Sunday, September 06, 2015

OK: Warning Shots Evidence of Restraint in Berdahl Self Defense Case

On December 16, 2013,  Michael Berdahl, 66, shot and killed David Wimmer, 43.  Wimmer was visiting Berdahl at his apartment in Enid, Oklahoma.  Berdahl fled, but was arrested the next day in Anthony, Kansas.  He had a pistol on his person, and admitted to the shooting.  Bond was set at 1 million dollars.  Berdahl did not make bail and stayed in jail.

The trial took place on 1 September, 2015, more than 20 months later.  The jury was out for little more than an hour when they came back and rendered a not guilty verdict.   Berdahl's use of warning shots was cited in closing arguments to bolster his self defense claim.  From
He said Wimmer continued to advance on Berdahl, even after Berdahl fired two warning shots. 
"That tells you everything you need to know about David Wimmer," Camp told the jury. "Frankly, I think David Wimmer and his actions got him killed."

It has become an Internet myth that warning shots will always be used by prosecutors as evidence that the person firing them was not really in fear of their life.  Some prosecutors do, some do not.  Perhaps the prosecutor in the Berdahl case did.  But it was the defense that used the warning shots as evidence of restraint, in the closing arguments.  A little over an hour later, Berdahl was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. 

I do not recommend warning shots.  There are well known dangers to their use.  The bullet has to end up somewhere, and you do not wish to harm an innocent person.  But in some cases, they appear to be effective; and in at least one other case  the prosecutor cited them as evidence of restraint.

Berdahl used a Colt Single Action revolver chambered in .22 rimfire.  They are usually carried with 5 rounds chambered, for safety.  Fire two warning shots, and you only have three rounds left to defend yourself, in a slow to reload revolver.   Wimmer was hit twice.  Once in the chest and once in the head. 

Berdahl had also been charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, but that charge was dropped at a preliminary hearing over a year ago.  An original charge of first degree murder had been reduced to first degree manslaughter by the trial.

Berdahl should have called the police.  It might have saved him 20 months in jail.

Because the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) track arrests and not verdicts, this case will show up in the UCR as a criminal homicide, and not as a justifiable one.  It is one of the reasons that the UCR grossly under reports justifiable homicides.

Another is that this case does not meet the FBI definition as a justifiable homicide.  The UCR definition specifically charges police departments not to rely on jury verdicts to determine whether a homicide is justifiable or not.  The UCR requires that a justifiable homicide be reported with the felony report of the crime that made the homicide justifiable.

No felony charge was made against David Wimmer for assault, so there was no felony to report.  Under the UCR definition, that means that there was no justifiable homicide.

The UCR reports about 300 justifiable homicides by people other than police each year.  Research indicates that the actual number is 3-10 times as great.   This case illustrates one of the reasons for the discrepancy.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Followup OR: Stabbing was Self Defense

La Pine, Ore. – Deschutes District Attorney John Hummel cleared Albert Reisert of suspicion in the August 18th stabbing death of James Drake in La Pine.

“Reisert was being assaulted in his house by James Drake and stabbed him to protect his life. Reisert’s decision was justifiable under Oregon law and not only reasonable, but darn near unavoidable.” – John Hummel.

More Here

Private Firearms vs. Officers Feloniously Killed in the U.S. 1961 - 2013

In the 1960's, the United States private firearms stock was increasing.  The number of police officers feloniously killed was also increasing.  At the time, people might be forgiven if they thought there was a causal relationship.  Now we have considerable more data.  While the private firearms stock has continued to increase, the number of police feloniously killed has fallen from the highs in the early to mid 1970s, and has dropped to about the same level as the middle 1960s.   2013 had the lowest number of police feloniously killed since 1887.

The number of private firearms was obtained from the ATF and "Point Blank"  by Gary Kleck, using Kleck's method of calculating the numbers from ATF data, in this previous article.

The number of police feloniously killed was obtained from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), or in some cases, secondary sources quoting the FBI UCR data.

The number of privately own firearms does not correlate with the felonious killing of police.

Hypothetical reasons postulated for a negative or positive correlation are abundant.

"More Guns, More Crime"

"More Guns, Less Crime"

"Guns Foster Responsibility"

"Guns Foster Irresponsibility"

Many more could be listed.

Aside from hypotheticals, a large increase in the private stock of firearms has occurred at the same time as a significant decrease in the felonious killing of police.  Since the middle of the 1970s, the stock of private firearms has soared while the number of felonious police killings has drifted lower.

 Chart from

Good data on the number of police officers is hard to find before 1989.  That makes per capita data for police officers uncertain.  For the period from 1989 to 2011, the rate of officers feloniously killed dropped from 18.12 per 100,000, to 13.44 per 100,000.   During the same period, the number of firearms per person rose from .85 to 1.07 in the United States.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

Friday, September 04, 2015

MI: CCW Permit Holder Shoots Armed Robber

Angela Lanier tells 7 Action News her 24-year-old son Joe fired his gun when the teenager tried robbing him while he was sitting in his car. She says he was on the job as an exterminator when the teenager pulled a gun on him for his sunglasses.

Joe Lanier says, "The boy tried to rob me, and I shot him. That's what happened."
More Here

Followup GA: Black man No Billed by Grand Jury in Self Defense Shooting

A grand jury returned a No Bill Wednesday, clearing Arthur Bell of charges in the shooting.

It happened when several shots were fired in the parking lot of the Brothers Corner Store on Aug. 26.

Prosecutors say Richard J. Butler fired shots at Arthur Bell, and Bell fired shots back at Butler.

Bell was hit in the kidney, but survived. Butler was hit in the head and hand, and was killed instantly.

A grand jury watched the entire incident on video from surveillance, and decided that Bell would not be charged criminally.
More Here

CA: Burglars Flee after 86-Year-Old Shoots one in Head

The 85-year-old resident armed himself and met face-to-face with two alleged burglars after they entered his home by breaking in the back door, police said. The resident shot at the suspects, who immediately fled.
More Here

TX: Armed Man Draws Weapon, Shoots Robbery Suspect

The robbery victim told Pct. 4 Deputy Constables that he was approached by a man with a gun. The victim pulled out a weapon of his own and shot the would-be robber.

The suspect was taken to the hospital in stable condition and is expected to survive.

The robbery victim was not hurt.
More Here

WV: Armed Victim Stops Burglary Attempt

A burglary and an attempted burglary in the area around Ansted, WV are being investigated by the Fayette County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Deputies were called to a home on Midland Trail during the very early hours of the morning. The victim told investigators that he confronted the suspect with a gun, after he saw him standing in the doorway to the bathroom. The suspect ran off before deputies arrived. A search of the area was done, but the suspect was not found.
More Here

Followup ME: Lembo Disarmed by Police, Apartment Managament

Police took Harvey Lembo's gun as evidence.

The Rockland complex where Harvey Lembo shot and wounded an intruder late Monday night doesn’t allow guns.

A Rockland man who says he shot an intruder in his apartment trying to steal painkillers may have to give up the gun he used because his complex prohibits firearms.

