Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Some Little-Publicized Truths About Guns

Coincidentally, the night before the rampage, as well as after, I was doing some research on the more academic websites (, Google Scholar, Pubmed) about guns, and found some interesting tidbits.

Looking over the legitimate material, not the propaganda put about in newspapers or by the NRA, one finds an elemental truth: gun control could save many lives, as well as reduce crime.

  • Guns correlate with increases in homicides and suicides, between counties, between countries, etc. This is has been found repeatedly true. There is no debate.
  • 1% of gun shops are responsible for 49% of all illegal handguns used in crime, and this is not a matter of the big shops selling more guns. Some shops have bad background check procedures, and enforcing policies of adequate background checks on the small number of shops at fault could go a long way. That, and simply having background checks...
  • The debate over the 2nd amendment bears little resemblance to the debate at the time of the constitution. At that time, the debate centered around whether the states could have military operations, partially to quell rebellion. The concern about individual rights to own guns is a modern construction.
  • There are many more guns in circulation than reported, since within households men control ownership 80% of the time, and women often are misinformed by their partners about guns in the house, either the actual number in the house, or how they are stored.

A Journey — if You Dare — Into the Minds of Silicon Valley Programmers

My responses in a NY Times comment section for the book, Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson ...