I’ve been staring at the chart from here:
The original has links to the FBI data and a spreadsheet of this data. Also, in the original, you can click on a column heading to sort the data. So “hit the link” for more.
Gun crimes by US states State Total firearms murders, 2011 % change, 2010-11 Fire- arms murders as % of all murders Fire- arms murders rate Fire- arms robberies rate Fire- arms assaults rate RATES ARE PER 100,000 PEOPLE. SOURCE: FBI UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS NO DATA FOR FLORIDA OR ALABAMA State Total %change %All Rate Robbers Assaults United States 8,583 -3 68 2.75 39.25 43.77 Alaska 16 -16 55 2.24 18.19 80.47 Arizona 222 -4 65 3.53 50.24 57.36 Arkansas 110 18 72 4.39 45.45 100.56 California 1,220 -3 68 3.25 42.97 45.39 Colorado 73 12 50 1.51 25.74 45.72 Connecticut 94 -3 73 2.71 34.85 20.06 Delaware 28 -26 68 3.09 69.67 81.36 Dist. of Col. 77 -22 71 12.46 242.56 87.7 Georgia 370 -2 71 3.93 72.48 58.64 Hawaii 1 -86 14 0.07 n/a n/a Idaho 17 42 53 1.14 3.41 23.43 Illinois 377 4 83 2.93 2.26 5.26 Indiana 183 29 64 3.29 53.14 29.91 Iowa 19 -10 43 0.71 7.31 21.95 Kansas 73 16 66 2.78 24.86 76.87 Kentucky 100 -14 67 2.36 39.77 25.14 Louisiana 402 15 83 10.16 63.48 99.51 Maine 12 9 48 0.9 5.8 4.52 Maryland 272 -7 68 4.7 79.71 41.18 Massachusetts 122 3 67 2.02 27.84 33.19 Michigan 450 9 73 5.06 55.95 86.41 Minnesota 43 -19 61 0.82 20.11 22.52 Mississippi 138 15 74 7.46 60.07 51.69 Missouri 276 -14 76 4.64 52.47 88.9 Montana 7 -42 39 0.76 3.78 29.03 Nebraska 42 31 65 2.5 25.44 33.84 Nevada 75 -11 58 3.07 69.77 53.3 New Hampshire 6 20 38 0.53 9.83 15.14 New Jersey 269 9 71 3.07 49.87 26.94 New Mexico 60 -10 50 2.98 34.96 87.26 New York 445 -14 57 4.12 23.28 20.06 North Carolina 335 17 69 3.87 48.72 67.44 North Dakota 6 50 50 0.93 4.79 4.79 Ohio 344 11 70 3.54 65.45 37.97 Oklahoma 131 18 64 3.64 42.81 58.07 Oregon 40 11 52 1.05 14.57 17.55 Pennsylvania 470 3 74 3.97 54.69 39.44 Rhode Island 5 -69 36 0.57 12.71 17.86 South Carolina 223 8 70 5.41 52.93 127.88 South Dakota 5 -38 33 0.68 4.91 20.6 Tennessee 244 11 65 3.92 72.88 137.58 Texas 699 -13 64 2.91 50.21 58.28 Utah 26 18 51 0.97 10.98 21.32 Vermont 4 100 50 0.75 4.32 12.6 Virginia 208 -17 69 2.58 35.4 21.35 Washington 79 -15 49 1.25 20.72 28.44 West Virginia 43 59 58 2.87 16.08 52.04 Wisconsin 80 -18 59 1.47 43.86 27.4 Wyoming 11 120 73 2.01 3.65 20.44
Mostly I come to the conclusion that gun laws are orthogonal to gun crimes. It looks like rural / farming states have a lower rate of gun violence, generally, despite (or perhaps because of) pervasive gun presence on farms and in farm communities.
There is some evidence for the disaster that is “Black On Black” violence. States with larger urban black populations tend to have high gun violence stats (see D.C., Mississippi and Louisiana compare Virginia, Oklahoma) but there’s a lot of noise in that speculation.
Places like California and Illinois and Washington D.C. have essentially draconian gun laws, yet gun murder rates of 3.2, 2.93, and 12.46, respectively (USA average 2.75 so all “above average” though statistical significance not determined). Then States with very loose gun access and lots of guns like New Hampshire, Vermont, and South Dakota have rates of 0.53, 0.75, and 0.68, respectively.
How “loose” are N.H. gun laws? Rather like when I was a kid in California and we didn’t bother locking the doors to our house and left the keys in the car “in case someone needed to move it”.
Like its neighbors (Vermont and Maine), New Hampshire has very liberal gun control laws. What makes New Hampshire law on gun unique however, is the level to which these laws exhibit such looseness. Most states with sub-standard gun control laws, do not require a permit or license to purchase or possess a handgun or rifle.
The only restrictions in regards to licenses or permits are typically for carrying a concealed gun. New Hampshire is a slight exception to this rule. Like other states with weak gun laws, New Hampshire does not require a permit or license to possess or purchase any sort of firearm. Registration is also not necessary. The slight alteration found in New Hampshire’s gun laws is in regards to a concealed gun. A concealed handgun in the state does not require a permit, however, it will require a specific license in certain situations.
