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calendar   Wednesday - June 30, 2010

Interesting But Slightly Flawed

More gun stuff

I ran across a post at The Daily Beast (TDB) where the author attempts to predict which states will feel the pressure to change their gun laws now that McDonald v. Chicago has incorporated the Second Amendment. He tried to get there by seeing how many guns per person there might be in any given state. His approach was to use NICS data from the past 18 months. That is an interesting approach, but a flawed one. NICS has been around for 12 years now, and even a poorly made firearm can last longer than that. I took a look at his numbers, then ran my own using the whole 12 years worth of NICS data. That changed the ranking of many of the states, but didn’t really impact his conclusions. My population data was from a different source than his but that had only a small impact; our population numbers were different, but not hugely different.

Looking at the raw data provided by the FBI shows that Kentucky is a major anomaly. Either some change in that state’s bureaucratic process caused their NICS numbers to more than triple in 2006 and then double again in 2007, or some kind of economic impact at that point caused Kentuckians to put their guns in and out of hock on a nearly constant basis.

I took things a step further, given my awareness of the longevity of firearms and the relative shortness of the time that NICS has been with us, and created a column of “likely legal guns per 100,000” in which the numbers based on the full NICS data are multiplied by 2.5. I have no way of estimating the number of illegal firearms out there, but I can guarantee you it is a stunningly huge number, and I can further guarantee you that states that have large urban zones with high crime rates and high gang membership will have the highest illegal firearms numbers. That is not to say that all of those “illegal” guns are used to commit crimes, just that a great number of the people in those areas have armed themselves without going through the proper government channels. Let’s be real here: if it costs you a few hundred dollars to get all your paperwork done and another few hundred or thousand to properly buy a proper firearm, and you happen to be poor, the odds are strong that you are just going to buy a $75 gun off the street. And that might even get you a decent weapon; guns are cheap when they’re hot.

Bottom line? Mr. TBD has pretty much the right idea that states with higher legal gun ownership will feel pressure from their citizens and likely push for less stringent gun laws, while states with lower legal gun ownership will push for tighter gun laws. I’d change that a little, and say that the lower rated states will probably leave their laws alone, but the states with the highest illegal ownership will be the ones trying for the tougher laws, regardless of the pressure they get from the legal owners in that state.

More bottom line? Once again the states that are controlled by the left have the lowest rates of legal ownership. In that I agree with Mr. TDB. Using the full NICS history, it looks to me like 19 states have at least one gun for every other person, and 38 states have one gun per every three persons. My “likely ownership” estimation changes those numbers drastically, showing 26 states with at least one gun per person, 45 states with one gun for every other person, and only 4 states with less than one gun for every three persons. And no matter how you slice it, New York and New Jersey come out at the bottom of the “legal” lists, though if “actual” numbers could be found they would be near the top. Hell, I live here, and just about everybody I know owns a gun. And I don’t know any criminals or any folks who live in really rough neighborhoods.

data beneath the fold for those interested.

See More Below The Fold

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/30/2010 at 10:56 AM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun Control •  
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