Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Let's face it, the facts are "anti-gun"--no matter how much you don't want them to be.

As I like to say, gunloon arguments don;t stand any serious scrutiny, which is why I usually try to give citations (unless it's something uncitable like a meme).  In this case, it's a map of the research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA):

The map was part of a scholarly study by researchers from Boston Children's Hospital that was  published this March in JAMA Internal Medicine: The abstract is found here.  The study found that States with more gun regulations had lower rates of gun deaths, and states with less gun laws had higher gun death rates, both in terms of suicide and homicide.While direct causation could not be determined, but at the very least, such a strong correlation should make it clear that existing public policy in many states with lax gun laws comes at a high price in terms of public detriment.

That is not a unique finding as the Center for American Progress released another study in April that pretty much said the same thing, and that showed that 10 states with the weakest gun laws had over twice the rate of gun violence as the 10 states with the strongest gun laws. Also, in 2011, a writer for The Atlantic found, with the help of a colleague, that the presence of gun laws in states had a strong correlation with less gun violence.

Of course, I have pointed out that this anti-gun bias has led to Federal funds being denied to similar research projects because such studies "may be used to advocate or promote gun control".  Why withhold funding if there wasn't such an overwhelming prospect that the facts are against you?


  1. There are a huge number of issues in which "true causation" cannot be shown. Those who do not understand science are fond of saying "correlation is not causation" as if you get a bonus for chanting this obvious and trite truism. They omit another true statement - causation REQUIRES some kind of correlation. If you don't show a correlation of some sort, the two things cannot be related. Causality comes from a number of conditions. Thus, by showing a correlation, the laws are shown to be a component of causation. In this and many other things, causation is quite complicated, and there are many components to it.

    1. Nick,
      You are correct that the chant you mentioned is bandied about often. I've even had it used on me when discussing the high crime rates of Chicago and its strict gun laws. And it was a proper challenge.
      When dealing with the chaos inherent with anything involving people, proving causation can be a challenge. Especially when the people have the freedom of movement. There are a number of places where there is the potential to prove causation.
      For example, Illinois is just now implementing a shall issue carry permit system as ordered by the courts. This will be an opportunity to see if gun advocates are correct in their assertion that citizens having the capability of defending themselves with firearms will result in a drop in violent crime.
      Especially since they are going from no permits at all to a shall issue system. It will likely take several years for any reliable data to be available.

  2. 1. Laci, you're free to donate any of your money to research, if you wish. The only denial of funds is of federal tax dollars.

    2. That chart illustrates the flaw of the cited report. The gun laws of forty states are essentially the same. There are minor variations, but reports like this or the Brady Bunch's score card try to emphasize a law here or there to exaggerate what are small differences.

    But look at Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We're told they all three have the same strength of gun laws as Iowa, but of those four states, there are four different rates of death. And of those, the first three are a part of the Old South that share the same subculture. New Hampshire and Massachusetts have the same rate of death, but the former has half the gun laws of the latter.

    You can't claim correlation when there is such an obvious lack of correlation when we look closely.

  3. Unless the fact is you want to murder someone, then the fact is America loves guns.

  4. We’ve already talked about this graphic here, and I thoroughly destroyed it:

    Do you remember, Laci, how I told you that all your statistics of this sort use “gun deaths” or “gun murders”, and not murder rates, or violent crime rates? Once again, if we take this graph and substitute “gun deaths” for murder rates we see a much different picture. Go read the whole thread above for a more detailed analysis, but it looks like this:

    Quartile 1 (0-2 laws): 4.98
    Quartile 2 (3-4 laws ): 3.99
    Quartile 3 (5-8 laws): 3.48
    Quartile 4 (9-24 laws): 4.42

    As an addendum to the above thread, I want to point out how Mike talks about his “proof” that gun control works to reduce murder, which I talked about later and in more detail here:

    In a nutshell, the following year’s data was released and his method now shows the exact opposite result (and then some).

    1. You are passionate, Mozart.

    2. "Too many notes", says the king.

  5. Here we go again. Any study this site posts is considered bogus by the gun loons.

    1. Care to critique anything I had to say, or are you just deeming it to be bogus without reading or putting any thought into it? You see, I didn’t just call it “bogus” and then leave, I said exactly what is wrong with it, and showed you all what the numbers look like when we substitute “gun deaths” for murder rates, continuing with the long running theme of mine that there is no correlation between gun laws/gun ownership and murder rates.

    2. When you claim every study this site uses is incorrect, then claim every study you site is correct, yes that's biased and bogus

    3. Is it just as biased and bogus when your side of the issue does the same thing? Before you answer, take a second to look at the title of this thread.

