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Old January 31, 2013, 07:20 PM   #1
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Not sure if anyone has seen this but Mother Jones just came out with a new anti gun article.
I would be very interested for anay thoughts or feedback any of you have, as I am seeing it online a lot and would like to debunk as much as I can.
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Old January 31, 2013, 08:18 PM   #2
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I have a very difficult time reading far left anti gun propaganda. I just end up wanting to beat my head against a wall. I think Mother Jones would be better served sticking to articles explaing how to grow asparagus in my back yard without it overtaking my rutabaga.
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Old January 31, 2013, 08:50 PM   #3
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It is so full of holes it would be a monumental task to refute every point.

Just on for instance

Myth #4: More good guys with guns can stop rampaging bad guys.
Fact-check: Mass shootings stopped by armed civilians in the past 30 years: 0
• Chances that a shooting at an ER involves guns taken from guards: 1 in 5
Well, duh, mass killers like to select places least likely to have armed civilians around: town of Aurora does not allow CCW, CT does not allow CCW, college campuses are generally no firearms policy, etc.

The other side of this argument is that of course there is NO MASS SHOOTING when a civilian CCW intervenes!!! Duh! He prevented a mass killing!! There have been several instances of that just in the last couple of months and they do not make national headlines. You never read, "EXTRA! Mass Hooting of 30-300 potential victims averted by armed civilian!"

One scenario was eerily similar to the Colorado movie theater but the rampaging shooter was stopped after only two or so victims shot. No mass shooting thanks to armed civilian or off duty police. A Mass shooting in Kent, WA was nipped early just by the appearance of an armed civilian.

Pick a few and have fun debunking them. There have been several books written on just this subject.
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:54 PM   #4
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have not read through all the 10+ year old data used in this article,but here is some feedback ta glance.

Factoid 2. Uses data that bunch all gun related deaths, without differentiating police killings with firearms, and/or justifiable homicide, simply to push the view of gun deaths. Overall murder rates however would be a much more accurate depiction of weather those states are SAFER. The author of course does not care about murders of course, they count any death by a gun as something that is bad even if it was used to stop a crime.

Factoid # 4. A mass shooting is categorized a s a shooting where 4 or more people are killed by a gun. If the killer is himself killed or stopped before he can kill 4 people, the instance is not called a mass shooting, so the zero number is meaningless. ice try though.

Factoid number five. If your read the study, you will see that those study’s did not differentiate legal versus illegally owned firearms. They just massed together all shooting across 3 cities and called it gospel.

Factoid #7 Not even worth talking about. It does not even address instances of woman using guns to defend themselves, or talks about rape and murder among female gun owners

Factoid # 10. This info has been proven 10 times over to be faulty. That study was done over a decade ago, by random phone surveys involving about 200 people. There is no evidence to prove that private face to face sales are that high.
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Old February 1, 2013, 08:14 AM   #5
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Criminologist James Alan Fox (no particular friend of the RKBA), writing in the Boston Globe (a clear enemy of the RKBA and freedom generally) has rather effectively debunked the Mother Jones article:
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Old February 1, 2013, 08:31 AM   #6
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different article, but great breakdown. all one has to do when reading mother jones articles is start clicking on the links, with a calculator in hand and quickly one realizes that the math does not add up.
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Old February 1, 2013, 11:06 AM   #7
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mass shootings have been stopped by good guys with guns.

I think of several right off without referencing (sorry)

The one at the oregon mall was cut short by a concealed carry holder pulling his gun on the attacker who than panicked and ran to a stairwell and shot himself.

One at a school (mississipi I think) where an assistant principal (I think) went out to his car and got his gun and came back into the school and stopped the attacker ( I think).

than another (can't remember where exactly but recently) where an off duty sheriff's deputy working as a security guard at a movie theatre stopped a mass shooter before he had a chance to kill anyone at all.

That is just off the top of my head.
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Old February 1, 2013, 12:49 PM   #8
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motherjones is a liberal trash rag not worth the electrons it consumes.
"Remember, the people on the Internet are just like you - ignorant, delusional, and dangerous."
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Old February 1, 2013, 02:03 PM   #9
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Their are many good points made for a good number of the lies and misinformation in the article. Here is a write-up I just finished looking at the points one by one including trying to read the sources cited for each "fact."

I apologize now for the length, but hope it helps someone.

