I occasionally brag that I can make the gun-grabber case better than most of the gun-grabbers. Then, I can turn around and destroy the case.
Because the closest the gun grabbers ever come to a factual case – as opposed to an emotional one – is when they run down one assortment of numbers or another.
The problem is, they give you the half of the numbers that look bad if they’re completely wrenched out of context.
Power Line’s John Hinderaker notes that the Strib is doing exactly that:
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported yesterday that the State of Minnesota issued 31,657 permits to carry handguns in 2012, a record number. No surprise there. The Strib puts that number in the context of the current debate over gun control, and concludes with these statistics, presented without comment:
Minnesota’s permit holders have committed at least 1,159 crimes since 2003, including 114 in which a gun was used, according to the BCA.
Wow, sounds like a regular crime wave among gun permit holders! But what do those data actually show? According to the same article, there are now over 125,000 permit holders in Minnesota, or around 2.6% of the over-21 population. So, other things being equal, you would expect them to commit something like 2 to 2 1/2% of all crimes (since a considerable number are committed by persons who are less than 21 years old). In order to put the Strib’s numbers in context, you need to know something about the number of crimes committed in Minnesota.
By the way, I’ve done the same thing with the Violence Policy Center’s numbers on a national level a few years back; putting their numbers (which purported to show a nationwide crime wave among carry permit holders) in full context, showing violent crimes and murders as a percentage of the same crimes in the general population, I showed that carry permittees nationwide were over two orders of magnitude less likely to kill an innocent person than the general public - and that the general public was three orders of magnitude less likely to be wrongfully murdered by a carry permittee than by a regular schmuck. And as I showed last summer, a complete and honest look at Minnesota’s numbers show that Minnesotans are safer still at all levels.
John – an actual lawyer – points out the context that the Strib is buggering:
According to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s numbers, there were at least 146,249 crimes of violence and crimes against property in Minnesota in 2011. (I believe that total is low, if we are trying to get a number for all crimes, since drunk driving, for instance, is not included). Let’s assume, to make the calculation simple, that the number of violent and property crimes has remained constant since 2003; actually, it has fallen somewhat. But using the 2011 rate for the period 2004-2012 yields a total of 1,316,241 crimes. (And you thought Minnesota was a law-abiding state!) Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that over that period of time there have been an average of 50,000 carry permit holders in Minnesota; that would be roughly 1.2% of the over-age 18 population [and 60-65,000 would be more correct]. (Again, that is an average from 2004 through 2012, assuming an average of 50,000 permit holders over that time period.)
So do the math: if permit holders were as law-abiding as the average Minnesota citizen, you would expect them to have committed 1.2% of the 1,316,241 crimes from 2004 through 2012, or a total of a little over 16,300. Which tells us, according to the Strib’s numbers, that non-permit holders are around 15 times as likely to commit a crime as permit holders. Carry permit holders must be the most law-abiding segment of Minnesota’s population, with the possible exception of Sunday School teachers.
And sunday school teachers with carry permits, near as I can tell, have committed no crimes whatsoever.
I believe that since Minnesota enacted its shall-issue law in 2003, two permit holders have been charged with homicides. Over the eight years from 2004 through 2011, there were 807 homicides. Using the same logic employed above, one would expect 1.2%, of these homicides to have been perpetrated by carry permit holders. That would be nine or ten murders, as opposed to two.
Actually, there’s only been one murder we know of in the past ten years carried out with a post-2003 shall-issue permit – a woman who shot her boyfriend in Saint Paul. The shooting took place at the woman’s home, so the permit was irrelevant – but no matter. There’ve been two justifiable homicides.
But let’s say there are two. Two murders in ten years breaks down to .04 murders per 100,000 people per year as a percentage of the population; even among the population of carry permit holders, a murder rate of .4/100,000 per year. The state average is closer to 1.4 per 100,000 per year; in Saint Paul it’s closer to 3/100,000, and Minneapolis has a murder rate of 8.3/100,000. That means a carry permittee.
And as I noted, there’s actually been only one murder committed by a post-2003 permit holder in Minnesota in the past decade.
As Hinderaker notes, the crime rate among permit holders in Minnesota is vanishingly low, provided you look at all the numbers.
Especially the ones that don’t fit the left’s and media’s narrative.
Comments welcome at Shot In The Dark.