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Concealed Carry Killers

Clayton Cramer has send me a link to a copy of his latest paper taking on VPC’s concealed carry killers. I was suffering from a bit of insomnia last night, so I grabbed the iPad I keep next to the bed and read the whole thing. I encourage readers to do the same if you’d like to feel a bit of Shadenfreude.

The Violence Policy Center maintains a website titled CONCEALED CARRY KILLERS as part of their effort to show that many Americans who receive licenses under the increasingly popular ―shall-issue‖ concealed license laws are not only disreputable figures, but a threat to public safety. This list included, as of May 12, 2012, a total of 374 deaths—and at first glance, it is quite disturbing. (Unaccountably, the primary web page listed these as 12 law enforcement deaths and 228 civilian deaths, although perhaps they simply neglected to recalculate based on the data they had.)2

This paper provides a detailed analysis of the incidents, finding that many are incorrectly described. A few of the criminal cases have been settled in favor of the accused. Some are criminal cases that are still pending. Many of the incidents are single suicides, which while sad, are not criminal matters or public safety concerns, nor relevant to may-issue vs. shall-issue concealed carry licensing. A number involve situations where possession of a concealed weapon license is completely irrelevant to the tragedy that unfolded. In some cases, these incidents involve licenses issued in ―may-issue‖ states, and licensees who are retired police officers, who are almost always issued such licenses even in the strictest of ―may-issue‖ jurisdictions.

Keep in mind this is an academic paper, with complete citations, intended for audiences that may not be thoroughly indoctrinated into the issue. But there is plenty of worthwhile data in the paper. For instance, the death count drops by 45% of you exclude single suicides.

A surprising number of the incidents listed by VPC involve a concealed handgun licensee who committed suicide, apparently with no one else killed. Some of these suicides VPC derived from annual state concealed handgun licensure reports; it is unclear how many of the other incidents that VPC reports which end in a suicide are included in those aggregates, and are thus double-counted.70 It is not even certain that all of these 129 suicides were committed with firearms. Because we cannot verify these 129 suicides derived from state reports, and determine how many actually duplicate other entries in VPC‘s collection, there seems little point in giving much credence to them as indicative of a problem with shall-issue. Removing these aggregate suicides alone reduces the total death count by 45%—a most dramatic change.

The same old tricks. You have go wonder how far the anti-gun movement could have gotten if they had been honest, instead tricking the American people into gun control through deception and subterfuge. What’s even more amazing to me, faced with the utter failure of their movement, like a one-trick pony, they keep doing the same thing.

26 Responses to “Concealed Carry Killers”

  1. David says:

    There was a great book written back in the 50’s, titled “How to lie with statistics”. After you read a book like this, it’s really easy to debunk the emotion driven lies of the left.

    • Harold says:

      These papers are of anecdotes, not statistics. Statistics can of course be drawn from them, and they’ll be “lies” to the extent you trust the guesses of the number of citizens licensed and/or carrying, but otherwise your criticism is not to the point.

      Disclosure: I was one of Clayton’s research “minions” in the production of this paper (always wanted to be one of those, at least briefly :-).

  2. Miguel says:

    If it is the same VPC “report” I read a while back, the Florida examples not only included suicides but accidental deaths and even a couple of cases where not even a trial had began.

    • Quite a number where no trial yet (years later), and even one where no one was even charged.

      • SDN says:

        Clayton, what did all those poor pixels ever do to you, that you would kill so many of them saying what should have taken one sentence?

        “The VPC lies” pretty much covers the ground.

  3. PT says:

    Awesome.

    Now every time a Brady or Chicago cites VPC’s study in court, our side can cite Clayton.

    No more lying about statistics and getting away with it.

    • Harold says:

      “every time a Brady or Chicago cites VPC’s study in court, our side can cite Clayton.”

      This is of course not an accident ^_^.

  4. asdf says:

    They never change. I remember the stories the Daily News used to run back in the mid-90’s about gun permit holders. They still do, of course, but it was especially a hot topic back then. Same shit, different day.

  5. Braden Lynch says:

    If concealed carry permit people were so violent as they claim, they would all be dead or in prison by now.

