Does Carrying a Firearm Make One Safer?

Comments

1
I can only speak for myself, of course. But I would somehow figure out a way to injure myself. Oh, I know I seem graceful as all get-out, what with my immaculate hair and stylish clothes, but it's all smoke and mirrors. I am a klutz. For instance, I have had the same ovens for ten years, and I still manage to burn myself, pretty much in the same location, on a regular basis.

I shudder to think what would happen if I had a firearm, or even had to just occasionally dust around some.

.
2
gun owners have small T.M.I.'s
3
The 2nd Amendment was meant to allow citizens to arm themselves with enough means to overthrow the government if need be. Really, the entire Bill of Rights was designed to safeguard any future revolution.
4
"Being a Southerner and male also increases the odds that one will carry a gun for 'protection."

BS! It is completely coincidental that I have a Concealed Pistol License and my Avatar is a painting of 'Bo Over the Top.'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDeAWbxgT…

As to the topic in general, at first glance most of the studies appear to suffer from selection bias. For example including all handgun carriers instead of LEGAL ones, or by not controlling for the fact that handgun owners are disproportionately poor and minority and thus automatically more likely to suffer from violent crime to begin with, etc. etc. But it's 9:40 this side of the country and I've got better things to do before bed so we'll have to see if I have time to go study by study some other time.
5
Dear lord, I love you, Jonathan Golob.

My favorites are the boobs who (as in your last point) are convinced that carrying a gun on their person will protect them from stickups -- situations where in every case the bad guy has the drop on you, and the adrenaline rush to use it. Instead of being the hero, the gun owners just add more weapons to the criminal underground.

Which is where almost all guns in the criminal underground come from -- stolen from legal gun owners (mostly at home, not in stickups).

I chalk the whole thing up to a movie-and-fantasy-led hero complex. In reality what most people, even big tough guys, do when confronted with real guns in real situations is crap themselves. And cry.
6
Nothing from 5280 yet? He must be passed out in his La Z Boy already, with some form of weapon cradled in his gun loving arms.
7
@5, Does carrying a weapon guarantee safety? Of course not. Can having a weapon on hand combined with proper situational awareness help prevent you and those you love from becoming victims... Yes it can, happens all the time.
8
@Anc. I'm being sincere here, not rhetorical: Provide me with some data to back up your claim that having a firearm 'prevent you and those you love from becoming victims... all the time."

I'll read it, and put it in the main post--provided it has any rigor at all. I looked really hard, and couldn't find anything to back up that claim; you might do better than I.
9
therefore, what?
if you are enlightened enough not to want to carry a gun,
don't.
11
Here is a recent story from the Portland Mercury about a tragic and savage unprovoked attack on two gay people in public. If they had a firearm, or the multiple bystanders who witnessed the beating and did nothing to stop it had a firearm, this probably would have been prevented.
http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/Blog…
13
@10: As a neutral third party, would you say this outcome in Tacoma was a good one? A desirable outcome?

Remember, you and I are now paying for this burglar's medical bills--bills that will easily enter five digits. Another person--even if he was a useless fuck of a burglar--is dead. The big payoff? A garage of shit.

I don't like the idea of random people brandishing weapons--with variable degrees of inebriation, training, wits and aim. It's ugly enough when police--with all of those details and more accounted for--brandish deadly force. Civilians? Almost always, invariably, worse outcomes.

But, that's my bias here--as someone responsible for patching all those holes.
14
@Anc. An anecdote does not make data. Anything else?
15
@12 Cute, but stupid. And you probably know that.
16
@12, you're stupid, aren't you? That's the same story he started his piece off with.
17
The stats for gun safety look even worse if you include suicides.
18
@5 Dear lord, I love you, Jonathan Golob.

Oh dear lord Fnarf, we all already know Golob is head and shoulders above the rest of the Slog writers.
"movie-and-fantasy-led hero complex" -- exactly. the kind of crap Constant gets off on, with his comic book Super tweet/amazon/iPad to save the day complex. I'd like to raygun his ass (not really).
19
8

So the rational conclusion is not to own a gun?

Dr Golob,
please compare and contrast the safety of
owning a handgun
and
engaging in homosexual behavior.

According to the CDC 20% of sexually active homosexuals have HIV.
And,
as you know,
the infection rates for other STDs among homosexuals are much higher.

How much of a risk is engaging in homosexual behavior to oneself?
How much of a risk is engaging in homosexual behavior to one's partner(s)?

What percentage of gun owners injure them self or a loved one?
What percentage of gun owners kill them self or a loved one?

How many homosexuals die each year from AIDS they contracted from a loved one through homosexual behavior?

Clearly engaging in homosexual behavior is a much riskier,
much less safe,
much deadlier to self and loved ones
than packing heat.

Obviously the rigorous rational conclusion is not to engage in homosexual behavior.

Do you advocate to your patients that they refrain from engaging in homosexual behavior,
for their own and their families' safety, Dr Golob?
21
If you want to feel safer at home, keeping a baseball bat in the corner of your bedroom will work for most of us. If your apartment is really small, get one of the shorter, souvenir-type bats.

