18 March 2006

Grading the Graders

Knowing the Brady Campaign's penchant for hoplophobia, since they used to be known as Handgun Control, Inc. before adopting a more euphemistic name (a dunghill is still a dunghill regardless of what you call it), I don't give their assessments on matters related to firearms much weight.

Still, I thought I would do a little statistical research myself to see if the Brady Bunch's grading system had any merit other than whining, crying, and pouting.

So, I looked up some research regarding gun crime statistics on a state by state basis. I did find three reports from the FBI listing the number of Murders, Robberies, and Aggravated Assaults, as well as the weapon type used, for each of the 50 states for the year 2004. Sounded like as good a place as any to start.

There are 11 states that got A- to B- ratings: California, Connecticut, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

I thought it interesting that no A's nor A+'s were awarded. I'm not terribly surprised, though, given their criteria, including Ballistic Fingerprinting (easily defeated by switching out barrels on autoloaders), whether more than one gun is allowed to be purchased in a month (would they put the same limits on cars and doctors, which have higher death rates?), holding gun manufacturers accountable (Puh-lease! It's like suing Black & Decker because you did a crappy job on your deck), background checks on private gun sales (there's a direct threat to your right to own property if ever I saw one), and so on.

Basically, the only way to earn an A with the Bradys would be to repeal the 2nd Amendment, or pass legislation that makes it increasingly hard to exercise that right (which, with enough legal savvy, could be construed as a violation of the 14th Amendment. If leftists could do it with their crusades to enforce the notion of "separation of Church and State," then the very same could work against them).

Happily, those of us who love our constitutional rights see these "good grades" as a rating of misery (especially hearing complaints from all the Californian gun owners). Poor grades, like that earned by my current home state and my former home state are seen as badges of honor.

There were 32 states that got D+ to F ratings: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

But let's look briefly at Brady's Best of the Best and the Worst of the Worst, namely, the A- states vs. the F states in light of the 2004 FBI crime statistics.

The A- list (Comprising* of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey) boasts:
  • a total of 278, 165 counts of Robbery, Murder, and Aggravated Assault.
  • 63,912 of these crimes involved a firearm
  • That means firearms were used in 23% of the crimes committed
The F list (Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming) shows:
  • a total of 60,839 counts of these same crimes
  • 19,005 involving the use of a firearm
  • Which yields a slightly higher proportion of 31% involving guns.
Now, if you just went by the percentage of crimes involving firearms, it would seem that the Bradys' Report Cards are justified. However, the A-list's higher overall crime numbers, despite its lower percentages involving firearms, suggest something students of human nature have known for a long time: if you can't commit a crime one way, another way can be found--if you can't use a gun, a knife might do the job just as well.

Here's a fun fact about California that proves my last statement: over 29,000 of California's robberies were just done by the force of the perp's own strength, without gun, knife, or other instrument. And this state rates high with the Bradys for its attempts to keep guns out of the hands of its peasantry.

But for someone like the Bradys to leverage this stat with any force, they would have to contrast it to the overall gun owning population. Their own numbers state 192 million privately-owned firearms in the U.S. (65 million of which are handguns). Nationwide crimes of robbery, murder, and aggravated assault involving firearms yielded a number of 277,868--which sounds like a high number, but consists of about a tenth of a percent of the guns owned in this country.

Let me divert a second to tell another fun fact about California. The Brady's A- list honey is responsible for 16% of those 277,868 firearm-related crimes alone. Do the math, and you see it exceeds the total of the "F" states by 230%.

Furthermore, they are ignoring John Lott's statistic about firearms being used some 2 million times defensively, and legally, per year. 277,868 out of 2 million=roughly 14 percent.

Furthermore, the perpetrators of these crimes, whether they used a firearm or not, usually amount to less than 1 percent of the entire U.S. population. These low numbers are perhaps the most revealing statistic I found in the course of my research, and show the liberals' penchant for making mountains out of molehills, and desire to penalize the majority for the sake of a scant few.

*Illinois also rated an A-, but enough of their stats were not found to include them in the study with any degree of fairness. Something to hide, perhaps?


The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Nicley done, sir.

The Mad Hatter said...

Thank you much!

ranger nick said...

Here in the Hooiser State, we wear that "F" grade like a badge of honor. Right next door(IL.), Their having all-out assault on the 2A. Daly and his boy Gov. are using it to scare the people out of their rights. And they keep re-electing them to office. How's that for dumb. Lot's of crime there, and they blame us good old Hooiser's for all the crime in Chicago!!!!