The New York Times continues its reliance on the Violence Policy Center’s discussion about concealed handgun permit holders.
since 2007, at least 763 people have been killed in 579 shootings that did not involve self-defense.
The Times didn’t take our letter to the editor, but this is what we sent in:
Dear Letters Editor:The Times erroneously asserts that over 8.5 years there were 763 non-self-defense gun deaths nationwide by concealed handgun permit holders (“The Concealed-Carry Fantasy,” October 26).Take supposedly the worst state, Michigan. 215 of the 763 claimed deaths involved suicides in Michigan. But Michigan State Police reports don’t collect information on how suicides were committed — just that permit holders committed suicide. As to permits causing suicides, permit holders committed suicide at just 38% the rate of the general adult Michigan population.Michigan’s supposed 58 “murders” included legitimate self-defense cases, and they are quadruple counted or worse as bad cases. “Pending” and “conviction” numbers from the Michigan State Police reports are both counted, though convictions are first listed as pending. Cases can be “pending” for years, each time counted as a separate murder. News stories of the same cases are also counted.The correct number of murders or accidents is 14, or 1.65 per year — with 483,000 permit holders, that is an annual rate of 0.00034%.Sincerely,
John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.PresidentCrime Prevention Research Center
When the New York Times cited this source in February we had this piece at Fox.
The VPC keeps a record of permit holder abuses in each state. Take the claimed worst state, Michigan. The VPC cites state police and media reports indicating that permit holders committed 277 suicides or murders during the period from 2007 through 2015 (217 suicides and 60 murders). If accurate, a 38 percent share of all 722 deaths nationwide that the VPC attributed to permitted concealed handguns occurred in Michigan.
But suicides are not in any meaningful way linked to the act of carrying a permitted concealed handgun outside of one’s home. The Michigan State Police reports it does not collect information on how the suicides were committed, just that permit holders committed suicide.
Interestingly, the 2013 suicide rate among Michigan permit holders (6.2 per 100,000 permit holders) is lower than the rate among the general adult population (16.59). Typically, suicides — with or without guns — take place at home. So, again, what do these numbers have to do with the concealed-carry debate? . . .
All in all, the VPC has managed to at least triple-count the true number of cases of permit holders killing people. Furthermore, the vast majority of these killings were suicides, or legitimate self-defense shootings. . . .