Monday, January 15, 2007

Gun ownership and homicide rates

There has been numerous debates in the bay about gun ownership and its effects on crime rates. This informative paper in Social Science and Medecine shows what one could have anticipated: “Our findings suggest that in the United States, household firearms may be an important source of guns used to kill children, women and men, both on the street and in their homes. In these analyses, states within the highest quartile of firearm prevalence had firearm homicide rates 114% higher than states within the lowest quartile of firearm prevalence. Overall homicide rates were 60% higher.


Anonymous said...

Isn't that what firearms are used for? It's good to see that all those guns are being used :)
Still pretty hard to justify banning guns from everyone when there is only a loose correlation, and we are talking at the upper end of states where 60% of households have firearms. I wonder what states those are.
There is also a correlation between car ownership and vehicular manslaughter. The numbers are higher, but no one is going to ban cars.
PS the link is broken.

Anonymous said...

I think what most people don't like about gun ownership is the idea that they are used for protection from some unidentified threat. To me idea that some people feel there are dangerous enough people around that that a gun is a necessary precaution, despite the dangers that are associated with owning one, is unsettling. I don't live in a city or country, I think, where a gun for protection from other people is required.
However, I don't feel that I can impose this on others. Especially those who own guns as tools (hunting ect.) or even those who feel their government is not trustworthy enough to be the sole gunowner in the country.
The anti-gun sentiment makes about as much sense as the anti-choice sentiment to me.

Bayman said...

The car analogy is a good one, as it demonstrates that there is a level of risk assocaiated with the use of any techology. So the real question is does the risk or negative impact of disseminating the technology outweigh its usefulness to society? In the case of cars, of course their use does sometimes kill people, but the majority of people would are argue that the are essential for the functioning of modern society. On the other hand, one would be hard pressed to find a constructive use for handguns/assault rifles within the context of a civilized society, therefore they're all risk but no reward. Not to mention all the wasted taxpayer and public dollars that go into patching up gunshot wound victims in emergency rooms accross the US. On the other hand, there is perhaps a bit of an argument in favor of hunting rifles, albeit quite a weak one as they are pretty much used for sport rather than sustenance. Also hunting rifles and the like are not as easily concealed, used accidently, stolen or mistaken fired by children etc. so one might argue less risky. Anyhow to get back to my original point, the reason that the manufacture and trade of handguns, assault rifles, bazookas and the like is entirely unacceptable within a civilized. modern-day state is not just that they hurt people and waste health care dollars, but that they do all these things while serving no constructive purpose.

Anonymous said...

There are many arguments for and against gun ownership-especially when it comes to handguns-but i think the punchline is that guns kill-they open a whole world of possible ways to take a life-it's their only purpose. if people feel they need to arm themselves in their own neighbourhoods it's fairly obvious that the issues that need attention are not the right to own a gun. This is also a scalable idea-weapons make it way to easy to skip real conflict resolution and lasting peace. "There is no way to peace, peace is the way"!