I'm not against guns—think they're fun to shoot at target and everything, but few of us are likely to be in a situation where a gun aid in our protection. For the most part, they significantly increase your propinquity to danger.
22
Totally agreed, Golob. Thank you for this. And of course there's one of those "exception that proves the rule" new stories from last week, on the street where Dan and his family live:
CHS has learned that a prowler was held at gunpoint by a neighbor and then arrested by police early Wednesday morning in the area near Volunteer Park where a spate of recent burglaries has had residents on edge. We reported last week on SPD's concerns about a burglar working the area who didn't seem to mind ripping off homes while residents slept inside[...]
I went out to see what was making some noises then this guy comes walking out if the shadows. I don't usually have my gun on me but with all these happenings as of late I grabbed it. The guy was trying to get at something in his bag and I almost shot him. Was on the phone with the police at the time.
http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2011/0…
23
13

How much public health care resources are wasted treating STDs contracted through homosexual behavior?

For every burglar shot and treated with public dollars how many homosexuals are being treated for STDs they contracted through homosexual behavior?

24
You say "carrying a gun, objectively, makes one less safe." But that's not true for criminals, they are probably more safe with a gun in hand.
25
@14, considering my comment contained such scientific statements as 'can' and 'all the time' what kind of data exactly are you looking for to prove/disprove that?
26
@12 This is your "all the time" data? you understand how science works, right?
27
@16 Damn! Nothing gets by you! :D
28
I feel safer with a weapon in my hands. In fact, some days I feel naked without one, especially if I'm in a high threat environment.

But I don't own a handgun. In fact, the only civilian weapon I own is a .22 rifle that I bought to teach my niece how to shoot.

I'm a combat veteran with eight confirmed kills. I'm not boasting; it's just a fact. A weapon is part of my (near) daily life, and Im at least familiar with a dozen of different small arm systems.

But I don't carry one with me, or even have one in my home. And I don't have children or anything like that - I just don't think it would make me any safer in a civilian environment. As has been mentioned before, the risks - even for someone who knows how to handle a weapon - outweigh the benefits, at least in my view.

Not only that, but I feel like carrying a weapon for personal defense is often a crutch, or excuse not to maintain one's own physical fitness. I don't need to work out, or learn basic self defense techniques, because I carry a handgun.

There's also reliability; even the best maintained weapon can jam or misfire; a round can have a bad primer; etc. No system, no matter how expensive or well made, is 100% effective.

I'm rambling. Guess I just think it's a cloudy issue, at best.
29
28
get a revolver.....
31
@10 Nope. Your better burglars are wary and sneaky, and prefer to burgle houses where the residents are out. So, the only correlation you'll find in those cases, is that where there are guns in the home, they stand a chance of getting burgled.

Cat burglars who sneak into occupied houses where the residents are asleep are much rarer, and there a good perimeter alarm system, or even some motion-activated lighting, would probably serve you better than a gun.

32
Oh my God, I just found out that the Oprah Funeral continues this evening (some of you may remember that I was coerced into watching it last night in the name of "being present in our relationship", or something like that).

It really IS a blessing that there are no firearms at Chez Vel-DuRay. And that our ovens are electric......
33
Guns are a serious concern where children are concerned, but if we're talking about domestic violence, things like men threatening their partner with a gun, then we're discussing an issue of fear and violence. The solution is not to get rid of the guns (sure, get rid of the guns that aren't maintained safely if you want to prevent kids shooting each other, but it won't prevent domestic violence). You need to address the fear, insecurity, and violence at the root of it. Because if they don't have a gun handy, they will have a knife, or they'll have fists. Abusers are going to abuse, and the lack of a gun may make it a bit less likely to be fatal, but ti won't fix the problem. Same with suicide. People who try to commit suicide using a gun are more likely to succeed, so if you want to increase the rate of failed attempts and increase the odds of being helped people who attempt suicide, sure, getting rid of guns will help. But ti won't cure depression or anxiety; you still need to work on the underlying problems that cause people to want to commit suicide if you want to decrease suicide.
34
@24 the fellas in Tacoma didn't wind up very safe. I wouldn't call prison for the significant number who are caught is a very desirable outcome, either.

The unspoken backdrop for Dr. Golob's excellent post is, essentially, that all the data is on the side of gun control advocates. Not but a very fringe few argue for a repeal of the second amendment, however a large group of Americans support reasonable gun control measures and are typically thwarted by folks who become very passionate about their safety, despite the fact that the numbers prove them wrong.

As for those who argue that the intent of the framers was to protect the right of revolution, I don't think anyone can say with a straight face that today's military resembles anything close to the muskets of 1776. I would be curious to hear when the last successful armed civilian revolution took place, and stack that against the numerous peaceful political upheavals in modern times.

I think, armed with facts, as Mr. Golob is attempting to help us with here, most reasonable and patriotic Americans would be on the same side of smart gun control policy with the exception of a chunk of paranoiacs and the stone-hearted misanthropes who would just as soon see a human bleed to death on the sidewalk in the name of protecting property rights as exemplified by a junk-filled East Tacoma garage.

35
I'll stick with the telescoping baton. Guns give me the willies.
36
Living in an urban area or city, objectively makes one less safe. http://oregonexplorer.info/rural/RuralIs…

Why would anyone live in a city?
37
Oh, hell, lets' really get the right-wing screech machine going:
Israel is a major force for evil & violence in the world, government spending on social programs improves everyone's lives & Christianity is a black-magic cult.