Well Let's go down through the list and see what we can find about their sources.

1) Many politicians and anti-gun groups have stated a preference toward total gun bans and confiscation, and only cannot do it at the moment, because their isn't the political will and capitol yet.

2) I can't comment too much on the source for the 114% higher gun murder rates because I can only get the abstract of the article. However, the Mother Jones article says gun murders, where the article listed specifically says gun homicides in every instance which includes suicides and accidents, which will be more prevalent with more guns, because you can't kill yourself with a gun if you don't own one. Neither the article or the source gives good data on TOTAL murders and homicides vs gun ownership, rather just those with guns.

As far as the graphic, it must be old data or very skewed data. Because the gun homicide rate per 100,000 according to estimates from the FBI and population estimates from the Census Bureau in 2011 come out to 0.7 for Montana and 1.8 for Massachusetts. The numbers are open to the public and easily calculated by number of gun homicides * 100,000 / State estimated population.

3) The listed sources of course are not available without paying or subscribing but I do see a few things. First on the Texas CHL holder's paper, it looks like they are talking about CHL holders that were already convicted of felonies before getting their license. So really their criminals that should have been denied but slipped through for some reason. This is really just a sign that the background check data is severely lacking.

And finally the last point is again on homicides, which includes anybody killed by a firearm. Meaning that in stand your ground states, more people are killed by firearms (although again the more recent data from the FBI seems to indicate otherwise) but that number includes criminals, rapists, muggers, and home invaders killed with guns.

4) As stated before, potential mass shootings where a CCW holder or police officer is present tend to not become mass shootings and don't get nearly as much press. The Mall in Oregon comes to mind. After the small amount of media attention it got (~2-3 days tops) it came out that a CCW holder pointed his pistol at the shooter during a weapons jam, didn't fire because he didn't have a clear shot, and the shooter promptly went to a stairwell and killed himself. Many instances of these events, but they must be searched for because they are not actually mass shootings in that the number of victims are generally below whatever threshold the media has decided on.

5) Duh, that owning a gun makes it more likely to die by one in suicide or accidents. But again doesn't address the question of likelihood for death by suicide and accident in the home in general. As if being killed by a gun is somehow worse than being killed by a shovel, or knife, or chandelier falling on your head, etc.

I'm going to completely ignore the increased suicide by gun thing now as it's ridiculous. All the stats saying that more guns are used in crimes than in defense means that there are either more criminals in those localities than people with HD guns, or far more likely that most criminals do their homework (AKA casing) and don't target homes where there are guns. It also doesn't talk about sociological factors like how many of the crimes were gang/drug related, etc.

The experiment with kids was absurd. Many of the boys who pulled the trigger said they didn't even know it was a real gun, even though 90% of them said they had some form of “gun safety instruction” before. This is not the case when young kids of the appropriate age are properly instructed in the use of firearms and told that there are real guns around that they should not touch or play with, especially when no adult is present. However, I do firmly believe in also having a proper safe for guns if kids are around and it is not on your person.

6) The reason more people are killed in arguments than in civilian self defense is because we don't shoot to kill, we shoot to end the threat. Many successful self defense uses of a gun only require showing the weapon, not firing it. I don't have any scientific studies or surveys showing such, but if someone could dig one up it would be a great help to our cause.

One weird thing I see about the study listed to “prove” that owning a gun makes you more likely to be shot in an assault is extreme selection bias, even though the paper adamantly states that it removed selection bias by these and these steps. However, the study group were ALL gunshot victims, whereas the control group that did not get shot were NOT all victims of violent crime, but random sampling. This means that the so called “control” group really had very little bearing on the idea of protecting oneself. They should have included (if there's even a sure-fire way to do so) people that were victims of assault, battery, rape, etc. but did not get shot in the study for how owning guns effects your ability to ward off attackers or get harmed. By not using this group they also specifically delete most uses of a gun for SD against an aggressor that does not have a firearm, but some other deadly weapon. I bet having a gun would significantly increase your chances of warding or fighting off the aggressor in these situations.

7) The full paper for the study on women being 4.9 times more likely to be killed by a gun in states with high firearms ownership is available for free. I glanced at it, but unfortunately do not have enough of a sociology background to see anything majorly wrong with their methods (although the equations for estimating firearms ownership in the 31 states that did not supply this data looks weird to me). However, I must also say that it seems a large majority of women's firearm deaths are from domestic abuse, which is a problem that should be taken care of in and of itself whether or not a firearm is involved.