    4. My "side?"
      Now you sound like Greg. That's sad.
      I don't believe your "side" can claim every study your "side" uses is correct and every study the other "side" uses is incorrect. It doesn't pass the logic test. Especially when this site uses studies from reputable sources like the CDC, Johns Hopkins, the JAMA, etc..
      You guys love picking "sides." It's OK for your "side" to call someone a cunt, but it's not OK for someone from the other "side" to call anyone a liar, even with proof? That's great logic.

    5. Actually, I've been told my data was wrong when I've attempted to use CDC data here. apparently CDC data is now unreliable.

      There are inaccurate studies on both sides of the debate, and both sides seem to cling just as stubbornly to the data they want to believe. If you hang out here long enough, you'll see articles posted about this study or that, that will have one side or the other crowing its accuracy before they've even read it.
      I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I tend not to call people names here. And if the use of the word liar on this blog were to be counted, I don't think the pro gun side of the issue would win that contest.
      I cant control what others say here, I can only control me. So if you have a beef with my conduct, call me on it, and we'll talk about it. I've also agreed with Mike on occasion here, so I don't blindly stick to a "side".

    6. When you claim every study this site uses is incorrect, then claim every study you site is correct, yes that's biased and bogus

      But I do more than just "claim" that. I specifically said what was wrong with it. Do you want to specifically say what is wrong with my comments? You seem to be just calling me “bias” and that’s it- basically what you are accusing me of doing. Whatever I say must be bogus- whatever study linked by Laci and Mike must be gold. What is it you like about this work? What do you think about their use of quartiles for this application? You can see that I have many reservations- namely that Quartiles 1,2,3 are all not very restrictive in their gun laws, with only Quartile 4 being considered restrictive, with a wide range of restriction to boot (PA is nowhere close to CA in terms of gun laws, but this study calls them equal). There was no need to do this. They could have just evaluated states with their actual Brady scores.

    7. Anonymous, I don't call anyone a cunt. I find that term offensive. I can't help the way Thomas acts when he comments here. I frequently find his remarks to be inappropriate and unnecessary, and perhaps I should call him out more on that. But I certainly do not use his language.

      Now, on the question of gun rights, there are distinct sides. Gun control advocates are in favor of bans and restrictions--in varying degrees, but the general position is the same. Gun rights advocates generally support the basic rights of ownership and carry, again with variations on specifics. There isn't much in the way of a middle ground, since the core question is whether or not guns are a right. Your answer to that question will guide every response you make regarding gun laws.

      When it comes to these studies, I'll accept ones that are done according to valid methods. But when obvious errors are included, such as the ranking of states by gun laws given here, that leads me to doubt any claims being made. But as I said below, this really isn't about science or facts. We all know how many people die each year from gunfire.

      The question is what to do about it. I've written my answers here:

      I'm curious to know your opinion of those solutions.

    8. Despite the lengthy and difficult-to-follow "proofs" provided by TS, I stand by my simple and transparent position. If two-thirds of all murders are done with guns then states with fewer guns will not only have fewer gun murders, but they'll have fewer overall murders too. You don't need to be a math wizard to see that. You just need to be unbiased and honest.

    9. You are the one who said "side" not me, I don't think that way and know those who do are biased. If you pick a "side" then you cannot escape the actions of the "side" you choose. I didn't hear either of you chastising one from your "side" for calling someone a cunt. Nor have I heard either of you speak against the racial tirades of Ted Nugent; a board member of your "sides" biggest organization the NRA. In fact you defend and quote the NRA often, not to mention giving your money to the NRA so they can continue to pay Nugent (whose racial slurs are public knowledge and on video) to represent the NRA. If you had any moral convictions you would resign from the NRA, as I did.

    10. Mikeb, can you acknowledge that data analysis is a complex subject? It may bore you, but to draw valid conclusions, we have to look at the numbers in a valid way. This is not a question of bias or honesty. It's a question of whether we're willing or not to recognize that guesses and simple answers aren't proof.

    11. Listen, if somebody called somebody else a cunt, I missed it. I don't want to hear another word about it. The name calling has gotten out of hand. This is the last time I'm asking to pull it back a bit.

    12. Mike, the reason why we do these studies is to come up with a statistical answer to the question, “does gun control work?” Of course we have to define what “work” means- is it reducing gun ownership from the general population, or reducing murder? I say murder, which is why I use murder rates as the measure and not something like “gun deaths”. But you’ve already agreed that murder is a valid metric, so we can move on. There is nothing more simple and direct than looking at murder rates and comparing them to a state’s gun laws.

      MikeB: “If two-thirds of all murders are done with guns then states with fewer guns will not only have fewer gun murders, but they'll have fewer overall murders too. You don't need to be a math wizard to see that. You just need to be unbiased and honest.”

