and how much did population rise in the interim? What do the words "Per Capita" mean Charles?

  19. Well, let's see, sam quoted the number for "last year", I quoted the number for 1996, the year before the ban went into simple math would say that's 16 years since the ban went into effect.

    The number of gun homicides was 4 percent higher (51 vs 49) and the population rose by 4% (59.9 million to 62.3 million) 16 years with no decrease in the "per capita" rate on gun homicides. (The UK government lists both years as a per capita rate of 0.1 per 100,000). Of course in that same period the violent crime per capita increased by 89%, so a pretty dramatic failure of the gun ban.

  20. "Carmine,
    Post the actual descriptions for both the U.S. and U.K."

    Mark, You may recall that is what I asked you to do for the UK.

    What you did was to post the gun violence stats for the UK only. That's nonsense. Post all the crime stats for the UK to give a full picture. Then if you can make the case that gun control laws work, I'll listen. But you don't because you can't. The crime rates, assaults, rapes, robberies, home break-ins just to name a few, have all gone up in the UK. If you don't know that, you should. And that's the reason the UK bobbies have starting packing.


  21. How convenient to have one article show just how utterly and completely wrong Charles and Carmine are:

    "Annual crime figures show that the homicide rate has fallen steeply over the last decade, from a high in 2002 when 172 deaths were identified as likely to have been caused by the family GP Dr Harold Shipman.
    More broadly, overall crime dropped slightly to 3.97 million crimes, it's lowest figure in two decades...Overall police recorded a fall in violent crime in England and Wales of 7 per cent (from 822,000 offences in 2010/11 to 763,000 offences in 2011/12) and a fall in robberies by 2 per cent.
    While burglary and vehicle theft recorded by the police also fell, other theft offences have risen by 2 per cent, following a 4 per cent rise last year.
    These figures take into account the huge increase in metal thefts which have blighted the country. More than 1000 such thefts are thought to take place every week. A recent survey by the Local Government Association found that 88 per cent of councils have fallen prey to the thieves in the last three years."

  22. And in addition there is this:

    Note the asterisk:
    * The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced on 1.4.02. Figures for some categories may be inflated by this.

    Can anyone explain to poor Charles and Carmine what this means?

  23. "Can anyone explain to poor Charles and Carmine what this means?"


    It means that the stricter gun laws have done nothing to reduce overall crime in England. In fact the incidents have stayed the same and/or gone up, while the rates stayed the same. Due to population growth. Try again.

    And quote an independent source. Not one that has a vested interest in reporting the stats: THE POLICE!


  24. Well, Mark, the simplest explanation for the numbers you just provided is that they don't cover the right time period.

    Your homicide rate figures cover 2002 to 2012 (..."over the last decade, from a high in 2002...") so you again fail to compare any PRE-BAN data to any POST-BAN data. Also note that you switched form "gun deaths" in the previous comment to "overall homicides" in this one.

    You then follow with numbers for "violent crime" but only compare two years (2010/11 to 2011/12), so you again failed to compare any PRE-BAN data to any POST-BAN data.

    So perhaps you should have actually READ your article Mark.

    As for your second link, perhaps you failed to notice how it CONVENIENTLY fails to go back to show any "pre-ban" data, though it does show a steady RISE in gun crime and homicide for the next 10 years after the ban went into effect.

    So your goal is accomplished. You have proven that the gun ban in the UK resulted in INCREASED gun crime, violent crime, and homicides.

    An how about the next page of the link you posted:
    "Number of Deaths from Firearms Injury - United Kingdom, 1997 to 2006"

    1997 - 198
    1998 - 229
    1999 - 207
    2000 - 204
    2001 - 193
    2002 - 181
    2003 - 187
    2004 - 191
    2005 - 185
    2006 - 210

    Hmmm...failing to see any sharp reduction as a result of the 1997 ban in that TEN YEARS worth of data.

  25. FYI Mark: For England and Wales

    "The National Statistician acknowledged that crime is an inherently difficult phenomenon to measure:
    "some crime goes unreported or is under reported; victims can be unaware of some crimes such as
    fraud; and there are crimes where there may be no direct victims" (National Statistician, 2011). The
    review also noted that while the two main statistical series on crime "add to public understanding of
    crime in England and Wales" that "neither series produces, nor can they ever produce, a count of
    'total' crime" (National Statistician, 2011).
    The definition of crime itself is not as straightforward as may appear. While the statute provides a
    definitive articulation of what behaviour would constitute a crime in law, the public perception of what
    is 'criminal' may differ. For example, any physical violence between individuals is likely to be
    considered a crime by strict interpretation of the law. However, where this occurs on a sports field, or
    amounts to pushing and shoving between young siblings, it might be that neither victim nor offender
    (even if such a distinction could be drawn) would consider the action to be criminal. This is perhaps a
    particular issue when considering behaviour amongst children (see below).
    Overall crime trends
    Latest BCS figures showed no statistically significant change in the numbers of crime estimated from
    the 2010/11 survey (9.6 million offences) compared to the previous year (9.5 million offences),
    consistent with a flattening trend in crime."

    Stricter gun laws was a moot issue.


  26. Well I knew that Carmine and Charles would be unable to understand the trends properly, the change in methodology and differences in definitions, or the idea of cherry picking data but is anyone else fooled by the nonsense they post?

  27. Mark:

    You are more guilty of your accusation than me. I can read and accept the facts. I can't say the same for you.


  28. It is several hours later and no one believes your nonsense so enjoy convincing yourselves you are right on this issue.

  29. Mark, since YOU are the one arguing for a change (gun restrictions/ban) it seems telling that YOU haven't provided any data to support the idea that those laws would result in a reduction in any category of crime.

    But hey, anyone with the ability to search on here can see that you've been proven wrong on gun crime statistics dozens of times now.

  30. "It is several hours later and no one believes your nonsense so enjoy convincing yourselves you are right on this issue." @ Mark Schaffer

    The facts are what they are and not what you want them to be.


  31. Carmine says "The facts are what they are and not what you want them to be"

    All too true. Look what just happened here.

    Mark strayed from his normal pattern of linking to opinion pieces to support his position and actually provided a link to real statistical data about gun deaths in the UK.....unfortunately those numbers DISPROVED his argument.

    If he were correct and the gun ban helped reduce gun deaths in the UK it would be pretty simple to show. All he'd have to do is provide the data on gun deaths before the ban and the data for gun deaths after the ban and show us all how much lower the "post ban" numbers are.

    Unfortunately, as you said, "the facts are what they are"....and in this case what they are is proof that the gun ban in the UK is not a "success story" for the proponents of gun control in the US.

  32. I agree with you Charles. Can't say the same for Mark. I really wish Mark were right and the UK crime stats proved what he says about stricter gun laws. But he/they don't prove anything except the stricter guns laws had no impact. Zero.


  33. And that's the frustrating thing. When it comes to the issue of reducing violent crime, history shows us a lot of things that don't work, but has far fewer examples of things that do work.

    So when asked "If gun control laws won't work, what do you suggest?", I have to honestly say that I don't know.

    I can say that whatever the right answers are, they'll take time and won't be "quick fix" legislative solutions.

    Solutions will take time and will probably involve changing attitudes by and about law enforcement (see the CompStat program in NYC for example). Many jurisdictions seem to also find a correlation where stricter enforcement of minor crimes (broken windows, loitering, speeding, minor assault, etc.) seems to lead to a reduction in violent crime.