Sunday, January 1, 2012

Homicides in the District of Columbia, Virginia & Maryland Inversely Related to Ease of Gun Ownership

The 1 January 2012 Washington Post article: As homicides fall in D.C., rise in Prince George’s, numbers meet in the middle by Allison Klein & Matt Zapotosky (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/as-homicides-fall-in-dc-rise-in-prince-georges-numbers-meet-in-the-middle/2011/12/21/gIQAjopBTP_story.html ) proudly noted that DC Homicides dropped to 109 in 2011 from the previous year total of 132 which was consistent with a similar national trend. The article also noted the homicide statistics for the surrounding Maryland and Virginia DC suburbs but curiously made no attempt to compare the rates among the various jurisdictions.

A cursory analysis of the stats in this article might reveal why the Liberal WaPo didn’t attempt their own analysis --- could it be because it would have clearly demonstrate a dramatically inverse relationship between homicide rates and restrictions on gun ownership. The detailed math is contained in the graphic below but here is the Readers Digest version, using the 2010 population figures from the US Census Bureau and the Stats in this article, DC has 601,723 people and had 109 homicides in 2011 for a rate of 18.1 per 100,000 people. The two Maryland DC-suburbs of Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have 1,835,197 with 113 homicides for the same period for a rate of 6.2 per 100,000. The three Virginia suburbs of Alexandria City, Arlington County and Fairfax County have 1,429,319 people with 9 homicides for a .63 per 100,000 rate.

This reveals that a person would be fortunate to live in Virginia where gun ownership is almost unrestricted because a DC resident, where guns are still almost impossible to own, is almost 29 times more likely to be a homicide victim. Even a Marylander, with moderately strict gun laws, was 3 times less likely to be a homicide victim than a DC resident. Much better than DC but a Marylander is still almost 10 times more likely to be a homicide victim than one of us “gun tottin” Virginians.

Now I’m not opposed to registration and some reasonable limits on ownership such as terrorists, ex-cons and the mentally unstable but there should be no restrictions on ownership by average citizens – anywhere in the US. There is a “God-given” right of self protection, especially in one’s own home, and a gun is the only way to exercise that right. One has to go no further than right here in our own DC-area backyard to clearly demonstrate that contrary to liberal rhetoric, it is an “inconvenient truth” that “guns actually do make us safer.” Case in point, Virginia has by far the laxest gun laws and the least gun violence of any of the surrounding jurisdictions. Additionally, the DC homicide rate has been declining ever since the Supreme Court ordered the loosing of DC gun ownership laws. Is the fact that this dramatic drop coincided with this landmark decision coincidence or might there be a cause-effect relationship? Could it be criminals are not so anxious to murder law abiding citizens if they might be "packing heat?"

The obvious message in these statistics - guns make us more and not less safe!.

While we’re at it, a couple of other interesting (and maybe) inconvenient FACTS:

In any given year in this country there is one child drowning death for every 11,000 residential swimming pools or 550 children under the age of 10 drown every year in our 6 million pools. Meanwhile there is one child killed by a gun for every one million (plus) guns in this country or with about 200 million guns, approximately 175 children under 10 die. This means a child is over 100 times more likely to drown in a pool than be killed by a gun. Hence, banning residential pools is a much more effective way of protecting children than banning fire arms.

In Switzerland, every male adult is issued an assault weapon for militia duty and required to keep it in his home. As a result, Switzerland has the highest per capita rate of guns in homes in the entire World yet is one of the safest places to live. Fire arm deaths in Switzerland is .56/100,000. Compare that to the United States where Assault Weapons are heavily regulated and automatic ones are outlawed and our rate of fire arm deaths is 2.97/100,000 per year. That means an American is 5.3 times more likely to be killed by a gun in the United States than someone in Switzerland where everyone and their brother has an automatic assault weapon. Go figure!