Tuesday, March 04, 2014

PJMedia:Rifle Ownership v. Homicide Rates

While Sandy Hook Elementary gives the Obama administration emotional fuel to promote a gun ban, government data show that civilian rifle ownership and murders with rifles have little in common.

The following graphs resulted from collating data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms. Between 1991 and 2011, civilian rifle ownership increased from an estimated 74 million to 112 million (51% growth). During that same period, the number of rifle homicide victims declined 57% (see graph below).

(Spearman’s rho equals -0.87, a strong negative correlation: more rifles, less homicide with rifles.)

Examining rates better compares growth in both gun ownership and population. The following graph compares the rate of victims shot with rifles (per 100,000 population) versus the rate of civilian rifle ownership (per 1,000 population for a more usable number). The rifle ownership rate increased 22% between 1991 and 2011, while the rifle homicide rate decreased 65%.

(Spearman’s rho equals -0.89, a strong negative correlation: higher rifle ownership, lower rifle homicide rate.)

In terms of crime data, the effective years for the Clinton “assault weapons” ban (banning scary-looking semi-automatic rifles) were 1995 through 2004. (September 13, 1994, was the enactment date, including over two-thirds of the FBI’s 1994 crime data; same for the sunset year, September 13, 2004.)

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