Now-- let's hear some blood-vessel popping anger from you!
39
@13 You convinced me. Criminals shouldn't get free medical treatment. All injuries incurred while incarcerated or while committing a crime must be paid in advance through their bank accounts or by their families. If they can't pay, they get no treatment.

Also, without gun ownership, would the criminal have been caught, or would he still be committing crimes on the street? Which is worse: having to pay for his medical treatment or allowing him to get away and commit more crimes?
41
The gentleman's house had been burglarized a few weeks before.
If the garage was presumed to have junk in it, burglars shouldn't have been working to break in.
The burglars were said to have charged the man, who had a gun.

I can't really get into the heads of American males who claim shooting their partners or celebrities or ten-year-old girls off on a visit to their Congressmembers is their unalienable right as part of a "well-armed militia", but I say social Darwinism resulted in the death of one of these "I break in garages for junk!" twits.
42
The only way I would consider getting a gun would be to bring it home and bury it immediately in a watertight container in the backyard, only to be dug up in case of societal collapse or a zombie apocalypse.
43
Thank you Dr. Golob for stopping the pretence that you care about your patients in 'advising' them on guns. This is all about you grinding a political axe, and nothing to do with the welfare of your patients 'Doctor.'

Whether for self protection, a well regulated militia, or simply the desire to collect guns, we have the individual right to bear arms in this country, no matter your pathetic little rants.

This right gauranteed means the right of left wing morons like you to moralize about others decisions that have nothing to do with you. It gaurantees that you and your effete little liberal buddies can mock others faith, or adopt your own watered down version. It means that when you're arrested you have basic criminal rights. Once this right is taken extra-Constitutionally, so can any one of the others you enjoy.

Now, why don't you, Goldy and Savage get the hell out of my country and go somewhere your pathetic liberal beliefs are valued?
44
@40

You know, it can be argued that the Israelis are the thieves in your scenario, bub. Palestinians were there first.
45
I'm willing to admit that guns don't make you safer. Hell, I'll even admit they make things more dangerous, especially for households with children. But here's the thing, YOU STILL CAN'T HAVE MY GUN. I support responsible gun ownership and gun control laws, I think the NRA are a bunch of lunatics for opposing these laws. However, if I have to join the NRA to ensure that I can keep my shotgun, I WILL. Please don't make me do that.
46
Jeepers, somehow #37's rant actually made #43's blood vessels start a-poppin', instead!

PS It's my country too, Seattleblues. I'll leave when I feel like it, not because you think I should.
47
I think I'll just electrify my windows and doors with 240s and then carry a katana.
48
@36

You dont have a choice of living near a gun owner. However you always have the choice of living where you would like.
50
@Seattleblues

Why don't you get the hell off of their blog?
51
@46

Yes, and left wing deluded people like you have the right of free speech, just as rational people do. You know why? Because of the rule of Constitutional law. Golob, Goldy and you want that rule abrogated for rights you don't care to exercise? Who will defend your right to be stupid publicy then? Who will protect your right to an attorney in criminal matters? How about your right to jeer at churches?

All those rights hang together or we lose all of them one by one.

52
I agree with The Stranger on everything except this issue. I like owning guns too much to give it up because some people can't handle them properly. I think it's awesome that we live in a country willing to trust its citizens with weapons that are traditionally only available to the government and the well connected. It shows, if only symbolically, that America is a place where the people have power.
53
@43, But SB, if we leave the country, it'll be that much harder to destroy the country we so vehemently hate. We want to take you're country away from you and convert it into a gulag. A gulag for Christians. And people with small businesses.
54
A gun is a tool. A gun has it's purposes. I'd love to shoot the raccoons who raid my compost bin (but I live in the city and it's illegal). A gun will never de-escalate a tense situation. A gun in an urban area is often used as a tool of intimidation. It incites fear.

And really, if someone's trying to break into your garage, a nice loud dog, a baseball bat, and a phone will do the trick. Nobody has to go to the hospital.
55
Wow. I am truly surprised by the gun advocates' inability to parse data. Or even understand the basic tenants of science.

How is it possible we've survived as a species for so long?
56
Toasting in a delectable roll bread.

@43: *guarantee
"get the hell out of my country"
Not so much your country anymore, boss. Fewer and fewer of us here in the States are crusty old xenophobic asswipes.
Or are you talking about Italy?
Now to your main point:
Touchy, touchy! At no point in this post does Dr. Golob suggest that gun ownership should be banned. All he's doing is pointing out that owning a gun appears to make you LESS safe, judging by the available statistics. And it's entirely a doctor's place to advise his patients as to what makes them more or less safe.
Now, normally, you keep a strict composure up, maintaining an air of smug superiority and typing in a calm and organized manner. Here, you've just gone on an angry and paranoid rant. Do you always get this way when the evidence goes against your preconceived notions of the order of things? Do you get mad at the numbers for not backing up what you have chosen to believe, all evidence to the contrary be damned? You tout your ability (as a conservative, you claim) to think and reason properly, and yet you never seem willing to address any facts that don't click with what you want to think. You make me sick.
57
@49 I think the 1million+ people who were kicked out of their ancestral homeland in 1948 would disagree with you. Now zip it, I'm going to bed.
58
@47: My girlfriend's parents have a katana, a functional Ringwraith sword, and, like, two or three other decorative but sharp bladed weapons. I want to be like that when i have my own place.
@53: *your
@54: Excuse me, but if I pick up a baseball bat or similar blunt object to rebuff an intruder, somebody will have to go to the hospital.
@55: *tenets
59
@55 - "tenets", not "tenants". Sorry, I've just been seeing that one a lot lately.
60
Do guns work during a zombie apocalypse?
61
The article in the Times regarding this incident did say, to be fair, that the intruders rushed the home owner when he confronted them. The takeaway, I would think, is to stay in the house and let the cops confront them. But that said, he chose to do so and subsequently protected himself from a possible assault.

