In the realm of ideas, facts are important. They cannot be ignored, nor can they be misrepresented.

I doubt that any other collection of words has been the subject of as much modern-day controversy as the seventeen words that comprise the Second Amendment.  To me, and probably to you, they are simple. I am not certain we can make it any simpler than, “shall not be infringed.”

However, there are plenty of folks out there who don’t get it. They will refer to the Second Amendment as a collective right, despite several court rulings to the contrary. They will make statements that the Second Amendment was written when muskets were the arms of the day and its protections do not apply to common-day firearms, all while logging onto the Internet to get their news.

Philosophy and morality are strange things. Despite their roots in objectivity, there are some people who think they are subjective. A person who calls self-defense murder, and morally objects to firearms, will not see it my way.

The few remaining folks opposed to firearms because they think data tells them private ownership is bad can be reasoned with. (Well, they are more open to reason than the other two types listed above). In fact, I have had significantly better results referencing crime data than using any other basis to support my position.

As a result, I know a thing or two about the raw data.  I also know a thing or two about how to understand that data and its implications. If I can’t answer a question, I know how to find the answer.

I also have an uncanny ability to smell BS from a mile away.

Recently some folks started passing around a pro-gun meme making some pretty strong claims. The claims just didn’t pass the common sense test. I did a little research and, as I suspected, they were not valid or anywhere close to being valid.

Here’s the meme:

Bad Meme

For my visually impaired friends using a screen reader to access this content, the meme states:

The United States is the 3rd in murders throughout the world! But if you take out Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C., and New Orleans, the United States is 4th from the bottom for murders. Believe it or not, those four cities also have the toughest gun control laws in the United States.

Here’s the truth.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2012 Homicide Statistics ranks the United States as the country with the seventh most murders for the year 2011. During the same year, the United States had the forty-third highest murder rate in the world. While the number of murders scores us a spot in the top ten, our rate barely makes the top 50. We’re nowhere near the third most murderous country in the world.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for the year 2010 tells us there were 14,748 murders and acts of nonnegligent manslaughter. The same data also tells us that:

  • Chicago accounted for 432 of those,
  • Detroit 310,
  • Washington, DC 132,
  • and New Orleans 175.

During that same year, the US ranked #8 in the world for murder. When you remove the murders committed in the cities with the “toughest gun control laws in the United States,” we drop a whopping one spot in the total number of murders.

What is true is that cities like Chicago account for a disproportionate amount of the murders within the United States.

FBI data shows that in 2011, firearms were used in:

  • 8,583 (67.8%) of the 12,667 homicides,
  • 146,366 (41.3%) of the 354,396 robberies,
  • and in 159,240 (21.2%) of the 751,131 assaults.

Of the 1,118,194 violent crimes the FBI has weapon data on, 314,189 (28.1%) of those were committed with a firearm. The data also shows a continual downward of trend of 15.7% in violent crime since 2007.

In Chicago, guns were used in 362 of the nation’s 8,583 homicides. Chicago’s share of gun related homicides is 4.2%. Gun crime in Chicago increased last year to over 500 homicides. This increase occurred with no mass shootings and in contrast to the downward trend experienced by the rest of the nation.

The US Census Bureau estimates the total US population for the same year at 311,587,816 total people. Chicago’s population for the same year was estimated at 2,707,120. During that year, Chicago’s share of the population was 0.87%.

Chicago’s share of gun crime for the year 2011 was nearly five times its share of the population for the same year. Detroit is even worse. In 2010, Detroit’s share of the country’s murder was nearly ten times its share of population.

Those facts are sufficient in showing that gun control doesn’t reduce crime. 

We don’t need to inflate numbers or lie. If we’re going to demand that the anti-gun crowd get their facts straight, we have to do the same. Furthermore, while they are willing to lie and twist their facts to support their agenda, they have no problem pointing out the flaws in analyses that support ours. We have to be above reproach if we are going to win in the arena of liberty.

Don’t just press the share or send button. Apply a little common sense first. It can go a LONG way!