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NCJ Number: 47864 Find in a Library
Title: GAMES WITH GUNS AND STATISTICS
Journal: WISCONSIN LAW REVIEW  Volume:1968  Issue:4  Dated:(1968)  Pages:1113-1126
Author(s): F E ZIMRING
Corporate Author: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Law School
United States of America
Date Published: 1968
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A CRITIQUE IS PRESENTED OF THE METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS OF A STATISTICAL STUDY WHICH PURPORTED TO SHOW A NEGATIVE CORRELATION BETWEEN FIREARM OWNERSHIP AND FIREARM HOMICIDE, AND BETWEEN GUN OWNERSHIP AND CRIME RATES.
Abstract: THE PAMPHLET ENTITLED 'THE TRUE FACTS OF FIREARM LEGISLATION - THREE STATISTICAL STUDIES,' BY ALAN S. KRUG IS EXAMINED. THE FIRST FINDING, THAT THE FIREARM HOMICIDE RATE IN THE UNITED STATES HAS SHOWN A DOWNWARD TREND, IS ILLUSTRATED BY A GRAPH REPRESENTING THE PER CAPITA FIREARM HOMICIDE RATE SINCE 1910, AS OPPOSED TO THE ABSOLUTE NUMBER OF HOMICIDES. THE STATEMENT WAS MADE IN TERMS OF THE ABSOLUTE NUMBER OF FIREARMS OWNED AT THE TIME OF THE REPORT (1968) IN THE UNITED STATES, AND GAVE NO INFORMATION ON PER CAPITA RATES OF FIREARMS OWNERSHIP. KRUG ALSO STATES THAT THE TOTAL RATE OF HOMICIDES HAS DECLINED ALONG WITH THE NUMBER OF FIREARMS HOMICIDES. THIS IS NOT A JUSTIFIABLE ASSUMPTION -- WITH FEWER FIREARMS, THE DECLINE IN THE HOMICIDE RATE MIGHT HAVE BEEN SHARPER. OTHER SETS OF DATA INCLUDE INTERESTING OMISSIONS; FOR EXAMPLE, FROM 1910 TO 1965, THE PERIOD UNDER STUDY, THE TREND HAS BEEN DOWNWARD, BUT THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION REPORTS SHOW THAT THE RATE BEGAN TO INCREASE IN 1964, THUS MISREPRESENTING TRENDS AT THE TIME OF THE REPORT. THE BASELINE IN SOME OF THESE ASSESSMENTS IS INCORRECT BECAUSE IT INCLUDES DIFFERENT MEASURES OF VIOLENT CRIME AND IS NOT CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT THE STUDY. THE DEFINITION OF WHAT CONSTITUTES A LICENSING STATE IS QUESTIONED; STATES WITH JUST A WAITING PERIOD ARE CONSIDERED TO BE LICENSING, WHICH INCLUDES MANY SOUTHERN STATES THAT HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO HAVE A VERY HIGH RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP. REGIONAL STRATIFICATION WAS NOT TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN THE USE OF THESE FIGURES, WHICH PRODUCED FALSE ASSOCIATIONS, AND POSSIBLY HID GENUINE ASSOCIATIONS OF SOME MAGNITUDE. IN THE FINAL SECTION OF THE REPORT, THE NUMBER OF REGISTERED HUNTING LICENSES IS USED AS AN INDEX OF FIREARMS OWNERSHIP. HOWEVER, THIS IS VERY MISLEADING -- A VERY LARGE PORTION OF AMERICAN GUN OWNERSHIP IS RELATED TO HOUSEHOLD PROTECTION, PARTICULARLY IN REFERENCE TO HANDGUNS. HANDGUN OWNERSHIP CONSTITUTES A CONSIDERABLE PROPORTION OF TOTAL GUN OWNERSHIP AND IS POORLY REFLECTED IN HUNTING LICENSE STATISTICS. THE STATISTICAL ARGUMENTS CAN BE ATTACHED ON MANY DIFFERENT BASES. THIS REPORT WAS CITED IN THE 'CONGRESSIONAL RECORD' DURING 1967 AND 1968. IT IS FELT THAT BECAUSE OF THE FLAWS OF METHODOLOGY AND INTERPRETATION, FURTHER STUDY IS NEEDED. GRAPHS AND TABULAR DATA BUT NO REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (BAC)
Index Term(s): Critiques; Firearms; Gun Control; Statistical analysis; Statistics
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