Just putting this here for when I need it in January

[Content warning: some discussion of risk factors in suicide]

A central argument for widespread gun ownership is for the protection of the gun owner’s families and themselves in their home. This is not the only argument obviously. Gun rights advocates will also point to

  • self-defence outside of their home (in particular in defence of concealed or open carry legislation) and the archetype of the “good guy with a gun”
  • hunting both as recreation and as a means of securing food
  • as a function of national defence (the “well-regulated militia”)
  • and as a deterrent against the abuse of power by the government

However, this notion of gun ownership as a necessary part of home defence is something that has helped fuel gun ownership beyond the stereotypical gun owner. It is something that arms manufacturers have played into with the marketing of handguns. It also works in synchrony with right-wing propaganda about urban violence and media stoking fears of home invasions.

Counter to these arguments is a range of studies looking at the incidents of firearm injuries in the home.

In ongoing arguments on the internet about guns, a series of studies by A.L.Kellerman in the 1990s:

These studies used a case-controlled methodology to look at relative factors in gun violence and injuries in the home. These studies have had some intense debates over the years primarily because they were early examples of putting solid numbers to what seems to be an intuitive observation. Home invasions and assaults by strangers with guns are a relatively low risk for most people (but not for everybody), whereas accidents and self-harm are more widely distributed in the population. I’m more likely to hit myself with a hammer than hit a random stranger who’s broken into my house.

Putting numbers to an apparently common-sense conclusion is important because common-sense conclusions can be wrong. Kellerman’s studies appeared to confirm the sensible conclusion that guns increase the chance of the relatively common form of home injuries/fatalities [accidents, suicide, murder by close relatives/partner] rather than the rare examples [homicide by intruders]. These studies in turn led to attempts by gun rights advocates to debunk the figures. Notably, books and articles by John “Mary Rosh” Lott have formed the basis of counter-arguments against the Kellerman studies.

You will still find Kellerman regularly cited by gun rights advocates as a figure whose work has been “debunked”. So when proponents of gun control or gun safety legislation point out the relative dangers of keeping a gun in your house (particularly a loaded gun), the response from supporters of the gun industry will be to point at debunkings of Kellerman or just vague handwaving at Kellerman as a figure who has been debunked.

A child born in 1993 is now approaching their 30’s and may have kids of their own. Time has passed and unsurprisingly research on the topic of the relative dangers of gun ownership didn’t stop with Kellerman. Multiple studies with varying methodologies have followed in the intervening time. For example here is a 2004 national study in the US:

“Data from a US mortality follow-back survey were analyzed to determine whether having a firearm in the home increases the risk of a violent death in the home and whether risk varies by storage practice, type of gun, or number of guns in the home. Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death. The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6). Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.”

Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study
Linda L. Dahlberg, Robin M. Ikeda, Marcie-jo Kresnow https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwh309 https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/160/10/929/140858#ref-30

A 2014 meta-analysis of a range of studies arrived at the same broad (common-sense) conclusion:

“Access to firearms is associated with risk for completed suicide and being the victim of homicide.”

The Accessibility of Firearms and Risk for Suicide and Homicide Victimization Among Household Members A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Andrew Anglemyer, PhD, MPH,   Tara Horvath, MA,  and  George Rutherford, MD https://doi.org/10.7326/M13-1301 https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M13-1301?articleid=1814426

There is a get-out clause for the volunteer lobbyists for the gun industry though. The studies above typically draw on cases of gun injury or death. While statistics on such events are not trivial to collect, there is at least something to count. What is much harder to demonstrate are occasions where a gun was used as a deterrent without being fired. We can imagine incidents where a person encounters an intruder in their home but the homeowner has a handgun and successfully frightens the intruder into leaving. We can also imagine that if the homeowner had not had a gun then maybe the homeowner would have been injured or murdered by the intruder! Here we have a much harder arena to collect verifiable figures on. Most (all?) of the methodologies above will capture cases where an intruder was killed or injured with a gun but they won’t necessarily capture cases where an intruder a) was scared away and b) would have harmed the person in the home if they hadn’t been scared away. Let’s call that number N.

If N is really, really large then the relative safety of gun ownership shifts. It won’t change the risk of injury or suicide but it might offset that risk. Except…it won’t. For it to be really large then we would see a comparable rate of death and injury of non-gun owners from intruders that was huge. Instead, we see that homicide in general as a risk increases for gun owners — that’s not directly causal as it is homicide of any kind but arithmetically it shows that NON-gun owners aren’t being killed in huge quantities by random strangers breaking into their house. Put another way, for N to be huge a risk factor in homicide would be NOT owning a gun. It simply isn’t.

Interestingly, when the topic shifts from “debunkings” of Kellerman, the volunteer lobby for the gun industry are likely to be dismissive of the deterrent effect of gun ownership. The idea that simply brandishing a gun by itself is sufficient self-defence is appealing for the numbers argument but if it were true then having an unloaded gun that you didn’t know how to use would itself would increase your safety. Heck, a non-functional but plausible-looking gun would work. There’s no money in that though and fake guns don’t sell bullets or encourage participation in broader gun culture.

