Gun Newb with a Stats Question

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Greatwhitewing, May 10, 2022.

  1. Greatwhitewing

    Greatwhitewing Member

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    New here and nice place, first post and first time gun owner from the unfriendly to guns state of MA.
    I hope my question has not been beat to death already but nothing in my searches

    My question is is there a website that does the best it can to track when a legal gun owners saved a life or prevented a crime such as muggings, home invasion etc.
    I know the stats will not be easy to obtain since crimes avoided probably go unreported.
    As an aside I would also like to know stats on negative outcomes, the old argument of being shot by your own weapon.

    Thanks in advance
     
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  2. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to THR!

    As far as I know, there's no central site that tracks those. With that said, I think Texas DPS tracks things like crimes committed by CC holders. (And if memory serves, the % of CC holders committing crimes is way below the average.) You might try searching for John Lott, who is a noted author in this arena, too.
     
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  3. Greatwhitewing

    Greatwhitewing Member

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    Thanks. I am reasonably certain legal gun owners are statistically very very low for committing crimes. Be good to know but not what hoping to learn
    I see you are a lawyer and I am a big fan of Robert Barnes and Andrew Branca
     
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  4. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    And another welcome to THR.

    It's tough to find good data on self defense incidents and defensive gun use (DGU). These sources might help:

    • The NRA tracks DGUs reported in the media. See the NRAILA Armed-Citizen.

    • This site, Active Self Protection, on YouTube appears to collect videos of self defense incidents, both with and without firearms. I'm fairly skeptical about YouTube stuff, but this seems decent.

    • And I just found this site, rkba.org, which seems to be a collection of links to sources on RKBA issues.[/link]
     
  5. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Also, welcome to THR.
    The Search feature on this site (unlike so many other) is actually quite robust and useful. "We" her have examined this several time before, and gone to ground on the rocks of needing to count the times the dog "did not bark."
     
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  6. Greatwhitewing

    Greatwhitewing Member

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    Thank you Frank. I'll check out those links
     
  7. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Sorry, don't know of any official stats, but if you want anecdotal reports of such incidents several YouTube gun channels do that, probably the best, because it forms part of the report each day, is Townhall Media's Bearing Arms Cam & Co channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/c/BearingArmsCamCo
     
  8. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

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  9. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

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    As far as I know there’s not a site that tracks that info. As a stats guy, I will say that it’s going to be incredibly difficult to get real, good data about this kind of thing. Of course you have the issue of underreporting, but the larger problem is one of definitions. Let’s look at the question:

    How do we define “lives saved”? Is it just the legal gun owner? How about if they’re with their family - do they get counted too? Hostage shots only? How do we count other bystanders? Just those in the immediate area? How do we define immediate area? Conversation distance or range of the firearm used? If the incident is in a crowded area, is it treated as a minor event (just the good guy’s life saved) or do we treat it as a mass shooting stopped by a good guy (lots of lives saved)? If it happens in a building, is everyone in the building counted as a life saved? That could be a very high number if you’re in a commercial building, even if most of those people weren’t actually in any danger.

    Not trying to poke holes in your question or anything, but all of these things need to be answered in order to make a dataset.

    So the problem becomes what is the motivation of the person/group collecting the data? An anti-gun group would use the most restrictive definition (likely only the law abiding gun owner) and a pro-gun group would likely want to cast the net as wide as possible to get the highest number on “lives saved”.

    Again, the problem is one of definitions. Most negative stats are likely going to be gathered by anti-gun groups who have a preference for creating stats that support their position.

    It’s been a while since I looked at that particular stat, but if I recall correctly the text was “a gun is X times more likely to be used against you or someone you know”. So while it sounds like “if you have a gun it’s just going to be taken from you and used against you” it’s actually more about >50% of gun deaths being suicides.
    Additionally it also counts if there’s some sort of relationship between the gun owner and the assailant. Which still sounds bad until you see that the yard guy breaking into your house at night counts as “someone you know”.

