Gun Homicide Statistics

Ok, but I have REAL doubts as to their stats. We just had a case, drug on for over a year, started out as murder2, ended as accidental/negligent manslaughter. So they have the “death at the hands of another” in 1996, say, but the verdict was in 1998. When they compile the stats in 1996, how do they know what the verdict is, or do they just go by the charge? If so , even THAT takes a while. Another started out as Murder1, took 2 years, ended as aquital-- how & when do they count THAT? :confused: Seems kinda fishy to me :smiley:

Danielinthewolvesden said,

Holy cow, you don’t give up! I don’t claim the stats are 100% accurate. Nobody does. But surely you don’t think the numbers are skewed beyond any general picture of reality. I ran the numbers by my father, who is a retired L.A.P.D. detective. They match his experience pretty well — i.e. the majority of murders he investigated were the result of arguments and domestic disputes, not the commission of a felony.

The circumstance of each homicide is determined from police reports, not trials. Granted, this is a shitty way of classifying murders, but in most cases it’s easy to tell if the murder is the result of a burglary, an argument, or gang violence. If not, it’s classified under “unknown circumstances”, in which case the data was not included in my original post. Cases such as the one you mentioned would certainly contribute to statistical error, but hopefully not enough to warrant tossing the baby out with the bath water. Like I said, nobody’s calling this data 100% accurate.

I agree that we do need better numbers. It’s too easy to attack the stats if they don’t agree with one’s a priori conclusions. I don’t want to squabble over the details. I also don’t want to see numbers after they’ve been “filtered” through some political advocacy group, such as the NRA or HCI. It’s too easy pick and choose — creating a statistical picture that suits one’s own agenda. This is the main reason I went to the Bureau of Justice Statistics myself.

Mr.Zambezi: Thanks for the numbers. Thankfully, homicides are rare — a lot less common than I had feared. With all the media attention to violence, I had assumed that gun homicide was an epidemic. But is there an acceptable level of murder? In my opinion, no. There’s no excuse not to try to reduce the number of murders even further. When talking about individual human lives, with few exceptions, every death is a tragic loss. If there is an acceptable level of murder, we haven’t found it, considering the drastically lower gun homicide rates of other nations.

And if homicide rates are so low in the first place, why are we so concerned about self-protection — especially since most murders are not the result of burglary and rape?

  • JB

Why don’t you ask that question to the people who have defended themselves from being raped or burglarized by the use of their handgun? I think the answer is pretty obvious. Crime rates are still plenty high enough to warrant the desire for protection. Besides, even if crime rates are low, gun ownership will keep them low. For example, whenever gun control acts are passed in any community one of the first things that happens is the number of “hot” burglaries rises. Allow people to own guns and keep the felons worrying about the number 1 thing on their mind … running into an armed citizen (according to the “Survey of Felons”).

And I couldn’t find the article. However, to summarize, the UCR was an invention of the 1920s. The level of participation in it from police agencies across the country is low, and there is considerable doubt as to the accuracy of the submitted numbers. NIBRS on the other hand has greater participation and is more modern using centralized computer systems and such to gather numbers from more police agencies. Keep in mind I read this quite some time ago, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this summary to 100%. When I find the article I’ll post a better summary.

My point exactly…why do so many people agree that it is fine for the government to protect it’s citizens from drugs, smoking, etc. and not handguns? Looks to me like if society is required to use “responsiblity” with one thing it should apply to all. I’m not necessarily for banning handguns, just controlling them a little more. How, I haven’t got a clue. More strictly enforced registration seems to be the key. Any law abiding citizen that feels they need a handgun for protection can wait a few days to get it, whether they are purchasing from a dealer, pawn shop or at a gun show. And please don’t give me that tired old line that it just moves the issue closer to having guns banned. Save it for the NRA let them talk out of the left side of their mouths.

By the way…Looks like it has become a “women’s issue”. Anybody planning on going to the Million Mom March?


Needs2Know: I tend to agree. I have stated many times that I am both pro-gun (recognizing its values in terms of self protection) and pro-control (recognizing that we do need some checks to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands). Personally, I could care less about a waiting period. Doesn’t affect me in the slightest. My only issue with it is, that it is a feel good law. It doesn’t have any real effect. Just like registration, I don’t mind having my gun registered. But laws like that don’t prevent violent crimes.