Don’t take my word for it though. I’m a British leftist living in Australia and those are two countries that make gun rights people figuratively turn purple on the internet. Instead, listen to somebody who knows something about guns:

“So to stop somebody, there are two main ways to do it, psychologically or physiologically.  Now when I say psychologically, that means the bad guy quits because he decides to, as in “OH CRAP!  He’s got a gun!  Run!”  Or if you shoot them with a non-fatal wound, and they say “Damn, that hurt.  I’m done.” But you don’t control the brain waves of the critter attacking you.  You might get lucky and get a bad guy that will just quit, the kind of guy that if he wanted to work hard for a living, would get a job.  Victim with gun = work.  On the other hand, you might get some really crazy, evil, whackadoo, who ain’t gonna stop, no matter what.  And that guy, you’re going to have to shoot.  A lot. “

https://monsterhunternation.com/2007/09/20/carbine-vs-shotgun-vs-pistol-for-home-defense/

The psychological home defence is a matter of luck and a notable expert on guns advises that you don’t rely on it. However, if N (see above) was large then the psychological use of guns to protect the home would be far and away the most likely scenario.

In truth, nobody really believes that N is large. International comparisons have their own problems but homicide is, if anything, much less in comparable nations than the US.


56 responses to “Just putting this here for when I need it in January”

  1. For more context see Facebook https://www.facebook.com/larry.correia/posts/pfbid0E5FTrCFnPtwoPShf1rQ5j6TG9oXeDt9RS19oGSGomNRLUDscAsb5iqcd3NNjbQmBl

    “You’ve all seen that thing about “a gun in the home is 43 times more likely to kill you or a loved one than an intruder” or some variation thereof. It gets repeated endlessly. Whenever gun control is brought up, somebody barfs that up. Hell, I’ve seen it used a few times this week.
    The problem is, it’s crap. Most people don’t know where it comes from, but it is basically a lie. The study was conducted using an extremely tiny sample size that came from one demographic in one location, and even the accuracy of that tiny data set was screwed up. That insane skew was that somebody in that tiny sample committed suicide, while the rest didn’t need to shoot anybody. Even the guy who did the study (Kellerman) admitted it was trash, and revised it down to something like 2x from his goofy 43x. And even that new number is statistical chicanery because he arrives at it by counting suicides, which all available data indicate would happen anyway, regardless of which tools are available.
    The 43x thing has been totally absolutely debunked by every possible measure.
    And we knew this was a lie clear back in 1986.
    That’s right. The 43x thing has been debunked since 1986. ”

    I think he might have meant 1996 but I’m still checking references. Anyway, January will be fun.

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  2. On the “private ownership of guns helps in national defense” claim, there is no evidence that that has ever been true. There has never been a war in which the United States (or the colonies that would later become the United States) was involved in in which privately owned firearms played a significant role. Not even the Revolutionary War, which is the one that is touted the most often.

    Most of the actual fighting in the Revolutionary War on the colonial side was done by trained soldiers, supplied and equipped by the Continental Congress (securing shipments of muskets from the French government was a big deal in the war). To the extent that militiamen were involved, they were supplied out of the armories of their home colonies. The British were marching to Lexington and Concord to secure the local armory and deny the colonists the firearms stored there. Men showing up with their own firearms to fight were a trivial factor in the war.

    The war in which the U.S. depended most heavily on militiamen was the War of 1812, and even in that one, privately owned firearms were nigh-irrelevant. The U.S. relied upon militias (which, by the way, was a disastrous decision), but even those militias were supplied with arms and equipment by their state governments. In the U.S. Civil War, even the Confederate troops were not dependent upon privately owned firearms – state governments supplied them with weapons.

    There simply has never been a “national defense” need for privately owned firearms, and there likely never will be.

    Liked by 2 people

          • The best version is where the proud American freedom fighters are all were-pandas. Oh ,wait, am I mixing gun-centric action flicks and animation in my head again?

            Liked by 2 people

          • Taking your question more seriously than one really should, I would point out that the 1980s Red Dawn is not a very good argument for private ownership of firearms being a useful element in national defense.

            First off, there is a scene early in the movie where a dead guy lying under a car that has a bumper sticker that says “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers). A Russian soldier takes the .45 that is in the dead guy’s hand .

            Leaving aside the visual joke, the “Wolverines” start with hunting rifles and shotguns (and a hunting bow), but they aren’t interested in fighting the invading Russians, just hiding out in the forested mountains. It is only an accidental encounter with Russian soldiers doing touristy things that sets them on the partisan path (an encounter in which the hunting bow is probably the most important weapon they have), and they almost immediately shift to using captured military equipment and not their civilian stuff.

            Later in the movie, a downed fighter pilot basically chides them for thinking they are central to the war, pointing out that the real fighting is being done by the army further north. They go to return him through the lines so he can take up flying again, and we find the real war, being fought by soldiers with tanks and other actual military equipment, and not a civilian firearm in sight.