SO I'll agree with the writers that abusive husbands/boyfriends should not have firearms in the house (or wives/girlfriends for that matter).

8) I personally don't think violent video games are the root cause of most violent acts. There are far more serious societal, socioeconomic, and psychological factors to violent crimes. In a few rare instances, violent video games and/or movies may have compounded this, but the vast majority of people that play or watch these don't even remotely think about harming others in real-life. People must be taught the difference between real-life and make believe by their parents, and I believe in most cases this does occur.

9) Many gun owners will not say they own a gun, especially in a Gallup poll. These polls are often biased by only asking people of certain localities or walks of life. Also the article sourced actually says that firearms ownership is up to the highest level since 1994. So gun ownership is indeed rising even if it fell for a few years beforehand.

10) The 40% private sale thing has already been debunked among gun owners. The original source was an estimate of “up to 40%.” Nobody knows how many private sales take place every year, and that's the point (personal property). Also in the cited paper for 40% of inmates getting guns through private sales, the vast majority of them were from friends and family, not strangers. This is more of a straw purchasing problem IMHO (friend or family member selling gun to known felon). And straw purchases are an ALREADY EXISTING LAW that needs to be enforced and prosecuted more, but finding out who's a straw purchaser is indeed hard. However, universal background checks will not stop this from happening either.

I can't get the link to the full “report” on the 62% of online private sellers saying they would sell to someone that couldn't pass a background check. However it's source is obviously strongly biased as pro gun control, making their “sting” much more dubious than a peer-reviewed study.

The final thing about the BATF's lack of a leader should be blamed on the Senate for not approving someone. Not on the NRA for backing the law (it's not like the NRA actually writes the laws) that requires this (which is really a good thing because we all know the type of person that would be in charge right now if appointed by the president).

Again I'm sorry for the length of that and really hope I didn't make any mistakes for any of you that made it the whole way through.
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Old February 1, 2013, 02:07 PM   #10
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Mother Jones is not worth the paper it's printed on. Picked on up once, read about two pages and that was more than enough. Would expect nothing but garbage from them on the subject of gun control.
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Old February 1, 2013, 02:56 PM   #11
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Ugh. And that is just for the displeasing aesthetics of the page.

It would take so many words to clarify and rebut their facts, and I have done it so many times already that I can't muster the motivation to do it again today.
Maybe if I can get my ire up I'll tackle it.

Excellent summary mj246.

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Old February 2, 2013, 01:00 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ruthless4christ
I would be very interested for anay thoughts or feedback any of you have, as I am seeing it online a lot and would like to debunk as much as I can.
Let's take #2. The numbers and chart refer to "Gun Deaths," which include homicides, suicides, and accidents. Mother Jones also failed to include the District of Columbia in the narrative or chart - probably because it has the lowest rate of gun ownership in the country and one of the highest rates of gun deaths. D.C. is included in the revised chart below.

Sources: gun ownership (Table 1) and gun deaths

As previously noted, a better gauge of the impact of gun ownership would be the murder rate. The chart below is based on FBI data on murders and non-negligent homicides.

Sources: gun ownership (Table 1) and murders and non-negligent homicides

While the District of Columbia was embarrassing enough to be excluded from the Mother Jones chart, D.C. is essentially in a category of its own with respect to being a nearly gun-free utopia and also having nearly twice the murder/homicide rate of the next contender.
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Old February 2, 2013, 01:46 AM   #13
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They have a map of all the mass shootings that have taken place somewhere on their website, with the number of people killed in each incident. They include the shooters in the death tolls. 'Nuff said.
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Old February 2, 2013, 02:17 AM   #14
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Mother Jones' Mass Shootings map not only includes the shooters in the number killed, but also lists every single rifle (many of which were .22s) used as an "assault weapon."
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:25 PM   #15
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As stated before, potential mass shootings where a CCW holder or police officer is present tend to not become mass shootings and don't get nearly as much press.
The study on this is designed to prove the conclusion they want. If a shooting is stopped by a CCW holder, it doesn't become a "mass" shooting (i.e., more than 4 dead) and is therefore thrown out of the study. If there were more than 4 dead, almost by definition, there was not a CCW holder present.
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:40 PM   #16
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Myth #1: They're coming for your guns.
New York just passed a law requiring owners of "hi-cap" mags to sell them or turn them in to the government.

