Explained: Gun Facts You Need To Know

Due to the limitations of the software I used to make my infographic I wasn’t able to specifically cite how I got each statistic I put into it. So I’ve decided to explain them all in detail here in this post. That way everybody can see how I got to the numbers I did.

270 Million civilian owned guns – this comes directly from the most recent Small Arms Survey which is conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and studies civilian ownership of guns throughout the world.

89 civilian owned guns per 100 residents – this also comes directly from the most recent Small Arms Survey.

The US is #1 in the world when it comes to gun ownership – this too comes directly from the most recent Small Arms Survey.

I should note that, given the incredible increase in gun purchases over the last four years, these numbers are likely lower than reality.

The US doesn’t even crack the top 25 in gun murder rate – this comes from information provided by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime and compiled by the Guardian.

You can read more about America’s gun ownership rate vs our gun murder rate and why it matters in this piece I wrote for CNS News.

77.3% of justifiable homicides committed by civilians involved a gun – this statistic comes from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that 201 of the 260 total justified homicides in 2011 involved a firearm.

99.2% of justifiable homicides committed by police involved a gun – this statistic also comes from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that 390 of the 393 total justified homicides in 2011 involved a firearm.

You can check out my CNS News piece on firearm use in justifiable homicides to read more about this and why it’s important.

2.5 Million incidents of defensive gun use per year in the US – This stat comes from the National Self-Defense Survey which was conducted by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz in 1995.

Rifles were involved in fewer homicides in 2011 than blunt objects, fists, and knives – This stat is taken from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 496 involving blunt objects, 728 involving fists, and 1694 involving knives.

1.5x as many homicides were committed with blunt objects than rifles – This stat is also taken from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 496 involving blunt objects.

2.2x as many homicides were committed with fists than rifles – This stat is also taken from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 728 involving fists.

5.2x as many homicides were committed with knives than rifles – This stat is also taken from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 1694 involving knives.

2.6% of murders in 2011 involved rifles (including AR-15s) – This stat was also compiled using the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 12,664 total homicides that year.

US Number 1 In Gun Ownership But Doesn’t Crack Top 25 In Gun Murder Rate

One of the most obnoxious liberal talking points on guns involves the idea that guns, in and of themselves, cause gun violence. Apparently, as this argument goes, guns or “gun culture” cause law abiding citizens to transform into murderous nuts. In other words more guns must mean more gun violence.

The argument was famously made by sports writer Jason Whitlock and forwarded by Bob Costas on Sunday Night Football after a player murdered his girlfriend and killed himself. According to Costas and Whitlock guns “exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.” In other words, guns make us violent.

Obviously this argument is as flawed as saying that refrigerators exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate our eating, and bait us into embracing gluttony rather than avoiding it. However, it’s also an argument that doesn’t remotely match up with what the numbers tell us. In fact, the numbers tell quite a different story.

According to the latest Small Arms Survey conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies the US tops the world in civilian gun ownership. We have 89 guns for ever 100 residents. That’s well beyond Yemen’s second place rate at 55 guns per 100 and nearly twice the rate of Switzerland which comes in third at 46 guns per 100 residents.

To put it bluntly, we have a lot of guns.

If Whitlock, Costas, and their allies are correct that must mean that our gun murder rate is by far the highest in the world, right? It must be sky high in comparison to the rest of the world, no? We must be first in gun murders, correct?

According to information provided by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime and compiled by the Guardian the answer is an emphatic no. The US is not the world leader in the homicide by firearm rate. The US does not even crack the top 25 in that category.

Instead, the US has the 28th highest homicide by firearm rate of the countries in the report.

This phenomenon isn’t uniquely American either. Switzerland, which ranks 3rd in civilian gun ownership rate at 46 guns per 100 residents, has only the 46th highest homicide rate. Finland, which has the 4th most civilian owned guns at 45 guns per 100 residents, is at 63rd on the list.

So, despite the blustering of Bob Costas and the like guns do not, in fact, turn ordinary people into monsters. More guns do not, in fact, mean more gun violence. Guns can be, and commonly are, used in a responsible manor by people all over the world and especially here in the United States.

The Biggest Problem With The Journal News and Their Gun Map

I know that many journalists are looking at this from a perspective of balancing journalistic ethics against circulation numbers, especially in this post, but I’m coming from a different point of view. I’m far more concerned about the innocent gun owners that got doxed. What’d they do to deserve that?

And, yes, the addresses published by the Journal News are public record. They shouldn’t be, but they are.

However, these are real people with real lives who did nothing wrong to deserve having their names & addresses publicized like this. There are plenty of other things that the paper could have done to make help their readers understand how without going to such a personal level. A much smarter & more ethical approach could easily be found but that wouldn’t have created the same firestorm which was the real goal of the gun map’s publication.