            I consider it very telling that a jingoistic gun-fondler fantasy like Red Dawn basically throws private firearms to the side, at times treating them almost contemptuously in the narrative.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yeah, Red Dawn was not meant to be a gun loving diatribe, though it was of course anti-Soviet in the traditions of the era and super patriotic pro-American determination. Reagan really liked the movie, though, and the NRA and gun obsessives used it as an argument that U.S. citizens would need to help out if the Soviets ever did invade in the long promised communist takeover. They would be rural guerilla terrorists like the original settlers or like the Vietnamese against U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. Mountain men who would hide in the woods and do sabotage (westerns). It was a pretty standard post-apocalyptic, global war action movie, noted for having pretty teens be the ones trying to outsmart the invading soldiers instead of a grown military-ish action star.

              But it was against the Soviets (and North Koreans for a soupcon of racism) and so gun obsessives in the 1980’s argued that they were essential as militia on the domestic front should the (collapsing Soviet empire) fearsome communists prevail. Vietnam was still very fresh in American minds, the last U.S. war in which civilians were drafted and forced to fight and in which politics were heavily split, so the patriotic, we must be ready if called to war again part of the society was still very strong and revved up by Reagan’s and right wing rhetoric, which was routinely militaristic towards “black and Latino drug gangs.”

              At the time that the movie was made, assault weapons and other military weapons were not easy for civilians to get due to gun control. As I mentioned in another post, that was changing, though, in the eighties and the government itself started selling civilians M1 guns. Those guns and heavy ordinance started showing up in non-army action movies more and more. And the cops started getting more and more military equipment and weapons, claiming they needed the heavy armament against the drug trade. It’s part of the reason the 80’s were so violent with a ton of urban decay and violent crime — military weapons spread through the populace and also became part of popular culture (Scarface, etc.)

              It’s never been realistic; it’s just a justification based on Hollywood fantasies that make gun obsessives feel special — and able to bully their neighbors by threatening to kill them.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. One thing I find interesting about the arguments given for private gun ownership in the US is that target shooting as a sport doesn’t show up at all, even though that is the main reason along with hunting that people in Germany own guns.

    Target shooting as a sport used to be very popular, particularly in rural areas, though it is fading, because young people no longer think it’s cool to hang out with your mates at a shooting range, fire a few rounds into targets and get drunk and then have a parade and a target shooting competition once a year, complete with crowning the king and queen of the marksmen, and getting drunk again. Oh yes, and there are uniforms, too. Very goofy uniforms. Coincidentally, the target shooting clubs, which in addition to getting a hunting license are the easiest way to get a gun license, are also pretty good at filtering out the nutcases. The goofy uniforms and club culture put off the nutcases and if a nutcase joins a club, the others usually quickly notice that they are more interested in shooting than in getting drunk and hanging out with their mates.

    The fact that having a gun in the house increases the risk of dying by suicide and homicide was also born out by a study in Switzerland, which has a high rate of gun ownership due to the fact that every reserve member of the Swiss Army keeps their rifle at home.

    Regarding fear of home invasions and burglaries, in countries that are not the US, burglaries or home invasions that turn violent or deadly are extremely rare. Most burglaries happen when the homeowners are not at home anyway, often during the day or when they’re on holiday. And when faced with an inhabitant who’s at home and awake, most burglars just run away – no guns needed. There have been a handful of cases where burglars threatened and tied up the inhabitants, but these are extremely rare. My favourite is the case where a burglar called an ambulance after an old lady suffered a heart attack, when he broke into her home.

    I used to enjoy the TV show Criminal Minds quite a bit, until I realised that many Americans really were afraid that serial killers would break into their suburban homes and murder them or that other serial killers would pull them into random vans and murder them. Becauase to me the show was an enjoyable piece of fantasy with likeable characters solving crimes that were clearly based on a small handful of real cases, endlessly remixed.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think they don’t use sports, because you need guns for sports isn’t a good argument for keeping the guns at home.
      Disclimer: I have friends who are in doing this sport(does bow and arrow also count?) and it isn’t in my part of Germany as much in decline as in Cora’s part imho.
      Re funny burglarstorys: A dog did scare burglars away, by parents from a friend. Yes the dog looks like Lassie, but it is a complete harmless dog. His owner wouldn’t put it passt him to give the burglars a housetour. (When we came there whit quite a few unknown people the biggest danger, was not hurting the dog if he stand behind you, unexspected)
      This is another point, burglary may be more dangerous because the burglers have to be prepaired that someone shots at them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I know plenty of people who do target shooting, too, but it is in decline here. Archery might be different, because it got a pop culture boost due to The Hunger Games/Arrow/Hawkeye. And archery ranges have popped up in recent years.

        But yes, the target shooters keep their guns at the club and not at home these days. The law was changed after a mass shooting, where a teenager took his father’s target shooting guns to take pot shots at pedestrians.

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      • When my student flat was burgled in the 1990s, the police officer who came to investigate told me that most burglars are cowards, and that even if I had walked in on him in the act, he would probably have run rather than tried to stand his ground.

