The two sides of the gun story: Facts vs. fiction

It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
The ignorance of the oppressed
and the treachery of their leaders.


There are two sides to the gun story. One is based on facts and the other is based on fiction.  I’ll let you decide which is which.

June 21, 2017
States with right-to-carry concealed handgun laws experience increases in violent crime, according to Stanford scholar
Stanford Law School Professor John Donohue found that states that adopted right-to-carry laws have experienced a 13 to 15 percent increase in violent crime in the 10 years after enacting those laws.
By Milenko Martinovich

States that have enacted right-to-carry (RTC) concealed handgun laws have experienced higher rates of violent crime than states that did not adopt those laws, according to a Stanford scholar.

Examining decades of crime data, Stanford Law Professor John Donohue’s analysis shows that violent crime in RTC states was estimated to be 13 to 15 percent higher – over a period of 10 years – than it would have been had the state not adopted the law.

The working paper, released this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, challenges the effectiveness of RTC laws and could have a significant impact on pending litigation between the National Rifle Association and the state of California.

Now comes the NRA story, courtesy of President Donald Trump:

Trump said that new gun laws would have made “no difference”
Good Morning America, Alexander Mallin November 7, 2017

President Trump was asked about his recent comments calling for “extreme vetting” immediately following the New York City terror attack, and whether he would favor similar scrutiny for those looking to purchase firearms.

“If you did what you’re suggesting, there would have been no difference three days ago,” Trump said, before turning to praise the actions of a bystander who engaged the shooter following his rampage. “You might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun or a rifle in his truck, go out and shoot him and hit him and neutralize him.”

The president added, “I can only say this. If [the neighbor] didn’t have a gun, instead of 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead. So that’s the way I feel about it, not going to help.”

The president was briefed on developments in the shooting while in Japan, and said soon after that it should be credited to a “mental health problem” and not U.S. gun laws.

So there you have two sides of the question regarding gun laws. The law professor’s research says right-to-carry laws result in more violent crime.

President Trump, the gun manufacturers, and the right wing say gun laws don’t make any difference.

Trump urged restraint in jumping to conclusions similar to the reaction following the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October.

The president’s response to the Texas mass shooting has been compared with his reaction to the terror attack in New York City just last Tuesday, where he waited only hours before stating he had directed the Department of Homeland Security to institute strict vetting procedures and called for Congress to change immigration policy.

America has seen repeated mass shootings — i.e. domestic terrorism — for many, many years, but we are urged not to jump to conclusions. President Trump comes to immediate conclusions regarding those rare cases of foreign terrorism.

What does that tell you?

Donohue and his team employed a new statistical technique that creates a “synthetic control,” which attempts to find the best possible comparison for the RTC-adopting state drawn from among other states that had no RTC law at the time.

“All this work is based on statistical models,” Donohue said. “When the models all generate similar estimates, it increases your confidence that you have captured the true effect.”

Donohue had further reasons for that confidence. He was able to study an additional 14 years of crime data and include 11 additional states that adopted RTC laws. He found that RTC laws increase violent crime — estimates showed increases in overall violent crime of 13-15 percent.

“There is not even the slightest hint in the data that RTC laws reduce overall violent crime,” Donohue stated in the paper.

To put the significance of a 15-percent increase in violent crime in perspective, the paper notes that “the average RTC state would have to double its prison population to counteract the RTC-induced increase in violent crime.”

Increased rates of incarceration and hiring of law enforcement personnel were noticed among RTC states.

“This suggested that RTC states were not simply experiencing higher crime because they decided to lock up fewer criminals and hire fewer police,” Donohue said. “The relatively greater increases in incarceration and police in RTC states implies that, if anything, our estimates may be understating the increase in violent crime, which was pretty persuasive to me.”

Donohue said RTC proponents often overlook how often gun-carrying leads to lost and stolen guns, which are then in the hands of criminals.

Moreover, one can incur all of the costs of buying and carrying a gun, only to find that a criminal attack is too sudden to effectively employ the gun defensively.

Donohue cites a 2013 report from the National Crime Victimization Survey that showed in 99.2 percent of the violent attacks in the United States, no gun is ever used defensively – despite the nearly 300 million guns in circulation in the country today.

For most Americans, said Donohue, carrying a gun to avoid a criminal attack is similar to thinking that having a weekly brain scan will save your life, without considering the potential hazardous effects.

“If we gave 300 million people a brain scan, we would save a certain number of lives,” Donohue said. “But you wouldn’t want to advocate that treatment without considering how many lives would be lost by exposing so many to radiation damage.

If more than 300 million guns in America can’t prevent gun murders, is this a clue that a different direction is needed. Or would 600 million guns do the job? A billion guns?

Donohue’s conclusion was based on statistical research. Is it the last word? Perhaps not, though it seems to be a careful attempt at finding the truth.

Nevertheless, it probably will not be believed by those who also do not accept scientific research regarding climate change, immigrant criminality, and the age of the earth.

It surely will not be believed by Trump, Trump’s followers, the gun manufacturers, or those who find guns especially precious.

But, perhaps we can hope that, as it so often as in the past, the truth finally makes it past prejudice and personal interests.

Let’s have more research on that subject as well as on the meaning of the words, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State . . . “

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


•All we have are partial solutions; the best we can do is try.

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money no matter how much it taxes its citizens.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..



7 thoughts on “The two sides of the gun story: Facts vs. fiction

  1. The NRA and Trump say guns make us safer. Americans own 300 million guns. but we still have an enormous number of gun murders

    So, how many guns are needed to make us really safe? 400 million? 500 million? A billion? A trillion?



  2. Isnt the issue deeper than just stats?

    Doesn’t the constitution protect the right to life and the right to defend it?

    Just being realistic here, there is no way this will change at a federal level. I don’t believe in either of the stats, stats are manipulated to make a point.


    1. Specifically which sentences in the Constitution of the U.S. “protect the right to life and the right to defend it?
      We know for sure that guns take life The question the article addresses is, How well do guns defend life? Isn’t that the whole point?

      If you don’t believe data, which facts do you believe?


    2. Again, stats can be adjusted to make any argument. Second amendment.

      Had the man not had that rifle in Texas, the perp would still be shooting.

      Anyone thinking that a law will make all guns go away at this point is living in another galaxy.


  3. Three silly Sos arguments.

    Silly argument #1. There are other things that kill people, so don’t worry about guns (especially if you love guns).

    Silly argument #2. Statistics can be adjusted, so don’t believe any statistics (especially if they disagree with your ideas).

    Silly argument #3. Laws won’t make all guns go away (so don’t pass any laws regarding guns).

    Can Sos think of any other silly arguments? Stay tuned.


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