back to article Packing heat gets you shot, say profs

Medical researchers in Philadelphia have conducted a study which indicates - according to their interpretation - that carrying a gun causes people to get shot more often. "People should rethink their possession of guns," say the medics. “This study helps resolve the long-standing debate about whether guns are protective or …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Confounding variables

    "There didn't seem to be any account taken of the fact that people with good reason to fear being shot - for instance drug dealers, secret agents etc - would be more likely to tool up than those with no such concerns." -- actually, there seems to be account taken for that. The study analyses data based on numerous factors, including Illicit drug involvement and high-risk occupation.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So the message seems to be turn the other cheek and hope that the scumbag doesn't kill you just for being a pussy. Sorry , i'll stick with carrying and take the chance that I'll be able to slot the twat first.

    If i lose, fair game.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    "it might be wiser to first hand over your wallet and then craftily backshoot the robber as he departed"

    I don't think this is legal is it?

    Well maybe in Texas...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    From the school of

    From the school of Utter Bollocks Statistics!

    When only 4.5% of those shot were carrying guns, there doesn't seem much point in even checking any "control" group. 96.5% of people without guns get shot!

    I wonder if they stopped to consider that those carrying guns just possibly, just ever so slightly possibly, might be more likely to be found in situations likely to lead to shooting?

    Ahhh.... It's just come to me: the actual analysis of these statistics should have been "guns lead to shooting".

    I might have used the IT? icon, except that the BOFH and the PFY will be making their own review of any report concerning violent crime --- checking for useful hints...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The causal link

    True they assumed causality, but then there is a causal link there isn't there?

    If you are mugged and you pull a gun, the mugger needs to disarm you. Easiest way to do that is to shoot you. Presumably the mugger is more practiced at shooting people than you, and he already has his gun out, so he wins a shootout.

    I assume there are far fewer muggers than muggees, say 10:1 so if the muggees won more than 10% of the battles, eventually the muggers would be eliminated.

    But they don't win enough shootouts to compensate for youths growing up into the mugger lifestyle, so it's not a winning strategy.

  6. Karl Lattimer

    I assume these people have never studied logical fallacies?

    Post hoc ergo proctor hoc - just because someone who owns a gun gets shot, does not mean that by the mere ownership they are more likely to be shot.

    The correlation is definite. However, maybe it's converse, e.g. people who are more likely to get shot carry a gun...

    Moronic interpretation of results here...

    btw, i am against gun ownership in all its forms as owning the means to kill merely for the ownership of the means to kill is a poor excuse. "Right to bear arms"... it's just not right

  7. phen
    Thumb Down

    A more useful statistic...

    might be the percentage of people carrying a gun who used them successfully to defend themselves in an attack, no?

  8. Tom 7

    A bit obvious really

    Only the NRA supporters cant see this - the NRA can but it makes a lot of money out of selling guns so, like the tobacco companies, it keeps quiet.

    The only way a gun is defensive is offensively - you have to have it pointing at the the attacker before they attack. Not only that, like the car, it gives a false sense of security leading to behaviour more likely to cause you to be attacked. Same for 'defensive' knife carrying idiots in the UK.

    You could also keep your gun at home and join the 100 or so people that are shot dead by 2 year olds in the US every year.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A fallacy of statistical reasoning

    It might be true, but there is a fallacy of statistical reasoning in this evidence. The problem is that gun owners who are shot are not at all a random sample of gun owners. They include a lot of people who are in dangerous professions such as street level drug dealing. They have a gun because they expect to be assaulted. So it isn't surprising that gun owners are more likely to be assaulted. That is why they own a gun. The public health journals are not too strict about statistical inference.

  10. John Hawkins

    Oh b*gger!

    Does this mean I'm more likely to get raped than a than a eunuch would be?

  11. cirby


    Yet another case of someone confusing correlation with causality.

    If they're truly allowing for criminals who carry firearms, then they certainly have the statistics relating to how many of the victims had concealed carry permits. If their thesis is correct, then the number of victims with permits should be proportionate to the percentage of people in Philadelphia who have permits to carry concealed weapons.

    If they didn't, a high percentage of victims in their study would have been carrying illegally.

    If they don't know or didn't ask, then it's a bad study, and the authors can be safely ignored in the future..

  12. Winkypop Silver badge

    Well old Charlton did say....

    "From my cold dead hands" didn't he?

    Guns are for the deluded.

  13. Remy Redert

    Guns and other protective gear

    Those with reason to believe they may get shot at really should wear at least a class III vest, in addition to carrying their own guns. That way, when they do get shot, they've got a much better chance of living to tell the tale (And shoot the other guy in return).

    How many of those gunshots victims packing guns where shot because they tried to rob someone and the victim shot the robber?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    More astonishing news...

    - People carrying inhalers were far more likely to have asthma!

    - If a large percentage of a city's population carries umbrellas, it's likely to rain that day!

    - Carrying a briefcase increases your chance of employment!

    Seriously, these scientists should be fired. That is the worst statistical analysis I've ever seen! They obviously don't understand control groups in the least.

    And this is from a guy who believes the old, "A gun in your house is 5 times more likely to be used to shoot a family member than to shoot an intruder," line. (Which is why the AC post. Like I need to listen to 100 comments telling me what a retarded gun-control freak I am for not wanting a gun in my house).

  15. Manos

    Data as faulty as tree ring studies.

    These guys are like the climate "Scientists" who base manmade global warming theories

    on data from one tree.

    Due to draconian gun laws the only people with guns in Philly are cops and criminals.

    Hardly a representative sample.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, duh.. Who'd of thought it, having more guns in society makes it more likely that gun owners will get shot?

    It's not like it's blindingly obvious is it...

  17. Anonymous Coward


    "Tactically, of course, it might be wiser to first hand over your wallet and then craftily backshoot the robber as he departed, but no matter."

    Using deadly force against someone who is no longer a threat to you would be unlawful in most civilised places. But it's America, so who knows.

  18. Mathew White

    Problem with carrying guns..

    I remember the police in america had a serious issue with being shot by their own gun after detaining a criminal.

  19. lIsRT

    re: The causal link

    "But they don't win enough shootouts to compensate for youths growing up into the mugger lifestyle, so it's not a winning strategy."

    Well, you'd also have to consider the number of people who decide to obtain and carry a weapon, assuming that is sufficiently large, it will counteract the crim-creation rate.

    You do raise a wider point - if there are substantial numbers of armed people (over and above armed criminals) they will possibly have more of a positive effect on other people than themselves.

    For example, if I was being mugged, a friendly witness with a weapon might be more use than having one of my own - they would be less likely to draw the mugger's attention when aiming their weapon and they'd probably shoot straighter, due being less threatened.

    Essentially, even if carrying a firearm is likely to endanger the carrier (which I'm far from convinced of) it would allow them to help another victim, who may or may not be armed themselves.

    Plus, as you implied, there are all the muggings that never happened 'cause the mugger found him or herself on the other end of a pistol early on in their career...

  20. JMB


    Has any of the random shootings at schools etc ever been prevented by someone carrying a gun?

  21. ZenCoder

    Both sides of the issues are loons ...

    I tried to find some good gun statistics and every study I found was badly manipulated to back someone's agenda.

    Maybe there are good studies and statistics out there but a well balanced study wouldn't be provocative enough to be newsworthy.

    I am giving up and thinking about something else.

  22. Igor Stravinsky

    Case Control Study

    This seems to be a case-control study. In medicine, such studies are easier to do than randomized controlled trials, but they are also fraught with shortcomings, namely they only detect correlation, not causation.

    To prove their thesis, the authors should perform a randomized controlled trial. Enroll 1000 people, randomly give 500 guns, and see what happens. (If they wanted they could then do a crossover - switch the guns from the 500 who have them to the 500 who don't, and record again what happens).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's unlawful in the US


    "Using deadly force against someone who is no longer a threat to you would be unlawful in most civilised places."

    Civilian carry laws usually consider using deadly force in the prevention of a crime as justifiable. However, once they turn and run, you are no longer preventing a crime and thus no longer justified.

    Of course, what actually happens depends on a lot of things aside from the law; you could be fully justified and still get convicted, or you could get away with murder depending on the jury. Now, *that's* America for you.

    As for the study... what a load of crap. Not everyone licensed to carry is a moron. If there's a gun in your face, you hand over your cash just like everyone else. Unless of course your job description requires you to defend yourself (security guard, drug courier). But a reasonable person would just hand over the cash rather than risk getting their head blown off. The study does not include those who were smart enough to keep their weapons holstered, because of course, they were not shot. So really, those 4.5% are idiots who watched a few too many movies and thought they could draw faster than the other person could pull the trigger, or maybe even smart people who really had no other choice who were going to get shot regardless.

  24. Adam Williamson 1

    @AC, Thad

    AC (first one): What, you actually expect journalists to read more than the abstract of a scientific study? Heh, you optimist, you.

    "When only 4.5% of those shot were carrying guns, there doesn't seem much point in even checking any "control" group. 96.5% of people without guns get shot!"

    96.5 plus 4.5 equals...what? Would you like to take another shot at that one, Skippy?

    "I wonder if they stopped to consider that those carrying guns just possibly, just ever so slightly possibly, might be more likely to be found in situations likely to lead to shooting?"