        A bit later, I heard a story about a burglar at another college, who had, unwittingly, been robbing the captain of the rugby team, who wasn’t in fact out of the building, but having a shower down the hall. On his return, dripping wet rugby player clad only in a towel and burglar contemplated each other for a few moments, then the rugby player frog-marched the burglar over to the porter’s lodge, where they all sat waiting for the police.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I saw a bumper sticker a long time ago that said, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will shoot their children by accident.”

    Not really a scientific study, but there is proof that more middle-aged white men are dying in red states than blue states. Some of that is probably poverty and unavailable health care, some is opioid addiction or alcohol, some is idiocy about Covid, but there’s also suicide and gun accidents. (Or both — I read that some suicides are classified as gun accidents.)

    As for arguments for gun ownership, there’s also Heinlein’s: “An armed society is a polite society.” I haven’t heard that one for a while though, because it’s been hit on the head so often it’s probably dead. The US is one of the most heavily armed societies in the industrial world, and we sure don’t seem to be getting any politer.

    Liked by 4 people

      • The polite society thing basically seems to mean, “I can be as rude as I want, but if you as much as mildly criticise me, I will threaten to shoot you” to many folks. Though I doubt that’s how Heinlein meant it.

        BTW, Robert E. Howard made a similar though much less quoted remark about civilised men being ruder than barbarians, because they don’t have to fear having their skull split over an argument.

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    • I always thought that ‘armed = polite’ saying very strange. The English have a reputation for being extremely polite, but they have no guns at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I mean, I genuinely think Americans are more polite than British people but I suspect that’s a linguistic drift thing. There are quirks of US English that have a formal ring to a British ear. Australian English goes further the other way – there’s not a word they won’t shorten

        Liked by 1 person

    • I always understood that, you have to be polite or the other person may kill you.
      So the polite society is polite because of fear.
      You are careful, because if you are not a certain person might kill you.
      And if you take it that way, the society Heinlein talks about become a nice little bit of horror.
      Of course certain people would love this because they are bullies at hart.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I bring up another historical example to counter the “an armed society is a polite society” line used by gun fondlers: Deadwood.

      Due to a quirk in jurisdiction, Deadwood existed with no real law for about eighteen months. It was on land that had been ceded to native Americans in what is now South Dakota in the Black Hills, so settlement there was illegal, and there was no state or federal government that had legal jurisdiction.

      Gold was discovered in the Black Hills, and opportunists swarmed into the region, establishing the town of Deadwood, a town with “no law”. Since everyone was basically a criminal (and the kind of person this place attracted was often already a criminal – going to Deadwood because you were wanted by the law was not uncommon), everyone was armed. If an armed society was a polite society, then it should have been a very polite and calm place.

      It was not. Deadwood was astoundingly violent. The leading cause of death for inhabitants of Deadwood was murder. The place averaged more than a murder a day, for a town that had a maximum estimated population of 25,000 people. Guns don’t make a society polite, they make it violent – and deadly.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Re. health outcomes and red states/blue states, there’s this BMJ paper:

      Political environment and mortality rates in the United States, 2001-19: population based cross sectional analysis
      https://www.bmj.com/content/377/bmj-2021-069308 (open access)

      Conclusion: The mortality gap in Republican voting counties compared with Democratic voting counties has grown over time, especially for white populations, and that gap began to widen after 2008.

      The final sentence from the Results in the Abstract is:
      The greatest contributors to the widening AAMR gap between Republican and Democratic counties were heart disease (difference in AAMRs 27.6), cancer (17.3), and chronic lower respiratory tract diseases (8.3), followed by unintentional injuries (3.3) and suicide (3.0).

      Liked by 2 people

    • And only outlaws’ children will shoot them by accident (ref. the toddler who got hold of the gun in mom’s bag at the store).

      The Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs buys up a lot of ad space in various freebie phone games I play. Their three ads are:

      1) put a gun lock on all of your guns, since just a few seconds of not being able to shoot it can stop suicides, and keep the kids out of them
      2) lock up your drugs in a box with a combination lock, to reduce both suicides and kids getting them
      3) they have mental health services in person or online or on the phone.

      These are people who know guns.

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      • When they inspect your home before allowing you to have foster kids, you have to show that guns (and ammo), drugs, and alcohol are locked up. Not just “locked up in another room”; they mean “locked up in a special box.” Or locked in a cabinet.

        For drugs (which even includes aspirin), a toolbox with a fingerprint actuated padlock works pretty well. We dealt with guns and alcohol by just not having them at all. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Bottom line is, a gun isn’t a magic talisman that protects you from bullets and both “self-defence” and “defence against tyranny” as used by gun enthusiasts are both white supremacist dogwhistles

    Liked by 1 person

      • It’s definitely a way of upping the perceived danger, and legitimizing violence. “Just let the burglar take your TV” isn’t an option when it’s an invasion and not a burglary.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Talisman of Defence, cursed, -2?