More Here

FL: Taxi Driver Survives Gunfight

MIAMI (WSVN) -- A South Florida taxi driver was forced to act in self-defense when two armed suspects threatened him with a gun. After they exchanged gunfire with him, the duo fled the scene, but Miami Police caught them shortly after the shootout.

The alleged armed suspects, Christian Suarez and Nicole Iacono, attempted to rob the taxi driver and then shot at him, forcing the driver to retaliate and fire back shots of his own, said police.

More Here

Vehicular Fatalities vs Fatal Firearms Accidents in the U.S. 1965-2013

There have been some misleading comparisons of "vehicle deaths" and "firearm deaths".   The misleading characteristic is to compared vehicle deaths, which are mainly unintentional, with deaths associated with firearms, which are mainly intentional and not accidental.  The correct comparison with fatal vehicle crashes would be to fatal firearm accidents.

The claim has been made that vehicles have been highly regulated, and that is why the number of fatalities have been reduced, while firearms have not been regulated.

If you look at the chart, you see that accidental firearms fatalities, though much lower than vehicle fatalities to start with, have been reduced at an even more rapid rate.

In order to show both sets of fatal accident numbers, the vehicle fatalities have been reduced by 10x to fit them on the chart.  In 2013, the number of vehicle fatalities is at a historic low of 32,719.  The number of fatal firearm accidents is also at an historic low, 505.

This has occurred while the number of firearms has far outpaced the number of vehicles.

It is not hard to understand.  Firearms are very durable, and take centuries to wear out with normal usage.  Vehicles wear out in a decade or two, and constantly have to be replaced.

In the last few years, vehicle purchases have lagged, and many older vehicles were destroyed.   Firearms manufacturers have enjoyed record levels of sales.

In spite of government regulation or the lack of it, the shapes of the two levels of fatal accidents show a general downward similarity.   This indicates that factors other than government regulation are the primary causes.


Number of Highway Vehicles:  From  by year from 1965 to 2004 was used to check the numbers at 5 year intervals.  From 2005 to 2013 tables were used.

Number of highway vehicle fatalities from

Number of Private firearms in the United States, 1945 to 2012 from a previous article at Gun Watch.  The 2013 number was calculated using the same methodology and ATF sources as in the article.

Unintentional firearm fatalities, 1965-1987, from Kleck, Point Blank Page 306 Table 7.1

1981-2000 unintentional firearm fatalities from An Analysis of Firearm-Related Accidents in the United States(pdf;  rates from Kleck or calculated using Census figures.

1999-2013 unintentional firearm fatalities and per capita rates available in WISQARS.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

Thursday, September 03, 2015

LA: Clerk's Gun Beats Robbers Threat


A hold-up man walked away empty-handed after the cashier at a gas station pulled a gun on him. The attempted armed robbery happened August 10, 2015 at a Shell Gas Station located in the 3000 block of Elysian Fields Avenue. .

More Here

ID: Armed Homeowner hold Suspect for Police

Lt. Dan Kennedy with the Sheriff’s Office said at 4:50 A.M., they were called to 606 BMK Lane. When they arrived they found homeowner John Wiersma detaining a Hispanic male. He told authorities he heard voices near his pickup. Wiersma said he found a person in his vehicle and fired a “warning shot.” The suspect then reportedly came over towards the back door of the residence and attempted to enter.

More Here

NE: No Bail for Shooter Claiming Self Defense

She called Heng, with whom she worked in the fraud department at First National Bank of Omaha, because she thought it would be “quicker” than calling the police, Henthorn said.

“She was frightened,” the investigator said.

Dornan said Heng, who lived a block away, went to the complex. He took his handgun, which he was licensed to carry.

Dornan said, however, that Heng wasn’t planning to confront Lane or use the weapon. He wanted only to help his friend, Dornan told the judge. Dornan said the shooting was justifiable because Heng perceived Lane as a threat to himself and Strong.

Heng called 911 himself and tried to administer CPR, Dornan said.

More Here

Edming Oil Welcomes CCW

Another business actively showing support for armed citizens.  This one is Edming Oil in the village of
 Glen Flora, Wisconsin.   Glen Flora is a tiny village a few miles east of Ladysmith on Highway 8.  

In Wisconsin, business owners have an incentive to allow armed citizens on their premises.  By doing so, they gain a measure of legal protection to go with the physical protection.  They are protected from liability that is related to their decision.  

They do not have to put up  a "Welcome CCW" sign to obtain this protection, so putting up a sign shows ideological commitment to the Second Amendment, in a real way.  These signs are becoming more common around the country.  What is special about this case?

Edming Oil is owned by James W. "Jimmy Boy" Edming.  He was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly last year. 

The Citgo station is part of Edming Oil in Glen Flora Wisconsin.   Northern Wisconsin always reminded me of The Shire in The Lord of the Rings series.  Perhaps it is because I grew up their.   Edming Oil is within 60 miles of my birth place. 

Most State politicians in Wisconsin, outside of Milwaukee, Racine, and Madison, are part time projects, much as Jefferson envisioned.   

A state representative with a "Welcom CCW" sign on his business reflects that reality.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

OH: Armed Female Shoots Man Looking for a Fight

William Evans IV 23, is the man who died in this shooting, on South Hampton Road on the northeast side. The homeowner allegedly called 911 to report she shot and killed Evans. Police are questioning her.

More Here

VA: Pizza Driver Shoots Teen Robbery Suspect

The investigation revealed a 15-year-old tried to rob a Chanello’s pizza delivery driver at gunpoint. But, the driver also had a gun and shot the teen.

More Here

OK: First Time Shooter Drives off Three Invaders

Carmen Smith had never shot a gun before.  She used her recently acquired firearm to drive off three home invaders.  She did not hit any of the criminals, but the shots were enough to send them fleeing from the house.  From
"He was coming towards me. You know, like he was going to do something to me, harm me, and I was going to get him before he got me," she said.

The bullets didn't hit the burglars but got them out of her house.

The shots shattered a picture of Smith's family, left a hole in the front door and even hit the abandoned house across the street.

Smith said, "This was my first time ever shooting a gun, and I was scared."
She doesn't want to hurt anyone, but she does want to go to the gun range to become a better shooter.
A good sentiment.  I hope that Carmen follows through.  She has already demonstrated the most important ability necessary to surviving a criminal confrontation: the ability to accept the reality of what is happening, and to act on that information.  In an encouraging trend, Smith said the police commended her actions.

Smith said Tulsa Police are working to catch the burglars, and commended her for defending herself.

Guns are fairly simple mechanical devices.  Mastering them can take decades.  Learning enough to be useful?  Minutes.

As a common meme proclaims:  Handguns, the original point and click interface.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

Chicago Crime Lab Gun Study marred by "TEC-11" Machine Pistol

Harold Pollack, one of the study Authors

A paper on where and how criminals obtain guns has been published in "Preventive Medicine" a rather peculiar place to publish a paper on the criminology of gun use.  Other than the apparent desire to medicalize crime that involves guns, the paper is reasonably well done, with some good information that reinforces much of what we already knew.  

