Myths About Guns, Crime and Gun Ownership

Howard Nemerov at PJ Media takes on Ezra “The Constitution is like 100 years old or something” Klein on his fact challenged Washington Post column:

Soon after the Aurora mass murder, Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein waded into the fray, citing curious data to “prove” that we need more gun control to make society safer. But what he said and how he said things show he’s just another anti-rights elitist using tragedy to advance his agenda.

Klein displayed bias by claiming that not politicizing the Aurora shooting is only to halt discussing gun control:

The aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado shootings has been thick with calls to avoid “politicizing” the tragedy. That is code, essentially, for “don’t talk about reforming our gun control laws.”

His assumption is code for “the only desirable outcome here is more gun control.” Klein’s politicizing is okay; your desire to have a viable self-defense tool—and not be held accountable for a murderer’s actions—is not.

Mr. Klein, why has the civil right of self-defense become political?

Klein attempts to make six major points in his defense of gun control.

I’ve listed them here, these are all similar to points that have been expressed on this site as well – go read the full piece and you will see how the data says differently:

1. America is an unusually violent country.

2. The South is the most violent region in the United States.

3. Gun ownership in the United States is declining overall.

4. More guns tend to mean more homicide.

5. States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.

6. Gun control is not politically popular.

8 thoughts on “Myths About Guns, Crime and Gun Ownership

  1. The White House at first said Barack Obama wouldn’t press for more gun-control laws after the shooting in Aurora, then Obama changed his mind when his base began to gripe. That prompted this platitude, and a curious claim:

    “A lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals,” Mr. Obama said at the annual National Urban League convention in New Orleans. “They belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”

    AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers? Not American soldiers, who don’t use the Russian-designed Kalashnikovs. Besides, the killer in Aurora used an AR-15, not an AK-47, as well as a Remington shotgun and a .40-caliber Glock. The AR-15 is the semi-automatic, civilian version of the M16, which is used by the American military. The AR-15 is semi-automatic only so that civilians can purchase it legally, which they have done since the late 1950s. -HotAir
    It’s a little rich to hear the administration that sent thousands of AK-47s into the hands of Mexican drug cartels scold the rest of us on the need to keep them away from, er, criminals. If Obama had bothered to get his facts straight before opining on the matter, he could have avoided that reference altogether.

  2. Sorry, but since improper terminology continues to come up in using the term AK-47, I’m copying this comment from the “Orwellian” thread:

    Let us see, as the United States was engaged in the cold war with the communist countries during the time before 1989, the only way for a civilian to legally “posess” an AK-47 would be if he were a “class III dealer” authorized by the federal government to sell fully automatic arms to other dealers and law enforcement and military organizations. All of the other AK-47′s are in Governmental USE or illegally possessed by Criminals who illegally imported them.

    So a law banning AK-47′s would affect ZERO law abiding citizens…..hmmmmm

    The claim to ban AK-47′s is just like the claim to provide healthcare to America. Just like the international small arms treaty proposed by the U.N. isn’t about international transfer of firearms.

    It is a lie.

  3. The Small Arms Treaty does not protect individual’s right to bear arms. The wording when when correctly states that is upholds the right of the states. Huge difference. Yes, this is an attack on the 2nd amendment and Obama and Clinton are all wee wee’d up to get this thing through. And perhaps someone has addressed this issue in prior posts, but I can’t get on a lot. Specifically what was the purpose of the DHS to purchase 400+ million rounds of hollow points? Was it to get them off the market, highly unlikely an excuse. Why would they possibly need them?

  4. Let’s take another look at this…

    1) Gun violence. It’s true many countries beat the US- some by a factor 5. BUT. Shall we look at the countries? pretty much all the countries with higher rates are in either Africa, or south/central america. Countries with vast poverty and often unstable governments and societies.

    In terms of first world countries the US leads hands down. Murder rate per 100,000 people fluctuates between 3 and 4. Total death rate (including suicides and accidents hovers either side of 10. The next nearest “first world” countries would be canada and Switzerland – both with gun murder rates hovering around .5 and all gun deaths being around 5.5 for switzerland and a high 3 for canada.

    2) He admits this is right but then goes a diatribe about “illegal immigration” being the boogeyman. And yet study after study shows that economic status and especially poverty is the leading factor, with things such as education level also being a major factor.

    And I will take issue with his claim that the southern states lead, at least when looking at the numbers per 100,000 of population) While they have more then there share, (mississippi, Louisiana, and alabama ) usually taking 3 of the top spots, Alaska leads the pack, with wyoming and montana competing for the 5th spot. And all of the top 20, and most of the top 30 have very weak control laws. The states with the fewest all overwhelmingly have strict gun laws.

    3) Im going to leave this one alone, for now at least. quick research returns overwhelmingly partisan sources and I’m not somewhere I have journal access. I will however take issue with the way he “debunked” this in the article- claiming “their” source was partisan then citing the NRA, and NRA “estimates” at that. As well using some anecedotal claims…

    4) more fun with numbers. The research on gun ownership and murder rates is, at best, inconclusive. Much of it is highly tilted- ie: largely rural states with high gun ownership for hunting tends to impact the conclusion. But when looking at data for handgun ownership the picture changes wildly. And again, see # 2. The states with the highest level of handgun ownership and concealed carry permits overwhelmingly lead in every category- murder, suicide, and accidental death.

    5) really? Suicide is not violence? It is one of the most perverse forms. And again- see #’s 2+4 above…

    6) Really? Many democrats believe Gore lost the election because of clinton’s gun bans? Hmmm- I suppose it has nothing to do with Florida- a state which by every recount by every method he was shown to have one. Nothing to do with the old line “nice guy’s finish last” – with Gore casting the deciding vote to end the challenges that were tearing our country apart- challenges in which the evidence now shows he would have prevailed.

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