        But I think the deeper point I was reaching for here is that, as with abortion or trans rights, the “debate” is about something other than what it appears to be about and there’s a limit to what you can do by trying to address the arguments presented

        Liked by 2 people

  6. (The content warning on discussion of risk factors in suicide applies here too)

    This tweet just crossed my timeline, and while it has nothing to do with guns I think it illustrates something that’s relevant here:

    Suicide is often relatively spontaneous, and people who think about it but postpone it for whatever reason often change their mind.

    This is particularly true for teens, who are often emotionally labile and can swing from bottomless misery to OK in short time. And it means that access to an effective way of going through – like a gun – is a major risk factor. A gun in the house can be the difference between going through with your darkest thoughts and being distracted from it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • This does make sense.

      TW for suicide.

      Suicide, even if people have been thinking about it for a long time, is usually a spur of the moment decision, which is why asking suicidal people to sleep on it or wait until morning often helps to stop the accute risk.

      Procuring medication, finding a tall building or a train line, etc… usually takes time and effort. A gun in the house, however, is right there and it is a pretty surefire way to kill yourself, so private gun ownership does increase the suicide risk.

      Knives are also in every house, but suicide by knife is painful, difficult, messy, so people either shy away or stop before they do too much damage. My cousin literally stopped slitting his wrists, because there was so much blood on the floor and he hated leaving such a mess behind, which is why he is still with us today. Guns, however, are quick and therefore much more dangerous.

      Liked by 3 people

      • There often is planning involved in suicide but the actual decision to go through with it is often a snap decision. And with a gun, it’s not usually reversible, as noted. Suicide rates for white men in the U.S. have greatly increased, and while some of that is opioids, guns are still a favorite choice for white men to use. And while there are supposed to be gun control regs regarding people with mental health issues/records, as we’ve seen with many of the mass shooters and their legal weapons, those are easily avoided.

        Having legal guns so easily buyable in the U.S., no waiting periods, background checks, etc., depending where you are and how you’re buying or even borrowing a buddy’s gun, helps fuel the suicide increase for white men as well as domestic homicide increases, usually with women victims. Gun obsessives quite frequently do commit suicide with them, sadly. Gun availability also increases the suicide rate of teens — which contributed to guns being the number one killer of kids including teens in 2020, etc. (The giant survey study of other studies commissioned by the government concerning gun violence of teens in the U.S. found that the number one reason for teen gun violence was/is easy access to guns and not, surprise, violent video games or films. Duh.)

        And it has contributed to mass shootings. There was a small percentage of people considering suicide, mostly white guys, who wanted to make the news in their deaths, to be remembered. But even suicide by cop stopped necessarily making the news after awhile in the U.S. But if you took a lot of people with you in your suicide attempt, you’d get a lot of media attention in your suicide — you’d be a legend in your death. The Columbine shooting was partly due to this idea. But that stopped working quite as well and the massacres were remembered more for their place names where it occurred than the person who did the shooting. So now a sub-culture has developed where they’re just trying to murder people rather than also commit suicide — stay alive and try to be notorious. The easy access to guns leads to awful and unchangeable incidents. So yeah, better gun control would help fight against more homicides, mass shootings and suicides. But admitting that means admitting that white men can be weak, Dems should be listened to, etc.

        They used to, back in the 1990’s when we had better gun control in some places in the U.S., claim that the drug gangs and criminals had all those illegal guns and so gun control regs would only impede honest citizens being able to face down those (black, brown) dangerous killers. They still run that line today (and ghost guns are a concern) but they have to keep pretending that the stats on mass shooters, domestic homicides, etc. all having legally bought weapons due to the decrease of gun control, is not a bigger issue. A white guy with a legal gun in a rural area is, statistically, way more of a danger to me than a black teen in a city — way more likely to point a gun at me, accidentally shoot me or outright use the gun to beat, rape, kill.

        But I’m sure LC’s book will invoke the Ronald Reagan fantasies of roaming BIPOC gangs out to get good white people because that’s the whole schtick they’ve had for forty years (and before that as well.) It’s the game they play about the southern border, the obsession with Chicago, BLM supposedly burning down cities they did not burn down and so on. They have created a nice fantasy world for themselves and make the rest of us suffer under it. So I suppose a fiction writer like LC will do a heart-felt spin on that fairy tale. Meanwhile, we’re still working to get rational gun policy in the U.S. and save lives.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I thought of a couple of other points you might consider investigating.

    First, one could make the argument that simply knowing that many/most homeowners are armed might sharply discourage burglars. (You could test this by seeing what the incidence is of home invasion in places like Tennessee–where almost everyone is armed–vs, say, New York state.)

    Second, one could argue that the same thing discourages the legislature from trying to impose various sorts of intrusive laws. E.g. the police are reluctant to search someone’s home without a really good reason. Contrast Europe, where (I’ve been told), they can search your house to look for an unregistered television set. (You might look for evidence that legislatures/police ever mention this as a consideration when debating new laws.)

    In other words, they could make the argument that the psychological deterrent factor extends well beyond the moment when the burglar sees a homeowner with a gun; if it exists at all, it should affect anyone even thinking about invading someone else’s home–even the police.