A minor complaint is that the authors seem nearly as ignorant about guns as the criminals that they interview.  They use the terms "assault weapon" and "machine pistol" without any definition, and little knowledge.  Here are the quotes.   From
Of the primary guns, just five would be classified as assault weapons, including a TEC-9, TEC-11, and AK47. As has frequently been reported, assault weapons play only a small role in everyday crime (Koper, 2013). Several mentioned a strong preference for large-capacity magazines for their firearms, noting that a magazine holding 30–50 rounds would give them a tactical advantage in a firefight.
and here
Others reported what appeared to be one-time events where they sold extra guns. For example, R17 reported that he had robbed a cell-phone store and recovered several guns which he sold. He reports “not needing a lot of guns.” R22 sold the first gun he owned, which had been in his possession for two years (since age 18), for $200. R31 was persuaded by a “homie” (fellow gang member) to trade his TEC-11 (a machine pistol) for a car — he did not want to part with the pistol, but needed the car.
The double reference to a "TEC-11 (a machine pistol)" is rather peculiar.  I have not heard of such a firearm, though I am willing to be educated.   It may be related to the mythical AK-15, an mishmash of AK 47 and AR-15.  There is a TEC-9 and a MAC-11, so perhaps that is what occurred.  Real machine pistols are rare.

The researchers relied on the interviewees for the models of the guns, and it is clear that the interviewees are rather ignorant.   Still, to determine that a model that is rather important in a couple of paragraphs really exists should be worth a 3 minute Internet search.

There is a Kel-Tec P-11 pistol, but it is an ordinary pistol, nothing like a machine pistol.  I do not believe that it is on any government list as a "assault weapon".

Similarly there are very few actual AK47 assault rifles in the United States.

There are quite a few AK47 type rifles, and the researchers would have done well to mention that.   Simply calling the firearm an "AK47 type" rifle would not have taken much effort.  It was the only rifle in the entire study.

Technical mistakes do much to mar what otherwise appears to be an interesting bit of research.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

ME: Man Shoots Burglar with "Vintage" Revolver, 7mm?

A 67-Year-Old disabled Rockland Maine man was tired of being burglarized and his medications stolen.   He described himself as a "walking drugstore".   He purchased what the reporter described as a vintage gun.   Harvey said "I bought a gun. Best thing I ever did."

On August 25, Harvey Lembo was on the phone to police when he shot the burglary suspect.  Pistols are handy when one hand is employed on another critical task.

The suspect broke in; made a wrong move, and was shot.   The story says the gun was a 7mm, and that it was under the Mr. Lembow's pillow.  Presumably, it was a pistol.

I only know of one moderately common 7mm pistol, the Japanese Nambu.  Cartridges for it are collector's items, and quite rare.  7mm pinfires are even rarer.   Maybe it was a 7.62 caliber.  7.62 or 7.65 pistols and ammunition are common.   From
Lembo said he had bought the vintage gun on Monday. He had lamented to a friend that he was tired of having his apartment burglarized – five times in six years, he said, the most recent being two weeks ago.


Lembo turned and fired, putting a 7 mm slug in the suspect’s shoulder as he fled.

Another story says that the pistol was a 7mm Russian revolver.  From the bangordailynews:
He said he purchased a 7 mm Russian-made revolver Monday but declined to say where he acquired it. He said he bought it because he was concerned he would continue to be the target of criminals looking to steal his prescribed medications.
Now all becomes clear.  The revolver is almost certainly a Russian Nagant.  I have a few.  They are an interesting mechanical device, and large numbers were imported and sold for low prices.  They work, but are a little slow to reload, and the ammo is pricey.

If all you need it for is shooting the occasional burglar, it appears to be enough.

 Nagants from the author's collection.  The one on the lower left is a Swede that was converted to .22 LR for importation into the U.S.  Some of the Russians were converted to 7.65 x 17, and a small number to 7.62 x 25, but most of the Russian revolvers still shoot the original cartridge, the Nagant 7.62 x 38R.  The Fiocci ammunition is likely the best for self defense.

Most of the Nagants imported to the United States were made before and during WWII.  The Russians refurbished them at Soviet arsenals; the ones I have seen were in good condition.  A few were made before WWI.   They all are likely to remain useful and reliable for another hundred years.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

AR: Gunfight Victim and Suspect both in Critical Condition

A Pulaski County liquor store owner and a would-be robber were each shot Monday night in an exchange of gunfire during an attempted holdup, authorities said.
Both the owner, identified as 76-year-old Charles Tatum, and the robbery suspect, 23-year-old Jodeci Allen, were taken to local hospitals for treatment. Police said they were listed as being in critical condition but with non-life threatening injuries.

More Here

FL: Threatened Man Fires at Multiple Attackers

ORLANDO, Fla. —A man opened fire on a group of would-be robbers outside his Orlando home.

The victim, Eric James, told WESH 2 he noticed someone driving a minivan with the headlights off Sunday morning.

One of the men in the vehicle then approached him in the driveway and demanded his money and threatened to kill him.

More Here

AZ: Armed Homeowner Shoot Home Invader, Drives off Accomplices

The resident of a west Phoenix home shot and injured at least one man during a robbery early Monday morning, police say.

Two or three armed men broke into a home near 83rd Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road at about 3:30 a.m. Monday, said Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman.
More Here

CA: Elderly Homeowner Fires Warning Shot, Captures Suspect

ONTARIO >> When Ontario police were called to Laurel and H streets early Sunday morning for reports of a man with a gun, they were surprised to find that a homeowner managed to stop and hold an alleged burglar at gunpoint after the man reportedly tried to break into his home, police said.

Officers found the elderly homeowner, armed with his shotgun, holding 27-year-old Eric Valdez Contreras of Ontario in the 200 block of West J Street, according to a police statement.
More Here

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

U.S. will reach 400 Million Private Firearms by end of Obama Presidency

The National Instant Check System (NICS)  performs a check when people buy firearms from federally licensed dealers in the United States.  It is also used to perform background checks on people applying for firearm carry permits in those states where such permits are required or offered by law.  As there are now over 15 million carry permits in the United States, and firearm sales numbers are in the 10 to 20 million range per year, you can see that the number of NICS checks is not a perfect fit for the number of firearms sold.

One of the reasons for this is that one check can be used to purchase multiple firearms, and most people with carry permits are not required to have an instant check performed when they purchase a firearm.  They had it done when they obtained their permit.

We have a good measure of how many additional firearms are added to the U.S. private stock each year.  That number is compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).  The ATF tracks licensed firearm manufacture, import, and export numbers.  Those numbers are assembled each year.  ATF takes about 18 months to process the numbers and publish them.  We do not have data on how many used firearms are sold by dealers.  Presumably, they fall into the 40% of NICS checks that are done in excess of the new firearms added.

You can compare the ATF increase in the private firearms stock with the NICS checks done for that year.   The correlation is very high, with r= .9776.  1.0 would be a perfect fit.  At that correlation level, I have confidence in predicting the increase in private firearms from the NICS numbers.

Over the fifteen years that have been recorded, there have been 1.685 NICS checks for each additional firearm added to the private stock in the United States.  Multiplying the NICS check numbers (provided monthly by the FBI) by .5934 gives us a good approximation of the firearms added.