    As Thad pointed out, if you bother to read the study, you'll find that they did.

  25. Gil Grissum

    Flawed Study

    This study is flawed. Numerous people have pointed out how and why. Like alot of studies, a question is asked and the researcher goes about finding the best way to produce the outcome they seek, in this case, against gun ownership, but various factors were not addressed, how many of the survey participants work in law enforcement, how many are criminals, and how many are average every day people who just carry guns. If the distinction was made between these three groups, the numbers would've come out differently and the researchers would not have drawn the same conclusion. My theory is that they intended to produce results that are against gun ownership and therefore, that is what they did. Whoever funded that study is likely against gun ownership and wanted the results to be against gun ownership.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    What is this, a day trip for the members of the Small Penis Society?

    Because that sure seems like what's going on here. Gun-nuts are small, scared, petty, cowardly, impotent little men, and having a gun makes them feel big and like they might be a hero one day - *exactly* the worst kind of immature, fearful, trigger-happy, ill-disciplined idiot who should never under any circumstances be trusted with the degree of power and responsibility that stems from owning a gun. The attachment is a purely emotional need stemming from a sense of fear and inadequacy, and that is demonstrated by the level of blatant and wilful self-delusion to which they will stoop to protect their cherished belief that having a gun actually makes them safer just because it makes them /feel/ safer. But it is an irrational belief, and hence when faced with a reality check these folks will actually deny or deliberately misinterpret the information that they are being told by their senses, in order to cling to their rigid dogma. For example:


    >"So the message seems to be turn the other cheek and hope that the scumbag doesn't kill you just for being a pussy."

    No, that's not what they said. They said that if you are carrying a gun when you are robbed, you are more likely to end up getting shot than if you are not carrying a gun. All that other stuff - about being a pussy - you just made it up, in order to try and use an emotional reaction to override factual knowledge and protect your self-identity. Sure, if you want to take your chances and you don't mind "losing" (by which you mean of course "dying years ahead of your time and losing your one and only chance at life in this world"), go ahead, but don't try and pretend you're playing the odds, because you're playing against them.


    >"When only 4.5% of those shot were carrying guns, there doesn't seem much point in even checking any "control" group."

    You sure have a lot of cheek accusing them of talking bollocks about statistics when all you've got is completely made-up guesswork like this. If you do the maths, you'll find out that with a sample of 4.5 percent from a group size of around 680 means you can make an analysis at the p<0.05 level of confidence; is that what you meant by "doesn't seem much point"? After all, the 0.05 level is used regularly in longitudinal and cohort studies, and it seems to produce fairly satisfactory ..... Wait, what? You haven't done the maths? You don't even know what any of this means? You weren't making a valid objection on mathematical grounds to the reliability of the conclusions that they were trying to draw? No, that's right. You weren't. You were talking bollocks. Not them. You.

    @Karl Lattimer:

    >"Post hoc ergo proctor hoc - just because someone who owns a gun gets shot, does not mean that by the mere ownership they are more likely to be shot."

    Wow, you sure know some big words and phrases from classical education, but that doesn't necessarily mean you understand them. If you want to talk about logical fallacies, let's have at your straw man here, because you have badly misrepresented what the study actually says. Their claim is not that "mere ownership" of a gun makes you "more likely to be shot", it is that "on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault" - i.e., when an assault happens. The only "moronic interpretation" is the twisted way you misdescribe the conclusion to try and turn it into something it is not.


    >"A more useful statistic... might be the percentage of people carrying a gun who used them successfully to defend themselves in an attack, no?"

    No, why would it be? It tells you nothing *comparative*. And it doesn't tell you the most important thing: not whether you defend yourself, but whether you survive, either by defending yourself witha gun /or/ by not doing so. What you want to know is whether carrying a gun makes you more or less likely to *survive* an attack. Carrying a gun increases your chances of using it to successfully defend yourself in an attack relative to your chances of defending yourself with a gun when you aren't carrying a gun (0%), certainly, but you're just ignoring the 99% of all cases where you don't carry a gun, don't defend yourself with it, and still walk away without a scratch on you. Suppose 50% of people carrying a gun use them successfully to defend themselves in an attack, whereas 99% of people not carrying a gun also don't get killed - sounds like carrying a gun increases your chance of death from 1% to 50%. Those are made up figures, they are just to demonstrate that it could be either way and you can't tell anything from the statistic that you're asking to hear.

    I could go on, but I won't bother, it's really tedious ploughing through all these inane attempts at logic, maths and reasoning from a bunch of armchair statisticians and theoretical experimentalists. Clearly, none of you have even bothered to click the link and read so much as the abstract of the paper (and you could have found the whole thing available free online if you had actually *wanted* to know what you were talking about), since it appears they have anticipated all your objections.

    So all your supposedly clever-seeming arguments are in fact groundless and merely evidence of your self-delusion: you have a prejudged conclusion about whether having a gun makes you safer or not, based solely on your gut response emotional reaction that it makes you feel safer, and when some evidence comes along that threatens your cherished belief, you invent all these objections completely out of thin air. But you are deluded and irrational, and your attempts at stringing together anything approaching a coherent or logical argument are laughable and transparent to anyone who isn't in the grip of the fear and loathing that drives your gun-mania.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    I don't know which is worse....

    The fact that El Reg published an article on a Sunday, the fact that I checked, or that someone actually moderated the reponses and passed them. DO WE NOT HAVE LIVES???? *sob*

    WTF because the Winconsin Tourist Fedaration would want us to spend our free visiting Winconsin.

  28. Jeff Deacon

    Just another attempt ...

    Just another attempt to disarm the citizens of the USA, and to turn them into the sheep that we have become in Europe. News reports in the UK seem to indicate just how much safer we are because only the police have firearms, and they never make mistakes.

  29. copsewood

    Old news

    "He who lives by the sword will die by the sword" Matthew 26:52

  30. Anonymous Coward


    Marines carry guns. According to this study, if we take all the guns away from Marines, they won't get shot as much. BRILLIANT! Gotta love when the outcome of the study is predetermined. How stupid do these people think we are?

  31. Tom Wood

    @Thad: Fail fail

    "96.5% of people without guns get shot!"

    I'm sure those doing the study were smart enough to identify at least 4 categories:

    A. Those with guns who got shot

    B. Those without guns who got shot

    C. Those with guns who didn't get shot

    D. Those without guns who didn't get shot

    We know from the article that there is a 6:94 ratio between those in category A and those in B, and that (A/C) = 4.5 * (B/D), but the article doesn't mention the stats about the others.

  32. MarkMac

    Commentards - learn to read

    He guys, how many of you have read the actual research? D'ya think that just maybe, scientists know how to 'do' stats? Perhaps before claiming they've ignored basic logic, or forgotten to eliminate crims, or whatever, you should read the _actual_ research, not El Reg's hack's intepretation laced with personal opinion and so forth.

  33. Bruce Ordway

    Guns in America

    I remember at age 14 breaking some kids empty soda bottles in my neighborhood. There is no doubt I was being a nuisance. However, his mom came out using a .38 to persuade me to wait for the police. I told her to shoot me, slowly turned and walked away. Luckily in 1970 having a gun just made that person look foolish. I've had guns pointed at me several times since then, always as a form of intimidation. I've never had one actually fired at me though and in every case I was involved in something I shouldn't have been. I do wonder what would happen if I ever carried a gun? Still I'm in favor of gun ownership. I have a few, I just don't carry 'em around. And of course... I live in the U.S.

  34. Doug Glass

    Real World Experience

    Having experience a destructive and forced daylight home invasion (~1100 hours; Friday, August 17, 2007) my wife knows full well the benefits of being an armed and firearms savvy individual. If you haven't been placed in those circumstances personally, everything you have to say both for and against guns is pure fantasy, worthless conjecture and most likely confused second-hand information.

  35. Solomon Grundy

    Poor Analysis and Backshooting

    I agree with just about everyone else here, regardless of your stance on gun ownership, this is really, really poor data analysis. Bad math, bad logic, just plain awful - the people who put this study together should be fired.

    In the U.S. you can shoot someone in protection of property so backshooting might be perfectly legal. I don't know the legal technicalities but I'd shoot 'em and trust my lawyers to sort it out. The mugger would be dead anyway and really couldn't refute any story you can up with.

  36. Brezin Bardout

    I wonder what the statistics are...

    for the number of posters who have actually read the report they are so expertly refuting?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Take away the guns...

    Of course carrying guns leads to shootings. So we should take away the guns on the street. Starting with the police: the portion of the population that carries the highest number of guns. This will prevent them from being shot and will increase safety. Cause and effect, just like in the study...

  38. Bob Kentridge

    Ignorance of medical statistics

    Lots of people seem to have read the Reg article but not the research paper and are making all sorts of assertions about how stupid medical statisticians are, how they didn't understand elementary logic and how they drew conclusions that were not justified by their data. I too have not read this particular paper. I have, however, read the first author's previous paper on the relationship between shootings and alcohol availability. He analysed a few dozen personal and situational confounds and regressed each out of the final odds ratio based tests of associations between the primary factors being studied. This seems a pretty solid approach to me. I suspect critics are probably more motivated by political predilictions than by specific issues with the method of analysis.