      Or… we could just look at murder rates because we know them. We don’t have to speculate on the percentage of guns used in murder being translated to murder rates. Your statement isn’t true because… (hold on this is a bold statement, are you ready for it?)… because every gun is NOT murdering people! In fact, it is a very small percentage. And if those few guns are finding their way into murderous hands with or without your little gun control laws, then it’s easy to see that murder rates won’t be affected.

      When you say your explanation, you are making the assumption that gun control works. You believe that if we have these laws, criminals won’t get as many guns, and they’ll substitute guns with less effective weapons, and murder rates will go down. You are refusing to believe any statistical analysis that challenges your belief, or even asks the question if those laws will work like that. You won’t allow a statistical model that asks the question “does gun control work to reduce murder?” because you would rather not look at actual murder rates, and just assume that murder will go down… because gun control works.

      But I’m the one who is biased and dishonest, right?

    13. Let’s just look at your statement one more time:

      MikeB: “If two-thirds of all murders are done with guns then states with fewer guns will not only have fewer gun murders, but they'll have fewer overall murders too.”

      You make two assumptions here? Why? We don’t need to. We know each state’s murder rate. The percentage of murders that used a gun is even a subset of it. Why would you take a subset, and then speculate on the overall murder rate?

    14. I made a big mistake in my statement. I forgot that state to state differences in the law don't work because there's nothing to stop the criminals from crossing state lines for an easier access. A better comparison would be the murder rate in the US with that of England or Japan or Australia.

      I didn't get what you meant by "because every gun is NOT murdering people! "

    15. Did… did we just have a major break-through?

      It was over two years ago when I first posted the work I did, and we debated it dozens of times since then, mostly ended with you saying that I am “baffling you with bullshit”. Are you now saying I was right? The conclusion is that state level gun control doesn’t work at preventing violent crime and murder, and you agree with that conclusion, yes?

      MikeB: “A better comparison would be the murder rate in the US with that of England or Japan or Australia.”

      So we’ve settled the state debate and we can move on to international now? Can we include the rest of the countries too, so we don’t have to revert back to the time in the state debate where you liked to compare Louisiana to Massachusetts and ignore the data that doesn’t suit you?

      MikeB: “I didn't get what you meant by "because every gun is NOT murdering people! "’

      This had to be true (or that murder is an equally weighted random occurrence amongst all guns) for your logical progression to be true. A very small percentage of guns are being used to commit murder. So even if you remove half the guns from a given area, it’s easy to miss all the guns that were doing the killing. But you already admitted that statement was a mistake, so we don’t need to belabor this.

    16. The "breakthrough" may not have been as major as you say. Which is typical of you. In a slick way you're always pushing the issue beyond what you know is the case.

      I never was convinced by your lengthy arguments about state murder rates. AND I think the whole discussion is contaminated by the vast disparities between gun laws, California and Nevada, for example. In your comment above, you seem to be pretending you never heard me mention that before, something that would be less than true, am I right?

      Comparing countries, as I've also made clear in the past, cannot include all countries because Cameroon and the US might as well be on different planets. The fair comparison would be among all developed countries.

    17. Mikeb, if you compare the United States to all other nations, our homicide rate is at the high end of First World countries, but then, our educational scores and health outcomes and so forth are on the low end of that same group. All developed countries, however, are in a class by themselves when compared with the rest of the world.

      Now, before you go crowing about the problems here, let's remember that the United States has a large and diverse population. Countries that have populations in the tens of millions made up of people largely from one cultural group can't criticize what a nation of hundreds of millions of people from all over has accomplished. Do we have more to do? Yes. But given our circumstances, we've done a lot already.

    18. You say you've never been convinced by my arguments but then also say this:

      MikeB: " I forgot that state to state differences in the law don't work because there's nothing to stop the criminals from crossing state lines for an easier access."

      Can you just not ever admit that I'm right?

      Yeah, I was being a bit sarcastic in my use of "break through". I point out many times here, how half the time you agree with my results by saying local and state laws don't work, and the other half you seem to think state gun control laws are the bees knees.

    19. I applaud strict state laws but I wouldn't say they're the bees knees. Unless they were applied nationally their individual benefits are diminished.

      I'll keep an eye out for something of yours I can agree with. I'm right there with Greg on women's rights and gay rights. I'm sure you and I have something in common.

  6. By the way, Laci, the facts are neither anti- nor pro-gun. They are simply the facts. A position taken about the facts is an interpretation or a judgement. You believe one way, while we believe another, but we all are sharing the same facts--though in this case, you're offering a distorted view of them.

    1. But you use lies not facts. No surprise coming from this sites proven lying criminal coward.