Saturday, October 29, 2016

Yet another reason why gun control won't work


I've long argued (as regular readers will know) that so-called 'gun control' focuses on the wrong target.  It's trying to control a thing (the gun), rather than the person wielding that thing (the shooter).  That's nonsensical.  When we encounter drunk driving, we don't charge the car - we charge the driver.  It's always the user that commits the crime or perpetrates the error, not the thing.

That said, there's been a lot of propaganda about how, if we control guns per se, we'll automatically control so-called 'gun violence'.  Figures of 250- to 300-odd million guns in circulation in the USA have been bandied about, with no real evidence to suggest that they're correct.  Recent research has argued that gun ownership is concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of collectors or 'super-owners' (presumably to imply that it's less of a problem to go after guns than previously thought - after all, if it affects only a small number of voters, it's politically less of a liability to do so).

Weaponsman has come up with a thought-provoking calculation to debunk this train of thought.

We believe that the correct number [of firearms in circulation in the USA] is much higher — somewhere between 412 and 660 million.   You may wonder how we came to that number, so buckle up (and cringe, if you’re a math-phobe, although it never gets too theoretical): unlike most of the academics and reporters we linked above, we’re going to use publicly available data, and show our work.

What if we told you that one ATF computer system logged, by serial number, 252,000,000 unique firearms [produced from 1999-2016], and represented only those firearms manufactured, imported or sold by a relatively small number of the nation’s tens of thousands of Federal Firearms Licensees?

. . .

At this point we have a reasonable and very conservative, very low estimate of 329 million new firearms to the US market 1999-2016. The question becomes one of estimating how many firearms were made and imported in the period from the invention of modern metallic cartridge, smokeless powder ammunition from, say, 1899 to 1998 — and how many of those survive as practical, usable firearms.

. . .

Absent a better idea, we can say that the US inventory of firearms is almost certainly between 412 and 660 million, not the lower numbers recently trumpeted in the media.

There's much more at the link.  Recommended reading.

This is very interesting statistical research, and I think Weaponsman draws some entirely logical conclusions.  If the number of guns in circulation is at least double what's been previously estimated (and I'm willing to believe that it is, based solely on my own knowledge of what I and my friends and acquaintances own in the way of firearms), it will make it that much harder for gun-grabbers to confiscate them all, even if their owners were willing to hand them over.  (Most aren't.  For example, in Connecticut, most owners of recently banned rifles are allegedly disobeying the requirements of that state's law, and in New York state the same thing appears to be happening.  I daresay the same would happen in any other state where such draconian legislation is enacted.)

Another aspect that hasn't received much attention is ammunition sales.  The recent 'ammo drought' is still fresh in the minds of most American shooters, many of whom have since built up their stocks to make sure they have enough to 'take care of business' in the event that something like it happens again.  I order ammunition online as and when I need it, typically buying a few hundred to a couple of thousand rounds at a time, and my main supplier is selling container loads of the stuff as fast as he can unpack it onto his shelves.  The relative good health of that market argues that many people aren't simply stockpiling guns - they're shooting them, and maintaining their skills through regular practice.

Hmmm . . . if there are that many guns in circulation, perhaps I don't yet own my fair share of them!  I'll have to do something about that.




Peter

15 comments:

Punzdeleon said...

Weaponsmans comment, "...very low estimate of 329 million new firearms to the US market 1999-2016" made me think. I'm 65 years old so it's not surprising I have more firearms made before 1999 counting only those that are useable with currently available ammo. The ratio is about 2:1, older vs recent. If many folks are like me there are a lot of firearms out there.

Odysseus said...

Hell one other reason it wont work is by the most recent serious polling on it it's very unpopular.

Uncle Lar said...

Thanks in part to the notoriously failed assault weapon ban of 1994-2004 and the resulting ravaging of Democratic congressional seats the focus on gun control has been at the state level. And in a few states it's actually taken hold.
Still, at the national level every effort is made to demonize and denigrate gun ownership. After every mass shooting the usual suspects dance in the still wet blood of the innocent victims demanding that something be done, even though their usual shopping list of gun control laws would have done nothing to stop the latest tragedy.
Polls have been conducted that "prove" that fewer people own guns. In response I raise the simple question, "someone you don't know comes to your door or calls you on the phone and asks questions about guns in the home, just how open and honest are you going to be in response?"

