Monday, November 13, 2017

Bad Math for Gun Control

The latest weird failure of fact by proponents of a disarmed public is offset somewhat by a refreshing honesty of stated desire. The opinion piece is in a university paper, written by a student, so they deserve a gentler treatment than a professional journalist.  Right or wrong, the differentiation between editorials and factual articles has been mostly destroyed in the last 20 years. The article is from the University Press at Lamar University. Lamar University is located near Houston, in Texas. From
Unfortunately, the conversation about gun control only arises after an incident where several people are killed at one time. But what about the 90 people who the Center for Disease Control states are killed on average each day in the U.S. (excluding suicides)? Even if we take mass shootings out of the equation, Everytown Research found more than 10,000 people still die each year from gun deaths in this country.

In the immediate aftermath of such events, talk about banning assault rifles is also sensationalized, but most gun deaths in the U.S. actually occur by handguns.
The writer got basic facts wrong, claiming that "The CDC reports 90 people each day are killed by guns (excluding suicides)". Simple math shows that 90 x 365 = 32,850 deaths a year.  For 2015, there were 36,252 deaths associated with firearms, a bit more than the figure claimed. But of those deaths, 22,018 of them were suicides, leaving 14,234 deaths for homicides, accidents, and unknown intentions.  Perhaps due to a simple math error, the number of non-suicidal deaths inflicted with a gun were increased from 39 a day (in 2015) to 90 a day.

The writer commits the grammatical and logical error of giving volition to guns, by claiming that most gun deaths "occur by handguns". People are not killed by a gun. They are killed with a gun. Changing with to by is an Orwellian word substitution. It attempts to resurrect the pre-western civilization superstition of attributing motive and volition to inanimate objects. It is common on the left to try to define personal responsibility out of existence.

I am thankful to the writer for stating one of the primary purposes of gun registration: to transfer responsibility and liability from criminals to gun owners.
A national gun registry is a great place to start. If original record holders of guns were held accountable for the crimes committed with that gun, people would be more vigilant in keeping track of their guns.
The writer is unconcerned that the above policy violates the Constitution, and the rule of law. We should not be surprised. People pushing for an unarmed population have been attempting to transfer responsibility for crimes committed with guns to legal gun manufacturers for decades. It is a small step to transfer the responsibility for criminal acts to gun owners.

Gun owners have understandably resisted gun registration for fear of gun confiscation. It has already happened in incremental and small scale ways in New York and California. The transfer of criminal responsibility adds an intermediate step, designed to motivate people to give up their guns, or to never become gun owners. Add intimidation to confiscation as one of the goals of gun registration.  This is not a new idea sprung by a college student.  Justin Wolfers, Professor at the University of Michigan, wrote that it should be considered in 2013. From
Another even more powerful approach is to recognize that the problem isn't guns per se, but gun violence. Thus, instead of taxing guns, we should tax gun violence. Basically, this is the same as saying that we should make gun owners liable for any damage their guns do. Not only would this discourage some people from buying guns, it would lead those who do keep guns to be more careful with how they're stored. Indeed, greater care would surely have kept Adam Lanza out of his mother's cache.
Lanza murdered his mother in order to obtain her guns. It is hard to see how "more care" in storage could keep guns from the hands of someone who is willing to murder their own mother to obtain them.

It is unlikely that "gun insurance" will pass the legislature soon. But when it inevitably is brought up, recognize it for what it is. Transferring responsibility and liability for criminal acts from the criminals to legal gun owners.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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