But there look to be strong “confounders” between rural / urban vs. Black-on-Black vs. Gun Laws. Rural areas have little need for “gun laws”, so they don’t matter. Urban areas have lots of crime, so enact lots of laws, that seem to accomplish nothing (except perhaps disarming the innocents). Then a large, frustrated, and drug impacted urban black population “has issues” and uses what it can to deal with them. (One is left wondering to what extent the similarly poor and dispossessed “white trash” populations have the same “issues” and might that explain places like Tennessee at 3.92. Or if something else entirely is going on.)
It doesn’t seem to matter if your State is rich, with very draconian gun laws (New York at 4.12) or poor with little in the way of gun laws (Maine 0.92); as semi-randomly and not matched examples. I know, all the folks in Maine are going to shout they are Not Poor! I know folks who live there in nice large houses… but they don’t cost $Million for a tiny flat…
I’d speculate that poor urban jungles raise crime and murder rates, laws be damned (partly based on observing New York and Chicago, and to some extent Oakland California up close). I can’t tell if that is the cause of the Black-on-Black peaks, or if similar poor white urban jungles are the same, mostly as I don’t know of any; or of any stats on them. (I’m sure they exist, but they don’t make the news much).
What does seem very clear, though, is that if you wish a quiet peaceful State to live in, the rural farming oriented ones, with as few gun laws as possible, and lacking urban ghettos are your best choices. For rampant gun violence, head to the poor urban ghettos with the most strictures on gun ownership, where you can watch the black bodies pile up killed more by other blacks than by the police. (The stats are showing way more deaths than those reported in the news as police shootings… it isn’t the police killing 1 in 10,000 in D.C.)
Chicago, D.C., New York City, and increasingly California. (We now have door locks and car keys stay in the pocket – also from personal experience, most of the reported shootings are in major city ghetto areas with minority populations and large drug presence. There’s just as much drug use among rich whites, IMHO, as I’ve seen it, but the added price brings added security in the delivery… where folks without money become desperate). But what I can’t explain is the places like Louisiana at 10.16 and Mississippi at 7.46 that are just out of line with what’s around them. Quasi rural, with some major cities. High black population, but generally not pushed into racial ghettos. Texas, right next door, at 2.91 despite the massive Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex, significant black population, and pervasive guns. “Something is different” and I’m not sure what it is. The idea of Mississippi as a murder capital State just never showed up in the news flow. Louisiana sort of, as it has that whole Mardi Gras over the edge reputation (that is actually not that deserved… it’s mostly just a big street party). Perhaps it is just a poverty axis. Texas tends to have fairly low poverty rates.
In any case, it deserves some more pondering time, and likely will need more detailed information to sort things out (like, oh, gun violence stats by county or district, so you can see correlations with ethnic clusters, education levels, poverty levels, etc. etc. One of them ought to ‘click’ at fine enough grain.)
What stands out to me, though, is the complete lack of any clear story in the numbers. Gun Laws don’t do a damn thing good, and may increase the gun violence and murder rates (or may be a useless reaction to them). Living in sparsely populated rural areas is a great thing to do… but nobody much can afford to to that as the jobs are urban (sort of by definition). Being in wealthy areas seems to help (personal observation of The Bay Area / Silicon Valley vs Oakland-Richmond areas) perhaps a lot, but we’re not going to make everyone rich very easily (especially not with the present Socialist Government making us all “equal in poverty”). Then with anomalies like Louisiana and Mississippi there is clearly some kind of cultural aspect. Something “is different” between them and Texas on one side, Georgia on the other (and it isn’t being in the South…)
So my conclusion from all this is pretty simple. To reduce gun violence, we need to do “something different” and address just what is going on in those very high rate areas. There is absolutely zero need for national laws as clearly indicated by all those very very low gun violence States with no significant existing gun laws in them. They are doing just fine, thank you very much and at best a one-size-fits-all National Fix can screw them up.
The problem is clearly LOCAL. Urban core areas. Black ghettos. Some particular peculiar States. Until we know what it is that is causal, we can’t “fix it” with laws. Clearly attempts do do so have failed (Illinois / Chicago, Washington D.C., New York, etc. etc.) and applying that more broadly will only make things worse, not better. One ‘virtue’ of pervasive guns in the hands of ‘good people’ is that ‘the right people get killed’. Homicide stats don’t capture that, but I think it matters. In a ‘gun pervasive’ place, some violent Ya Hoo breaks into a home to commit a robbery or rape and ends up dead. One Homicide. In gun ban places, he breaks in and “does the deed” then shoots the family. 1 to 5 dead. Then repeats it and repeats it until caught. Likely up in the half dozen or so dead by the time caught. This matters, probably a lot, from a statistical point of view. “Truncating chain murders” matters. A similar benefit shows up in “3 Strikes” law States as they cull the repeat violent from the population. It might be interesting to map historical homicide stats vs “3 Strikes” law adoption and see just how much it matters. (I read an article about it some time back, but don’t have the stats at the moment)
It is also quite clear that the Simpleton Notion of “Gun Bad, No-Gun Good” is quite bogus. High gun use States are generally safe. Gun banning States and D.C. are not. Police and the Army carry guns for a reason. They work and keep the peace.
But how to figure out why Louisiana is the way it is, and Texas isn’t; now that’s an interesting question… as is why Indiana (3.29) diverges so much from Iowa (0.71). So near (each other) and yet so far…