By Dean Weingarten
Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- The data for the graphic above was taken from the Guardian, a leftwing publication in England. Firearm ownership rates are from the Small Arms Survey in 2007, so it is a bit dated. The per capita ownership in the United States has gone up considerably since then.
It is now about 120 firearms per 100 people. U.S. citizens purchased 94 million firearms during the Obama presidency. They have likely purchased another 6 million in the first 8 months of 2017.
The firearms homicide rate fell from 4.19 in 2007 to 3.45 in 2014, but bumped up to 4.13 in 2015. (numbers from the CDC)
The chart shows that firearms ownership is not related to firearm homicides. That is somewhat misleading. The trick is to only look at firearm homicides. What matters is not firearm homicides, but total homicides. Firearms availability could either increase or decrease total homicides.
I ran the data from the Guardian through a standard statistical calculator to see if there was any correlation between firearm ownership and total homicides. There was a small negative correlation. The 110 States that had both firearm ownership rates and homicide data were used.
The horizontal axis is the number of firearms per 100 people. The United State is the outlier on the far right, showing 88 firearms per 100 people. That number is from 2007. The vertical axis is the homicide rate.
It varies from zero to a high near 80 per 100,000. There was only a small negative correlation, of -.137. That is not a strong correlation. It shows that the homicide rate tends to fall a bit with higher firearms ownership. It is not statistically significant.
It does not show causation. There could be many other factors involved. For example, the rise in firearms homicides in the United States in 2015 is likely correlated with the Ferguson Effect. Several large cities have essentially withdrawn active policing from urban crime centers because of accusations of racism.
Homicides have sharply risen in those areas. Another reason is general prosperity. Places where there is the rule of law usually have higher prosperity and higher legal firearm ownership rates. Both are associated with lower homicide rates.
The slight negative correlation between firearms ownership and homicides confirms observations made after reading most of the literature on the subject. The rate of firearms ownership has little to do with the overall homicide rate.
If there is a relationship, a higher legal firearms ownership rate means slightly less crime.
This does not mean that firearms are not useful. More likely, it means that people with firearms are less likely to be victims, and people without firearms are more likely to be victims. There is a long historical record of people with weapons that successfully defend themselves. There is a corresponding long history of people without weapons being victimized.
Statistical data will not convince people who have made up their minds. They can always find another statistical analysis that agrees with them. Most people have not made up their minds. They can be educated. The more people know about the debate over the Second Amendment, the more likely they are to become Second Amendment supporters.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.