  6. Braden Lynch says:

    Also, they could only find about 300 cases out of the millions of CCW permit holders in the United States! That is about as close to zero as you’re going to get statistically.

    Every life is precious (except for criminals plying their trade) so while these are sad, it is no grounds for ANY policy or law adjustment.

    • Ben says:

      Every life is precious (except for criminals plying their trade) so while these are sad…

      I disagree; crims lives are precious, too.

      If precious means something like the “gift from God” metaphor, then a career criminal is guilty both of harming another and of throwing his life away.

  7. SiGraybeard says:

    Out of the many tens of millions of CC permits in the US, 374 is a shockingly small number. When you knock it down by 45%, why would anyone think it’s wrong.

    Since I’m a Floridian, gun nut, and statistics fan, I happen to know that since 1987, Florida has had .008% of its concealed carry permits revoked due to a crime involving a gun. Since the 1987 introduction of Concealed Weapon and Firearms Licenses in the state, 2,031,106 have been issued and 168 revoked due to crime with a gun.

    (I confess I don’t remember the numbers, which are from last September, just the percentage. I just know how to find that data quickly.)

    Contrary to what the VPC is implying, you’d have a difficult time finding a safer, better bunch of people to pal around with.

    • Ben says:

      Contrary to what the VPC is implying, you’d have a difficult time finding a safer, better bunch of people to pal around with.

      That contradicts the heart of anti-gun mentality which is fundamentally driven by fear of their neighbors. (And historically, if you look back to the time of the founding of the NRA.)

      Their neighbors, they believe, are either “ready to snap” or have “deep-seated resentment” or whatever cliche you want to use. And their neighbors are naturally at home with children or out in public. So the anti-gunners have essentially pre-convicted their neighbors: they found motive and opportunity, so they pass laws to take away the means.

      Every pro-gun piece should start with, “Research reveals that your neighbors are decent, law-abiding people.”

      • I think anti-gun mentality is driven mostly by fear of themselves. They project their own emotional instability onto others.

        • Harold says:

          I get that impression as well. Look for projection, an often implicit extrapolation that since they wouldn’t trust themselves with a gun, others can’t be as well. I’ve seen then very explicitly in some friends and acquaintances, although of course they didn’t particularly fear me if they knew me moderately well.

  8. Carl from Chicago says:

    SiGraybeard said:
    Jun 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    “Out of the many tens of millions of CC permits in the US …”

    Let us at least stick to the truth. I believe estimates for the number of carry licensees nationwide range between 6 and 7 million.

    • Harold says:

      On the penultimate page Clayton estimates 7.6 million, with an attempted accounting for duplicates. Since he’s using September 2011 raw data, you can add 100K for Wisconsin now as I recall, perhaps more, probably a fair number more given time.

  9. Sage Thrasher says:

    Suicides are always included in their stats about “gun violence” or “gun deaths” or whatever. Well more than 1/2 of “gun deaths” each year are suicides nationally. Anytime you see a calculation from them about the number of “gun deaths” a day, it includes suicides, which is why they use terms like “gun deaths” instead of murder–it’s an intentional attempt to mislead at best.

    • Harold says:

      Although how many of those suicides are after a murder? I’d count those differently, sort of like how Japan counts the classic husband murders family then kills himself as all suicides.

      • I distinguish sole suicides from murder/suicide situations. There are a fair number of the latter.

        • Harold says:

          Of course; I was wondering about the overall “10s of thousands of ‘gun deaths’ a year!!!” statistics we hear bandied about by our adversaries.

          • Typically, close to half (sometimes more) are suicides. Often tragedies–but I am impressed how often these seem to be extreme guilty pleas for people accused of child molestation.

            • Harold says:

              I’m not quite sure what is the question you’re answering above.

              I’m asking “What fraction of suicides are a quick followup to one or more murders?”

              Suicides after child molestation that doesn’t extend to murder, and other grave crimes, would also be of interest.

            • Acksiom says:

              Actually, last time I checked, the majority of tragic, senseless firearm deaths in the usa were male suicides. 50.13+%, to be more precise. I spent an afternoon doing the math a while back.

  10. Rand Emsmaurtess says:

    I don’t have access to your iPad.

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