This doesn't detract from the good Dr's point, however. Guns are a escalation. The first thing I was taught about gun safety was don't point one at anyone. The second thing was don't pull it unless you are going to use it.

Bringing up the fact that the burglar will now require medical care that the state presumably will pay for is a extraneous point, and one better suited to a argument on health care policy, IMHO,
62
@58, Ugh, that's one of my most hated errors, too (up there with the conflation of 'there', 'their' and 'they're', 'its' and 'it's' as well as 'to' and 'too'). It would seem grammar fails me at 5 AM.
63
@51 How's your 4th Amendment rights since passage of The Patriot Act by a pro-gun White House and Congress, moron?
66
Thanks Jonathan, and please, gun owners, forward him some conflicting data-he's rigorous, even if the commenters aren't.

But, Dr Golob, leave the shots at the Second Admendent and gun rights bills alone. I do not hope for nor believe for a second that people should be banned from owning guns, just as they shouldn't be banned from smoking where it doesn't affect others. Data allows those who don't want guns around them to encourage people to not own or carry guns as a choice, and as it appears to be a legit safety hazard, have their doctors recommend a change just as they may advise dropping that third burger from lunch or that bottle a day Jack Daniels habit.
67
Vl Ravings,

I'm 40 this year, which is hardly old. As for crusty asswipes I'll leave that to the Schultzes and Thom Hartmanns of the world. And zenophobic is beneath even you, lacking any supporting rationale at all.

You're hanging out with college kids too much if you think the United States anything other than fundamentally center right in majoriity.

Golob presented no evidence affecting the 2nd Amendment. He made this comment- "Among pro-gun advocates, the idea carrying a gun makes one safer is pretty much sacrosanct—the cornerstone of the Second Amendment religion that dominates our country." Which of course is patently false. The 2nd Amendment never mentions personal protection. All of his anti-gun ranting entirely misses his point, which is his desire to remove that amendment.

But I am appreciative that Golob stopped pretending he gives a tinkers dam about his patients safety with guns. He wants guns gone, and will use his patients as a tool to do this. Before he acted like he cared about, well, them personally, which is of course laughable.

Now, if all you libs can get a petition drive up, mobilize Congress or 3/4 of the States and nullify or alter the 2nd, that's one thing. But that isn't what you want. You want to abridge it without alteration, and that simply is illegal.

68
@63

Which is why I've consistently opposed the Patriot Act, idiot.

Unlike liberals I don't have to blindly support whatever anyone whose party affiliation I share says or does. It's called independent thinking, but liberal drones wouldn't understand that.

And how about the provisions you're liberal buddies advocated for that will sunset without that support dimwit?

69
@64

We've been through this before. Dr. Golob and any other physicians need to mind their own business. If I come into the office with a broken arm caused by skiing, there might be some reason to bring skiing safety up. If I show signs of alchoholism or drug addiction that conversation might be appropriate. If I'm putting on weight, or my cholesterol numbers are jumping, diet and exercise might be valid discussions. Otherwise it is quite simply not his business as a doctor. Period. Ever.

I don't ask for a nanny in my physician. I ask for someone to monitor my health and advise me of risks that my physical condition indicate. I'm quite capable of assessing the risks in my life choices all by myself.
70
@Golob. I don't think any reasonable person would claim that gun ownership makes them safer. The reason gun ownership is lauded by the right is not for safety reasons, but for reasons of personal control. Gun ownership (and use) puts the power in the hands of the gun owner rather than the hands of chance. Although gun owners as a population may be more prone to doing themselves violence than non-gun owners, it is still something that is under their control. Its similar to having a fear of flying. While its much more likely that you will be killed while you drive a car, as opposed to being killed as a passenger on a flight, people are, on average, much more scared of flying. They have no control when not at the wheel.

I have no reason to doubt the data you refer to, but I also don't think its unreasonable to forgo odds in favor of the ability to effect the outcome personally.
71
@69:So tell your physician to butt out. S/he will be able to deal with it. Physicians' feelings aren't easily hurt. I'm happy to get some evidence-based lifestyle advice from my physician, and I'll handle it as I like, weigh it against considerations other than safety as I choose. You don't want the advice, that's cool too. You seem like the sort of person who can hold your own in a conversation here on SLOG. Somehow it's hard for me to believe that your doctor offering a few statistics about what might make you live longer is somehow going to cause you serious psychic trauma. Like the bumpersticker says: "Advice doesn't kill people, but getting your panties all in a bundlewhen soeon gives you advice just might give you a stroke that will kill you." Statistically, having a gun doesn't make you safer. But, yep, you can have a gun anyway, if you want to, because that's your right. Hearing someone tell you statistics about it makes you less safe is not infringing on your second amendment rights.
72
I will (again) state this explicitly: I am not opposed to gun ownership. I am a civil libertarian, and believe all of the right established in the Bill of Rights should be defended vigorously.