  39. K7AAY

    Survey fallacious: Preselects for people dumb enough to get shot

    The survey, I will wager, is disproportionately weighted to men and underrepresents women who carry weapons, for, by definition, it only counts people dumb/arrogant enough to get shot.

    A proper survey takes people with weapons and determines how many were shot.

    A proper survey also doesn't focus on one urban area, but looks at the entire population.

    This is bad science.


    A gun is a tool; no more, no less.

    It's an equalizer; it removes the advantage of strength that large men have.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    What the statistics don't tell you

    Eliminating criminals are quite common in America, through the use of personal weapons.

    Someone no packing heat suffers a very small chance in shooting an attacker dead. A nice example of a successful action:

    Shooting someone, after you are robbed will get you in trouble, unfortunately for the writer of this article Register article. As an example:

    As far as the jokes regarding people in Texas, USA are concerned, weapon wielding citizens and law enforcement officers from Texas show their mettle all the time.,1273650

    The citizen is the first line of defense in any society, when things go wrong.

    The police are the back-up, after something goes wrong.

    Grenade image, for obvious reasons.

  41. Bob Kentridge


    You don't even have to read the paper to realise K7AAY is talking bollocks, all you have do do is read the abstract and know what an odds-ratio is.

  42. Steven Jones

    March of the faithfull

    Anybody who has tried to engage an American who feels strongly about the "right to bear arms" will know that the issue is much closer to an issue of faith than anything open to rational debate. The right comes from a rather old and outdated notion on what is required to maintain freedom and defense and is rather closer to those medieval rules which required men to practice their archery. It's simply outdated in modern liberal democracies. The best guarantee of freedom is the legal system in a democratic society. Once either of those breaks down, then all bets are off.

    If people want to see how well the private holding of arms plays out in individual freedoms, then I invite them to look at those societies where this truly holds sway. Perhaps Somalia, or Afghanistan, or northern Pakistan maybe. Or half the countries on the western coast of Africa. Or possibly the part of Mexico bordering the US where drug gangs have made full use of the easy availability of American arms. Weapons have a habit of coming under the control of local warlords.

    In the case of the US, privately held guns are far more likely to be used to kill a member of the household than an intruder. Suicide is the most common, but the killing of a family member is quite common too, not to mention significant numbers of accidents. That row that gets oout of hand can reach tragic levels when such immediate ways of dealing deaths are to hand.

    However, back to the stats. I assume the scientists have appropriately corrected for the confounding factors of ethnic group, profession, age, sex, lifestyle and all those other things. However, one thing that they almost certainly have not been able to do is to correct for attitude of those carrying guns. Might it be that those carrying such things are more likely to be confrontation? It's a bit like those stats that apparently show red cars are involved in more accidents; possibly a reflection of the personality of the owner than anything else. So might it be if you carry a gun - just simply of a personality type that places themselves more frequently in mortal danger. I wonder if those carrying guns are more likely to die in other violent ways; perhaps in car accidents.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    RE: A bit obvious really

    Tom 7 Posted Sunday 4th October 2009 11:54 GMT

    -- Only the NRA supporters cant see this - the NRA can but it makes a lot of money out of selling guns so, like the tobacco companies, it keeps quiet.

    NRA does not sell guns, neither do tobacco companies. NRA is made up of more consumers and non-gun owners than weapon companies. A bit obvious, really.

    -- The only way a gun is defensive is offensively - you have to have it pointing at the the attacker before they attack.

    You run (not in a straight line), pull out your piece, and pull the trigger when the assaulter is at close distance...

  44. Robert Hill
    Thumb Up

    The biggest gun fan...

    My cousin is an ex-Army Major, grew up in the south, went to military schools all his life, and owns a huge gun collection, giant floor safe and all. His conservative estimate is that he has shot well over a million rounds, including machine guns and tank rounds.

    He never carries a handgun on the street, period, despite living in Indiana where it is certainly legal. Is his mind, the crooks usually have the drop on you, and they train in jail to take it away from you. I have only seen him carry once, when having to retrieve a broken down auto in the worst section of a city at 2AM - but that was more like going into a possible battle not walking the street.

    I'll take his advice NOT to carry more than any of the statistics quoted here. And if you want to carry (my dad did because he made cash drops), think very carefully about your reasons. Are you sure you just don't want to think you are James Bond, or a cowboy?

    And yes, I AM a member of the NRA...

  45. Corrine


    Try the FBI statistics. They tend to lack details like these, but there's much less spin.

  46. tuna 1

    Guns Don't Kill People...

    Yeah, we all know, people do. I'm pretty sure statistics would show most of the people shot are uneducated in the use of such a tool, innocent bystanders of the ignorant and arrogant types because they think the gun gives them power/protection some how(ignorance, again). Any firearm is a powerful tool/weapon, to own one IMO it should be mandated(US and abroad) to own one that you have learned the proper use, handling and respect such a potential devastator requires to be used in ALL situations, benign or hostile. Kinda like a 2 ton automobile. And no, I'm not, nor never have been, a NRA member.

    My father taught me how to shoot/handle when I was 9, I have owned at least one firearm ever since(30 years). I have never drawn it in anger nor fear(*against a human) and I hope I never have to.

    *I have discharged in the presence of an angry Javelina momma protecting her piglets(at the ground, away from them), thankfully she heeded my warning and stopped charging as I backed away as fast as possible.

  47. John Wolff

    So-called profs are idiots

    As a duly-permitted CCW holder, I have one word for this study and its "researchers".


  48. Alan Esworthy

    @ac 15:52

    What is this, a day trip for the members of the gigantic ego society?

    People such as you, who are not willing to countenance free and responsible individuals declaring that they have a natural right to protect themselves, their families, and possessions, and who equip themselves to do just that, are misanthropic, arrogant, and egotistical wanna-be tyrants.

    I am 60 years old and have never been in a fight in my life, having successfully defused all potentially violent conflicts without surrendering. I am quite proud of that. I also carry a firearm unless I have a good legal or practical reason not to. I have never pointed any gun at anything other than targets, much less fired one.

    And you want to be trusted with the degree of power and responsibility to tell me what I may and may not do? How unspeakably power-mad you are.

    Are you willing to say that you'd prefer to see a woman lying in a car park raped and then strangled with her own panty hose than to see her holding a pistol and standing over her dead would-be armed assailant?

    You victim-disarmament psychos are truly nauseating.

  49. Charles Manning

    Having been a gun carrier I'm not surprised

    When I was armed, I'd happily go through areas that I would not when unarmed. And I've only been mugged once, when I had a gun, and chased the bastard away.

    That would not have happened if I'd been unarmed because I would not have gone anywhere near that area.

  50. Robert 3


    this thing stinks of political agenda.

  51. G-HAM 2000

    @ Bob Kentridge

    Bingo. People are parroting the same crap that was mentioned in the article regarding cause and effect, without bothering to read the study, and despite the fact the first comment mentioned that this wasn't the case anyway. Sigh.

  52. Nexox Enigma


    """Has any of the random shootings at schools etc ever been prevented by someone carrying a gun?"""

    Since that would assume someone was legally carrying a gun (Who would illegally carry one just to be safer?) at a school, where it is illegal for just about anyone short of a police officer to carry, the question isn't terribly valid.

    And since lots of those sorts of shootings end with suicide, it could be idiotically argued that gun carriers eventually end the violence.

    I don't own a gun, but if I lived somewhere that I could conveniently use one (to shoot at cans, old cars, small animals, etc) I expect that I would. I have no delusions about being able to use a handgun to defend anything more than a wager at a shooting range.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    @old news

    "He killed me with a sword, how weird is that?"

    I guess we are all pretty safe from sword death then.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    @ "it's unlawful in the US"...

    Couplea things mate.

    Firstly, states, counties and cities can and often have differing laws concerning this. So your scope is incorrect for a start, there's no Federal statute concerning this.

    Where I live (Washington State), the State law (which includes a blanket preemption) has a couple of different ways to look at this.

    While there's a fundamental rule of thumb similar to your point about "use of deadly force while facing imminent or actual risk of death or serious injury", there's another scenario that might come into play.

    No, you wouldn't want to shoot the guy running down the street carrying your TV, who just dropped the knife he had waved at you, in the back at 70 yards.

    However there's a part of the law which refers very clearly to the bad guy NOT ONLY BEING AN IMMEDIATE THREAT TO YOU PERSONALLY but indeed to ANY OTHER PERSON.

    So you have perp running down the street waving a gun at other people but not you - this law addresses just that. Yup, even in his back.

    Just sayin.

    Walk softly, but carry etc etc.

  55. The Grump
    Thumb Up

    Professor proves link between marriage and death

    Next in the News: Professor establishs conclusive link between marriage and death.

    In a study of marriages over the past 100 years, Professor Hugo Wanker of NIH's Office of Useless Studies has proven that 100 percent of men who get married - DIE. "This is a crisis, no doubt about it" the professor said. "Until we establish the exact mechanism that links the two, I suggest a immediate suspension of all marriages, and immediate annulment of all existing marriages". The Pope had no comment on the issue by the time of publication.

    Tomorrow: A link between drinking beer in dimly lit pubs and death? Be here for the shocking story.

  56. Plato

    Another worthless study.

    Another worthless study short on data and long on assumptions pushed by individuals who have problems with their sexual maturity (according to Sigmund Freud anyway).

