Sunday, July 6, 2014

How Gun Control Propaganda Works

Gun control advocates are masters of propaganda.  They love to construct "statistical proof" that gun control works.  Let's take a look at one of these efforts, this one by one of Mayor Bloomberg's front organizations.

Well, that seems pretty conclusive, doesn't it?  What is left to talk about?  Answer: Quite a bit.

First, notice that they do not say that an American is 20 times more likely to be murdered, only that Americans are 20 times more likely to be murdered with a firearm.  You are not supposed to notice that.  You are supposed to hear that guns are used to murder and other developed nations have 20 times fewer murders.   The reality is that this simply isn't the case.  By using the terms "gun homicides" or "murdered with a gun" they hope to get you to subconsciously think that "gun homicides" equal "homicides by all methods".  Shouldn't we be concerned about all homicides?  Why do they not use this figure?  Answer: Because the actual figures would not support their case.

Second, by using the term "developed nations" they accomplish two things.  First, by introducing a subjective term like "developed" they are able to cherry pick their data to get the result the want to get.  Second, they introduce an element of shame.  The US is the only developed nation with this problem - there is therefore something wrong with us.

So let's look at some actual data.  Gun control advocates like to talk about how firearms increase your chances of being murdered.  If this is true, then the top 15 gun owning countries must have a very high rate of murder, right.  Wrong!

Yemen (3rd) and Iraq (8th) are war zones and were omitted for that reason.

Notice this: The top 15 gun owning nations do not have high murder rates.  There are only two exceptions: The US and Uruguay.  What do these two nations have in common?  Answer: Drugs and drug trafficking.  It is this illegal activity that is the cause of the higher homicide rates - not the rate of firearms ownership - in fact, there are many other nations with much lower gun ownership rates and much higher murder rates:

Here I have included the US for reference purposes.  All other nations are either developed or developing nations with significant economies.  All have very low rates of gun ownership.  First, notice that India, with a very low rate of legal gun ownership (100th compared with the US at 1st), has nearly the same murder rate as the US.  Russia, in spite of having an extremely low rate of gun ownership (it was banned under Communist rule), and certainly being an industrialized nation, has a homicide rate nearly twice that of the US.  Argentina also has an industrialized economy and strict gun laws - and yet the murder rate is higher than the US.  Then there is South Africa - definitely industrialized and definitely having strict gun laws.  However, neither of these facts has limited their murder rate - which is nearly 6.5 times that of the US.

It would be wrong to conclude from these figures that more guns always equals a lower murder rate, but we can conclude that legally owned firearms are definitely not required in order to have very high murder rate.

Let's take another look at the first chart:

Notice that many of the nations on this chart are the very nations likely used to construct the "20 Times" argument - industrialized and European.  Yet, they are in the top 15 firearms owning nations.  Including Canada, what is the average homicide rate in these seven countries? 1.1 per 100k.  How does the US compare?  The US rate is a bit over 4 times higher.  Clearly this is not a good thing, but it's a far cry from 20 times!

Of course it goes without saying that they won't mention the fact that gun crime is way down.  Consider this data from Pew Research:

Notice that firearms murders are way down - by 50%.  Non-fatal gun crimes are down even more - by 75%.  (See this post for even more info).   Does Bloomberg's graphic reflect these realities?  Of course not!

In the debate over gun rights and gun control, it's the gun control groups that have to resort to lies, distortion and outright propaganda, not gin rights activists.

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