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More gun stats debunked

Tim Lambert takes on the myth that a gun owner is 43 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder. Actually, he takes on the sloppy coverage of that myth, which is a 1986 study by Dr. Kellerman. Not to defend the sloppy work of others, but I have heard this myth repeatedly from anti-gun groups worded the exact same way. Tim seems to have comments disabled on that post and the post doesn’t look complete, so I will post my $0.02 here.

The problem with Kellerman’s study is he compares self-protection gun deaths to other gun deaths, which discounts the self-protection that does not result in the death of someone. Depending on which research you believe, the number of defensive gun uses ranges from 83,000 per year to 3.6 million. The 83,000 comes from the US DOJ and is flawed because it only counts reported instances of defensive uses. Other numbers are dubious as well, but I’ll let Tim tell you all about the problems with Lott.

The Kellerman study is a useless piece of info that is devoid of comparative context. Tim, who is a bright guy, tends to go after studies that are pro-gun while claiming not to be anti-gun. Yet, he seems to give anti-gun studies a pass.

Update: Tim’s post seems to have disappeared.

9 Responses to “More gun stats debunked”

  1. SayUncle : It’s back Says:

    […] /a>
    It’s back
    |By SayUncle|

    Tim’s post on Kellermann, which I mentioned here, is back. Tim, regarding my objection to Kellermann, notes: Kellerm […]

  2. SayUncle : It’s back Says:

    […] and pro gun people debunk the bogus claim (because it’s easy). Or has XRLQ says in comments: In any event, I do think there is something wrong wi […]

  3. ben Says:

    kellerman is tackled nicely on here, in the analysis subsection of the section on “gun control research”

  4. Manish Says:

    This is the one thing I hate about the gun control debate. It should be about rights. If possessing a gun under certain circumstances is truly dangerous, the pro-gun rights side should take note, but it shouldn’t be a reason to take away rights.

    In the same manner, I have the right to go up to Mike Tyson and call him a weakling, but I suspect its not a good idea for my health.

  5. Jay Says:

    The most important facet of the Kellerman study does not depend upon its veracity. Many gun control advocates often say: “We do not want to take guns away from law-abiding citizens; we just want laws to keep guns away from criminals and children.” But those same gun control advocates just as often quote the Kellerman study, which focuses on the supposed consequences of gun ownership by the “ordinary” citizen. It is important to remember that gun control advocates are ACTIVISTS. They do not merely “recommend” that which they believe promotes the public good; they want LAWS. It is naive to think that those activists who continually remind us of the dangers of gun ownership by citizens would stop at taking guns from only criminals and children, and allow continued gun ownership by others who incur death by gunshot at a rate “43 times” that of defensive use. Thus, the frequent promotion of the Kellerman study by gun control advocates, regardless of truth or falsehood, serves to remind us of their true goal of drastic reduction or elimination of gun ownership, and the deception of their claim: “We do not want to take guns away from law-abiding citizens; we just want laws to keep guns away from criminals and children.”

  6. SayUncle Says:

    Manish, I think you’re right. I pretty consistently point to crime stats being debunked. And i have said before that correlation does not equal causation (i.e, ccw hasn’t decreased crime, nor has the awb; they just occur at the same time).

    And jay, i know what the antis want. Feinstein herself said something to the effect of if she could get 51 votes, MR. and Mrs. american, turn them in.

  7. Tim Lambert Says:

    Oops, sorry. It wasn’t finished and I posted it by accident. It will be back in a few hours.

    I don’t criticize the study because there isn’t anything wrong with it. There is something wrong with people saying that the study shows more than it does.

  8. SayUncle Says:

    Tim, that’s rather my point. It seems to go both ways.

  9. Xrlq Says:

    That may be true, I don’t know, as I haven’t followed that story for years. When I did, I recall Kellerman refusing to release his data, several years after his conclusions had been published. I assume he has released the data since? If not, that would be a serious problem with the study, quite apart from the silliness of what it measured.

    In any event, I do think there is something wrong with studying an issue almost no one cares about, but which is likely to be mistaken for a different issue people really do care about. Any potential gun owner wishing to weigh the pros and cons of gun ownership for self defense will be ill served by the study. Come to think of it, even the rare sicko who dreams of “bagging a burglar” will be, as the study does not control for the fact that most gun owners don’t think (or act) that way.

    Assuming that the data was sound and the methodology was impeccable, the most Dr. Kellerman may have accomplished is to prove once and for all that if you ask a stupid question, you really will get a stupid answer.