Sure, knowing lots of people have guns, even in NY, could be taken as reassuring for gun rights activists but it’s the unnecessary doxing of innocent bystanders that really gets to me. Most of them were just average people just going about their day when a paper decided to publicize where they live just to stir up a bit of publicity. It’s not fair to them.

And, yes, this all happened in the immediate aftermath of a madman ruthlessly murdered small children.

An act that’s truly incomprehensible.

But it’s also one that has literally nothing to do with the law abiding gun owners in New York.

I hope everybody can understand why that is. And I hope that everyone can sympathize with those who don’t want their identities & addresses publicly thrown into the middle of a political debate they have little or nothing to do with.

I mean, personally, I’d like for every criminal out there to know I’m armed but I sure as hell don’t want them to know exactly where I live. Who does?

We’ve already seen the likely results of the gun map. And for what? So some dying paper can pretend to be relevant? So they can preempt trash factories like Gawker by stealing their asinine tactics? Is that where the news industry is at these days?

I hope not.

O’Keefe Embarrasses Anti-Gun Crusaders

James O’Keefe is back with another sting video. This time he and Project Veritas are embarrassing anti-gun journalists. Watch as the hypocrisy of many in the liberal media’s campaign against guns is exposed for all to see.

Interesting… so, these anti-gun crusaders are afraid that if criminals know their homes are gun free because they don’t want to be caught defenseless against them?

Guess they know how the rest of us feel now, huh?

Gun Misinformation: Semi-Automatic and Fully Automatic

Continuing my gun misinformation series from yesterday I think that it’s a good time to clear up the difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms. It is one of the most basic pieces of information regarding firearms and their function, but it is also one that is apparently least understood by gun control activists. Even Bob Costas, who went on national television to advocate for more gun control just recently, clearly doesn’t understand what semi-automatic means.

I’ve seen many people over the last few days repeat Costas’s mistake. These people try to sound reasonable and say they don’t want to ban all guns… just semi-automatics. Of course, if you were to ban semi-automatics that would account for nearly every modern firearm in existence. The only modern firearm you’d have left is, basically, the bolt or lever action rifles and some shotguns.

Now, the difference between a semi-automatic firearm and a fully automatic one is simple. While both automatically reload a fresh cartridge each time a shot is fired, semi-automatics require a pull of the trigger in order to fire each round whereas fully automatics will continue to fire so long as the trigger is depressed. It’s a small but important difference.

Though there aren’t hard statistics on this, it is very likely that of the estimated several hundred million firearms in the United States the vast majority are semi-automatics. If you want to see for yourself how many modern firearms are semi-automatic you should stop by your local gun store and ask them to point out which firearms are semi-automatic… or, to save time, which aren’t.

Fully automatic firearms, on the other hand, are not very prevalent. However, despite what many people think, they are not illegal for civilians to own. In fact, there are an estimated 240,000 fully automatic firearms in the United States of which it’s believed half are owned by police and the other half by civilians.

So, that means there are likely over 100,000 fully automatic firearms legally owned by civilians. Since the 1934 National Firearms Act, all legally owned fully automatic firearms must be registered. While bad policy it does mean that we can get a good picture of how many crimes they’ve been involved in. That number appears to be between 1 and 10.

There is the story of 1 murder involving a civilian-owned fully automatic which is often cited around the internet. It involves an Ohio doctor in either 1992 or 1993, and Confederate Yankee has the story but the original article’s website everybody cites is, unfortunately, not working anymore. Beyond that case researcher Gary Kleck reports in his landmark study Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control that the director of the ATF told Congress he knew of less than ten crimes that were committed with legally owned fully automatic firearms.

That’s less than 10 crimes over the last 80 years or so. Now, to be fair, there may have been more crimes involving legally owned automatics since that testimony, but given the absence of publicly reported cases it’s doubtful there have been many. In other words, legally owned fully automatic firearms, despite numbering over 100,000, are practically never used to commit crimes.

So, semi-automatics fire once per trigger pull and account for the vast majority of guns in the US while fully automatics continue to fire as long as the trigger is depressed. And while there are fewer of them, they are likely the most responsibly owned weapons on the planet.

Gun Misinformation: Assault Rifles and Assault Weapons

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from interacting with gun control advocates it’s that they’re the most misinformed & ignorant people from across the political spectrum. Not only that but they don’t care that they’re misinformed & prefer to remain that way. So this post and my other upcoming posts aren’t for them. Instead I’m doing this to help inform those who are actually interested in being informed.

So, let’s start with one of the most talked about gun types in the country right now. Assault rifles and so-called “assault weapons”.

First off, the term “assault weapon” is essentially a made up term that doesn’t actually refer to any unique subset of guns based on function. Instead, the term is used by gun control advocates to try and ban gun accessories that have certain misidentified or ridiculously exaggerated functions.

