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Old July 31, 2009, 08:49 AM   #85
Join Date: June 8, 2008
Posts: 3,391
Where is the empirical data to show that people from states with less stringent training requirements are less safe than people from states with more stringent training requirements?
Ignoring the fact that the argument is not necessarily about the concept of being "less safe," you need to realize that in any analysis involving a paucity of actual data (there are relatively few guns carried concealed, and far fewer are ever drawn), one must use analytical and decision analysis methods other than data regression.

Case in point: there was never any empirical data indicating that the absence of the application of thermal properties specifications to the interface seals on the STS SRB (Space Transportation System Solid Rocket Booster) might well result in a catastrophic mission loss and an extremely damaging program hiatus. However, an adequate failure mode and effect analysis (one starts with assessing "what if" the seal should become brittle at low temperatures) that would have cost thousands might well have saved many billions. One cannot rely on actual data unless there is enough of it to analyze, but that does not alter the severity of the risk.

Apply the same thing to gun ownership. "What if" a gun owner is (unlike Peetzakilla and many others) innocently unaware that shooting at a fleeing burglar (or worse, at a thief) is far from a lawful heroic act, and does just that, committing a felony and perhaps severely injuring innocent people? The consequences can be horrendous, to say the least.

What is the probability that that, or any of the myriad of other possible tragic acts, might happen? For any one gun owner, somewhere between remote and less than remote, I'll agree. What is the significance of the potential consequences? On the very high end of "extremely severe", I think.

One needs to take into account likelihood, potential consequences, and the feasibility of mitigation. Kinda like deciding whether it's a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

So the question becomes whether to accept the risk or to try to mitigate it. What would the cost of a reasonable mitigation plan be? Well, in Missouri, state audits showed the cost of putting someone through an eight hour training course to be about $100.

Compare that to the potential consequences. At the low end, legal costs on the high end of five figures. At the high end, loss employment, loss of personal freedom, and the loss of all assets in expenses and in a civil judgment.

What kind of probability would one need to show before concluding that the investment would be a very, very good one? One need not be a professional underwriter to realize that for those not already very knowledgeable, not making the investment would be foolhardy, even with a success rate of, say, less than two thirds.

Should it be mandatory? Well, most states do mandate the carrying of auto liability insurance for drivers. Is that an abridgment of personal freedom?

And when one applies the analysis to the aggregate of the gun owning population and understands that an extremely low incidence of tragic events would be required to change public sentiment materially, that brings up the already much discussed risk to the continued right of gun ownership.

Some people seem to have the instinct that we should appease the gun haters by burdening ourselves with cumbersome rules. This is a road to nowhere.
I do not believe that a $100, one day investment in something that might undo the harmful effects of one's having watched too much television constitutes a "cumbersome rule", nor do I think it has anything to do with appeasing the gun haters. It's just good sense--and intelligent risk management.

The gun haters hate guns. The only thing that will make them happy is if all gun owners are made felons. All restrictions do is reduce the number of people who exercise their right to bear arms, and therefore the number who are willing to vote to protect the right.
You nailed it. Let's try to give them less ammo, OK?

Last edited by OldMarksman; July 31, 2009 at 08:58 AM. Reason: Corrections
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