At the end of 2013, the private firearm stock in the United States is estimated at 363.3 million firearms.  16 million were added in 2013.   According the the FBI figures, the NICS checks for 2014 were 20.969 million.  That would be another 12.44 million firearms added in 2014.

In the first seven months of 2015, there were an additional 12.067 million NICS checks.  Another 7.16 million firearms were added.  Continuing that rate for the whole year would bring the total to 12.277 million added in 2015.

At the end of 2015, the stock should be at 388+ million firearms.  Given the current trend, another 12 million or more firearms will be added in 2016, bringing the total stock to 400 million+ firearms by the end of the Obama presidency.

At the end of 2008 and the beginning of the Obama presidency, there were about 308 million private firearms in the United States.   After eight years of President Obama in the highest executive position, I predict that there will be over 400 million.

If the trend for 2013 only is applied to 2014 and 2015  (based on the NICS numbers they are very similar), the 400 million mark will be reached by the end of May, 2016, and by the end of the year, there will be about 409 million private firearms in the United states.

That is a net gain of between 92 million and 101 million firearms in eight years, making President Obama the greatest firearm salesman of all time.

Source for NICS numbers: From

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

MD: Store Employee Shoots Female Suspect

BALTIMORE - A southwest Baltimore liquor store employee shot a woman who was trying to rob the business Saturday night.

More Here

Followup MS: Domestic Shooting unlikely to Result in Charges

BRANDON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Rankin County Sheriff's Department is investigating a shooting that left a man dead, Sunday evening, as a self defense case.

The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. at 506 Mason Court, where the Rankin County Sheriff's Department tells us a man was shot and killed by his girlfriend.

Authorities are not releasing the victim's name at this time, pending notification to next of kin. The woman's name is not being released at this time either.

Sheriff Bryan Bailey told us, "There was a physical struggle and the female discharged a firearm."

More Here

MI: No Charges for man who Shot Dog

He added, “We can not disprove that he was in fear of the dogs.”

Following the incident, police chief Larry Pack said his officer, Jordan Kosinski, “found blood on the property.” Pack noted at the time, “Dog owners are responsible to their keep dogs on their property. That’s state law.”

After Gange’s bull terrier, Jerry, was shot in the head with a .38-caliber handgun, Audet left the neighborhood for several days. While he was gone vandals spray painted his garage and shed with yellow and red paint.

Police have yet to charge anyone with the vandalism.
More Here

MI: Man who Exposed himself to Children Shot

DETROIT (WXYZ) - A man accused of exposing himself to young children is recovering in the hospital after being shot in the chest.

More Here

Monday, August 31, 2015

How Many Guns are Stolen and Destroyed each Year?

In a recent article discussing how many firearms are lost or destroyed each year, one of the commenters suggested that loss through theft, recovery and subsequent destruction by police, could be a significant number.  At TTAG, JSF001 speculated:
 You forgot to include firearms seized by police as evidence and than destroyed. I would guess that 80% of all firearms that are stolen wind up being destroyed within 10-20 years.

There are a couple of fairly good sources of data for the numbers of firearms stolen.

The first is the National Crime Information Center, or NCIC.  The FBI started the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) in 1967.   The NCIC maintains a list of stolen firearms that are reported to it from a variety of sources, primarily from other criminal justice agencies.  From

SOURCES OF DATA: Data contained in NCIC is provided by the FBI, federal, state, local and foreign criminal justice agencies, and authorized courts.
The numbers recorded in the NCIC system represent a minimum of the firearms that are stolen in the United States.  Some guns are stolen but not reported to the police, some owners have not recorded or remember serial numbers, tens of millions of guns have been manufactured before serial numbers were required, and unknown numbers of firearms are made at home or in small workshops.

A study done by the Bureau of Justice statistics ( BJS) shows a fairly reasonable approximation to the NCIC numbers, using the National Crime Victimization Study.   Their study shows 145 thousand victimizations involving the theft of a firearm in 2010. 
 As more than one firearm is averaged for each theft, the study notes that an average of 232,000 guns were stolen in each year from 2005 to 2010.  This is consistent with the NCIC numbers.  

If we use the higher numbers from the BJS study for the numbers of firearms stolen, we should have a decent estimate of the percent of firearms stolen each year.  The approximate number of the private firearm stock in the United States from 2005 to 2010 are:

2005   289 million,
2006   295 million
2007   301 million
2008   308 million
2009   316 million
2010   325 million

The average number for those years is 305.7 million.   The average number of guns reported stolen by the BJS study, is  .076 percent.   We do not know how many of these guns are destroyed.   

Some guns are recovered and returned to their owners.  Most others never enter police hands; their theft results in them being sold to someone else.  In many states, guns confiscated or otherwise obtained by the police, are sold to dealers or the public, so as to benefit the public treasury.   

Texas, which reports 10% of all stolen guns in the United States each year, recently reformed their law to allow law enforcement to sell guns that are not returned to the owners.

There is a legislative movement to require that guns that end up in police custody be sold to dealers rather than destroyed.

The number of guns destroyed out of the total number stolen each year, is likely a small fraction.  

It is hard to believe that it is as high as 10 percent of the number stolen per year.  If we apply that figure to the entire firearms stock from 1945 to 2013,  it amounts to 866,000 firearms, well less than a million.    

The increase in private firearms in the U.S in 2013 was 16 million.   In 2013, the entire reduction due to theft and subsequent destruction, over 68 years, would have been replaced in less than 20 days.

Assuming, for the sake of arguement, that 30% of stolen guns are destroyed every year, that number, over 68 years, would have been replaced in 2013 in two months.

 ©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

KY: Homeowner Shoots Car Burglary Suspect

No charges yet.  Police are still investigating.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington police say a homeowner shot a suspect after he believed the man was breaking into his car.

According to police, a man heard someone outside his house on Chelan Drive this morning who he says was breaking into his car. The homeowner went outside to investigate and shot the suspect in the back.

More Here

OH: Armed Victim Killed, Suspect Wounded

They were approached from behind by a suspect on a bike, who pointed a gun at the two victims in an attempt to rob them.

One victim exchanged gunfire with the suspect before being shot in the head.

The suspect then fled on foot.

Officers found the 27-year-old male victim with an apparent gunshot wound to the head, and EMS pronounced the man dead on the scene.
More Here

SC: Son Shoots Suspect who Assaulted his Mother

The affidavit said she was assaulted by two subjects wearing masks. During the strong-armed robbery her son Penninger exited the house and was armed with a firearm.

He shot at the suspects who fled without getting any money.

During the police investigation, Penninger contacted deputies with the name and address of a possible suspect.
More Here

AL: Armed Victim Shoots Robbery Suspect

Police later learned the two men were connected to a robbery that happened around 5:50 p.m. on 21st Street Southwest. The victims of the robbery told police the two men pulled up and asked to borrow money. When one of them pulled out a wallet, both robbery suspects pulled out guns. After the victims gave the men their money, one of them pulled a gun and opened fire.

The robbery suspect shot has life-threatening injuries. Charges against both suspects are pending.
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Followup OR: Burglary Suspect with Bullet Wound Arrested

Eugene police detectives on Thursday arrested 21-year-old Joseph Spencer Gale-Smith, who was struck by a bullet when a resident allegedly confronted him during an attempted home burglary.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

How many Firearms have been lost or Destroyed in the United States?