    The conclusion is of such idiocy that I cannot believe any intelligent person would actually submit such a silly idea for others to view.

    The same logic: 100% of all people who were shot during an assault were wearing shoes. Wearing shoes increases ones risks of being shot during violent assault.

    Complete idiocy.

    For starters there are dozens of variables that were either ignored or completely discarded during this entire charade.

    How many of those individuals who were armed were shot in the back or in such a manner as to preclude them from using their weapon in defense?

    How many of those individuals were armed were shot while committing a criminal act?

    How many of those individuals were armed were shot by someone they know or trusted?

    Not all incidents that are criminal acts of assault occur between a completely innocent party and a criminal party.

    These numbers were compared with a random sampling taken by phone (original study): how stupid are these people? If you call people randomly and inquire as to their firearm ownership, people are going to LIE.

    Secondly, firearm ownership and CCP in the United States is at an all time high and yet violent crime is at an all time low.

    Every year approximately 400,000 Americas die due to medical accidents.

    Every year approximately 40,000 Americans die due to automobile accidents.

    Every year approximately 20,000 Americans die due to firearm related crimes.

    Sources: CDC, DOT

    If “saving lives” is the priority here and the logic of this paper is the logic to use, we should ban doctors and automobiles before we ever consider firearms because FAR more people die by the former than the latter.

    From the National Crime Victimization Survey, 1979-1985:

    “When using guns in self-defense:

    • 83% of robbery victims were not injured.

    • 88% of assault victims were not hurt.

    • 76% of all self-defense use of guns never involve firing a single shot.”

    From the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, 1994: “Two-thirds of the people who die each year from gunfire are criminals being shot by other criminals.”

    From the BATF, 1999 : “93% of guns used in crimes are obtained illegally (i.e., not at gun stores or gun shows).”

    Firearms are not the problem here. Criminals and the idiot citizens who elect politicians and judges who do not enforce the law are the problem here.

    Show me a number of lives “lost” due to people acting in a criminal fashion or acting with negligence and I will show you over 2,500,000 lives saved by the use or demonstration of a firearm.

    Mono labe !

  57. GrantB

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Sunday 4th October 2009

    Great attack, actual reasoning based on reading the article carefully and displaying a real knowledge of stats and research. Pity you didn't give your name as it was a good post. End result; further proof that not only did people not read or understand the article, but they don't read the comments. That is the real fail/wtf.

    The research is a single study and I would be reluctant to draw too much from it without reading more about the stat's used (multi variable factor analysis of a small-ish sample size is somewhat problematic) but seems sound enough to state that on the evidence presented, carrying a weapon is more likely to to get you shot.

    For the record, New Zealand police are still unarmed and although again there are lots of factors, certainly appear less likely to be shot than a cop in the US.

  58. tuna 1
    Thumb Up

    @ MarkMac

    I agree scientists know their science, but statisticians with an agenda know how to make a bunch of numbers "say" anything they want them to say. IE: mean, median or mode?

    For the record, I never said the results were wrong and I am not refuting the results. I'm just saying 2 semesters of stats in college taught me to never trust anything but the raw data, but I don't have the time nor inclination to crunch it.

    That said, I agree less guns may equate to less deaths, but the inverse could result if armed criminals went on a spree knowing the "non-criminals" had no guns. I am sticking to my original thesis, less ignorance/more education in proper handling and usage would result in less deaths, as well.

    Once again, I am not a NRA member nor a gun zealot, just another guy with an opinion and alot of skepticism.

  59. jake Silver badge


    ""He who lives by the sword will die by the sword" Matthew 26:52"

    "S/he who quotes the bible in a technical forum will be summarily ignored." jake, 21:10

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Flaw in argument

    While I would guess that owning a gun raises your chances of getting shot - I think the study is fundamentally flawed. Philly has some bad areas - areas in which one is likely to own a gun cause lots of people get shot (OK not LOTS - but enough). Those people are also the people who own more guns. (Hint - it is because they are getting SHOT AT.) The average person in Philly does not own a gun AND does not get shot at.... This is the whole chicken and egg bit....

    BTW - I used to live near Philly. I really liked the place and the people who live there. They are for the most part very nice hard working people. It is one of my favorite big cities.

    HG - Cause if the bullet don't work you can always try the HG.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    packing heat


    I wonder how much personal experience the researchers have using a firearm to thwart a robbery or assault or other crime against their person? My guess is that they have no experience and that their research is biased. Indeed it is probably politically motivated.

    My experience is that a trained and practiced firearms owner can avoid becoming a victim by the proper use of their weapon. It has worked for me three times. No shots were fired. Criminal plans were changed. An easier victim was probably selected.

    Residents of most eastern large cities are forbidden gun ownership. A huge percentage of shootings are gang related. Data from inner city shootings has no application to the larger population of the country.

    Many states now have CCW laws. Citizens with a clean record can own and carry a firearm for protection. Most of the time the process involves training in the legal use of the weapon according to the laws of that state. There is usually a practical examination where the prospective CCW holder demonstrates their ability to safely fire the firearm.

    Training should not stop once the CCW has been issued. Additional training is available. Most gun stores can recommend a certified instructor. Stores also sell gun safes and other security devices for the proper storage of firearms. Although the right to bear arms is an individual right it is an awesome responsibility.

  62. jake Silver badge

    Both sides of the gun issue have their points. However ...

    I'm an American, but I have I've lived in England for a total of 10+ years (I'm about 50 y/o). England has little "need" for guns, as nearly all dangerous critters (except humans and badly trained dogs) have been eliminated over the last 20,000 years. British politicians have managed to demonize "needless" weaponry in the eyes of TheGreatUnwashed, thanks to the actions of a few deranged individuals ... thus neatly removing a tool from the hands of the populous, playing off a couple of statistically meaningless incidents.

    Ok, not completely removing. There are still plenty of guns in private hands in England. Last time I was there for a couple months, I stayed with a friend of mine for a few weeks. He's a PhD research chemist, no criminal record, makes in excess of GBP85,000/yr, as far as I know he doesn't even have any points on his driving record. He offered me the use of a 9mm Browning automatic for the duration of my stay. I politely declined ... and even though I'm quite familiar with handguns, rifles and shotguns, I was vaguely uncomfortable for the duration of my stay at his house.

    Daftest thing about Brit gun laws is that pistols & rifles were banned before shotguns! I mean, c'mon! Most "gun crime" takes place over a couple yards, not tens of yards ... Would you prefer an untrained criminal pointing a surgically precise weapon at you, or would you prefer they had a sawn-off shotgun? I know which I'd choose!

    And as a side note, how many of the anti-gun folks smoke tobacco, either side of the pond? Guns MIGHT kill you, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe. If you are unlucky. Tobacco, if used as intended by the manufacturer, WILL kill you, eventually. More people die from tobacco related complications in a day here in the United States than die from gun violence in a year. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

    I won't go into deaths caused by people with improper driver training ...

    During the meanwhile, back in California, USA ...

    In the last month, I've had to break out guns twice. The first time was to kill four of five coyotes who were trying to take down our 6 month old stud colt while his mother was getting re-acquainted to the saddle (four are decomposing at the bottom of the manure pile, the fifth managed to run off before I could nail him). The second time was to take out a wild boar[1] that was menacing people at a friend's place in the Santa Cruz mountains, sending one to the hospital with deep lacerations to the legs. Guns are tools. They have a use in certain situations.

    I grew up with guns. I know what they are for, and how to use them, as do the rest of my family. In the last 200+ years, as far as I know the only member of my family who has actually used a firearm against another human in a non-war situation was Christopher Houston Carson (yes, that one). We, as a family, have also not seen gun violence directed towards us, with the exception of great-great-great-great Uncle Kit.

    In my opinion, the biggest problem with gun violence isn't the gun, but rather the violence, which is mostly caused by a lack of education and violence at home. Not that it's politically correct to say it, but I kinda suspect that most violent "troubled yoof" got smacked around by their mothers, starting at an early age ...

    I won't go into the shear joy of target practice ... teaching my nieces & nephews how to shoot is fun for me, as I suspect teaching me to shoot was fun for my uncles. For me, hitting targets at long distances (1000+ meters) is a zen thing. Meditation. Either you get it, or you've never been properly introduced to it.

    [1] Cross, actually, between feral domestic pig and actual European wild boar brought to the Santa Cruz Mountains in the 1800s for hunting purposes. They are becoming a serious problem in central California. On the bright side, I have two hams, streaky bacon & back bacon curing, and a bunch of sausage meat smoking. The rest is in the freezer, or going on the grill tomorrow for the Ranch's employee's lunch ... Them boys is seriously tasty![2]

    [2] I don't actually hunt anymore ... the above two examples are varminting, not hunting ... but that doesn't mean I'm going to let good wild game go to waste ... maybe to waist, tho' ;-)

  63. Flybert

    arrrgggg !

    Muggers who use guns are the most desperate of muggers, as the consequences in jail time for using a gun while committing a crime are greatly more severe than, say, cold cocking the victim .. If a mugger is so desperate to be using a gun, OF COURSE, if you go reach for a weapon, you are much more likely to be shot .. if such a mugger even perceives you have a gun he's more likely to shoot you .... DUH !

