Fun with math

Via SayUncle, I was led to the most recent Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Ownership hysterics about a “law abiding gun owner” allegedly committing murder (thanks for the tinyurl Uncle…no need to add to their Google standings).

It’s obvious what they’re doing…this is just an extension of their latest propaganda ploy: by contending that Concealed Carry Permit Holders are nothing more than criminals who haven’t yet committed crimes. They can claim that they only want to remove guns from the hands of “criminals” while still pursuing their ultimate goal of total civilian disarmament.

Anyway, at the very bottom of the post was this breathlessly ominous factoid:

By the way, this makes the third concealed carry permit-holder charged with murder since July 5.

A fourth has recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter. [emphasis in original]

I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of this. One is too many…but as to their contention that this is some sort of evidence of the inherent criminal nature of “law abiding gun owners…Lets put it into some context:

4 incidents in 12 days. Assuming that rate continues unabated throughout the year, that extrapolates out to 122 incidents per year. Divided by the estimated 80,000,000 law abiding gun owners…equals a rate of …move the decimal point two places… .00015%

Wow. That’s pretty significant. Better disarm those other 79,999,878 gun owners huh?

But, to be fair, even though they are including ALL law abiding gun owners in the “gun owners are just criminals who haven’t committed a crime yet” picture they’re trying to paint, they have so far only included permit holders in their anecdotes.

That makes the math a little harder because I can’t find a definitive number for permit holders in the US. Short of spending hours and hours of research tracking down each state’s permit numbers (some of which don’t even publish them), it’s a hard number to nail down.

I’ll just use the SWAG method. I’ll say that the two states that don’t allow carry and the two that don’t require permits at all cancel each other out. I know that the percentage of people who actually get permits varies wildly from state to state, but I’ll assume that Virginia is fairly representative. The ones who have a high percentage of permittees will be assumed to cancel out those states with restrictive rules.

Virginia has about 150,000 permit holders among a population of about 7.7 million which works out to 1.95% of the population with concealed handgun permits. Times the population of the US which is about 300 million equals somewhere in the ballpark of 5,850,000 permit holders in the US.

If anyone has any more accurate numbers, they’d be welcome.

At any rate, using my SWAG number of 5,850,000 permit holders and the extrapolated number of 122 perpetrators, that still only equals a rate of .0021 percent.

Quite a compelling argument they make.

All gun owners are criminals because twenty one ten thousandths of one percent of them may have committed a murder or manslaughter in a 12 month period.

Keep in mind also that these people have only been CHARGED, none of them have, to date, been convicted.

I’d be willing to bet that the Law Enforcement Community would be hard pressed to duplicate those numbers.

Heck…considering how many violent criminals we hear about that are anti-gun activists, I have to wonder if the Brady Campaign itself can boast such a low rate amongst its own 50 or 60 members.

Anyway, I just thought I’d put their hysterical hoplophobia into a little perspective.

If any actual researchers, statisticians or mathematicians care to refine or revise my numbers, math or conclusions…please feel free to do so. I’m just a knuckle-dragging, redneck, Neanderthal, gun owning, God fearing, displaced farm boy (not to mention bitter), not some kind of fancy scientist or something.

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