    I should add that when visiting my mother in Chattanooga, Tennessee, if I found myself coming home late at night, I would always telephone in advance just to make sure she didn’t forget I was visiting, wake up hearing me in the house, and then shoot me for a burglar. So that psychological deterrent at least applied to me–and I even had a key!

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    • On the other hand, there is the whole danger from the police isue.
      While cops can be called more easy, is this necessary a bad think.
      We have cases here, party is too lood, police comes to tell the poeple to turn the music down.
      We can have this without anyone having to be afraid to die.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, if I’m going to argue that side of it, it’s much worse than that. The presence of all these armed civilians makes the police extremely trigger-happy. When the police are on edge all the time–fearing they’ll be shot–they tend to shoot at the slightest hint of danger.

        Add that to the fact that so many police (even black ones!) have the impression that black men are inherently violent, and you get the terrible situation where a lot of black men get shot by the police for no good reason. If we didn’t have all these guns on the streets, that problem would be a lot easier to address.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, this. Calling the police because of a loud party (and believe me, I’ve been tempted), unknown people in the neighbourhood, etc… is not uncommon in Germany and not considered more than a bit diskish, simply because it’s extremely unlikely that the police will shoot random partiers or random people in neighbourhood gardens.

        German police officers are armed and do shoot people on occasion, but the overwhelming majority of those cases are police officers responding to violence or defending themselves. Clearly wrongful deaths by police violence are extremely rare. Exact statistics are almost impossible to find and usually include edge cases like “protester ran away from the police and was run over by a car” or “person being arrested had a heart attack”. There are a few really blatant examples of police violence everybody remembers – Benno Ohnesorg is probably the best known. There still is a bias and,victims of police brutality in Germany tend to be leftwing protesters or people of colour and immigrants, whereas far right protesters usually don’t get shot, but it’s not nearly as bad as in the US.

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    • Yes good points. Although in some cases the power of the state in other western democracies are limited in other ways (i.e. more to do with history than current gun laws).

      I think the counterpoint would be the existing abuses by law enforcement in the US – not just the high death rate of civilians interacting with police compared to other nations but also things like asset forfeiture (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset_forfeiture ) which exists in other countries but which has become something else in the US

      Liked by 2 people

    • But if burglars or people robbing e.g. a gas station have to fear being shot, they may well arm themselves, which leads to random burglaries or robberies escalating into violence and dead bodies like you see in the US.

      Like I said above, burglaries or robberies turning violent or lethal is very rare in countries with strict gun laws.

      Last year, there was a case where a gas station attendant refused to sell beer to a man who wasn’t wearing a mask. The man went home and because he had a (legal) gun at home, he grabbed it, came back and shot the gas station attendant. If this man hadn’t had a gun, likely nothing would have happened. And the reason this case made headlines -aside from the covid angle – was because things like that happen so very rarely in Germany.

      Really determined people will still find ways to kill someone. But little to no private gun ownership stops a lot of spur of the moment violence.

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  8. Yes, I guess you can gather the statistics, though LC won’t care. They’ve been ignoring the statistics for forty years. But they are:

    1) American gun ownership has declined over the decades. We went from a country in which a lot of people had guns, mainly for hunting, to a country where much fewer people have guns, but those who do have multiple firearms, a whole arsenal. (And as I pointed out in an earlier post, we have a large loophole arms industry of individuals buying up a lot of guns and selling them to others as “used” gun individual sales to escape gun control regulations on gun sales, so those heavy gun households are often heavy gun because it’s profitable, not for safety. The ownership of certain weapons are status symbols, like designer handbags, and a clan mark of political conservative ideology/identity.)

    2) Consequently, with the decline of gun ownership, violent crime went down. When the assault weapon ban was in place (1994-2004,) violent crime and mass shootings went down enormously. When the ban was removed, mass shootings increased and were more deadly. Gun obsessives claim the decline in violent crime has been due to more gun ownership — that having fewer people with more guns somehow is a big deterrent, but it doesn’t correlate with data — areas with more guns have more violent crime. Because fewer households actually have guns, that should be less of a deterrent to burglars and yet that’s not the case either. Gun obsessives tried to claim every decade that urban gangs were breaking into homes all over the (Dem-run) cities, but crime has gone down in cities and violent crime is mainly limited to small stretches of streets (and that may be more the cops targeting those neighborhoods than actual crime.) And most of the most violent cities in the U.S. are in red states where gun ownership is higher.

    3) Waving a gun at a burglar has been shown to be no more effective for safety in home invasions than calling for help, running away to a neighbors, having an alarm system, having a big barking dog or brandishing other weapons like a baseball bat. There is no gun owner advantage. But households in gun heavy areas are shown to have a much higher chance/rates of domestic homicide, gun accidents and suicide. (Men particularly use guns for suicide.)

    4) Every year thousands of U.S. kids age 5 or under die/shoot their siblings or friends with a gun that was in a car or a house or that they got from their house. Toddler murderers and accidental victims are a regular thing in the U.S. Parents with guns also sometimes shoot their kids, and teens regularly shoot parents with the parents’ guns. In 2020, death by gun became the number one cause of children’s deaths in the U.S., beating out car accidents and cancer.