Presenting data about risks and benefits of exercising these rights is not the same as opposing these rights. Equating one (pointing out carrying a gun doesn't really make you safer, by the data) with the other (claiming that I have a secret agenda against private gun ownership) is both hysterical and paranoid.
73
Seattleblues, when you express a desire for your fellow Americans to just go away, you expose yourself as a real Unamerican. If you were such a patriot, your response to such a reasonable opposing viewpoint would be love of a country that allows such things to happen. You don't love that, so you're an authoritarian, not an American. And that makes this country great.
74
Both sides of this argument seem to always get emotional about it, just like abortion. Neither side likes to feel like they are wrong. So here's my 2 cents. First off Jonathan, cop to your spin here. Read the article: "He told police the men charged him and he shot them". He wasn't defending his junk in the garage, he was defending HIMSELF, at least that's the claim. This guy sounds like he did everything right, called 911, held them at gunpoint and even gave one of the burglars first aid after he shot him. You conveniently leave all those facts out. Now, having said that, in my opinion gun ownership isn't for everyone. But this guy sounds like he had a level head and didn't just shoot at noises in the dark. Now I know there's also trigger happy people out there or just plain old skittish people who shouldn't have a gun but do. As a gun owner myself, I'm all for things like mandatory training and licensing which might help prevent people from panic shooting. Here's the other side of things though. When someone breaks into your house, you don't know that it's a burglar. By breaking into someone's house, that is an act of brazen aggression. Maybe it's a crack head looking to steal a TV for his next fix. Or maybe it's someone like Isaiah M.K. Kalebu, a mental nutcase hellbent on raping and torturing his victims and could care less about stealing property. Had one of the victims had a gun, Teresa Butz might still be alive today. Or it could be someone like Michael LaRosa, another mentally unbalanced person who killed someone with a hatchet in broad daylight on the street. If someone with a concealed carry permit had been at 15th and Union that day, Joseph LaMagno might be alive today. It's easy to play the what if game. So trying to take the emotion out of the argument, one has to weigh the risks. If someone breaks into your house, there's a risk it's just some crack head who will be easily scared off, or it's a hatchet killer. I keep a gun in my house because if it's the hatchet killer, I'd rather take my chances with a gun. But I will certainly try and escape before confronting someone. Because yes, there's a risk I could get disarmed or someone could shoot at me in my house. I have a CPL but choose NOT to carry a gun in public because the risks outweigh the benefit. That's my choice, others may see it differently. The point is, it's not a black and white issue, it involves a lot of calculated risks and unknowns. When an intruder is in your house, you don't have the luxury of knowing if it's a burglar or a psycho. Maybe someone who doesn't own a gun will just get tied up and robbed and be OK. Who knows, it's a risk. I think common sense should probably fall somewhere in the middle. There is a place for guns for some people in this world and for others, they may be better off without guns. I will never ridicule a responsible person for owning gun. But likewise I will NEVER ridicule for someone who chooses NOT to own a gun. The only people I would ridicule are the ones who get all emotional about the subject and who act without putting a lot of lucid forethought into their decision to own or not own a gun.
75
@67: I see you continue your usual pattern of avoiding any questions raised by people who disagree with you. And you're wrong again, by the way. He doesn't say that the Second Amendment is about personal protection; he says that the cult of it, if you will, those people often known as gun nuts, form their beliefs with regard to this issue around the premise that gun-owning makes one safer. Golob's cited evidence suggests that this is false. Please read the arguments of one's adversaries before attempting to debunk them.
When I mention your xenophobia (that's xenophobia, with an 'x'), I refer to your tendency to dismiss homosexuals of any stripe as amoral deviants who have intentionally chosen a life of depravity. If THAT's not irrational fear or hatred of a group you perceive as "other" to you, I don't know what is.
@69: Last time I went in for a physical, my doctor asked me if I was sexually active. I wasn't displaying the symptoms of any STDs, nor did I have any hickeys on me. My doctor asked because doctors are supposed to ask questions like this. A doctor who waits until he suspects that a certain behavior is a serious problem to ask his patient about it is a bad doctor. You're welcome to patronize his practice, but I'll stick with a doctor who has the good sense to ask questions HE thinks are relevant. (Remember: second-guessing a highly-trained professional in their field of expertise is somewhat pointless unless you are also a highly-trained professional in that field of expertise.) Sorry if that hurt your delicate feelings.
Or you could just decline to answer, like #70 says.

(Oh, and Seattleblues? I'm waiting on your response to me in this thread. Now I'm sure you're a busy guy, based on the amount of time you spend coming up with mean things to say about liberals, but I'd still appreciate any rebuttal you might have.)
76
Hmm. 46 states now allow concealed carry of weapons by citizens, up from about 25 15 years ago. I heard just today that violent crime was down substantially yet again last year, and is down about 50% over 10 years. Experts say they are at a loss to explain why, especially in a time of economic hardship and a shrinking prison population. Perhaps there is a connection? Criminals prefer unarmed victims.
77
@ 75, No! You don't mean to tell me SB left a reasonable question unanswered? Why, that's hardly like the guy at all!
78
Carrying a gun to make you feel safe is sort of like driving and SUV because it feels safer: Both are an illusion.