For instance, here are a few of the accessories the Brady Campaign wants banned & the utterly ridiculous effects the clearly ignorant person who wrote their frequently asked questions section imagines they have:

A pistol grip which facilitates spray-fire from the hip without losing control. A pistol grip also facilitates one-handed shooting.

This is completely absurd on all levels. First off, you can’t “spray-fire” in any realistic sense with a semi-automatic rifle. Additionally, shooting with one hand or from the hip is the least accurate or useful way to use any gun.

A threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor which allows the shooter to remain concealed when shooting at night, an advantage in combat but unnecessary for hunting or sporting purposes. In addition, the flash suppressor is useful for providing stability during rapid fire.

Flash suppressors do only what the name implies: suppress the flash created when firing a round. They don’t “provide stability during rapid fire”. They are also not useful for the purposes of criminals or mass murderers and the Brady Campaign doesn’t produce a single example of anybody using a flash suppressor in the way they describe and I can’t find one either… probably because there aren’t any.

A threaded barrel designed to accommodate a silencer which allows an assassin to shoot without making noise.

While the entire list is filled with misinformation, this point is by far the most absurd. Silencers do not make guns silent. They simply suppress the amount of noise created by each shot fired. That’s why people in the gun community usually refer to them as suppressors instead of silencers. I encourage anybody interested in how loud a suppressed gun is to actually go to a range and hear it for yourself (if you can actually find one since current gun laws make them difficult to buy). You may not need ear protection depending on the suppressor and gun, but there will be no doubt a gun has been fired.

Honestly, the only way anybody could draw the conclusions written in this Brady Campaign document, especially about hip firing & silencers, is if their only contact with guns involves watching 80s action movies. Given that, I see no way to take these groups and their supporters seriously. At least until they stop spreading ridiculous misinformation.

So, an “assault weapon” isn’t a real subset of firearms based on function but rather a firearm that features some random subset of accessories unrelated to the way the firearm operates  However, an assault rifle is an actual term used to describe a specific subset of rifles originating in World War II. The first of this type of firearm was the German Sturmgewehr 44 which means “storm rifle” of the year 1944.

Assault rifles are firearms that combine the fully automatic feature of the sub-machine gun with rifle ammunition. If you remove either one of those features then the firearm is no longer an assault rifle. An assault rifle must be able to shoot rifle ammunition at a fully automatic rate of fire.

Therefore, a rifle only capable of semi-automatic fire is not an assault rifle. That means that the AR-15 commonly available for civilian purchase, which gun control advocates are mainly after and the kind I own, is not an assault rifle. In function it is no different from any other semi-automatic rifle.

Click here for the next post in my gun misinformation series.

The Gacy Clown Defense

I’ve seen a lot of what I like to call “the Gacy Clown Defense” in this Komen/Planned Parenthood affair so I’ve decided to detail exactly what the Gacy Clown Defense is. It’s really quite simple and its failing is quite obvious but it’s used all the time to defend the country’s largest abortion mill. Heck, it’s even employed by some prominent bloggers I generally enjoy reading.

The Gacy Clown Defense is when you try to nullify shockingly horrible things someone or some organization has done or is doing by invoking their charity.

In the case of John Wayne Gacy the defense would be, despite the fact that he brutally murdered 30+ people, Gacy would volunteer to dress up as a clown and entertain sick kids at hospitals.

See. He wasn’t really all that bad…

Similarly, despite the fact that they perform hundreds of thousands of abortions per year, Planned Parenthood also gives out free condoms and std tests.

See. They’re not all that bad…

Continue reading “The Gacy Clown Defense”

Live Tweeting President Obama’s State of the Union Speech

Well the last time I live tweeted an Obama speech people really seemed to enjoy it so I figured, why not, I’ll take on the State of the Union too. So here you go… all my tweets from last nights speech and from the Republican response given by Bob McDonnell. My point in bla bla translating the two speeches wasn’t necessarily that they were poorly delivered (and actually I think McDonnell did a pretty amazing job in his speech) but, rather, that, like nearly all modern political speeches, they are nearly meaningless rehashing of already known, and even decades old, talking points surrounded by overwhelming heaps of tired rhetorical tricks and lots of bla bla.

Anyway, enjoy:

Obama: bla bla bla bla bla hey guys bla bla bla the constitution says I gotta bore you to death tonight

Obama: bla bla bla bla I inherited a mess just like the world wars bla bla *Biden head shake* bla bla bla

Obama: bla bla bla bla random small town reference bla bla bla wall street hates children bla bla

Obama: bla bla bla bla this is the hardest presidency EVAH bla bla bla *fox letting teleprompter screens in the frame* bla bla Continue reading “Live Tweeting President Obama’s State of the Union Speech”