    And indeed, it's extremely difficult to get a carry permit in Philadelphia or in fact any urban area in the US .. this does absolutely no good in that the criminals have no problem getting guns. As a victim, it's solely the mindset of the criminal that determines whether you live or die

    think about it .. common low level street criminals look for easy targets and/or those that look like they might have money on them, if you have a gun in plain view on your belt, you are less likely to get assulted to begin with. Texas, which has 'right to carry' laws, there is less gun crime per capita .. check the stats .. not necessarily cause and effect, but interesting comparing to murder rates in places like Washington D.C, where handguns are effectively banned

    sure, a higher incidence of accidental shootings occur where there are more guns .. again.. DUH!, but this is the fault of careless gun owners, and it's usually their family members or friends that get shot .. this should NOT effect responsible otherwise-law abiding US citizen rights to bear arms

    I don't get assulted because I'm a 6' tall male that looks like I could defend myself and purposely look 'poor' .. if I have alot of cash to carry.. I'll leave $20-$30 in my wallet .. and have the $2000 in my sock .. if I were to get mugged, I'll gladly hand over my wallet, and doing so OBVIOUSLY would lower the risk of my being harmed, or harmed further.

    I know a wealthy, active WWII vet in his 80s now, know him for nearly 30 years .. he still goes to his business most days in his Mercedes .. has a loaded gun under the car seat, and another in his office desk drawer .. he has a military gun collection in his office as well, all are functional .. One of the nicest , kind guys I've ever met .. but he fought in WWII to preserve his rights, risked his life and saw friends die .. he's stated that if the ATF ever came in to take his guns, he'd start shooting .. he's still willing to die for his rights .. sure most of you wusses reading this don't understand that view .. but it's part of what made America great that's been largely lost for now.

    that all being said, the PURPOSE of our 2nd admendment has less to do with self defense against common criminals or hunting, than to disuade the government from becoming tyrannical , to protect all the basic inalienable rights defined in our Constitution from being taken away by force with no hope of effective resistance by the People

    Same reason, except in very limited emergency situations, we don't allow the Military or paramilitary ( National Guard) to act as a police force

    Tyranny here, in the sense of the local police taking over people's property or putting them in jail for civil disobedience or political reasons, is much less likely to happen, partly because of the 200 million guns in private hands in the USA

    As long as you aren't harming others here, you can have the attitude "live free or die" .. or "give me liberty or give me death" .. you can speak your mind , protest the government here, do all kinds of things that would give you long jail time in most counties, and a death sentence in many

    Murder will happen by criminals, guns or not .. and accidental shootings are a tragedy .. but the trade off between that and the risk of a government with no restraint on using force by guns, by having a disarmed citizenry that can no longer resist, is worth the price in my mind, and I think in the minds of most informed and rational thinking Americans

    The multinational corporations and bankers are already commiting economic tryanny on North America and Europe, and our governments are largely already bought out by the same entities

    How do you in Europe suppose to rise up and protect your property and livelyhoods as your middle class is being destroyed and made bankrupt ? ,and the multi-nationals start to physically take what you 'owe' them in collusion with your governments, who are likewise indebted now ?

    Utopias are not yet achievable, not been one yet in known human history .. there are still too many evil people bent on harming and controling others .. greedy SOBs that will take what they can without a thought of the harm it does others ..

    You get the percentage of those people walking around to near 0, particularly in positions of power .. then you can eliminate guns ... ok ?

  64. MonkeyBot

    @ Doug Glass

    "If you haven't been placed in those circumstances personally, everything you have to say both for and against guns is pure fantasy, worthless conjecture and most likely confused second-hand information."


    Having a tragic anecdote doesn't suddenly make you the fount of all knowledge.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Jeff Deacon

    Are you suggesting that we start shooting the police to make us safer? Are you really that stupid?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We have two posters who have actually read the study and say the stats are not that bad and that a large number of variables were taken into account and about 40 who are reacting to the el reg article, without reading the study, who are complaining how bad the stats in the study are?

  67. Anonymous Coward

    Duh ... statistics ?

    Excuse if I'm wrong, but I consider this study like this :

    global population = habitants of Philadelphia

    In this population, we have a distribution of guns / no guns.

    And another group, has been shot / hasn't been shot

    If guns don't impact on "has been shot", then we must find the same proportion of "guns / no guns" in "has been shot" and "hasn't been shot" (If I remember correctly, P(A)/P(B) = P(A) when P(A) and P(B) are independant)

    So, in this case, with a random sample large enough, and corrective functions in order to filter out noise (drug dealers, cops ...), if guns doesn't have impact on "has been shot / hasn't been shot", then we must find the same proportions has stated before.

    We don't find the same proportion, but a proportion bigger for "has been shot" and "i have a gun"

    So, a correlation between the two. Stats have spoken, carrying a gun is dangerous* !

    I don't think this survey is flawed by data, because they take all subjects in the same population, from 2 subgroups exclusive.

    * dangerous, for example : you can shoot yourself. Guns have impact on "has been shot" so :)

  68. Hermes Conran


    These stats are rubbish, I've watched enough movies to know that good guys are faster on the draw!

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't take your guns to town, son

    One Mr. J.R. Cash covered this subject pretty well, I think.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Doug Glass

    "Having experience a destructive and forced daylight home invasion (~1100 hours; Friday, August 17, 2007) my wife knows full well the benefits of being an armed and firearms savvy individual. If you haven't been placed in those circumstances personally, everything you have to say both for and against guns is pure fantasy, worthless conjecture and most likely confused second-hand information."

    You do realise the complete absurdity of your post? It manages to combine straw man arguments, argument from [supposed] authority, irony and at least an amusing degree of hubris.

    Not to mention the paradox that by your own argument, your argument is pure fantasy, so therefore it can't be pure fantasy, but then it is, so it isn't, but it must be, but it can't anyone?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comparison with lifts

    There are two aspects to this: Firstly, you might be safer without a gun even if you are infinitely wise and sensible (unlikely, perhaps, but not totally implausible), and secondly, most people are not at all wise and sensible most of the time so it is almost certainly true that an ordinary person is safer without a gun (because they are less likely to do something stupid like produce it when an armed robber only wants to take their wallet).

    There's a comparison with lifts. Lifts used to have an escape hatch in the ceiling so people could get out if the lift got stuck. But then someone did a statistical analysis and found out that far more people were being killed using the escape hatches that would have died if they'd just waited to be rescued. So they stopped installing escape hatches in lifts and now, as a result, fewer people die in lifts.

    It's sort of paradoxical. You might think you're safer with an escape hatch, because then you at least have the option of using it, when you really have to, in your not-so-humble opinion. However, statistics show that the public is safer without them.

    You might think you're safer with a gun. You don't have to use it, after all. However, statistics show ...

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Thad

    "From the school of Utter Bollocks Statistics!

    When only 4.5% of those shot were carrying guns, there doesn't seem much point in even checking any "control" group. 96.5% of people without guns get shot!"

    Seems you graduated from there as well then. Not only can you not do maths, but you also can't analyse statistics properly. I'm sure you meant to say '96.5% of people who got shot didn't have a gun', not '96.5% of people without guns get shot'. Cause that's a hell of a lot of people getting shot otherwise.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't take research...

    ... to know that when the talk turns to guns, a certain type of American will disconnect his frontal lobes, start sweating testosterone and pass verbal diarrhoea at a rate that defies medical explanation. An ex army friend who'd trained with the septics in Germany once advised me; "never, ever go near an American with a loaded weapon - especially if he's on your side".

  74. Michael Shaw
    Dead Vulture

    surely the best strategy is

    Do not go to philidelphia, as 6 people a day get shot dead. That sounds really dangerous.

  75. Anonymous Coward

    @ JMB

    @ JMB

    None, you're not allowed to carry near a school. The question there is if people were allowed to conceal carry around schools, would someone act to stop an active shooter?


    A futher study would be interesting to see how many of those carrying had taken suitable tactical firearms courses? It's a lot harder to do stuff when the adrenaline is pumping than people think, and firing your gun once at a range 5 years ago isn't going to cut it if you have to draw, and knowing when to draw and when to leave it in the holster helps too.

    A lot of people who carry knives for defence die by them too, unless you have the training, experience or both and the will to use it they are just there to arm the aggressor.

  76. breakfast Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    A gun doesn't just remove the advantage of strength. It gives the "advantage" of being able to kill other people to the psychopath who is prepared to use it without pause or moral consideration. I'm not sure I see how rewarding psychopaths makes for a stable society.

  77. R J Tysoe

    thad's statistics

    Thad said "From the school of Utter Bollocks Statistics!

    When only 4.5% of those shot were carrying guns, there doesn't seem much point in even checking any "control" group. 96.5% of people without guns get shot!"

    Yes, Thad, your statistics are utter bollocks. For a start 100-4.5 is 95.5, not 96.5. Also (correcting your error) 95.5% of people who were shot being unarmed is not the same as "95.5% of people without guns get shot"

    If you're going to mock the statistics in the study you should have at least a basic grasp of statistics yourself.

  78. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Classic case of the wrong statistical group.

    Simply put, the prof's group they are analysing are people that got shot, therefore they have not included any data from people that actually suffered an attack and didn't get shot, whether they carried a gun or not. There is also no way to quantify how many attackers were dissuaded from committing a crime by knowing that the potential victim had a gun. So the data is not only incomplete but probably deliberately so.