Myth #9: More and more Americans are becoming gun owners.
A recent Gallup Poll shows that households owning guns have increased from 40% to 47% since Obama took office.

Myth #10: We don't need more gun laws—we just need to enforce the ones we have.
It is a federal crime to lie on a FFL background check. In 2010, 80,000 background checks were found to be fraudulent. The federal government prosecuted 44 of those. Mother Jones also claims that 40% of gun sales are private and don't require a background check. The study that produced that number found that the majority of that 40% were within a family or between friends.
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Old February 2, 2013, 06:35 PM   #17
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Myth #3...

One particular so-called "myth" got my attention because it strikes rather close to home. It's the second one under #3, "An Armed Society Is A Polite Society":
Originally Posted by MJ
• Among Texans convicted of serious crimes, those with concealed-handgun licenses were sentenced for threatening someone with a firearm 4.8 times more than those without.
The link leads to an article titled "When Concealed Handgun Licensees Break Bad: Criminal Convictions of Concealed Handgun Licensees in Texas, 2001–2009", published in the Jan 2013 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. You have to pay to download the article from the website, so it seems that few of us in the shooting community have read the whole thing. However, I was able to download it from the research database on my local library website.

After reading the article, I believe that the summary in MJ is a cherry-picked misrepresentation of the study's contents, and I find many aspects of the study to be flawed, particularly the 4.8/4.7 figure (more on that discrepancy below).

Problem #1: The study uses cherry-picked data.

The data used in the study was from the Texas DPS Concealed Handgun Conviction Rates database, which is conveniently accessible below:

First, the study only included the years 2001 through 2009 because, from the article...
Originally Posted by AJPH
...this range provided a view of current criminality and yielded a large enough number of convictions of CHL holders to make the results relatively stable.
Presumptive translation: "We excluded 1996 thru 2000, 2010, and 2011 because they didn't give us the dramatic results we were after."

Second, the study does not compare apples to apples. It compares convictions to arrests, and backs up this methodology with specious and circular reasoning:
Originally Posted by AJPH
To investigate differences in licensee and nonlicensee populations, we compared the 2001 to 2009 Texas CHL conviction data with national arrest data for the same years that provided information on both the offense alleged and the arrestees’ demographic characteristics (age, race, and gender). Arrests obviously differ from convictions. However, our interest was not in direct comparisons of these 2 populations but in comparing the distribution of arrests across different types of crimes and the distribution of convictions across different types of crimes.
Read the last two sentences closely. Presumptive translation: "We knew we were comparing apples to oranges from the outset, but we did it anyway!"

Problem #2: The MJ article conveniently disregards the primary results of the study- that CHL holders are NOT a significant danger overall.

The results are summarized in boldface text in a box at the top right-hand corner of the first page:
Originally Posted by AJPH
CHL holders were much less likely than nonlicensees to be convicted of crimes. Most nonholder convictions involved higher-prevalence crimes (burglary, robbery, or simple assault). CHL holders’ convictions were more likely to involve lower-prevalence crimes, such as sexual offenses, gun offenses, or offenses involving a death.
The study goes into more detail on the 2nd page. After excluding crimes for which CHL holders could not be convicted, and vice versa for non-CHL holders:
Originally Posted by AJPH
...after exclusions, [the DPS lists] had information on 516 958 convictions of nonlicensees and 934 convictions of CHL holders.
IOW the study found that there were 553 times more convictions (516,958 / 934) of nonlicensees than CHL holders! Yet MJ wants us to believe that CHL holders are highly dangerous...?

Problem #3: The MJ article is wrong about the 4.8 figure!

The actual number is 4.7.
Originally Posted by AJPH
A larger proportion of CHL holders’ than nonholders’ convictions were for deadly conduct (threatening someone with a firearm; ratio = 4.7).
I'm aware that an error of only 0.1 is relatively miniscule, but IMHO it belies a lack of competent (or honest!) editorial oversight in Mother Jones.

Problem #4: The 4.7 figure itself is highly misleading because the researchers did NOT characterize "Deadly Conduct" correctly.

