Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fascinating Numbers about Guns in Airports

video link

"It strains credibility when 40 to 50 people a week show up with guns at the security checkpoint and then say 'I forgot.' They didn't forget their ticket. They didn't forget their pants. They've been on notice for over 12 years that guns are not permitted and it's time they be held responsible for violating the law."


  1. To put this in some perspective, 16 million passengers travelled per week in 2012. That implies an error rate of between 0.00026 and 0.00032 percent, or about 3 ten thousandths of one percent or 3 per million travelers. By comparison, the vaunted six sigma error rate is 0.00034 percent. If you made a mistake 3 times out of every million times that you did something, would you be sure that it was done intentionally or carelessly?

    1. That's one way to look at it. Another is, what the hell's wrong with the 40 to 50 people a week who get caught at air port security. What percentage of them is truly responsible and fit to safely own guns?

      Taking the total number of idiot gun owners who "forget" they have the gun when they go to the airport and dividing by the total number of passengers is a bit misleading since many of those passengers are not gun owners, but of course you counted them, and the kids too, I suppose.

      By the way, Wiki Answers says about 10 million people travel each week. Why is it that every time you quote stats to us they're way high?

    2. Mikeb, did you seriously just challenge an economist and academic with a user-edited wiki? There are days when you outdo yourself.

    3. "By the way, Wiki Answers says about 10 million people travel each week. Why is it that every time you quote stats to us they're way high?"

      Perhaps it depends on the data you're looking at Mike. In 2013, there were about 12.4 million domestic passengers per week. But if you look at combined domestic and international passengers the weekly number is 15.8 million, fairly close to John's number.

    4. Well, the Wiki Answers site was the only one that provided a number in the five minutes I dedicated to the search. But, my real point was that most of the passengers John used to get his impressively low percentage are not gun owners. That skews the percentage because non-gun owners could never have brought a gun to the airport.

      Just like you like to do Greg, John artificially juiced up the comment making the percentage much smaller than it really should have been. The funny thing is if he'd done it straight up, the percentage would still have been ridiculously low, the point would have been adequately made. Why do you guys so often do that? Why can't you argue straight up and honestly?

      By the way, do we think the 40 or 50 people each week who are caught with guns at air port security are the extent of the problem? Aren't there some who get through? You don't think the TSA geniuses are catching every offender, do you?

      My other point was about the people who bring guns to the airport. What's wrong with them? Should they be considered responsible gun owners who just forgot? Or is the very act of forgetting evidence that they are not responsible.

      And one other question. Why are these guys always or almost always lawful gun owners? Where are all the criminals who "just forget."

    5. Mikeb,

      1. Lott offered you the numbers of people travelling on an airplane in a given period. Are you suggesting that all the non-gun-owners never forgt things in their bags that aren't allowed? But as you point out, the numbers are tiny, no matter how we subdivide the total number of passengers. You're typically picking at irrelevant details while missing the overall picture.

      2. Let's consider how many contraband items do get on the planes. There was a story a little while ago about some celebrity who realized she had a knife in her bag and that made it through the screening. I'm working from memory here, so don't get bogged down. The point is that a dangerous item got on board. But nothing happened. And that's the key. It doesn't appear that these people who forget something have malicious intent. If they did, we'd have a lot more terrorist incidents, since no, I don't put much faith in TSA screeners.

      3. We all forget things from time to time. You demand superhuman gun owners. But there's a world of difference between forgetting something and actively planning to do harm. You lump those two together as though they are equal, but that's yet another example of why your side is losing.

      4. Why don't criminals "just forget"? It's because even with the TSA error rate, the odds against getting a gun into the passenger cabin are very high.

    6. You know, this just doesn't make any sense at all. For decades a passenger could pack his loaded pistol in his/her carry on baggage until all this terrorist crap got popular. Then it became a big deal. Then knives brought down 9-11 planes and knives and other items became a big deal.

      Now we have another plane down, what next? No pilots?

  2. I don't care how small the number is the mistake is to idiotic to excuse.