How many firearms are lost or destroyed in the United States?  Is the number of guns in the U.S. increasing or decreasing?

The current estimate of the private stock of firearms in the United States is about 363 million (16 million were added in 2013). 

That number was calculated by the cumulative addition of domestic manufacture plus imports minus exports.  This does not count guns shipped to the U.S. military.   The figures are rounded to the nearest million.

Firearms manufactured before 1899 are not included.  The starting figure in 1945 is 47 million.

The numbers do not account for reduction of the gun stock due to wear and tear, loss, destruction or illegal exportation; or increases of the stock from illegal importation, individual or illegal manufacture, or acquisition from military sources.

The primary uncertainty is whether the unknown factors mentioned above result in a net loss or gain of firearms in addition to net known manufacture and importation, minus exports.

There is illegal importation and exportation of firearms.  A prominent Californian legislator who pushed for more firearm restrictions was arrested as the result of an undercover sting operation aimed at the illegal importation of arms.  We know that there is illegal export of arms.  The "Fast and Furious" scandal involving the Obama administration oversaw the illegal exportation of two to three thousand arms to Mexican drug cartels.  That number was spread over at least two years.

It seems likely that the incentives for illegal exportation are higher than for illegal importation, but the numbers overall appear small, less than 10,000 per year or .003% of the private firearm stock per year.

Gun "buy backs", or more accurately, gun turn ins, are another factor.  A few major cities hold gun turn in events each year.  The numbers turned in typically vary from less than a hundred to a few hundred.  The total numbers are almost certainly less than 10,000 a year.  It would be another .003% loss.

Individual manufacture or illegal manufacture is likely a much larger number.  There are numerous videos and instructions on how to make guns on the Internet.  There is a long tradition of individual hobbyists making their own guns in this country.  There is significant evidence that criminals engage in the manufacture of illegal guns.  The numbers are difficult to quantify.  At one point, the D.C. police department stated that one fifth of the guns that they confiscated were homemade.

I have personally made legal guns, and personally know others that have done so.  It is not something that is casually mentioned to strangers.  I suspect that the numbers are in excess of 100,000 per year.  That would be one out of a thousand gun owners making one gun per year.  The estimate is likely low, but I am being conservative.  That would be about .03 percent increase per year.  With ubiquitous and cheap power tools, inexpensive materials, and emerging technologies such as 3D printing, those numbers will only increase.

Military guns that are transferred to private ownership, legally or illegally, need to be added.  Guns that were originally sent to the U.S. military are not included in the estimate of the U.S. private gun stock.

Millions of guns were sent to the U.S. military, and a great many of them migrated into private hands.   The U.S. government sold millions of surplus rifles and pistols over the years.

I recall seeing barrels of 1903A3 rifles being sold in hardware stores for $29.95 in the 1960s.  I still have one of them.  At one point, in the middle 1960s, the NRA was offering M1 Carbines to its members for $18 each, as part of a government promotion to get the rifles into private hands.

A mail order ad from 1963.  The 1903 Springfield is listed at $36.38.  The M1 Garand at $89.95, the M1 Carbine at $78.88, the Colt 1917 military .45 revolver at $29.95.

Any person who has been involved in the gun culture for more than a couple of decades can attest to the ubiquity of military pistols that GIs returning from war brought back with them.   Here are some numbers of fairly modern firearms produced for the U.S. military that were sold freely through the mail up until 1968.

About half a million Krag rifles were produced from 1894 to 1904.

About 4.65 million 1903 and 1903A3 rifles were produced.  .84 million were produced by the start of WWI.  Production of the 1903A3 started at about serial number 3 million  during WWII.    1.65 million 1903A3s were produced by the end of WWII.
6.22 million M1 carbines were manufactured during WWII.

5.44 million MI Garands were manufactured, prior to 1957.

Many of these rifles were declared surplus and sold on the U.S. market prior to the requirements for record keeping of rifles by dealers before 1968.

Significant numbers were given or sold to other countries as military aid.

Over 2.5 million .45 ACP pistols were produced for the military by the end of WWII.  How many migrated to private hands is unknown.  They are commonly seen in private ownership.

At least 189,000  revolvers were in the hands of the military when the U.S. entered WWII.  Another 350,000 S&W revolvers were produced for the U.S military during the war.    About 48,000 Colt revolvers were produced for the U.S military during WWII.  It is reasonable to state that over half a million revolvers were purchased by the U.S. military prior to the end of WWII.  A great many of these have ended up in private hands.  My family had one of them, made before WWI.   I have not found the number of .22 trainers and target guns sold to the military.

This well worn Colt is over 100 years old, but functions perfectly.  It was produced for the U.S. military.

The total comes to about 20 million guns, of which large percentages were considered obsolete and or surplus before 1968.   Enormous numbers of them were sold through the mail before the 1968 gun control act made such sales legally cumbersome and difficult.

The numbers are hard to quantify, but 10 million firearms transferred from the military to private hands seems reasonable.  That would be a majority of the rifles and some of the pistols.   The Civilian Marksmanship Program continues to transfer former military arms to private hands today.

The most difficult number to quantify is the number of guns that are destroyed through wear, rust, abuse, and loss.  Nearly everyone understands that guns are a valuable commodity.  It takes very little maintenance to keep a gun from succumbing to rust.  A gun set in the corner of a closet is almost certain to be fully functional if it is brought out 50 years later.  Most guns are shot little and stored for long periods.  Very few guns are worn out by use.  Some are forgotten in the woods.  Some are lost in boating accidents.   When they are found, they make national news.  The numbers appear small, but they exist.   The question is: what percentage are destroyed/damaged/lost each year?

Reaching into my own family experience, my brother and I had personal knowledge of hundreds of guns among our extended family and friends, over the last 4 decades.  Yet of all of those, we could only recall three that were destroyed or lost.  One was an inexpensive semi-auto pistol that self destructed after a few boxes of ammunition.  Another was a deer rifle that was destroyed when a hunting cabin burned down.  The third was an old 16 gauge single shot shotgun where the frame cracked after decades of use and abuse.  A minimum number for the sample would be 100 guns for 40 years, the number being smaller than 100, 40 years ago, and several hundred in the last decade.  That calculates to .075 percent per year.

So where does that leave us?  Adding the percentages of loss and gain,  on the loss side we have .003% to illegal export, .003% to gun turn ins, and .075% to wear, rust, and loss.  On the gain side are .03% homemade or illegally made firearms.  Added together they come to a net loss of .051% per year.

When  the .051% number is applied to the firearm stock from 1945 onward, the total decrease in the stock would be 5.8 million since 1945.  If we double the number, it is still less than 12 million since 1945, close to the number of military guns added.

For an extreme case, increase the estimate by a full order of magnitude, to .51 percent loss per year, a little more than 1 firearm lost or destroyed of every 200 per year.  At that extreme rate, the loss from 1945 to 2013 would be 58 million firearms.  Add the 10 million military firearms transferred to the stock, and the total in 2013 would be reduced by 48 million.

