SILVER SPRING, Md., April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Edward Green, retired professor of criminology, recently started GunGimmickry.com, a website dedicated to explaining the political success of opposition to gun control despite gun-enabled killing sprees and 38,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries in the United States. Pro-gun forces depend on a disciplined base who uncritically accept research findings that guns symbolize patriotism and save more lives than they take. The deadly cost of gun freedom warrants testing the validity of the gun credo. The complete findings, given in GunGimmickry.com, are summarized below.
Gunners proclaim that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the individual the right to possess arms for self-defense. In fact, debate by the Founding Fathers leading to enactment of the Second Amendment focused only on arming militias as a defense against oppressive government. Private possession of guns for meat and protection in a frontier environment was taken for granted, but not enshrined in the Constitution, into law.
Research showing that carrying concealed guns by private citizens reduces homicides has induced 44 states to legislate the finding. Replications by reputable scientists, however, show a gain in homicides. Even if the decline is valid, its smallness robs the result of significance: The reduction yielded by favorable replications, 3 to 13 percent, forms the tip of the iceberg. The remaining 87 to 97 percent of gun deaths are unaffected.
Procedural flaws undermine telephone surveys acclaiming the value of guns in the defense of person and property. In a foremost example, even the researchers advise that their estimate of instances of defensive gun use, based on extrapolation from tiny samples, should be taken with a grain of salt. They then ignore that caution relying on speculation to bolster weaknesses in the results.
Gunners argue that the harm attributed to guns is overrated, that the highway accident fatality rate is 61 times higher than the gun accident rate. The imbalance demonstrably results from failure to take into account the difference between the two kinds of events in the amount of exposure to risk. Correction shows that keeping a gun in the house is far more dangerous than riding in a car.
The gun establishment maintains that legitimate gun sellers neither sell to persons unqualified to buy nor supply guns used in crime. However, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives statistics and undercover investigations report frequent violations.
International comparisons that highlight the enormity of gun casualties in the United States tax gunners' inventiveness. A creative, but unsupported, solution warns that extremely low firearm mortality rates in countries that prohibit private gun ownership come at too dear a cost in human rights violations.
Edward Green, Ph.D., acquired his analytical skills in forty years of scholarly enterprise. What he knows about guns comes from Marine Corps service in WWII.