The Washington Post On Virginia Gun Statistics

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 9 months ago

Oh dear.  Someone named Peter Galuszka waxes on about the Virginia gun statistics we briefly discussed.

Virginians have been buying more firearms than ever, even though crime has been steadily falling. Why?

Last year, 420,829 firearms were bought through licensed gun dealers in the state. That’s a 73 percent increase over 2006. Leading the list were pistols (175,717), followed by rifles (135,495). According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, central Virginians packed more heat than anyone else, followed closely by Northern Virginians.

And yet, as more firearms are sold, the crime rate has continued to drop. From 2006 to 2011, the number violent crimes committed with handguns fell from 4,040 to 3,154, about 25 percent, the newspaper reported.

Is there a correlation between increased gun sales and decreasing crime?

Indeed, some believe that hardened criminals are less likely to threaten victims if they know there’s a chance they could end up looking down the barrel of a 9 mm. Glock, or perhaps something that fits more easily into a lady’s handbag, such as a Ruger LCP 380 Ultra Compact Pistol. And by some accounts, women as well as men are flocking to training courses and firing ranges operated by gun stores.

At first glance, “the data is pretty overwhelming,” Thomas R. Baker, a criminologist at Virginia Commonwealth University, told the Richmond newspaper.

When you take a longer view, however, this thinking starts to fall apart. According to FBI reports, violent crime has been on a fairly steady downward trend since the early 1990s – much earlier than 2006, when Virginians started buying guns like crazy. The Economist magazine says the violent crime rate is at its lowest in 40 years and that the murder rate is less than it was a half a century ago.

It’s anyone’s guess why crime has continually dropped. Theories include demographic shifts resulting in fewer of the younger, inner-city men who tend to be involved in violent crime. Better community-based police work could be a cause. Some even say it’s because of large numbers of abortions by low-income women.

This last sentence is disturbing, and betrays a gross moral failing on his part.  But wait!  Peter has thought of something no one else has stopped to ponder.  Really.  Does correlation equal causation?  Peter is alone in the world.  No one else is smart enough to raise that particular question.

Or maybe not.  Go over even pro-gun web sites such as reddit/r/guns and and post a statement that this proves that guns decrease crime and you’ll get eaten alive.  Everyone knows that correlation isn’t equivalent to causation, and no one … no one … is making this argument.  That isn’t what’s being said.

So what is being said?  Recall what I said earlier.

Here the point isn’t about correlation and causation.  In order to demonstrate that gun control achieves its “purported” purpose, one must find evidence that it reduces crime, and it is the absence of this evidence that is remarkable

So let’s extend this a bit.  Second amendment advocates aren’t making the case, generally speaking, that increased gun sales equals decreased crime.  As an anecdotal note, my own home might be safer with weapons, but that’s a different conversation. The case that must be made belongs to the gun control advocates, not us.  They must make the case that the increased availability of weapons causes an increase of crime.  Otherwise, what’s all this silly argumentation about the “scourge of guns” across our inner cities, and the “rivers of blood” caused by the “easy availability of illegal firearms,” and so on ad nauseam?  Their national conversation with us makes no sense whatsoever if they cannot trot out the data to make it meaningful.

In fact, they cannot.  It is the lack of this data that is remarkable.  The gun control advocates and their ideas fail at every point, and this is the reason behind Chicago being the crime capital of the U.S. in spite of the stringent gun control.  Crime is a moral decision, value judgment and social and cultural phenomenon.  It isn’t related to the existence of guns, and if guns weren’t available, they will use hammers.  Gun control laws cannot raise children to believe in values.

So there.  Peter may stop wringing his hands now, and worrying over issues that only he ponders.  Others have thought of these things as well, and Peter isn’t alone.  I’m glad to have helped.   As for Peter’s irrational fear of firearms, I can help with that too, but Peter must be willing to listen and participate.

I’m available Peter.  Give me a call and we can go shooting.




You are currently reading "The Washington Post On Virginia Gun Statistics", entry #9458 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published November 27th, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

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