Those educated guesses indicate that the current 363 million number is between 4 million too low, and 48 million too high, giving us a range of the private stock at the end of 2013 of between 315 million and 367 million.  The current estimate of 363 million is likely close to reality.

We are adding about 10-16 million firearms per year.  In 2013, we added 16 million.  At that rate, the losses become almost meaningless.  We make up all the losses for the last 68 years in somewhere between four months and four years.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.  Link to Gun Watch

Update: 55,000 Mossberg 44US .22 rifles were purchased in WWII.

Update: 44,000 High Standard H-D .22 pistols were made for the millitary by 1946.

Update: 61,000 M12 Winchester Shotguns produced for the military in WWII, 20,000 in WWI.

Update: 44,000 M97 Winchester Shotguns produced for the military in WWI and WWII.

Update: 2.19 million M1917 rifles were produced during WWI.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

ND: Homeowner Shoots Intruder The Jamestown Police Department say a man was shot after a house break-in early Friday morning.

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TX: Grand Jury "No Bills" Woman who Shot Ex

A Nueces County grand jury on Thursday declined to indict a woman accused of fatally shooting her ex-boyfriend.

Rosanne Ramirez, 27, told Corpus Christi police Jonathan Del Alto forced his way inside her home about 10 p.m. on Jan. 8 and attacked her and a friend, according to police reports. During a struggle over a gun, Ramirez shot Del Alto in his chest, the reports state. Ramirez was not arrested.
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MS:Shooter in Domestic case questioneed, released.

Jackson County deputies responded to a 911 call in the 11000 block of O'Neal Road in the northern part of the Vancleave community Wednesday afternoon. Deputies found Richard Moore's body in a room used as an office in the home.

Jackson County Capt. Curtis Spiers said earlier Thursday Michele Moore was taken into custody for questioning, but no charges were filed and she was released. He declined to release any other details of the shooting, saying all information would be turned over to a Jackson County Grand Jury for a determination.
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AR: Burglary Suspect sues Homeowners who Shot him

The Cleburne County man accused of burglarizing the home of a state legislator's father filed suit Wednesday against the lawmaker and the lawmaker's son for shooting at him while he tried to run from the property.

On April 21, White County sheriff's deputies arrested Henry Balderree of Wilburn after he was shot in the right shoulder.

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AL: Domestic Violence Suspect Shot by Victim


Enterprise Police Sgt. Billy Haglund said in a statement that police responded to the 2100 block of Geneva Highway to a 911 call involving a domestic dispute with the suspect armed with a gun. As Enterprise police arrived they heard multiple gunshots fired from inside the home. During the domestic incident a man choked the victim. As the victim escaped, two gunshots were fired striking the man twice.

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Virginia Journalist Shooting: The Media needs to clean the blood off its own hands

Before the bodies were buried, the old media and other proponents of ever more restrictions on the Second Amendment were using the deaths to promote their political agenda.  They piously fail to mention their own responsibility.

The "Copycat Effect" is a well known and researched phenomena.  Endless promotion of these tragic events and the publicity given to the perpetrators is far more of a causal factor than the Second Amendment.

We have known for decades that it is media attention that is the driving motivation for most of these public mass shooters.

The copycat effect has been demonstrated and documented over and over again.  Clayton Cramer wrote a paper on this in 1993.   It was published in a the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 9:1 [Winter 1993-94].  It won First Place, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Ethics Prize, 1993, Undergraduate Division.

It has been widely written about in other publications, such as the Wall Street Journal.   A book, The Copycat Effect, by Loren Coleman, was written in 2004.

It detailed simple strategies for mitigating the effect and reducing the number of these mass public killings.   They could be implemented without any significant chilling effect on the First Amendment.    The AP could simply include these requirements in its writers guidelines.   From the book:

(1) The media must be more aware of the power of their words. Using language like "successful" sniper attacks, suicides, and bridge jumpers, and "failed" murder-suicides, for example, clearly suggest to viewers and readers that someone should keep trying again until they "succeed." We may wish to "succeed" in relationships, sports, and jobs, but we do not want rampage or serial killers, architects of murder-suicide, and suicide bombers to make further attempts after "failing." Words are important. Even the use of "suicide" or "rampage" in headlines, news alerts, and breaking bulletins should be reconsidered.

(2) The media must drop their clich├ęd stories about the "nice boy next door" or the "lone nut." The copycat violent individual is neither mysterious nor healthy, or usually an overachiever. They are often a fatal combination of despondency, depression, and mental illness. School shooters are suicidal youth that slipped through the cracks, but it is a complex issue, nevertheless. People are not simple. The formulaic stories are too often too simplistic.

(3) The media must cease its graphic and sensationalized wall-to-wall commentary and coverage of violent acts and the details of the actual methods and places where they occur. Photographs of murder victims, tapes of people jumping off bridges, and live shots of things like car chases ending in deadly crashes, for example, merely glamorize these deaths, and create models for others ­ down to the method, the place, the timing, and the type of individual involved. Even fictional entertainment, such as the screening of
The Deer Hunter, provides vivid copycatting stimuli for vulnerable, unstable, angry, and depressed individuals. 

(4) The media should show more details about the grief of the survivors and victims (without glorifying the death), highlight the alternatives to the violent acts, and mention the relevant background traits that may have brought this event to this deathly end. They should also avoid setting up the incident as a logical or reasonable way to solve a problem.

(5) The media must avoid ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural stereotypes in portraying the victims or the perpetrators. Why set up situations that like-minded individuals (e.g. neo-Nazis) can use as a roadmap for a future rampages against similar victims?

(6) The media should never publish a report on suicide or murder-suicide without adding the protective factors, such as the contact information for hot lines, help lines, soft lines, and other available community resources, including email addresses, websites, and phone numbers. To run a story on suicide or a gangland murder without thinking about the damage the story can do is simply not responsible. It¹s like giving a child a loaded gun. The media should try to balance such stories with some concern and consideration for those who may use it to imitate the act described.

(7) And finally, the media should reflect more on their role in creating our increasingly violent society. Honest reporting on the positive nature of being alive in the twenty-first century might actually decrease the negative outcomes of the copycat effect, and create a wave of self-awareness that this life is rather good after all. Most of our lives are mundane, safe, and uneventful. This is something that an alien watching television news from outer space, as they say, would never know. The media should "get real," and try to use their influence and the copycat effect to spread a little peace, rather than mayhem.

The Cramer article has been around for 20 years, and won a prize for ethics.  The book by Coleman has been available for over a decade.  Any thoughtful person can see the obvious connection between making anti-heros of public shooters and the potential to tip unbalanced people over the edge, into an act that they see as immortalizing their otherwise miserable lives.

It is clear that the media would rather keep their power to use these events to push for more restrictive gun laws than prevent innocents from being murdered.  As Cramer noted, the coverage of school shooting is at least 8 times as large at that of similar mass homicides that do not involve guns.

In a strange twist, the old media actually benefit financially from these shootings:  Newtown Media Buys.

When media personalities try to pressure candidates to push for more restrictive gun laws, as happened recently with Dr. Carson, candidates should push back by asking why the media continues to promote public shootings for their own benefit. 

