CPRC at the National Review: The New York Times’ Bogus Crime Data about Concealed-Handgun Permit Holders

20 Jan , 2017  

Dr. John Lott has another piece at National Review about the New York Times continuing to disseminate clear false claims by the New York Times (though this could just as well be written about other publications such as The Hill):

For the fourth time in less than two years, the New York Times has run an editorial repeating blatantly false numbers to convince readers that concealed-handgun permit holders are dangerous (January 12, 2017; December 1, 2016; November 26, 2015; February 11, 2015).

Last week, the Times again asserted that in the almost ten years between May 2007 and January of this year, there were 921 non-self-defense gun deaths by U.S. concealed-handgun permit holders. Of these deaths, 295 were suicides and 30 were accidental shootings (with any type of gun, not just handguns). A total of 324 permit holders purportedly killed other people.

These numbers come from the Violence Policy Center (VPC). Looking at the VPC numbers for 2016, we find that 26 permit holders supposedly committed 29 homicides. With over 14.5 million permit holders nationwide, those deaths amount to 0.2 homicides per 100,000 permit holders. However, almost all of these cases are listed as “pending” — and will be ruled justified on account of self-defense. Virtually any time a permit holder uses a handgun in a public place, there will be an arrest and investigation.

The 921-deaths figure is the result of triple and even quadruple counting what are often legitimate uses of guns for self-defense as bad events. Michigan — by far the worst state, according to VPC numbers — supposedly suffered 72 homicides and 283 suicides.

However, “pending” and “conviction” numbers from the Michigan State Police reports are both counted. Since most cases never result in a conviction and many cases can be listed as pending during two or three calendar years, this results in massive over-counting. An additional 27 cases are added in as a result of news reports. Apparently, no effort was made to check if any of these media-derived cases were already accounted for in the state police reports.

A case will be counted four times if it is covered in a news story and is pending for at least part of three different calendar years before culminating in a verdict of not guilty. Over the roughly ten-year period, Michigan had 14 convictions of homicides by permit holders, not 72.  And the state police don’t record how the homicide was committed. That comes to 1.4 cases per year, with about 560,000 permit holders in June last year. . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.

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2 Responses

  1. Paul A Yanchus says:

    Did Canada have more guns per capita in the 1960’s-1980’s (or any other time for that matter) than the USA?

    Thank you

    • johnrlott says:

      Surveys of gun ownership in Canada have proven to be extremely unreliable. During the early 1990s surveys showed about 8.3 to 8.5 million Canadians owned guns, but after the rifle registration started, that was down to about 3 million. There had been no sudden massive sale of guns. It is the 3 million number that the Liberal government pointed to as a way to claim that they had most people registered. Because of the gun control rhetoric in Canada from the 1970s on, it is quite likely that even those surveys on gun ownership that showed 8+ million were probably low. During the 1960s and first half of the 1970s, Canada had at least as high of a rate of permitted concealed handguns guns.

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