The laws that prevent violent crime are those like the background check itself (note, that this is heavily supported by groups like the NRA), throwing the book at felons who own and use guns, especially in the commission of a crime and finally, throwing the book at those who sell illegal guns. But those laws already exist. So, what need is there for MORE laws? We need more "Project Exile"s. We need more prosecution, and for these charges not to be dropped or pleaded out.

  1. the 2nd was put there as a protection from tyranny. Registration violates this principle. It is like giving the rapist the power to decide whether you are tied up or not when he comes to your house.

  2. The best way to avoid loss of life is to make fatty foods illegal, outlaw alcohol and mandate daily exercise.

  3. no single life is worth losing your rights. Would you support the elimination of the 1st amendment if it would save 1 life?

  4. Crime is going down. DOWN DOWN DOWN, DAMMIT, DOWN! why are we getting so worked up about something that is diminishing rapidly?

  5. there are not more guns per person now than there were 20 years ago.

For the love of… I’ve dealt with that notion, here and here! There is no evidence–none, zero, zip, null, zilch–that Madison intended the Second Amendment to confer upon private citizens the right to own firearms. Nor would he have appreciated your equation of the federal government with a rapist.

I’m coming to believe more and more that only one interpretation of the Second Amendment is truly consistent with historical evidence. To wit: (and sorry for quoting myself)

Oh, and one more thing. You say:

Yeah, but there are a hell of a lot more per person than there were 200 years ago.

GAD: Actually there IS evidence…Madison’s (and the other founding fathers) own words, not to mention the 2nd Admend.
How can you say there is no evidence, when we have practically beat it out of you that to the Founding Fathers: Gun owning Citizens= Militia. But let’s not start THIS again, here.

Daniel: Read what Mr. Zambezi said. Then read what I said. Then provide me with a cite in which Madison says that the Second Amendment was intended to confer on private citizens the right to own guns. Then re-read what I said. Then read my theory. Then read my posts in which I examine the language of the Second Amendment. Then point out to me where the language of the Second Amendment says anything about explicitly articulating the right of private gun ownership. Then re-read my theory. Then find me a cite from an original source–Madison, one of the members of the style committee, or, if you have to, some people present at the Constitutional Convention–that says that the intention of the Second Amendment was “a protection from tyranny.” Then read allll my posts where I discuss how active membership in “the militia” was hardly comprehensive, legislative ideals notwithstanding, and how hardly anyone back then had a gun anyway. Then notice, for the umpteenth time, that I’m not disagreeing with you that Americans have a right to own guns, and that the Framers collectively believed in this right–I’m just saying, and historical evidence backs me up, that this was not the purpose of the Second Amendment. Then debate my argument on its merits, or I’m going to call you (or RoboDude, or Mr. Zambezi, or MaxTorque) on it whenever you make an assertion that I’ve already successfully challenged. Thank you.

GAD: You KNOW I have read all your posts. I agree there might have been an ulterior motive in the 2nd Admendment, ie to encourage those Gunowing Citizens who are/were members of THE Militia, into joining A (uniformed)Militia. And, yes, there is ample evidence that many of the founding Fathers thought owning guns (along with a free press, religious freedoms, etc) was such a clear & obvious Right that it need not be enumerated in the Constitution. But they reconsidered, and passed the Bill of Rights. Zambezi and several others have posted quotes by the Fathers that make it very clear that the Fathers believed in the Right to keep & bear Arms. The very sparse Judicial history show that the Supremes agree, to some extent. We went on for 3+ pages in 2+ threads, so I’m not going to go back & requote them, or check if it was actually Madison who said whatever, or maybe it was Jefferson. That doesn’t matter. But we disagree on just one thing as I see, what EXACTLY was the PRIMARY motive behind the 2nd. That does not matter either, as long as ( and I believe you have agreed) it does guarentee the Right to individuals. (And you have agreed; Gunowning Citizen= Militia). But this thred is about HOMICIDES & guns, ie do guns cause too many murders, and what controls would decrease that #. None of this BS about the 2nd or Militias is relevant here. It WAS very relevant in the other threads, so if you want to keep that thread alive, post THERE, please.