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

Friday, August 28, 2015

Followup MO: Jury finds James Little not Guilty

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a jury on Tuesday found 36-year-old James Little not guilty of first-degree murder and other charges related to the death of 32-year-old William Dupree.

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Followup KS: No Charges for Man in Fatal Shooting

The person who killed a Wichita man accused of threatening a woman’s ex-boyfriend with a gun on North Lorraine last month won’t face criminal charges.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said the shooter, a roommate of the ex-boyfriend’s, fired in self-defense at 42-year-old Bill Massey Jr. after Massey turned toward him, weapon in hand.

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Read more here:
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OK: Pastor Shoots at Burgar, Suspect captured

The pastor of a northeast Oklahoma City church shot at a man Wednesday after the man burglarized the church, Oklahoma City police said. Police arrested a man shortly afterward.

The Church of the Living God Ministries posted a statement on its Facebook page shortly after 4 p.m.

“All is well; Pastor Kenny is fine. Praise God. Prayer, Bible study, and full story at 7:00,” the Facebook post reads.
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Followup AL: Grand Jury "No Bills" Woman who killed Husband

She told police that during the continued struggle in the kitchen, she wanted to scare her husband so that he would leave her alone, so she tried to fire over his head. She told the police that she did not intend to kill her husband and she maintained she only fired the pistol so that he would let her go and not hurt her anymore.

The coroner's autopsy report indicated that the bullet entered Johnson's upper lip and traveled into his brain. The autopsy report also revealed Mr. Johnson had a blood alcohol level of .27. After hearing the evidence in this case, the grand jury decided not to return an indictment for any charges against the woman.

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OH: Clerk Pulls Gun, Stops Robbery

The Canton Police report said two armed suspects pulled into Maggiore's Drive Thru, located on Dueber Avenue Southwest in Canton, on Monday at about 2 p.m.

The clerk said the suspects pointed a gun at him, but quickly drove off when he pulled out his own gun.

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PA: Jury finds man "not guilty" in Self Defense Shooting

However, Clause successfully testified that he feared for his life after Mark Scheitrum lunged at him.

“He’s got the gun by the barrel. He grabs the gun and pulls it alongside my face,” a weeping Clause testified about the incident. “He’s on top of me. My head hits the wall.”

Clause said that while the two were struggling, the gun, which he admitted was his, accidentally went off.

“When you went down to that trailer, did you have any intention of hurting Mark?” Frederick J. Fanelli, Pottsville, Clause’s lawyer, asked him.

“Absolutely not,” Clause answered.
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

OH: Armed 22-Year-Old Woman Survives Wounds after Killing Man who Murdered Friend

A call to 911 reporting screaming and shots fired led Jackson police officers to 133 Ohio Avenue, where they found one man, later identified as David W. Hoover, 54, dead in front of the house. Paul M. Christian, 52, was found dead inside the house, along with the injured Adkins. A two-year-old child, identified as Adkins’ daughter, was in the home at the time, but in another room separated from the shooting, Eisnaugle said.
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TN: 50-Year-Old wins Gunfight with Three Home Invaders

According to the victims living at the home, there was a knock on the door. One of the victim’s (identified by police as a Hispanic male in his fifties) armed himself with a gun and opened the door. There were three men with guns standing at the door, and all of them (including the resident) began shooting, witnesses told police.

As the shooting started, the three suspects fled on foot. A short time later, a man identified as Mr. Dre’An Whitherspoon entered the Emergency Room at Northcrest Medical Center with a bullet wound.

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Followup WV: Charges dropped in Self Defense Shooting

Underwood ended up charged with attempted murder, malicious wounding and wanton endangerment. But on Tuesday prosecutors, the judge and even the victim agreed to a pre-trial diversion for Underwood. If he commits no criminal acts for six months, the charges will go away. His lawyer contended that the video of the fight, which started between two women and spread to involve others, backed Underwood's self-defense claim. He pulled a gun, but his defense argues that Scott could have backed off at that point but did not.  

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ME: Clerk pulls Gun on two "Jokers"

LEWISTON — Two men said they were joking when they told a Lisbon Street Dunkin' Donuts clerk Sunday they were robbing the store. But the joke was on them after the clerk pulled out a gun and pointed it at them.

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IL: Clerk Killed Armed Robber

Wauconda Police Chief Patrick Yost said the 44-year-old patron ran to a neighboring business to call 911 while the Kwick Shop employee reached under a cash register for a handgun. The clerk, identified by family as 24-year-old Ahmad Samhan, fired at the masked man, striking him in the chest, Yost said.

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IA: Armed man Shoots Aggressive Dog

According to a news release provided by the Newton Police Department, the caller told dispatch there were two dogs running loose in her yard. They were acting aggressive and would not let her out of her house, she said. Before officers arrived, the reporting party called back and said she believed a neighbor had shot one of the dogs.

When Lt. Ron Cook arrived, he discovered a Newton man, Ronald Kollmann had shot and killed one of the dogs on his property. Kollmann told Cook the dog had run at him in an aggressive manner, and he shot it.
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TX: Store Owner wins Gunfight with 2 Robbers

One man said he hit the floor as two robbers walked in and started shooting. He said the owner fired back, shooting one of the two. The suspect, in his 20s, was transported to Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. His identity has not been released.

"When the shots started flying, I hit the ground," one customer said. "Just I hope they didn't shoot me. I have children I have to live for and provide for."

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Fatal Firearm Accidents vs Private Gun Ownership 1965-2013

The red line is the number of private firearms in the United States, in units of 100,000.  At the end of 2013, the estimate was 363.3 million.

The green line is the number of fatal firearm accidents, or unintentional firearm fatalities, in the United States.  The number in 2013 was the lowest recorded, 505.

The number of fatal firearm accidents, or unintentional firearm fatalities, have been falling for more than 50 years.  At the same time, the number of firearms in the United States has been steadily rising.  The cause of fatal firearm accidents is not correlated to the number of firearms in society. 

The absolute numbers are important, but the rate of unintended firearm fatalities per 100,000 population is a better measure of safety.

Chart courtesy of

Since the per capita chart was produced, we have a few more years of data.   Here is a blow up of the last 15 years, including the tail end of the above chart.

A large number of factors have been proposed for the falling fatal firearm accident rates.

Here are a few of the more prominent ones:

Training in basic firearms safety.  The NRA has been pushing firearms safety training for decades.

Safer firearms.  Modern firearms, which make up a majority of the private firearms in the United States (half the stock has been manufactured since 1982, three quarters since 1965), have more safety features.  It is almost impossible for pistols manufactured after 1973 to fire when dropped, due to liability concerns.  Safety triggers have become common on rifles in the last decade.

Blaze orange hunting gear.  A significant drop in hunting fatalities occurred after many states required hunters to wear blaze orange during crowded hunting seasons, such as deer hunting in Wisconsin.

Requirements for hunter safety training to obtain a hunting license.  Most states now require a hunter safety course for new hunters.

Better emergency medical response.  People who might have died from a gunshot wound are saved by better emergency medical care.

Rise of concealed carry permits.  Most concealed carry permits require some safety training.