    5) And the number of gun accidental injuries (non-fatal) are in the millions each year, especially as many of the gun obsessives have taken to just sticking an unholstered gun into their waistband and shoot themselves in the toe or the leg. One guy recently tried to grab his gun that was slipping out of his pants, causing it to fire, and shot three people in their legs with the bullet that flew out, thankfully none of them dead from it.

    6) The NRA was originally an organization mainly for hunters and lobbied for gun control regulations, gun safety and training and wildlife conservation. But then it took money from the gun makers it was trying to regulate and turned into a conservative political op against gun control. The NRA gradually destroyed the hunting field, encouraging no regulations at all and drunken yahoos trying to take out deer with an Uzi. They turned more and more folk off of hunting and focused the organization on complete deregulation through claims of needed defense against unarmed rights protesters and brown migrant workers, supposed home defense and supposed “national defense” when the government would supposedly come get their guns and/or there would be a foreign invader.

    7) Because of that, target shooting also stopped becoming a main hobby/sport of many gun owners. Shooting ranges have found new life as a tourist attraction in places like Las Vegas, particularly with foreigners who live in countries that aren’t littered with guns, so they can shoot an AR-15. But gun obsessives have been primed against gun control regulations requiring gun owners first train at shooting ranges to learn gun safety and so it’s a tangled relationship and target shooting isn’t perhaps the sport it once was.

    7) Stand Your Ground laws, which were to make it easier for white people to shoot black people and claim it was self-defense, caused an 8 percent increase in homicides in the states that enacted them and a nearly 25% increase in homicides in Florida. In states that relax gun control regulations, there are measurable increases in violent crime right afterwards.

    8) Despite the many vocal gun obsessives like LC, there are a lot of gun owners and gun store owners who are for gun control regulations, like the 18 year old age limit, no conceal carry permits, etc. An estimated 85 percent of gun owners support background checks for all gun sales — including the individual unlicensed trunk of the car sellers being required to do it. So the NRA speaks for only a tiny percentage of loud, bullying folk who like to threaten their neighbors with their guns and have made doing so part of their ideological and political identity. Such as the guy who pulled a gun on skateboarders in a church parking lot recently. They are mainly white people who believe they have the right to terrorize everybody else.

    9) Because they speak for so few gun owners and not at all for the rest of us, the NRA has had to depend on its ability to force Republican pols to bow down against gun control regs to keep flush in donations from gun makers and billionaires. But since its head was found to be embezzling and misspending and since more Repub pols have found ways of sneaking out from under their ratings, they’ve lost a lot of influence. But because of Trump and white nationalist militia groups, that slack has been taken up by a percentage of gun owners who again really want to shoot the rest of us and mention it at every opportunity, claiming we’re threats. That continues to be part of the conservative political identity, heavily encouraged by right wing social media efforts, and resulting in a huge increase in domestic terrorism, including the Jan 6th attack. That has given them political leverage as parts of the Republican party continue to court them.

    10) Black Americans have had, not surprisingly in the face of this rising white nationalist terrorism, an increase in gun ownership in recent years. If they shoot a white person, they’ll go to jail, because we are a white supremacy. But since the U.S. is obsessed with throwing them in jail anyway, I guess they figure that it might at least keep them or their kids alive and jail is better than death (though many of them are killed or die of covid in jail.) But it of course isn’t any protection against law enforcement, which is why the “we might have to fight the government” claim of white gun obsessives is a crock. For instance, West Virginia cops just shot a POC in a hail of bullets for parole violation at his father’s funeral full of people while he was hugging his aunt who also could have been killed. They claim he brandished a weapon and that they gave him first aid; witnesses say neither is true and I’m sure there will be some video. That’s just normal here. If you’re BIPOC or a homeless or mentally distressed white person, the cops can just shoot you and the gun obsessives will happily say it’s justified or that it’s fake. U.S. law enforcement kills 1-2,000 people a year, about a third of them unarmed and disproportionately BIPOC.

    So the U.S. population is not as screwed up in general as we appear. But with political maneuvering, gerrymandering, cops, etc. and with us being a white supremacy and not wanting to then declare violent white people a real danger, those with a very violent gun-happy white nationalist mentality disproportionately control lots of government systems, including law enforcement, and increasingly don’t like democracy. They constantly claim that white people need guns, that violent crime and dangerous groups, real and imaginary (antifa), are on the rise and necessitate that they must swagger around with guns threatening to shoot us to be safe. Preferably while we attempt to vote, just to let us know.

    It’s bullshit. We know it. They know it. But we’d have to give up a lot of systematic white supremacy to fix it, so progress is slow. Still, there’s enough progress that I guess
    LC feels compelled to write a book claiming that we need to be a Hollywood style Wild West frontier and that will make us safer. Because when you think of safety, you know, you think of the American West in the 1800’s. But with AR-15’s that can kill twenty people in half a minute.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I particularly enjoy when one of the gun fondlers shoots himself in the crotch. It’s ironic as well as increasing his chance for a Darwin Award. That his penis extender damages his manly bits is poetic justice. And the news always reports exactly where the bullet went (while he’s still in the hospital), so everyone knows.