SUVs are higher off the ground. The driver sits higher, and it feels safer. But the higher center of gravity makes them more likely to roll over than a sedan. SUVs are bigger and heavier, which makes drivers feel more invulnerable. But the extra weight = longer stopping distances = higher chance of getting in a collision in the first place.

Likewise, carrying a gun makes you feel less vulnerable, but the statistical odds are that you are not.

And, no, Seattleblues, I'm not trying to cancel out the 2nd
Amendment. I did two enlistments, and have had plenty of time around weapons. I have not carried since I got out of the service 20 years ago.
79

@68 You were stating in #51 that gun rights need to be protected to in order for us to protect all our other rights. I brought up how legal and illegal use of The Patriot Act has greatly abridged our 4th Amendment rights, while the great gun owning public of America (like the rest of our country) didn't really give a fuck. Having gun rights clearly does not mean keeping all your other rights. Also, many democracies have much stricter gun laws than us, while being much better at not eroding their citizens non-gun related rights.
80
Mr. Golob- if this shit in the man's garage was so worthless, why were these two men trying to steal it?
And who are you, or I, or those two men to judge its value? Neither you nor I nor they worked 40 hours a week to accumulate the cash to pay for whatever it was.
Will you post your address so that I, or anyone else, can come over and make a determination of your possessions value and whether or not we would care to take it from you? Will you do that?
And, if you would, would you seriously decide at the door that you wouldn't resist me, or whomever?
What if, once I were inside, I decided that I wanted more than your belongings but, also, wanted to amuse myself with the pain and suffering of you or your loved ones?
These things happen and you have no right to determine whether or not any other person has the right to defend themselves, their loved ones and their property. None. Whatsoever. You have no right to abrogate my right to defend my loved ones.
And your data, while voluminous, is meaningless. All that data means nothing when the one time happens that my girlfriend and her children are in danger and I find that I have to key in the combination to my lock-box and retrieve my firearm to protect them from whoever is coming through my door or window in my shitty neighborhood.
If my partner or I are ever killed by an intruder, will you help to raise her children? Will you offset the loss of income that would pay our mortgage? Would you come over and babysit while the one of us is working at our shitty jobs? Will you cook or bring groceries?
No. You won't, will you?
Instead, you'll sit in your office and take smug, superior philosophical viewpoints while penning your hyperbolic articles, won't you?

Dave Brown. Former Marine, retired Guardsman, Federal employee, home-owner, partner, step-dad, member of both the NRA and the ACLU. Oh, and a fairly liberal guy, too...
81
Beyond the 'it's a free country' libertarian bullshit introducing a gun into an already heated situation will make things worse (sometimes it's gotta get worse before it gets better ya?). It would be stupid to say that in all situations all the time a gun would be counter productive, but I think it should be expressed by a math equation. The likelihood of you getting hurt increases with each gun, but each gun has it's own chance to both help and hurt the situation. Too many variables for me, but I wouldn't necessarily stop anyone from walking down the street with a open gun on their side. Maybe if there was a school, it's always about respect. There's a really great simpsons episode that brings up some amazing points, it ends with Homer losing his family because he opens his beer and turns off (read: explodes) the light with his gun, and him coming around to the conclusion that suburb life isn't really built with guns in mind. At some point in time guns we necessary for survival, but now with science we've come to learn that there's so much more to it. They used to speak of freedom and liberty but what that means now is an education that will allow you to be competitive in a marketplace, it used to mean protection from the animals that would likely eat one of your young. So when we talk about "the right to bear arms" I think it's important to note both why that was necessary for human survival, and the laughable idea that any armed militia is ever going to storm the white house. However unlikely though, if that was the original intent of the 'founding fathers', to spark a rebellion, we're going to have to make a whole lot of changes before it becomes realistic, if even possible at all.
82
Being taught how to properly handle a gun... how to load, how to fire, and how to *respect* a firearm is very important. Not everyone needs to OWN one, but it's important to not to fetishize them either, Hollywood, or otherwise...

I grew up around lots of guns - rifles, handguns... my family hunted on our property in Northern Michigan. Then I moved to Detroit. There, I saw guns, as weapons, as threats - as power... Honestly, threats didn't work with me... (almost mugged, never mugged) because I knew how to look at a gun - see if it was loaded... (usually wasn't).... I could also judge, better, I think, if the person ever intended to actually fire...

People love to flash guns around... as "prop"... Hollywood FTW. Gun fetish is wrong. Knowledge is power.
83
Good article. You can't reason with someone who won't wear a seatbelt because it makes the pistol he carries for protection dig into his side. I wish I was exaggerating, but that guy somehow managed to get a concealed pistol license in a state that's a lot more rigorous than WA. People are terrible at assessing risk.

