Libertarian Party Spokesperson On Gun Policy

His facial hair and delivery is suspect, but I like the message. Are the facts true though? I have no idea because there are no citations.

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Jigga November 12, 2011 at 08:07 am

Looks like Borat can’t find much work these days…

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flowmaster November 12, 2011 at 08:20 am

Guy looks legit, how about some sources.

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Josh November 12, 2011 at 10:02 am

His facial hair and delivery is suspect…

Suspect? What are you saying, that he looks like a terrorist who trimmed his hair and beard to fit in better in America? That’s so racist! LMAO.

He does kind of look like Borat though! I think these “statistics” are questionable, at best. He makes the claim that over 800,000 people each year defend themselves from assault by using a gun, but states that it’s often not reported. If it’s often not reported, where does this number come from? Someone’s best guess? I tried searching for a number of gun owners in the U.S. and there doesn’t seem to be a real accurate number, but a couple of sites I ran across put the number of households that have at least one gun between 43 and 50 million. I also ran across the number 80 million for total number of gun owners. I think the number of households is probably the more important number, because most gun owners don’t carry a gun on them in public, so if using a gun to defend themselves, would be doing it in their home. If you divide the 800,000 into the 50 million households, you’d get 1.6% defending themselves from assault or attack every year with a gun. I’m having trouble deciding if that’s realistic or not; it seems like that might be on the high side. Plus, I would think that a really good portion of those households with guns are those that have a rifle and/or shotgun in a closet or gun case that are only taken out to go hunting, and aren’t readily accessible for home defense. I also imagine that a good portion of those types of gun owners are more likely to be located in more rural areas with lower crime rates, and are less likely to encounter a situation where they would need to use a firearm to defend against assault.

I don’t know – I think the numbers are definitely suspect. I would certainly be interested in seeing where they came from.

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SiGraybeard November 12, 2011 at 01:10 pm

Josh – of the guys who study this, the one who is most widely regarded as probably right, is a Gary Kleck, a professor from Florida State University who is not particularly pro-gun. His number is that guns are used in self-defense 2.5 million times per year. For example, http://www.pulpless.com/gunclock/kleck2.html Of those 2.5 million times, the vast majority end without a shot being fired.

It’s a tough thing to measure because many times nothing ever gets reported to police: someone is threatened, pulls a gun and the bad guy takes off. It doesn’t make police reports or newspapers. To the papers, it isn’t a story. Nobody got hurt. Nothing to put on the front page. (“if it bleeds, it leads”)

When you consider the number you calculate of of 1.6%, that website includes results of a 1994 study that concludes around that percentage (1.44%).

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Josh November 12, 2011 at 01:50 pm

…the number you calculate of of 1.6%, that website includes results of a 1994 study that concludes around that percentage (1.44%)

Well, those numbers aren’t arrived at in the same way. I haven’t the patience to read through that entire article, but I did notice that the 1.44% is claimed to be the percentage of total adult population who used a gun defensively in the previous year (including the majority of Americans who don’t own a gun), whereas the 1.6% is the video’s claimed 800,000 uses divided by total number of households who have at least one gun (50 million – the higher of the estimates). If you were to take the video’s claimed 800,000 defensive uses per year divided by total adult population in the U.S., you’d have a figure of somewhere around 1/3 of one percent.

I agree that it’s going to be a difficult thing to measure. But if the 2.5 million incidents of defensive use of a firearm are correct, that would mean that, of the American households that have at least one gun, 1 in 20 had a household member who used a gun for defense in the previous year. That just sounds awfully high to me. Especially when you consider that the majority of Americans do not own a firearm, and the majority of those who do don’t carry one with them at all times, and I’m sure a good percentage of gun owners don’t have their firearms sitting next to their bed in case of emergency in the middle of the night, it would make you think that the average person is much more likely to be a victim of a violent crime than I think is actually true.

Maybe I’m totally wrong, but it just doesn’t sound quite right to me. If you were surveying people who owned and/or carried a firearm for self-defense purposes only, and who lived in areas with high incidences of violent crime, 5% at least brandishing it in self-defense wouldn’t surprise me. Across the board though for all households throughout the U.S. that have a firearm, it just seems surprising.

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Mark November 12, 2011 at 03:35 pm

I love it when the Libertarians get press, especially the LP

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David Carr November 12, 2011 at 11:37 pm

So I did a quick look and found this:
http://www.lp.org/blogs/staff/cato-institute-launches-libertarianismorg
Which is interesting because the Cato Institute was founded by a Charles Koch and a friend who at least supposedly funds the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity. I’m not saying that what this video says is wrong or that the linked organizations are corrupt in some way. They should be suspect however.

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Ernest Young November 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Thats a little bit disheartening.

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Jake N. November 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I’ve never heard someone give statistics about suicide with such enthusiasm and a bright smile.

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