Judy said...

Uncle Lars - as you and I both know 'It Ain't None Of Their Damn Business' what I do or do not possess or in what quantities, so long as I am not abusing anyone with it or creating a public health nuisance with it. Be it boom sticks or paper clips. What part of the Constitution do they not understand?

Uncle Lar said...

Judy, that pesky little detail where nowhere in our constitution can they find the authority to enslave the ignorant masses so much their inferiors.
Having the majority of the populace armed is the primary detail preventing them from taking full control over every aspect of our lives and making ever so much better decisions than we are capable of. Or so they believe. And every time their grand and glorious plans crash and burn it always seems to be somehow that we didn't cooperate, give enough, or did not whole heartedly go along with their schemes.
We are free citizens by natural right and by the strength we possess. Disarmed we become subjects, and are seeing even now how well that is working in most all of Europe, and in fact most of the world.

bart simpsonson said...

They understand that the Constitution exists purely to limit the Ruling Class in their drive to eliminate said limits on their ability to limit/eliminate our rights to limit their power over us, the Great Unwashed of flyover country.

Reg T said...

I'm with Punzdeleon - mid-sixties and two thirds of what I own was acquired before 1999. About a third from private sales, and most of the rest in states like Oregon (back a few years) and Montana, where if you hold a CCW permit, you don't need a background check.
Of course, we all know F-Troop likes to stop by from time-to-time and copy a FFL's 4473's, don't we?

bart simpsonson said...

What Uncle Lar said.....

Quartermaster said...

Peter, it's self evident that neither of us have our fair share of those weapons and FedGov has far more than their fair share. Therefore, Congress should pass a law mandating that a certain percentage of those weapons be distributed to those of us who do not have our fair share.

I'll take a minigun, if you please.

Will said...

Quartermaster:

probably like adopting kids. Got to prove you can support (supply) the hungry thing!

TRX said...

Some guns might be simply lost, or destroyed by fire, or blown up. I'd expect the various "buy-back" programs and court-ordered destruction of evidence account for the majority of the guns that no longer exist.

How many guns sold in America are still around? Statistically, I'd say almost all of them...

TRX said...

> currently available ammo.

As far as I can tell, there is *no* centerfire ammunition you can't buy nowadays. There are dozens of small specialty loaders who will happily fix you up with anything you want, even if it involves turning new brass out of bar stock on a CNC lathe.

35 years ago I bought a Mauser chambered in 7.65x53. No US manufacturer loaded that caliber. Norma occasionally imported some, but the last batch was sold out. So my introduction to reloading was cutting down and reforming .30-06 brass to make 7.65 brass before I could get to the "reload" part... now, new 7.65 ammunition is just a few clicks away.

Locally, you're pretty much out of luck if you want something besides .308, .223, .45, or 9mm. Last time I looked there was no .38 Special or .30-30 to be had. "We only stock four SKUs because they're the ones that sell the best. Of course, they're the only ones we sell..."

Anonymous said...

The purpose of gun control isn't to control criminals, most of whom are Nonwhite, nor is it to disarm them. Rather, the purpose of gun control is to control and disarm Americans.

If they were interested in gun control they would regularly raid ghettos and favelas for unlicensed, stolen, or illegal guns possessed by felons and those likely to become felons.

Do you see regular raids on ghettos, raids intended to sack "the joint", to seize those weapons, the weapons wielded by the vast majority of crimes committed by the majority of criminals and the vast majority of career criminals?

If not, revisit your first principles.

Will said...

Don't forget all the guns, including machineguns, brought back by soldiers from the various wars. I'm sure there are lots of them sitting in attics across the land.
The F'ing military stopped letting them bring ANYTHING back from the middle east conflicts, unfortunately.

Clinton J said...

I'm curious, once they fix the gun problem, how do they plan on fixing the criminal problem? Perhaps we could just fix the criminal problem?

Perhaps...

Oak tree + rope = solution?

But just maybe we ought to fix the justice system first...