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  9. LC’s ego is showing again.

    It’s not like he’s going to write anything that the gun fondlers haven’t written (or copy/pasted) a million times, so there’s no need for this book to exist. We can (and are) predict exactly what it will say, who it will quote, etc. word for word. The gun nuts aren’t going to get any new info, and everyone who isn’t a RWNJ… isn’t going to get any new info.

    Bloviators gonna bloviate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The book does have a purpose. Sure it’s unlikely in the extreme that were will be anything in it that hasn’t been copypasted a million times before by gunfondlers but this way Larry stands to make a few bucks. Maybe once this is committed to print other ammosexuals will point to it as a source and to him as an authority and he’ll get even more money and something that even looks a bit like respect.

      You have to wonder just how badly his fiction is selling that he has to resort to this. Local data (one bookstore on the opposite side of the world to Larry so probably not indicative of anything meaningful) suggests a pretty steep decline in sales over the last couple of years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He might still be selling on Kindle/KU/Audible.

        Although you can get infinite Generic Extruded Shoot-Em-Up Mil-Fantasy Product for free or KU or cheap on Kindle, much of which is better than LCs and a lot which is no worse. (Some of them, they even proofread, which Baen doesn’t!)

        And the books come out much more often. Why pay for LC’s one book a year when you can — for free or cheap — read someone who puts out 4 books a year?

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      • I don’t know that LC needs money and so is doing this book. It won’t sell that well. I think it’s more a matter of getting him attention and status from the rightosphere and RW media, especially the gun obsessives. That could lead to more opportunities, not Fox per se, but gets him in with some of the RW operators running through social media, YouTube, etc. Brad was reportedly trying to do this with the Puppies, Beale attempts it on a regular basis and did get up to a certain level with the alt right before that all shifted. So more authority than finance, though that can eventually lead to lucrative gigs sometimes. But that’s more likely to be local in his state for LC.

        Liked by 2 people

        • So:
          Phase 1: Regurgitate the same tired old pro-gun nonsense for insecure gunfondlers in need of reassurance.
          Phase 2: …
          Phase 3: Profit.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I think it will help deepen his audience on the right. It’s like that one time he appeared on Fox News, it brought him more readers of his fiction. Of course, he may have already be well into the asymptotic part of that particular growth curve in his readership…

          Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s unfair to say this is something he “has to resort to.” He’s an author who is into guns and has Opinions on gun politics. And while he may be less knowledgeable on this than he thinks, he’s probably not worse off than most of his compatriots. And he has reason to think he’s a better writer than most of them. To try his hand on a non-fiction book on guns is quite normal, not something he needs some shady hidden reason for.

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  10. [Note from CF: This comment was found in the spam filter and it has been an age since we had one of these. However, as it nicely demonstrates an observation in the post, I’m releasing it into the wild]

    It’s typical of you to use the worst possible study on a subject as authoritative, floppy. Peak flopatron, as it were. That’s why I mentioned it in Larry’s comment section, to see if you’d bite.

    But hey, this is Science, right? It’s all done as an exercise between gentlemen of learning, right? So why not look at all the criticisms of that study too?

    Apart from all the scandals around it, such as Kellerman not providing his datasets to the Congress of the USA or other researchers, such as the questions regarding his data collection (as in did he actually collect any or did he just make it up?), there are a few problems inherent in the study itself.

    A) Owning a -dog- was almost as highly correlated with a shooting of a householder as owning a gun. Just look at the tables, it’s right there. Do dogs in Chicago carry guns too? Tough neighborhood.

    B) The study does not record which gun shot who. Was it the gun in the home that shot somebody, or did the robber bring their own? We don’t know, he didn’t say. (Yeah, I can see you scrabbling through the papers right now. He didn’t.)

    C) The study is comparing the number of householders shot to the number of intruders -killed-. The point of having a firearm in the home is not to -kill- an intruder. Kellerman treats an encounter where the intruder survives as a failure, which is a study design error. (It’s also appalling, but never mind.)

    D) The study is presented as being representative of the United States as a whole, but the sample (real or imagined) is taken from Cook County Illinois, also known as Chicago. The city of Chicago was murder capital of the USA at the time the study was done. Not really applicable to Podunk Kansas, population 5000.

    So is it really -science-? Or is it a farcical piece of propaganda that would have got a failing grade in a high school sociology class?

    Oh, and by the way. For all the commenters conflating murder with suicide, I want to ask you: is there is any practical commonality between those two things from a public health perspective? I mean, can you really compare road accidents to vehicular suicide? Aren’t they completely different things? Would it not be ridiculous to blame the car in cases of vehicular suicide? Do we blame the extension cord when somebody hangs themself on one?

    Just some questions I like to ask when straw men are busy getting knocked down.

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