(Well, I think I was the last one to post to those threads, but all right…)

Fine, Dan. We disagree. You haven’t shown me any cites which refute my interpretation of “keep and bear amrs” being a military phrase, nor has Zambezi’s single cite from Tenche Coxe (someone whose authority I challenged) mean anything, when compared to what Madison hasn’t said. You never addressed my interpretation of Madison’s submitted clause, which explicitly equates bearing arms with military service. Nobody has posted quotes making it clear that the Framers were enumerating the right of private citizens to own guns in the Second Amendment. And no evidence has been provided to demonstrate that the intent of the Second Amendment was a protection from tyranny. I haven’t agreed that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individuals to own guns, and I know I’ve said that repeatedly (in my very last post, in fact!). If anything, the Ninth Amendment could accomplish that purpose, but it was never, according to historical evidence, the intent of the Framers to provide that right in the Second Amendment.

By the way…just saying that y’all have already provided cites doesn’t make it true. You might want to read your own newbie thread in the Pit.

As for this not being the time or place, I agree; but Mr. Zambezi made a statement which I had previously challenged with historical fact. We’re s’posed to be fighting ignorance here–until you guys actually show me original sources (Madison, the committee on style, etcetera) that make your interpretation more accurate than my own, I’m gonna keep on contesting those kinds of statements–I don’t care if it’s a thread on Teletubbies.

Apologies to everyone else to hijacking this thread. Sorry.

No problemo.

  • JB

Here, have a quote by Madison:

Shall we debate the meaning of “the people”?

Very nice, Max. Couple problems, though. First, the Federalist Papers were written to urge a ratification of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights–including the Second Amendment–were not included in that ratification, since they weren’t part of the original Constitution. So Madison couldn’t have been referring to the Second Amendment specifically.

Second, he wasn’t referring to the Constitution at all! That’s a clever bit of bracketing there, my friend, but Madison’s talking about an already existing condition of Americans being armed, not one that the Constitution would confer–as we can see if we look at the entire quote.

Talking about the ability of state militias to repel a standing army in the unlikely event that “the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition”–and Madison basically says that if you believe that could happen, you haven’t read Federalist well enough–Madison says:

Note that he says that being armed is an advantage that Americans “possess”–present tense. To bracket the statement with “the Constitution preserves” is disingenuous to say the least, since he’s describing present, not future, conditions.

Consider also that the other governments “are afraid to trust the people with arms,” in the context of the difference between French and British common law. Generally, French common law tells you what you can do; British common law tells you what you can’t. The United States (except for Louisiana) has operated under the auspices of British common law–things are prohibited, rather than allowed. That European governments don’t trust their people with arms means that they have not passed laws to say that ownership of guns is legal; in America, that’s unnecessary–something is assumed to be legal until it’s specifically made illegal. Which supports my argument that gun ownership was legal under the Articles and would continue to be legal under the Constitution, without the need for any special amendment to say so.

So, to recap: Madison wasn’t talking about the Second Amendment. Madison was referring to an already existing right. Absent specific evidence that Madison intended the Second Amendment to reinforce that already existing right, it’s quite hard to make an accurate argument about private gun ownership being the thrust of the Second Amendment.

Good try, though!

Gad, you seem to be a pretty smart dude. So I am going to avoid the flames. But please, please, plsease read the following. ANd, if you can find one just one quote from the framers that suggests that the citizenry should not own PRIVATE guns, please post it.

This is that last time I will ask you this. Where do the Framers state that they did not intend private ownership? You haven’t give one single quote:

Appologies for the length of this post…

most importantlyNo freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
—Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776**

Gad, your argument is not with me, it is with Thomas Jefferson…and he was a Framer, no?

Provide me with one single quote, just one, that states that the 2nd only applied to the army…OOOOOOOH just one. you can’t, and I’ll tell you why: the framers meant that every citizen should have the right to have a gun.

Gunss are a bullwork against a tyrannical gov’t. We are a nation of The People [caps intended] and our gov’t is OUR pawn. any move to make it otherwise is, IMHO, tyranny.

one more for the road:

now, my challenge is this: refute the Framers with thier own words. Do this, or shut your pie hole.

Okay. Last time. (Because I could have SWORN that I’ve said this, like, a billion times already.)

The Framers felt that people had the right to own guns.

Did you hear me? I’m agreeing with this point, I’ve agreed with this point, this isn’t the point I’m trying to make. Jee-zus!

The Framers felt that people had the right to own guns.