Let's reread the previous quote and include another quote from a previous paragraph:
Originally Posted by AJPH
A larger proportion of CHL holders’ than nonholders’ convictions were for deadly conduct (threatening someone with a firearm...
Originally Posted by AJPH
Deadly conduct involves threatening a person with a firearm when that person has reason to fear that the firearm will be used to harm them.
The DPS lists include two classes of deadly conduct that were presumably used in this study: "DEADLY CONDUCT" and "DEADLY CONDUCT DISCHARGE FIREARM". The AJPH article includes a table on the second page stating that 2 types of "Deadly Conduct" were included, so I assume the calculations include both classes. However, based on reading Texas law, the first class does NOT exclusively include crimes involving firearms. From Section 22.05 of the Texas Penal Code:
Sec. 22.05. DEADLY CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.
(b) A person commits an offense if he knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of:
(1) one or more individuals; or
(2) a habitation, building, or vehicle and is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied.
(c) Recklessness and danger are presumed if the actor knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another whether or not the actor believed the firearm to be loaded.
(d) For purposes of this section, "building," "habitation," and "vehicle" have the meanings assigned those terms by Section 30.01.
(e) An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor. An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the third degree.
I presume that "DEADLY CONDUCT" includes incidents under the section (a), whereas "DEADLY CONDUCT DISCHARGE FIREARM" includes incidents under the section (b) because section (e) prescribes more severe penalties. Here's the clincher: SECTION (a) SAYS NOTHING ABOUT FIREARMS. One can presumably be convicted for deadly conduct using any one of a variety of non-firearm weapons, or with no weapon at all. There is no way to differentiate between firearm and non-firearm "DEADLY CONDUCT" incidents using the DPS lists. Characterizing ALL such incidents as "...threatening a person with a firearm..." is misleading at best and highly deceptive at worst.

BTW y'all might be interested to learn that the number of convictions of CHL holders for "DEADLY CONDUCT DISCHARGE FIREARM" during the study period was a whopping 3- 1 each in 2005, 2006, and 2009.

PROBLEM #5: The 4.7 figure is spurious anyway!

The number was calculated by adding up the total crimes by CHL holders vs. nonlicensees, calculating the percentage of Deadly Conduct crimes in each total, and dividing the two percentages. Here are the figures from the study, with the percentages in brackets.
Deadly conduct [CHL] 124 (13.3) [Nonlicensee] 14 591 (2.8)
Total convictions [CHL] 934 (100) [Nonlicensee] 516 958 (100)
The researchers simply divided the percentages: 13.3 / 2.8 = 4.75. (I assume it's quoted as 4.7 due to a hidden round-off error.)

When you think about it, this really tells us almost nothing meaningful about CHL holders OR nonlicensees in terms of actual impact on the population in general. All it proves is that CHL holders are convicted of different types of crimes than the convict population in general- something the study itself admits.
Originally Posted by AJPH
Most nonholder convictions involved higher-prevalence crimes (burglary, robbery, or simple assault). CHL holders’ convictions were more likely to involve lower-prevalence crimes, such as sexual offenses, gun offenses, or offenses involving a death.
While this seems alarming on the surface, researchers could probably find similar anomalies if they compared conviction rates based on other arbitrary criteria, such as being named John, being able to play the guitar, or being a member of the Rotary Club. (No offense to people named John, guitarists, and/or Rotarians intended. )

A more meaningful comparison would be to compare the relative prevalence of Deadly Conduct offenses by CHL holders to the population in general. At the risk of being accused of cherry-picking, I'll use 2010 numbers, simply because they're readily available.

Number of Active CHL Holders + Instructors in 2010: 463,888 (DPS)
Deadly Conduct convictions of CHL holders in 2010, both classes: 14 (DPS)

463,888 / 14 = 33,135 active CHL holders and instructors per Deadly Conduct conviction by a CHL holder

TX Population in 2010: 25,145,561 (US Census Bureau)
Deadly Conduct convictions in 2010, overall, both classes: 2,006 (DPS)

25,145,561 / 2,006 = 12,535 TX residents per Deadly Conduct conviction in TX

33,135 / 12,535 = 2.6

IOW using 2010 numbers, a member of the overall population of TX (including CHL holders) was 2.6 times more likely to be convicted of a Deadly Conduct offense than a CHL holder would be.

Who seems more dangerous now?
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Last edited by carguychris; February 2, 2013 at 06:40 PM.
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