    To say the prof and chums went looking for data to meet thier own beliefs is too light a reprimand. As medical professionals and at least one professor, they can't be stupid, and must therefore know they were using slanted data to get to where they wanted. Ergo, the whole thing is just the usual pseudo-scientific, anti-gun propaganda.

    These types of studies really should be left to sociologists as they get a bigger picture, but even then they get constrained not only by preconceptions, but also by political correctness. For example, I doubt if our medicos will be willing to admit the majority of the gun victims and the perpetrators were African-Americans as that would attract autonomic accusations of racism, but bashing the largely honest and legal, and also majority white, gun owners of America can be done with no worries.

  79. Anonymous Coward

    @Steven Jones RE: March of the faithfull #

    Steven Jones Posted Sunday 4th October 2009 19:51 GMT

    --- Anybody who has tried to engage an American who feels strongly about the "right to bear arms" will know that the issue is much closer to an issue of faith than anything open to rational debate. The right comes from a rather old and outdated notion

    Like other things such as Freedom of Religion, All Men are Created Equal, Rights are Endowed by Our Creator, etc.

    --- The best guarantee of freedom is the legal system in a democratic society. Once either of those breaks down, then all bets are off.

    In a Democracy, the will of the majority can stomp on the rights of the minority. A Democratic System with something like Sharia Law is a proverbial nightmare - the worst of all worlds. Imagine being a minority group and being told that your word is worth less than a Muslim in a court of law, or that a Muslim can accuse you of any crime and he does not need a witness because he is a Muslim and your are a non-Muslim minority.

    --- If people want to see how well the private holding of arms plays out in individual freedoms, then I invite them to look at those societies where this truly holds sway. Perhaps Somalia, or Afghanistan, or northern Pakistan maybe.

    Fine examples of Democracy combined with a legal system based upon Sharia Law.

    --- Or half the countries on the western coast of Africa. Or possibly the part of Mexico bordering the US where drug gangs have made full use of the easy availability of American arms. Weapons have a habit of coming under the control of local warlords.

    These drug gangs get their weapons from MONEY, not from America. If there was not a single weapons dealer left in North America, the dealers could afford their own forgeries and factories - leaving the rest of the North America completely at risk.

    Weapons have a habit of coming under the control of people who have money, when weapons are rationed by the government in third-world countries... because the wealthy can pay the bribes.

  80. Charles 9

    Re: @Steven Jones RE: March of the faithfull

    Now, to combine your perspective with the American perspective, do you really think Sharia law would be really enforcable if those supposed minority elements happened to have ready access to a large variety of firearms? Making repressive laws is one thing, but it's another thing altogether to try to send people out to enforce it if the other side is saying "you're wrong!" and has the guts and the guns to enforce THEIR case. IOW, are they willing to denude a minority: to have their own version of Waco?

  81. blackworx
    Thumb Up


    You carry a gun, you deserve to get shot.

  82. Craig 28

    About personal experience

    Having a personal experience of a gun saving you from serious trouble does *not* make you any more qualified to talk about this than anyone else. It does however make you potentially even more biased, since your personal experiences make you heavily lean towards thinking that this is how the world is. Consider that all situations are different, you only have experience of your specific situation and yet you dare to make blanket statements on gun use in general?

    Too much bollocks on all sides frankly. Not that anyone is likely to pay attention to this anyway, you've already made your minds up obviously and nothing will change it.

    For the moment I'm content to say it is a matter for individuals and governments to consider. Britain has a different culture to the US, and thus a different approach is valid. It doesn't make one or the other wrong, just different. We don't make fun of you for having an age limit on alcohol of 21 after all do we? Or for having a state which completely bans sex toys apart from for medical purposes? Well only a little in that last case, but c'mon...

  83. Anonymous Coward


    Are you seriously suggesting all gun owners are psycopaths?

    I'm not sure a psycotic individual who is prepared to kill without pause or moral consideration is very concerned with what weapon they choose either.

  84. No, I will not fix your computer

    Guns don't kill people......

    .......Americans do

    The issue is not guns, a quick hop over the border to Canada (who have similar laws* and almost identical levels of gun ownership), shows it's not the laws, it's the people.

    I'm English, I live in the UK, I own guns, I don't think that Americans should be allowed guns because they can't be trusted, but it's too late, there are too many guns there and too many ways that new gns can enter the country.

    On the "right to bear arms" thing, that was in there to ensure that the government could be overthrown if they didn't act on behalf of the American people, this will never happen due to the fact that loyalty to the president is more important than free thinking (probably why Bush v2 survived so long), why do you think sedation acts (like the patriot act, the latest and most powerful) protects the government and not the people?

    *when I say similar, this is very broad and I don't mean mental laws like the one where it's illegal NOT to own a gun (Kenesaw in Atlanta?)

  85. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD





    The research techniques used were the same as those previously used "to establish links between such things as smoking and lung cancer or drinking and car crashes". The message is: you smoke, you'll get cancer; you drive drunk, you'll crash your car; carry a gun, you'll get shot.



    I shall be pedantic but brief with 2 questions.

    1. Is the quoted study a restrospective analysis suggesting a finding derived _INDUCTIVELY_?

    2. How then, was the above quoted 'mesage' arrived at? Sounds absolute and deductive to me.

    Wait... I think I know the answers:

    1. Yes

    2. Rhetoric || ignorance (note it's note an exlusive or)

    epic fail :(

  86. peyton?

    @many of these posts


    @Guns don't kill people... Two counties, similar land area, one has 30 million people, the other 300 million. Your ability to compare apples with apples leaves something to be desired...

  87. Tony Kammerer

    Would you prefer data or BS?

    I'll reiterate for any of you that would actually like real statistics and data instead of simply falling for all the anti-gun BS that is spouted:

    And here is a relevant bit in reply to the question asked early in the comments by JMB ("Has any of the random shootings at schools etc ever been prevented by someone carrying a gun?"):

    "In Pearl, Mississippi, the assistant principal carried a firearm to the school until the 1995 "Gun-Free School Zones" law passed, afterwards he began locking his firearm in his car and parking at least a quarter-mile away from the school. When the shooting started, he ran to his car, got his gun, ran back, disarmed the shooter and held him on the ground until the police arrived. Had the law not been passed, the assistant principal might have prevented the two deaths and seven shooting-related injuries."

  88. Quatroux

    Rule #1

    Discard anything from Penn that doesn't have Wharton in the name.

  89. Michael C

    facts vs statistics vs rights vs wills

    OK, first, the US constitution did not grant the right to bear arms to all men because it was our "right" but because there was a) no established military, b) no established poilice force, c) a MASSIVE expanse of undefended land, d) people owned THOUSANDS of acres each, and needed a way of protecting them from other settlers, invaders, indians, livestock theives, and more. This was also in direct reaction to England's rules for the colonies against certain folk not only owning guns, but at the time it was illegal to make bullets or gun powerder on American soil, it all had to be imported by English law. The right to bear arms was for the militia, which at best in today's world can be described as the National Guard Reserves. It was not for protection from one's government (and although lincoln is often creditid for saying such things, out of context, he was actually against any idea of government where the people WOULD have to revolt to change it)

    Next, 4.5% of people with guns shot and killed in an ASSAULT out of 100% of people killed by a gun in an assault. That does NOT say that 4.5% of people with guns SHOT. Per Data from the CDC and Buereau of Justice, in 2001 (the most recent year both have comparitive statistics), 29,500 people were killed by a gun. Only 11,000 were by homicide (less than half), and only 15% of those were by a stranger! 35% were killed by acquaintence, the rest by family or intimiate partner. Only 1650 (approx) were killed in 2001 in muggings, home invasions, robbery, or other gun related anonomuos crime.

    If you have a gun in your house, you or a family member are more than 3 times likely to be killed by that gun that by the gun of a criminal in or out of your home. If you have a gun on your person on the street, and happen to be a victim of assault, in this particialy city (which statistics show are relatively flat across all cities medium and large in the USA, with only a couple percent variance) then you;re 4.5 times more likely to be killed by the gun in the criminal's hands than if you are not also armed.

    The #1 place to be the victim of a shooting? A cab.

  90. Chad Larson

    skewed sample

    For questioning, they selected people who got shot!

    If I made a list of people who where held up, but not shot, how many were carrying?

  91. Anonymous Coward

    Beyond Utter Bollocks Statistics!

    We surveyed a bunch of inner city gang bangers and found that of the ones that were shot they almost all were carrying guns. The ones that weren't were collateral damage. However, our analysis doesn't go on to conclude that being a gang banger gets you shot.

    Whereas, if you look at actual DGU(Defensive Gun Use) statistics not gathered by obviously anti-gun fascists - The US Government estimated in 1994 1.5 Milliion DGUs annually and thirteen other surveys estimates from 800,000 to 2.5 million DGUs annually and no, not all of them were shot because they were able to respond to the survey.

    From Dr. Kleck "Since as many as 400,000 people a year use guns in situations where the defenders claim that they "almost certainly" saved a life by doing so, this result cannot be dismissed as trivial." Dr. Kleck's , a Florida State University criminologist, survey estimated some 2 million DGU annually.

