Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On the difference between absolute numbers and relative rates

On its website, the "Violence Policy Center" ( gun control advocates) breathlessly tell us that 319 people have been killed by carry permit holders, and gives them the onimous name "concealed carry killers".  How's that for an obvious bias?  Let's see whether their logic holds, or whether in fact most gun owners are far less likely to kill you than Teddy Kennedy's Oldsmobile, a five gallon bucket, or federal grain subsidies.

To start, let's consider that there are about six milllion permit holders, and many states (Florida, Texas) have been issuing the permits for decades.  So the total number of permit-years around the country definitely exceeds sixty million, and probably is well in excess of 100 million.  So we have 319 deaths atttributable to 100 million person-years, a rate of about 0.3/100k.

Now consider the actual murder rate; about 15,000 per year among 300 million person-years, or a rate of 5/100k.  In short, you are 16 times more likely to be killed by a neighbor without a carry permit than you are by a neighbor with a carry permit.

Sounds like we need more Americans to lawfully carry a weapon in their daily business.    How many lives could be saved if they did?  Thanks, Violence Policy Center, for making an emphatic case for more carry permits!

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