Unfortunately, there are still some bad suggestions for gun safety floating around, chief among them that you should store ammo separately from guns. It's advice that dates back to a time when safes were incredibly expensive, nobody locked up their guns, and the average 8-year-old knew how to use a rifle. Ammo by itself is dangerous only because it usually contains lead. Guns are what needs to be locked up. Storing ammo separately isn't a safety suggestion, because it doesn't make anyone safer. If you really don't have access to a safe, the safe thing to do is to remove the bolt, slide, cylinder, or firing pin of the firearm and store *it* separately.
84
I love the arrogance in this thread: If you don't agree with my then you are anti-science. Guns, drugs, prostitution its all the same, if you ban them the criminals control them.
85
*me
86
Honest experienced gun owners or firearms experts will readily admit that it is extremely difficult if not impossible to both practice safe gun storage in the home and keep a gun ready on a moment's notice for self defense against an intruder. Parents of children who keep firearms absolutely should consciously confront this issue, as should those with many other categories of households.
87
The stories I read said he was being attacked when he shot. If that was the case, he didn't shoot them to protect his worthless junk. He shot them to protect his own life.
88
@39

What about your precious 6th amendment right to a trial before incarceration? Also, our nation (God's Greatest!) was founded on Judeo-Christian Values: we don't just leave the poor to die at home without health care.
89
@84

You're not required to accede to scientific findings, but if you don't want your refuted beliefs to be labeled "anti-science", you have to play the game, so to speak, and abide by the rules.

Otherwise, just ignore them. You don't have to play the "I'm just a victim of the left-wing mobs, herp me!" card.
90
@ Golob,

You can be a civil libertarian and disagree that the 2nd Amendment protects private gun ownership. (You probably draw some lines already, right? Like RPGs and AK-47s aren't protected? States can restrict gun sales to the inebriated, minors, and ex-felons?)
91
Just saw this thread. Posted too late in the day for me to respond yesterday, and now I don't have time to followup today. Dr. Golob I appreciate you attempting to come at this from a scientific numbers perspective, but you as a scientist fail to take into account something that cannot necessarily be quantatively measured in a study. That detail I'm referring to is how many times crimes are prevented because of the perception that a potential victim is armed, causing the criminal to move on to a more vulnerable target.

To say it is more likely that being armed instantly equates to a higher likelihood of accidents is ridiculous on its face. You DO realize how many homes in this country outside of your Seattle/Washington bubble OWN firearms correct? With the numbers of guns in homes with kids and/or idiot adults, why don't we hear dozens or hundreds of incidents EVERY WEEK of accidents?

Another interesting statistic is the number of crimes in urban dense city areas being higher than out in the rural hinterlands. Is this simply a matter of increasing odds of being the victim of violent crime due to living denser? Or is it that those who want to live in a denser environment are urban grown types who have never handled weapons as much? You do agree that rural households are likely less targeted for in-home invasion, as thugs realize rural/farmer types have and know how to use guns EVERY time, thus likely reducing the probability of armed confrontation in the first place? How do you measure a "non event"? Do you (as a scientist) just guess? Assume they never happened? Ignore the statistics that don't fit neatly into your hypothesis?

Btw... @74, 80 and 82 FTW! Those responses have been spot on accurate regarding the "other" factors you so conveniently dismiss.

Ohhh and Dr. Golob, here are a couple of articles that refute some of your "learned" logic:

http://s14929.gridserver.com/issues/2.26…

Go read the book "More Guns, Less Crime" by Yale Law scholar John Lott: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/…

and then go read the study that refutes some of Lott's logic: http://tinyurl.com/3l2vl26

and you begin to see that even scientists can't agree on variables used to account for some of the very data you posted initially.

92
@91

And as we know, if ever scientists disagree, the whole debate is a wash.
93
Gun deaths in the USA 2007 (CDC)

21.5  per 100,000 for African-American males
9.4 per 100,000 for white males
2.7 per 100,000 for white females

African-American children and teens are almost five times as likely as their white peers to be killed by firearms.

African-American males ages 15 to 19 are almost 5 times as likely as their white peers and more than twice as likely as their Hispanic or American-Indian/Alaska Native peers to be killed by firearm.

In 2008, in addition to fatalities, 30,984 African-Americans (13% of the population) were treated for firearm injuries in emergency rooms, followed with 19,338 Whites (70% of population), and 16,903 Hispanics.

African-Americans represented 13 percent of the population yet accounted for 49 percent of all homicide victims and 84 percent of African-American gun deaths were from homicide.

From 1999 to 2005, while the national homicide rate was stable, the firearm homicide rate for African-American men ages 25-44 increased by a third in large cities and suburbs

So yet again, the problem doesn't seem to be guns, but rather young black males (and Mexicans) and guns.

So question is, since young black males are by far the highest number of gun killings and injuries in the USA, when has the Stranger ever condemned gun glorifying rappers?

Guns aren't the problem.
94
@ 91, back in the late 80s TIME magazine published a cover story in which they showed every single gun-related death in America in a week. It was all-inclusive: murder, suicide, accidents, police shootings. It numbered in the thousands. There might have one or two instances of some private citizen defending his home, but no more than that.

You don't hear about it for the same reason you don't hear about every car crash - it's not news.
95
I, too, didn't see this until this morning. My initial reaction is that this post is comparable to a Southerner writing a post entitled "The Civil War: Was The North Justified in Invading the South?"

1) It's inflammatory for the sole purpose of being inflammatory.

2) The facts are all wrong, as Reality Check nicely pointed out.

And perhaps more importantly,

3) It's a moot point.

Gun ownership is a fact of life in this country. You can like it or not - that's your choice - but you're never going to change that, and arguing about it is a waste of time at this point. I'm certainly not going to. Only losers argue about a fight after it's over. This one's over. The gun owners won.
97
@59: You know what, I thought that was so! I was tired and didn't check, though. Thanks for the correction. You can rest assured I'll never, ever make that mistake again.