    An armed citizenry is a safe and law abiding citizenry. An unarmed citizenry are nothing more than moving targets for thugs and dictators.

  92. Steven Jones

    @AC 11:16 & Charles 9

    Whoever suggested that Sharia law was compatible with democracy? Anything based on rigid laws laid down more than a thousand years ago and interpreted by self-perpetuating groups of zealouts without regard to minority interests counts as a democracy. Democracy is not simply the dictatorship of the majority. Any democracy worth its salt is judged by the protection it gives minorities.

    Anyway, quite apart from a whole series of random points made, none of which seem much to have the remotest thing to do with my comments, but I did pick up this one :-

    "These drug gangs get their weapons from MONEY, not from America. If there was not a single weapons dealer left in North America, the dealers could afford their own forgeries and factories - leaving the rest of the North America completely at risk."

    Quite apart from the fact that these drug gangs get their money from America, then it most certainly is the case that they get most of their guns from the same place. The following is one of many articles on the subject :-

    "U.S. authorities say Mexican drug gangs, like Los Zetas, who act as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel, now possess a sophisticated, high-powered arsenal that gives them the firepower to take on the Mexican army.

    According to ATF gun-tracing data, 90 percent of the traceable weapons used in Mexican drug violence originated in the United States with Texas, Arizona and California the largest suppliers."

    (For those that don't know, the ATF is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a law enforcement agency within the US Department of Justice).

    I do quite take the point that if there is lots of money around in the hands of gangsters, then they will find sources for guns. However, that's no reason to make it easy for them. When central, legal authority breaks down, guns end up overwhelmingly in the hands of warlords, private milias and gangsters.

    As the US government found out in the 1930s, when open gang warfare was threatening to run out of control, it was only strong central action, in the form of a much beefed-up FBI (created from earlier organsiations), that was able to manage the situation. Citizen power didn't do much in that regard.

  93. Tony Kammerer

    Reply to Steven Jones about Mexican Gun

    Myth: The United States is the source of 90% of drug syndicate guns in Mexico

    Fact: This is an often misquoted data point from the BATFE, who said 90% of the firearms that have been interdicted in transport to Mexico or recovered in Mexico came from the United States. Thus the 90% number includes only the firearms American and Mexican police stop in transport.*

    Fact: The original number was derived from the number of firearms successfully traced, not the total number of firearms. For 2007-2008, Mexican officials recovered approximately 29,000 firearms from crime scenes and asked for BATFE traces of 11,000. Of those, the BATFE could trace roughly 6,000 of which 5,114 were confirmed to have come from the United States. Thus, 83% of the crime guns recovered in Mexico have not been or cannot be traced to America.**

    *Mexico's Massive Illegal weapons coming from China and the U.S., American Chronicle, March 14, 2009

    **The Myth of 90 Percent, Fox News, April 2, 2009, BATFE data distilled by William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott

    (Taken from

  94. Wolf 1

    While I don't personally carry a gun... company has a large (80%+) percentage of employees that *do*, as a matter of security. I am happy to report none of our employees have been shot since the company has been in business (15 years). Counting employees that left the company that number exceeds a thousand people.

    I also am happy to report we have had no incidents of workplace violence, nor have our employees ever had to actually shoot anyone.

    This study is, as many people have said, fatally flawed.

    I have grown up around guns, I know how to shoot, I know how to handle and store them safely, and while I don't own any guns lots of my relatives do, being avid hunters and collectors of both rifles and pistols. (I on the other hand, collect swords. :))

    Quite curiously, not one of my relatives (all the way out to second and third cousins) has ever been shot. Keep in mind this is a very large group too (a few hundred) counting over five generations that I know about personally, on both my father's and mother's side.

    Those who advocate gun control (ie forbidding citizens to have guns at all) are seldom the ones who grew up with them. They also tend to be more fearful in general, and want The Authorities to handle everything. Of course the whole point of the right to bear arms is the fact the Founding Fathers didn't trust The Authorities in the first place. :)

    Train a child in proper handling of weapons (guns, knives, swords, bows, whatever) and they won't turn into a slavering psychopath and murder their entire school. Well, unless they were born that way of course.

    Even then, I would point out no one *except* the Columbine shooters were armed. Had someone else had a gun the death toll *would* have been smaller. Oh, and lets not forget the monsters tried to use *explosives* as well as guns...

    In short, it isn't the gun, it's the person. A good person with a gun won't hurt you. A monster without a gun will still find a way to kill you.

    Finally, to the poster who talked about men with small genitalia compensating, that's rubbish. I know lots of women who have guns, including one who received a very nice pistol as a wedding present. What are the women compensating for, hmm? (laughing)

  95. RRRoamer

    @Steven Jones

    "According to ATF gun-tracing data, 90 percent of the traceable weapons used in Mexican drug violence originated in the United States"

    The bit that you are leaving out (intentionally or unintentionally...) is that the key part of that statement is "traceable weapons". Only about 10 percent of the weapons in this Mexican drug violence were traceable. Given that pretty much 100% of all guns legally sold in the US are traceable, is it any surprise that if you only look at the traceable guns you find a large percentage came from the US?

    Where is the other 90% of weapons coming from?

  96. Joe Harrison

    The Onion says it best

    "Little Boy Heroically Shoots, Mutilates Burglar

    8 year old Lucas Armitage has become a national hero after bravely defending his home by shooting a burglar multiple times in the chest and neck"

  97. Steven Jones


    Plenty more links on this one - I'm not sure how I could have left something out when I provided a link and this is a direct quote.

    The NRA's claims are nonsense. They assume that every weapon not submitted to the ATF was non-American in origin and that just because a weapon couldn't be traced then it also wasn't of US manufacture. I think you can fairly well guarantee that illegal weapons smugglers are going to try and eliminate anything that allows the weapons to be traced to the source.

    For a more rounded view, try this link

    So from an impartial reporter that looked into this, the overall figure is difficult to estimate, but most certainly towards the higher of the two competing stats..

  98. Eddy Ito

    Arrgh, fine example!

    Of how to lie with statistics, matey!

  99. Martin Usher

    This is well known...

    If you want to pull a gun then you really have to be well trained, knowing not just how to use it but to be practiced at using it. Any hesitation will get you killed. The notion that you can pull a gun and blast away Hollywood style is a fallacy -- you're likely to miss the threat, hit someone else and get yourself hurt.

    This is why a shotgun is a good home defense weapon. It doesn't need aiming that accurately and the sound of it being racked is all you need to persuade people to go away.

  100. Alan Esworthy

    @ Michael C 13:50 GMT

    You say, "OK, first, the US constitution did not grant the right to bear arms to all men because it was our 'right' but because..."

    Stop right there. The U. S. Constitution does not *grant* any rights at all. It acknowledges some of our natural rights and prohibits the government from violating them.

    All together now: Government Is Not The Source Of Rights

  101. Chris Romero

    Don't Take anyone's word for it, read the research yourself and decide!

    Go read the "research" article in full. You'll notice the way the statistics are calculated there is a skew (once again) towards presenting the non-gun owning populace in a better light.

    There are also plenty of missing statistics. Stats that if shown would change the tone of the research article.

    Don't be an idiot. Read the a the supposed "research" and decide for yourself if the American Journal of Public Health is trying to pawn off misleading research to the public.

  102. Anonymous Coward


    "And indeed, it's extremely difficult to get a carry permit in Philadelphia or in fact any urban area in the US"

    BS. For example, Washington State is among several "must issue" States (and has State preemption to boot). That means that if you apply for a concealed weapons permit here, the State MUST issue it to you (within 60 days) unless you are demonstrated to be ineligible (criminal record, mental history).

    Here you fill in a form, pay ~ $70, get fingerprinted, then your CCW will arrive in the post in a few weeks. It's easier than getting a driver's license, by far.

    Vermont, Alaska - no permit required at all.

    Per 48 states have provision for concealed carry, and only 9 of those are conditional. Take a look at the graphic and see how many "x"es there are in the "shall issue" column.

    There are SOME places it's hard/impossible to get permits, but in the US they are by far the exception, so I'm afraid your unresearched statement is wrong.

  103. Bounty


    This makes no sense, from the abstract.

    "After adjustment, individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 (P<.05) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession." ( I am completely ok with this part.)

    "On average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault."

    A higher percentage of people with guns getting shot, says nothing about guns protecting or not, people who are assaulted. They're not related.

    A higher percentage of people with guns getting shot, says that people who are in danger of getting shot know that, and therefore carry guns. Gang bangers, cops, nice people who have to work in the wrong part of town. If you want to measure a guns ability to protect, you really do need to include people who were not shot. (Also known as, a gun saved their ___)

  104. John F***ing Stepp

    Hi Jake.

    Being a city person I don't have to deal with coyotes after my horses. However, in the rural area I actually live in we have the damn meth people.

    Who have (to my knowledge) ended the life of at least three good citizens in the last few years.

    I would state that it would be safer to live in Indiana and not have a gun than it would to be living in the UK or NY or Philly with one.

    But a few points.


    You are armed and dive behind a dumpster as a perp fires at you; behind him (or her) is a crowd of innocent bystanders.

    Cower, you cannot return fire.


    Behind you is that same crowd.