    If your data source is a survey, you also need to look at the wording of the questions. Let’s use the “most gun owners support Universal Background Checks” stat as an example.

    The best way to ask the question is to give a summary of what the particular law plans to make illegal, and then ask if the individual supports that initiative. (Though the technically correct way is to ask the question a number of times with other distractor questions preceding it to determine if an individual is sensitive to the framing of the question).

    A more biased set of questions would be: “Do you think someone should go through a background check before buying a gun?” If “Yes” they are marked as supporting UBCs. Alternatively you could ask “Do you support a law making it illegal to give a gun to your neighbor without explicit government approval and a fee?” If “No” they are marked as not supporting UBCs. Both of these are arguably true statements about UBCs, but the wording of the question effectively predisposes the population to choose a specific answer.



    Anyway, in order to have anything useful, you’d need good/consistent data (difficult to find) and good definitions (given the contentious nature of firearms policy - almost impossible). The above also applies to all statistics, not just gun data.
     
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  10. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    ^^Excellent points.
     
  11. Greatwhitewing

    Greatwhitewing Member

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    I was hoping someone has already waded through those legitimate questions and made reasoned estimates. Data analysis as you know often requires judgement calls.
    I also realize "perfect" data cannot exist but data with well founded estimates "could" exist if someone made the extreme effort. We shut down the worlds economy with far less hard data.

    Thanks for your reply and good comments
     
  12. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    No.

    Can't be done.
     
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  13. tark

    tark Member

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    How about a new greeting: WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE!!

    Actually Its the best and most polite forum out there. I gave up on all of the others. Actually, I think Telekinesis put about as succinctly and easy to understand as it can be put. News organizations just do not to report that guns can help people do good things, as well as bad. The bad makes for better headlines.
     
  14. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    John Lott has researched a lot of this and has put together a lot of pro-gun data. I doubt if you'll find exactly what you're looking for. But doing some research on his writings will get a lot of information.

    jonh lott - Search (bing.com)
     
  15. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    A legitimate point.
    And, of course the "data" even as fractured and incomplete as it is, does not remain static.

    I was more thinking of looking at previous questions and opinions, as models for new thinking. If a person knows what questions have been asked, and what answers were gleaned, then new, possibly better, questions can be framed.
     
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  16. north east redneck
    • Contributing Member

    north east redneck Member

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    I can't provide you an answer to your question...but, welcome from a fellow MA resident.
     
  17. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Nothing more than anecdotes available. There's no systematic collection of such data that is reliable.

    As mentioned, Dr. Lott may have some information with a large error associated with it due to uneven reporting.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
  18. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    There's been some data from the CDC, though it's several years old:

    Forbes
    In particular, a 2013 study ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and conducted by The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine and National Research Council reported that, “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence”:

    "Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008."


    Larry
     
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  19. Gun4Fun90

    Gun4Fun90 Member

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    If I remember correctly their was a study done by the CDC back when Obama was still president that had some reliable data. There was also a paper written by a Georgetown University professor somewhat recently titled "the national firearms survey" that has some information, but I would be cautious about that one. If you read the actual wording of the questions and how the data was collected and how he come up with the final numbers it is suspect at best.

    The issue with gathering data on crimes prevented, is that no crime happened so it is difficult to track.
     
  20. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    I don't like when any website "tracks" anything. I'm not on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I'm thinking about pulling the plug on this forum, Google, all of it. The new Ministry of Truth scares the hell out of me. Why would you want anyone to "track". For data that surely will be abused?
     
  21. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    I review the NRA's Armed Citizen. It's a reporting of facts but doesn't track. NRA has it's faults but dishonesty is not one of them.
     
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  22. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    Same. I read an Armed Citizen that happened nearby. The old man pretended to be blind and fumbled around and grabbed a 357 out of a drawer and shot the perpetrator.
     
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