One down, fifty jillion to go, eh?
98
@95 This article isn't inflammatory. Saying all gun owners are hillbilly assholes is inflammatory, but that's true as well.

@96 What makes the problem worse is your culture of paranoid dumbasses who think their right to a security blanket overrides their neighbours' rights to not get shot while the gun fetishist is playing with his toy.

Also, while you guys are at it, ruin your own country and shoot at each other all you like, but if you could please do a better job of keeping your guns inside your own country, we'd all really appreciate it. So many American guns are being funnelled up into Canada now that it's ridiculous. We're trying to run a civilized country up here. Thanks in advance.
99
if you don't have a gun what are you going to do when you know where the terrorists are keeping the president but the police don't believe your testimony -- and someone has to act to save the day. good luck.
100
@76: That's meaningless unless you can come up with data indicating that the decrease in crime was disproportionately in those 21 or so states that passed concealed-carry laws in the intervening time. Is that the case, or is the decrease in crime simply due to other factors besides gun ownership? I'm genuinely curious.
@91: Did you know that the National Academy of Sciences, upon reviewing quite a few studies on the topic, including Lott's, found no credible evidence linking crime rates decisively to concealed-carry laws?
@93: Well, guns are a problem, but they aren't THE problem. Poverty is THE problem.
@95: Sure, gun ownership is a fact of life. You know what shouldn't be a fact of life? That people on the terrorist watch list, who are judged too dangerous to fly on airplanes, are allowed to purchase firearms, and whatever firearms are legal for law-abiding citizens to own. (Remember that Al Qaeda manual they found talking about how easy it is to get a gun legally in this country even if one IS under scrutiny?) Shouldn't all gun sales require a background check? Or should we keep the gun show loophole open in perpetuity, allowing convicted felons to get their hands on dangerous weapons? You seem like a reasonable person, 5280. What do you think?
101
Hey, I have an idea! Let's ask the guy who got shot if he'll ever break into that man's home again. Let's go down to that neighborhood and ask any thugs and punks hanging out on street corners and in taverns if they've heard of this incident and whether they would try and steal his things or go into his home while he and his wife are asleep.
Let's ask THAT question, because I'm pretty sure that the answer would be no.
Then, I think, we'll have the answer to whether having a firearm makes one safer...
102
"Saying all gun owners are hillbilly assholes is inflammatory, but that's true as well."

But it's not the hillbillies killing each other willy nilly. It's blacks, a mere 13% of the population, who are 50% of all gun murders and injuries. I'm pretty sure that as a white, married, sensible middle class trained and LEGAL gun owner with a safe, my chances of being injured by that gun are next to zero.

How about mandatory 5 yr sentences of hard labor for anyone with an illegal hand gun?
103
"paranoid dumbasses who think their right to a security blanket overrides their neighbours' rights to not get shot while the gun fetishist is playing with his toy."

But they're not the problem. It's the street thugs with illegal, unlicensed weapons who are the problem. Blacks are 50% of all gun killings and injuries in the US, not the 'paranoid white guy' next door.
104
Dr Golob,
How does the safety risk posed by gun ownership compare to the safety risk imposed by homosexual behavior?
Which is a greater risk to the individuals involved?
What does a rigorous analysis of the Science tell us?
105
Huh. I laid out some good bait for the wingnuts (37), and the only thing they ate was the stuff about Israel.

Interesting....
106
What do I think, VL? I think that this page is very nearly too large to load on my BlackBerry, so this will be the last you hear from me here. But to answer your question, if you're OK with some nameless, faceless bureaucrat with no accountability to anyone depriving people of their constitutional rights, without due process and with no appeal, then you're no liberal, sir.
107
@91 & 95 -

You are both speaking past Golob's data... Golob's studies address 'safety' from a medical standpoint for the most part. The book that 91 offers shifts the metrics to violent crime based metrics.

It is entirely possible that both sets of data are correct. Gun ownership may decrease crime rates, but represent an overall setback in safety to gun owners & families due to the hazards associated with ownership.
109
Jesus buttfucking Christ. As usual the gun nuts are either unable or unwilling to read.

Golob has offered facts that show through peer reviewed studies that owning a gun makes you less safe, not more safe. He has requested that anyone show a peer reviewed study showing otherwise and so far I haven't seen a single post with that info. If you have that info please share it. Saying "there was once this guy who was safer because of a gun" is not a counter argument to "studies clearly show that you are 20% more likely to be shot to death if you own a gun".

He clearly stated that he is not trying to make it illegal for you to own a gun. He does not want to revoke the 2nd Amendment, even if that were an option on the table. He is offering you information. Information you should consider when deciding whether to own/carry a gun. The decision on whether to own/carry a gun is yours but you should consider all of the facts when making that decision.

To those idiots who are comparing the dangers of gun ownership to the dangers of being gay. Gun ownership is a choice numbnuts.

@95 actually the word is informative, not inflammatory. He is giving you information you should consider when deciding whether to own a gun. Use that information as you see fit.

@39 do you think maybe we should at least keep them alive long enough to have a trial to see if they're guilty? Maybe at least prove whether the homeowner shot an burglar or a Jehovah's Witness?