    Take him down; as fast as possible and damn the risk.

    You have to know that. Really, I practice a lot and used to be able to drive nails with a hand gun.

    There are limits, the field of fire has to be no civilian targets or well.

    The police in the United States (and I assume the UK) are allowed mistakes; as a private citizen I cannot make a mistake.

    Yes, I carry; I carry at least one and generally three firearms at all times.

    Partly because I can; mostly because if I don't that right might just go away.

    Then I will be screwed like those poor people over in the UK (who do not seem to have a representative government.)

    Whatever, Jake you should have pointed out that you probably took those coyotes down with rifles; I might have missed one or two with my twin 45s, maybe not.

    I do practice.

  105. Anonymous Coward

    Who cares ?

    As long as US-ians (don't call them americans - that is an insult to canadians, brazilians, argentines, etc., etc.) just shoot each other, why should we care ?

    Just don't go there, and don't let them out with their much-loved weapons.


    ps Are you only allowed to comment if you don't read the article ?

    pps posted anon for raisins of paranoia.

  106. Steven Jones

    @John F***ing Stepp

    from your comment

    >> "I would state that it would be safer to live in Indiana and not have a gun than it would to be living in the UK or NY or Philly with one." <<

    If we ignore the little point that if you are privately carrying a handgun in the UK you are almost certainly a criminal, and hence in a high risk group, the the most recent intentional homicide stats for Indiana, UK and NY (state & city) are :-

    Indiana - 5.12 per 100,000 of population (2007)

    UK - 1.4 per 100,000 (2008)

    New York State - 4.1 per 100,000 (2007)

    New York City - 6.3 per 100,000 (2007)

    And a few links as that seems mildly preferable to making up an answer that suits your prejudices

  107. jake Silver badge

    @John F***ing Stepp


    People carrying guns on a regular basis in cities deserve what they get. It's kind of like most idiots with four wheel drive trucks ... they only allow you to think you can get in deeper, but in reality the idiots ultimately get stuck.

    Please note where I said I have only broken out guns twice in the last month or so. I don't generally carry, although I do have a permit. I have two largish gun safes, one in my office (overlooking most of the out-buildings on the ranch), and one in our bedroom. We also have a few "eight button" pistol safes dotted around. These all contain identical S&W Model 19s in .357, with snake shot, hollow point, and ball ammo in speed loaders. The wife, the foreman and I are the only ones with access to these ... All three of us run thru' a hundred rounds a month, or thereabouts, in practice. It is a fallacy that familiarity breeds contempt, at least where handguns are concerned.

    The coyotes, who have been on the prowl around here for a couple months[1], were taken down with a .44 Ruger carbine loaded with hollow point (remember, I had a young horse in the same paddock, I needed accuracy and no exploding bullets). I had to deliver the coup de grace for two of them, I used one of the .357s firing handloads, with soft lead bullets that I cast myself (that's my standard for packing around the ranch, when I need a gun ... It's a hair on the heavy side, but I can take six cans off six fence posts with it at 70 yards in under 10 seconds).

    The boar charged me after I got a clean hit thru' the lungs and heart with a 10 gauge slug. It dropped about 15 feet from me; I dispatched it with the .45ACP Kimber Custom I used to use for competition (no time for that anymore, but it's my "go to" in potential emergency situations).

    I managed to tag all of the coyotes with a paintball gun a couple times a few weeks before I had to kill them ... paint balls have two uses when it comes to coyotes. The first, and primary, is to hopefully let them know that hanging out on my land HURTS, thus driving them off. The secondary use is letting me know who isn't getting the message, forcing me to get out more heavy duty equipment. I don't LIKE killing the wildlife around here, but I will when I have to.

    The survivor who got away hasn't been seen in a couple weeks ... Hopefully he got the message. No, I didn't wound him (thank gawd/ess! I hate it when that happens) ... I only got off the four shots. If I wounded him, I would have tracked him and finished him off. This isn't about me being macho, or killing for fun, or torturing critters who are only doing what their genetics are telling them to do ... rather, this is about me protecting my livestock, whilst still enjoying the native critters, who are part of the reason we moved here.

    Except the fscking ground squirrels. There is a reason our favorite dogs are sighthounds.

  108. Trygve

    My word, these trolling articles do generate a lot of page impressions...

    Must do wonders for El Reg's bottom line ;-)

    @Charles 9

    "do you really think Sharia law would be really enforcable if those supposed minority elements happened to have ready access to a large variety of firearms? "

    Why yes, it would be. If the majority have access to guns and want to pick on a minority who have access to guns, simple numbers win every time. Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen etc which are awash with firearms and various forms of oppression are still rampant.

    For some bizarre reason Americans seems to believe that the thing to fear is the government oppressing them and their neighbours, when history suggests that what you have to fear is your neighbours selling you out to the government or killing you off themselves while the goverment looks the other way.

  109. John F***ing Stepp

    Let us now go hunt the Snark; hand me down my Vorpal.

    @Steven Jones

    No, valid information should never hurt.

    I mean that.

    Truth should be out there and defended.

    No. People who actually look at the stats are important as hell; keep looking and be careful.

    (and I mean by that be more anonymous than I am.)

    Really Steve, don't use your real name on the internet unless you have a Nuke buried in your backyard.

    At least I have my guns.

    And the nuke. (Just kidding.)


    I wish I could afford a Kimber, I will have to get by with a Colt and a Rock Island (but they do have matching walnut grips, thank you Louie. )

    I will usually go with the 45s because they are there (damn, what a stupid statement) under my arms and available.

    The Meth people are a bit random.

    I would be so glad (expletives post fixed, pre fixed deleted) If our police could handle them.

    But they cannot.


    The meth thing has evidently not hit the UK yet.

    When it does, enjoy. (You know, spread the legs and think of the Queen.)

    I will quit, I think I might be becoming snarky.

    I mean, really; did you people even get to vote?

  110. John F***ing Stepp


    Jake; you are awesome.

    (no really and I will continue the snarky comments later,but )

    I am going out Friday night or Saturday morning and try to tag a few meth workers.

    Paintball is fun; paintball is mostly harmless and paintball doesn't cost an arm and a leg (unless the bastards catch you) .

    So yeah, I think I will put on a "Gilli suit" and spray a bit of DEET on it(Because where I live the damn bugs can kill you faster than a druggee).

    If I can hit one meth asshole in the face with a paintgun shot (and not get killed) I will be happy; humor is about all we have left now.

    Thanks for something that will really relieve the boredom.

    And, of course.

    You ever get to southern Indiana, well look me up, call first*.

    (this is assuming that I survive one of my co-workers; the man seems to be going south fairly fast; damn, I hate workplace violence, especially when I am on the receiving end.)

    (*You would not believe the stupid Google sites returning my login<i> hey f*cks I do not need or support viagra</i> .)

    And walking away from the snarky,

  111. jake Silver badge

    @John F***ing Stepp

    "Jake; you are awesome."

    No. I am not. I am a rancher, doing my job with the tools at my disposal.

  112. Anonymous Coward

    @Steven Jones: @AC 11:16 & Charles 9

    Steven Jones Posted Monday 5th October 2009 14:40 GMT

    --- Whoever suggested that Sharia law was compatible with democracy?

    Why, you begged the comparison, by comparing gun ownership in Democratic Nations (which hold elections for their representation) where Sharia Law is popular with the United States, where Sharia Law is not popular.

    Steven Jones Posted Monday 5th October 2009 14:40 GMT

    --- Anything based on rigid laws laid down more than a thousand years ago and interpreted by self-perpetuating groups of zealouts without regard to minority interests counts as a democracy.

    I guess the U.K. with English Common Law with the history of oppression does not count as a Democracy.

  113. Anonymous Coward

    Where's the beef?

    "What we have here (again), is a failure to communicate" as in, another reporter presenting the conclusions of a supposedly valid scientific study on a certainly controversial subject, but with access to that study being blocked by the gatekeeper who charges a $15 fee for a peeksee. (I'll spare you my rant on the folly of the internet/web displacing, but without replacing, libraries)

    Yes, I do have a Ph.D. in experimental research, have taught methodology and statistics at the university level, and have more than 30 yrs experience in it, but no, I do not take the reports of non-experts in experimental methods or claims made in abstracts at face value regardless of their having passed the peer-review process, To the less-seasoned, the validation and critique of basic scientific research only begins with publication.- Peer review only affirms that it has passed the publishing society's minimum standards which can vary all over the map between societies as well as within a particular society over time. Apparently, Anonymous Coward Posted Sunday 4th October 2009 15:52 GMT., is a member or follower of this society in stating that, if we really cared, we'd each cough-up 15 bucks to take a look at what's behind the curtain - no thanks)

    If one wonders why there are so many apparent reversals of conclusions in the media on the same scientific subject over time, therein lies the problem - i. e., too many people writing too much about which they know too little and not a few with poltical axes to sharpen.

    As a rule of thumb, if a reporter does not make it clear that they have a) read the report in full and b) give evidence that they are expert in that field or have consulted an independent expert before sitting down to squawk or scribble, then why should I, or anyone, give it any credence whatsoever? A general rule - for media of all kinds - should be that no research conclusions are reported unless the society and authors allow free access to the full report and data. Anything else begs for the abuse of science that is so rampant in the media today.

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