Housekeeping note: The bloodwind calls! The Colorado blackpowder elk and deer season starts tomorrow, loyal sidekick Rat and I will be afield next week. Today’s will be the last regular post until Monday, September 21st; (Saturday Gingermageddons will continue as usual) there will be a daily totty selection from the archives to fill those days.
Here’s a shocker: A Survey Not Designed to Measure Defensive Gun Use Finds Little of It. Excerpt:
A study in the latest issue of Preventive Medicine estimates that less than 1 percent of crime victims use guns in self-defense. The authors, Harvard health policy professor David Hemenway and University of Vermont economist Sara Solnick, find that using a gun seems to be effective at reducing property loss but “is not associated with a reduced risk of victim injury.” It will surprise no one familiar with the long-running debate about defensive gun use (DGU) that the source of the data for this study is the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which consistently generates much lower DGU estimates than other surveys do. At least some of that gap can be plausibly explained by weaknesses in the NCVS that Hemenway and Solnick do not seriously address or, for the most part, even mention.
The biggest strength of the NCVS, which is conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau on behalf of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, is its large, nationally representative sample, which includes 90,000 households and about 160,000 individuals. The survey’s biggest weakness in this context is that it is not designed to measure DGUs, and there are good reasons to think it misses a lot of them.
There is good reason indeed. Later in the article:
Hemenway and Solnick predictably argue that Kleck’s numbers are improbably high, and it is tempting to surmise that the truth lies somewhere in between. But while Kleck has responded at length to criticism of his methods and conclusions, Hemenway and Solnick’s article barely alludes to the NCVS weaknesses he highlights. They do mention that the survey includes “no specific questions about self-defense gun use.” That’s a pretty big flaw for a study aimed at measuring self-defense gun use, which the NCVS isn’t.
Brian Doherty has more on the controversy over counting DGUs.
But here’s the larger issue: My rights (and yours) are not contingent on the usefulness of guns in preventing property loss, or in preventing any other kind of loss. The Second Amendment states that I (and you) have the right to keep and bear arms, the Supreme Court has upheld that interpretation, and that is that. Imagine if someone was to claim that the First Amendment was contingent on the efficacy of a certain media in being able to transmit information effectively; would we then place restrictions on pen and paper, since they are pretty much obsolete? Or would we restrict bloggers, for being too effective and unregulated into the bargain?
It is a fact that there is a strong correlation between the enactment of concealed-carry liberalization and a reduction in confrontational crime rates. But the Second Amendment is still the final arbiter; the Constitution is the law of the land, the final be-all and end-all of our nation’s laws. The Second Amendment says we have the right to keep and bear arms. There the argument ends.
Have a great week, True Believers! See you in ten days.