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Interesting read regarding guns......

2 posts in this topic

Another Brady hallucination: More guns, more ‘gun violence’ (Part 1)

4 comments February 15, 4:54 PM

by Howard Nemerov, Austin Gun Rights Examiner

« PreviousNext » A recent USA Today article discussed pending legislation on the open carrying of holstered handguns. It also afforded the Brady Campaign’s president an opportunity to display his knowledge of the situation:

Says Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which opposes open-carry laws: "We don't want more people carrying guns either openly or concealed because the more guns you have in a situation, the more likely you are to get gun violence." [Emphasis added]

The following series examines various government datasets to test Helmke’s “more guns, more violence” theory.

Examining the 2007 Brady report card

Nearly every year since 2001, the Brady Campaign has published an annual report card, grading states on how well they have implemented what Brady calls “sensible gun laws.” Curiously, most of these report cards ignore Washington, D.C., which consistently owns the highest violent crime rate in the country: It is included here because its population exceeds Wyoming’s and D.C. has enough autonomy to enact its own gun control laws, like any state.

Brady’s 2007 Scorecard contains detailed criteria for determining a state’s score. Using their criteria, Washington, D.C. would have scored around 83, higher than any state, because it has the strictest gun laws in the country. It deserves note that in 2007 (latest final FBI crime data available), this closest model of Brady’s gun control utopia had 3.0 times the violent crime rate and a 5.5 times higher murder rate than the entire U.S. Therein lies the introduction to Helmke’s dilemma.

The first hint that Brady’s scorecard effectively identifies a state’s anti-self-defense environment is Brady’s definition of “common sense gun restrictions.” For example, states earn two points for not enacting what Brady calls a “Shoot First Law” (aka Stand Your Ground), which Brady interprets to mean that law-abiding citizens can use deadly force “as the first resort” when confronted by criminal attackers. Curiously, there are no corresponding points for how well states punish criminals who use deadly force, a criterion that clearly signals a state’s intention to reduce gun violence.

Further evidence of the pro-criminal bias appears when comparing Brady scores to FBI violent crime rates. Including the District of Columbia, nine of Brady’s “Top 10” states restricted concealed carry for law-abiding citizens. Brady’s “Top 10” averaged a violent crime rate of 505.1 (incidents per 100,000 population) and a Brady score of 55.5. Brady’s “Bottom 10,” all right-to-carry [RTC] states, averaged a violent crime rate of 380.3––38.2% lower than Brady’s “Top 10”––and a Brady score of 4.1. More interesting is that Brady’s “Top 10” had an average murder rate of 7.0, while the “Bottom 10” averaged 5.5.

Looking at the entire dataset, RTC states averaged a 400.5 violent crime rate in 2007, a 4.9 murder rate, and an average Brady score of 9.7. Non-RTC states averaged a violent crime rate of 525.0 and a murder rate of 6.8; 31.1% and 38.5% higher, respectively, than RTC states. Helmke considers non-RTC states much safer from “gun violence” because they average a Brady grade of 48.6, five times higher than RTC states.

Some might argue that the non-RTC states might have had even worse crime rates without their restrictive gun laws. Between 2001 and 2007, the national violent crime rate dropped 7.4%. During that same time period, RTC states saw a 7.6% rate decrease, while non-RTC states saw a 6.7% drop. Between 2004 and 2007, the U.S. saw a 0.8% increase in the violent crime rate; RTC states saw a 0.7% increase while non-RTC states experienced a 1.2% increase.

With “more people carrying guns,” right-to-carry states have become safer relative to states with restrictive laws. It would be interesting to see Helmke’s dataset, but in the meantime, part 2 will examine additional government datasets to test his “more guns, more gun violence” hypothesis.


FBI crime data compiled into spreadsheet; email request for Excel workbook.

Every dataset tells a story. For in-depth analysis of anti-rights politicians, see chapter 4 in Four Hundred Years of Gun Control: Why Isn’t It Working?, which deconstructs the gun control agenda and motivates more people to support our civil right of self-defense.

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Another Brady hallucination: More guns, more ‘gun violence’ (Part 2)

3 comments February 19, 9:43 AM

by Howard Nemerov, Austin Gun Rights Examiner

« PreviousNext » In part 1, we cross-referenced 2007 FBI crime data and Brady report card scores, and found that the higher the Brady grade––more “common sense gun restrictions” according to Brady––the higher the murder and violent crime rates.

While this correlation impacts Brady’s credibility as a reputable source for policy advice, the FBI data cited does not directly correlate gun prevalence to violent crime rates. Fortunately, there is a dataset cited by Brady which addresses this issue.

In a previous article, Brady made much of a 2001 survey by the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics, as part of their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System [bRFSS], which asked respondents from all over the country: “Are any firearms now kept in or around your home? Include those kept in a garage, outdoor storage area, car, truck, or other motor vehicle.” This article showed that Brady’s “best” states have low levels of gun ownership, and high levels of violent crime and murder, while Brady’s “worst” states have high levels of gun ownership and low levels of violent crime and murder. There is also fatal injury data from the Centers for Disease Control [CDC], which was cited by another pro-gun control organization. Because the BRFSS and CDC are cited by anti-rights groups as credible data sources in determining the value of gun laws, they will be used here to determine if the relative availability of firearms has anything to do with rates of what Brady calls “gun violence,” which means criminals using guns to commit violent acts.

The CDC fatal injury data enables researchers to divide state-level homicide data into firearms and non-firearms causes. Correlating the CDC and BRFSS data highlights any relationship between levels of gun ownership and homicide rates by mechanism. After sorting states by gun ownership rates, the more guns, less homicide correlation remains with the 2001 FBI data, and is confirmed by the CDC data (see table below). There is also a negative correlation between gun ownership and homicides where the murderer used a firearm: more guns, less firearms homicide. What is more interesting is the negative correlation between gun ownership and non-firearms homicide rates: more guns, less non-firearms homicide.

States with the lowest levels of civilian firearms ownership averaged higher non-firearms homicide rates than the total national rate! Their non-firearms homicide rates alone were higher than the TOTAL homicide rates in states with more firearms!

Finally, correlating with the 2001 Brady report card­––they used letter grades in 2001––confirms that states with higher Brady grades have lower firearms ownership rates and do not trust citizens to carry concealed handguns in public.

So the next time somebody suggests to you that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has our safety and well-being at heart because they are the country’s leading proponent in “common sense gun restrictions,” remind them of the following:

· States that Brady considers the safest, based upon their level of restrictive laws, have the highest rates of violent crime and murder, whether that murder is committed using a firearm or not.

· Brady’s definition of “common sense gun restrictions” means that law-abiding citizens have a harder time buying and owning guns, though criminals still use guns more often to kill those same citizens.

· States with the most “common sense gun restrictions” have the highest non-firearms homicide rates in the country because the victims are already disarmed, making other methods more lethal.

· States that Brady says are the most dangerous because there are “more people carrying guns either openly or concealed” have the lowest homicide and violent crime rates, and the lowest levels of firearms homicide.


FBI data compiled into spreadsheet; email request for copy.

Every dataset tells a story. For in-depth analysis of anti-rights politicians, see chapter 4 in Four Hundred Years of Gun Control: Why Isn’t It Working?, which deconstructs the gun control agenda and motivates more people to support our civil right of self-defense.

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