You know what that means? It means that any quote you produce which says that the Framers felt that people had the right to own guns will not be advancing this conversation. It will not come as any surprise to me, nor will it meet with any opposition. It’s been stipulated.

I’m not giving quotes that the Framers didn’t want private ownership because I believe that the Framers did want private ownership. Does it seem like I’m repeating myself? Good, 'cause it’s seemed that way to me for a while now.

What I am arguing–and please, please, please tell me you can follow this–is that the Framers felt that people’s ability to own guns was a natural right. It was an obvious right. It was a clearly delineated right, in that, well, people owned guns and there weren’t any laws against it.

In fact…

They felt it was so much a natural right that they didn’t enumerate it specifically in the Second Amendment. Let me say that again.

The Second Amendment does not bestow the right to own guns because that right was already natural and agreed-upon.

Yes, the right conferred in the Second Amendment is dependent on the right of private citizens to own guns. Just like the right conferred in the Third Amendment is dependent on the right of private citizens to own property. But neither the right to own guns nor the right to own property are themselves explicitly articulated in the Constitution.

The Second Amendment does not bestow the right to own guns because that right was already natural and agreed-upon.

The Second Amendment, in fact, tells all the people who already had the right to own guns that they would still, upon the strengthening of the federal government, be able to gather with those guns for militia purposes.

You haven’t provided a single quote which disabuses the above interpretation.

Once more: The Second Amendment was not intended to confer upon private citizens the right to own guns. The Second Amendment was, however, dependent on an already existing right of private citizens to own guns.

And if you come back in your next post demanding that I provide proof that the Framers didn’t want private citizens to own guns, I’m going to recommend English as a Second Language classes. Okay?

And Tench Coxe was an idiot.

My only concern about guns is not crime. As you can see in the figures provided in this thread, guns are responsible for more deaths than those commited during a crime. Registration and waiting periods are not a cure all, neither are locks, anyone can see that. But they could be a help. And how would having registration and waiting periods HURT? Except to perhaps inconvieniance a few people. If it would save just a few lives because some irate x-husband cannot go down to the local pawn shop, pick up a gun in the morning and shoot their x-wife by noon, how can it hurt? If given a couple of weeks to think about it perhaps a life could be saved. If some 5 year old gets his hands on daddy’s gun while he’s asleep in the recliner and there’s a lock on the gun, WHEW! How would some of these measures violate anyone’s constitutional rights? If they saved 100 lives would that be enough, 50, 25? How many would be worth the effort?


I am not sure if any feels that adding these saftey precautions is harmful to one’s consitutional rights.

As Glitch and others have said, having protections on guns is not a bad thing and can indeed save some lives.

The problem is, folks that seem to be saying that gun locks are the answer. As if drug dealers and gang members would leave gun locks on their guns and therefore not be able to shoot anyone.

The problem with most gun laws is, law abiding citizens who would never use a gun for an illegal purpose are the ones who will abide by these laws and the criminals will not.

I do not have a problem with background checks, but we need to prosecute all the felons who try to purchase guns.

It has been stated that the Brady bill has kept like 400,000 convicted felons from purchasing guns, but have there been 400,000 arrests and prosecutions? Not hardly, the number is like 37 prosecutions. We need to enforce the laws we have before we go making more laws.


I think the gun controversry is kind of silly. Guns have not been in use throughout the history of mankind.But Before guns, there were murders, suicides, etc etc. Knives, poisons, ropes, and various other ingenious ways were invented that are too numerous and too gruesome to list. So after guns are gone, what’s next? Clorox bleach? The butcher knives?
The point is, some people are going to murder no matter what. Some people are going to commit suicide. Guns have nothing to do with it. The guns shouldn’t be blamed, the law abiding citizens who own guns shouldn’t be punished. If someone truly wants to kill somebody else, they will do it successfully, with or without a gun.
As for the accidental deaths, as I have said many times, I think they will be greatly decreased through simple education. A lot of children play with guns out of simple curiousity. But if they are educated and informed, there would be nothing to be curious about.
I agree with daniel about registration. At least, I think it was him that said that registration is the first step towards guns completely being banned, ie England.
Sorry, if someone else said that somewhere else, and I got it wrong, please accept my apology in advance.
Like other people have said, only law abiding citizens will follow the law, and the criminals will not. And the point is to stop the criminals.