Great Op-Ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today

Great Op-Ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today

This is a discussion on Great Op-Ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; We always have to remember Benjamin Disraeli's quote that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. A. Barton Hinkle column: Gun-Control ...

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  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    Great Op-Ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today

    We always have to remember Benjamin Disraeli's quote that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    A. Barton Hinkle column: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose | Richmond Times-Dispatch

    More than 900 black males between the ages of 14 and 17 killed somebody in 2007. Should we be scared of young black guys?

    Of course not. There are roughly 3 million black males in that age group in the United States. It would be horribly unfair to toss around the first statistic without mentioning the second; doing so would be misleading, if not malicious.

    Now consider this statistic: Concealed handgun permit holders have killed 107 people since 2007. That news, from the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., sounds pretty bad -- until you put it in context. How many Americans have been issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon?

    The Violence Policy Center doesn't say. And it's probably impossible to pin down a precise number, because records are kept on a state-by-state basis, and reporting criteria differ from state to state. But NRA estimates put the number in the neighborhood of 5 million, as of a couple of years ago. (The NRA adds that permit applications have jumped 50 percent since the 2008 elections -- which seems borne out at least here in Virginia. At present there are 211,435 active permits in the commonwealth. Just this year, Virginia courts have granted more than 62,000.)

    If that's true, then the percentage of concealed-carry permit holders who have killed someone with a firearm comes to two one-thousandths of 1 percent. Yet to listen to the VPC's Kristen Brand -- who says "concealed handgun permit holders are killing people over parking spaces, football games, and family arguments" -- you'd think the cohort of permit holders was as dangerous as the gang at Rikers Island.

    Now, the Violence Policy Center notes that its numbers might be incomplete: Because of the variations in state reporting criteria, it might have missed some cases in which a concealed-carry permit holder killed someone. Let's say the VPC missed a lot of cases -- nine out of 10, in fact. Using that generous standard, then the fraction of permit-holders who have killed someone with a firearm in the past couple of years comes to two one-hundredths of 1 percent. That still doesn't make much of case against permit holders, does it?

    Here's another way to look at it: How many firearm homicides are there? It varies from year to year, but 10,000 is a conservative round number. That's a godawful lot, far too many. (Although out of 70 million firearms in the U.S., it also comes to less than two hundredths of a percent.) Again, the figures indicate concealed-carry permit holders are responsible for less than 1 percent of them.

    And if you look into the details of the cases cited by the VPC, it's clear that the group is using the most expansive definition of "people killed by concealed-carry permit holders" possible. For example, a couple of the 107 cases involve accidental firearms discharges; in one, a young child accidentally shot himself with his father's pistol. That's a horrible, gut-wrenching tragedy. But you don't need a concealed-carry permit to keep a gun in the house.

    Of course, homicide is not the only crime you can commit with a gun, and concealed-carry permit holders have committed other crimes, too. On the other hand, gun-rights groups point out that sometimes gun owners can stop or deter a crime.

    Estimates of how often this happens vary wildly, from 108,000 times a year (the 1993 National Crime Victimization Survey) to 1.5 million (Department of Justice, 1994) to more than 3 million (a 1976 California study). Florida criminologist Gary Kleck may have produced the most scrupulous count, which he puts at 2.5 million annual defensive gun uses. Gun-rights groups also point out that after Florida adopted a "shall-issue" concealed-carry permit law, its homicide rate fell even as the national rate rose. Post hoc does not imply propter hoc. On the other hand, it's impossible to say, at least based on Florida's experience, that liberal gun laws lead inexorably to more murders.

    Should states make it harder to get a permit? Perhaps -- but not because of the VPC's statistics, which make concealed-carry permit holders seem a lot safer to be around than, say, airbags.

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags have saved 25,000 people -- and killed 290. If a pharmacutical company came out with a new drug that killed more than one person for every hundred lives it saved, Washington would ban it in a heartbeat. Yet airbags are federally mandated. Maybe the Violence Policy Center should look into that.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.

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  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array BigStick's Avatar
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    Statistics can have such a love-hate relationship. They are easy to find and construe in any light you wish... as long as you have no moral objection to intentionally misleading and lying to people.
    Walk softly ...

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    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    Good for the Richmond times.

    I didn't know something pro gun would ever make it to the press.
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    Senior Member Array Bob O's Avatar
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    I hope most of the 107 killed by CC holders were bad guys! Too bad the number wasn't much higher. It certainly shows a lot of restraint on the CC guys' part.

    Bobo
    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"
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    Distinguished Member Array Black Knight's Avatar
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    Hey Bob O to the VPC the only bad guys are the legal gun owners. They look at gang members, drug dealers and their like as victims who were simply applying their trade when the legal gun owner murdered them. They believe that even these guys deserve the right to ply their chosen trade.

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    I bet that only about 10% of the killings by concealed carry permit holders were a crime. That would mean that the other 97 killings were justified and likely saved the shooter or someone elses life.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

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    Are they stating that permitholders, "murdered 107 individuals" or rightfully defended themselves and killed a lawbreaking thug,107 times???????



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    Figures lie, and liars figure...
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    Ex Member Array F350's Avatar
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    More than 900 black males between the ages of 14 and 17 killed somebody in 2007. Should we be scared of young black guys?
    Actually according to the late Johnnie L. Cochran Jr the answer is YES

    On a Sunday news program he related an incident where he was walking down a Washington DC street and heard footsteps coming up from behind him and was relieved when he turned around and saw it was 2 white young men.

    BUT that is a whole 'nother (un-PC) topic

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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob O View Post
    I hope most of the 107 killed by CC holders were bad guys! Too bad the number wasn't much higher. It certainly shows a lot of restraint on the CC guys' part.

    Bobo

    Unfortunately, no they were not mostly criminals. But these folks were not your average CC person either. Some of them should not have had permits for legal reason. Others, who knows what happens. I came across this while looking for something else. It's worth looking at, but statistically insignificant as the editorial points out.

    VPC - Concealed Carry Killers

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