Rise of private tactical training academies, which teach gun fighting as a martial art, such as Gunsite in Arizona, Rogers Shooting School, InSights Training Center, Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, and a host of other private, for profit, firearm training schools.

The rise of the gun culture magazines from the 1960's on, such as Guns and Ammo, Shooting Times, Garden and Gun, Special Weapons, Handguns, Guns, and numerous others.  While the print versions are being supplanted by online versions and blogs, all preach gun safety, and have had significant impact on the gun culture for the last 50 years.

Substitution of pistols for home defense from shotguns and rifles.  A wound from a pistol is less likely to be fatal than from a high powered rifle or a shotgun at close range.

Heightened awareness of gun safety due to the push for more legal restrictions on guns by the media and elite politicians.  As the population has been inundated with "guns are bad" and "guns are dangerous" messages, one consequence may be a heightened concern for following the safety rules.

All of these factors probably contributed, but the total drop is astonishing, a 95% reduction in the rate of fatal firearm accidents since 1904.  This occurred as the per capital number of firearms has increased from .35 in 1945, to 1.14 in 2013, a tripling of the number of guns per person in the United States.  The per capita numbers are not available before 1945.

Here are the data sources:

Number of Private firearms in the United States, 1945 to 2012 from a previous article at Gun Watch.  The 2013 number was calculated using the same methodology and ATF sources as in the article.

Unintentional firearm fatalities, 1965-1987, from Kleck, Point Blank Page 306 Table 7.1

1981-2000 unintentional firearm fatalities from An Analysis of Firearm-Related Accidents in the United States(pdf;  rates from Kleck or calculated using Census figures.

1999-2013 unintentional firearm fatalities and per capita rates available in WISQARS.

1904-2008 U.S. Accidental Firearm Death Rate chart courtesy of

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Honolulu Mayor Gives up $575,000 to aid Gun Manufacturers

Mayor Caldwell of Honolulu appears to have made the decision to destroy over half a million dollars of Smith & Wesson pistols, rather than sell them to police, police departments or to gun dealers anywhere.   The mayor did not seek to gain political "credit" for the decision.   The scheme was kept secret until it was leaked by whistle blowing police officers about a month ago.   No credible reason was given for destroying the valuable merchandise.

There is no shortage of pistol manufacturers.  If the guns were sold to police or gun dealers, they would be directly competing with other pistols, in exactly the same legal channels as newly manufactured guns.   By reducing the supply of old guns, Honolulu is increasing the demand for new guns.  Gun manufacturers must be smiling all the way to the bank.  It is Honolulu taxpayers who are footing the bill.  

The city of Honolulu will destroy $500,000 worth of old police guns instead of selling them to other law enforcement agencies or Honolulu police officers.

HPD has replaced more than 2,300 of its old handguns with new lighter, cheaper guns. Many police officers said those old guns still have value and should not be thrown away but sold or donated to be re-used instead.

Since 1990, Honolulu police officers have used Smith & Wesson 9 millimeter handguns and the city has replaced them with lighter and easier-to-use Glock 17s that cost about half as much as the Smith & Wessons.

Hawaii News Now has learned that the city plans to destroy about 2,300 of the old Smith & Wessons in the next few weeks, including 200 of them that are brand new and still in their boxes.
The Caldwell administration even found a way to interpret the budget rules to forbid the selling of police pistols to individual officers, a practice that had been common in the past. 

If the City administration does not trust the Police Department to sell to individual officers, they are sending a message that individual officers should not own guns.  Will we see Honolulu officers going home with empty holsters?  It is a common sight in Central American countries, where officers turn in their guns at the end of their shift.

 This HPD Smith & Wesson 5906 is the double action only (DAO) model

The administration cannot be accused of destroying the merchandise for political theater.  They kept the decision secret until it was outed;  the police department will not allow pictures of the guns;  and no pictures have surfaced of the guns being destroyed.  In gun "buy backs" politicians commonly attempt to gain credit by publicizing pictures of guns destruction.  The Caldwell administration seems to fear the political fallout of their decision, rather than proudly display it.

When the Roosevelt administration made the decision to destroy millions of dollars of food during the depression, their rational was simple.  They wanted to reduce the supply of food to increase prices for producers.  The Caldwell administration in Honolulu seems determined to increase demand for new firearms.  Firearm manufacturers gain profits, Honolulu taxpayers lose.

The Hawaii Sheriff department, which functions as a state police, have no problem trading in their Smith & Wessons to get a good deal on new guns.   They are receiving a trade in value of $161,750 out of a $295,500 contract for several hundred guns.

The Caldwell administration is deeply dysfunctional. 

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

IL: Clerk Shoots Unidentified Suspect

A tattoo may help authorities identify a man who was shot and killed by a convenience store clerk during an attempted robbery Sunday night in Wauconda, officials said.

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TN: Armed Victim Wins Gunfight with Carjacking Suspect

A second unidentified robber got out of the Jeep and took one of the victim’s wallet while Goins took the keys to the other’s Chrysler 300 sedan. The second robber got into the Jeep and headed down the street.

The victims said Goins kept his pistol leveled at them while he attempted to get into the stolen car.

One victim reached into his pocket and drew a pistol, and, at that time, said Goins opened fire.

The armed victim said he shot at Goins in self-defense. Goins died at the scene and his gun was recovered by officers.

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AZ: Man Shoots one of Three

Tommy Ephrim, 43, Angelo Miller, 19, and an unnamed suspect were confronting a man about a relationship they did not approve of when things turned violent, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Vince Lewis said.

Police say the three men attacked the man as he stepped out of his home. The man reported seeing two of the men holding weapons -- one had a knife and the other a metal pipe, according to Lewis.

The man pulled out a handgun and shot the unnamed suspect, Lewis said, and the three men fled the home. Police found the wounded suspect in a car in another location and took him to a local hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

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Open Carry at the Vertical Church in Yuma

I was on the security detail at The Vertical Church on Sunday.  I noticed that Jeremy was open carrying, so I asked him if I could take a picture after the service.  He was kind enough to wait with his lovely wife until I handed off to the next volunteer.  Then we stepped outside to take the picture.  The lobby was fairly crowded.  We are having record numbers attend for August in Yuma!

The can in his left hand is non-alcoholic, they are sold in the Church lobby.  The pistol is a Sig Sauer P220 in .45 ACP. 

Carrying to church was required by law in some of the early colonies.  Now that church shootings are in the news occasionally, the practice is making a comeback.

One of my daughter's high school boyfriends was an early adopter of the Texas concealed carry permit.  He told me that he always carried at church, and that one of his regrets was that he happened not to be at a service, which he usually attended, when it was attacked.  I think two or three people were killed.

Update: The next Sunday, the 30th of August, another security team volunteer was not on duty, but he was open carrying with his lovely family.

I was open carrying as well.  Not volunteering last Sunday.  After the service, Pastor Jason was kind enough to pose for a picture with me.  Open carry is more common in the summer months, with the temperatures well over a hundred.

Many people carry in church now.  Quite a few are organized into volunteer security teams.  Jean Assam was part of such a team when she was able to stop the killing at the New Life Church in Colorado in December of 2007.

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