Commentary on Study Finding Gun Injuries Fall 20% During NRA Conventions Curiously Omits Some Possible Explanations

We are going outside our normal finance and economics focus to discuss a new study on guns, because it provides an opportunity to advance Naked Capitalism’s overarching mission, that of promoting critical thinking.

Major media outlets, such at Reuters, Time, and Newsweek, have quickly and dutifully reported on a study described in the New England Journal of Medicine’s “Correspondence” section, with a dramatic finding: that gun-elated injuries fall nationwide by roughly 20% during NRA annual conventions.1 From the letter to the editor summarizing the analysis:

We identified emergency department visits and hospitalizations for firearm injuries during NRA convention dates and during identical days in the 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after NRA conventions in a national database of privately insured patients during 2007 through 2015. We estimated the rates of firearm injuries during convention dates versus control dates in a beneficiary-level multivariable linear regression of firearm injury (a binary variable) as a function of indicator variables for convention and control dates, patient age, sex, indicators for calendar week and year, and state fixed effects. We conducted subgroup analyses according to census region and state-level stratum of gun-ownership rates, hypothesizing that larger reductions in the rates of injury would occur in areas with more firearm use; according to patient sex, hypothesizing that larger reductions would occur among males, who disproportionately attend NRA meetings5; and according to whether a convention was held in a beneficiary’s state, hypothesizing that larger reductions would occur when conventions are easier to attend. In addition, we used the National Incident-Based Reporting System to analyze the proportion of crimes involving a firearm that occurred during convention versus control dates…

Reductions in firearm injuries during convention dates were largest among men, in the South and West, in states in the highest third of gun-ownership rates, and among people who resided in the state hosting the convention. There was no difference in the proportion of crimes involving a firearm between convention and control dates.

The press reports often take care to point out that the analysis establishes only a correlation, not a causal relationship. Not surprisingly, the NRA reacted heatedly. From Newsweek:

Jennifer Baker, a spokesperson for the NRA, told CNN that the study’s results were “absurd,” adding, “This study claims that firearms-related injury plummets 20 percent nationwide when less than one-tenth of 1 percent of gun owners attend this event? That’s absurd. You don’t have to be a Harvard researcher to see those numbers simply don’t add up.”

Curiously, Baker, who ought to know better, neglected to mention that many shooting ranges close during the NRA convention. It isn’t clear whether that is due to the decline in usage making it an attractive time for facility owners to take a break, or that the owners themselves or enough of their staffers attend the convention, making it problematic to keep the business open on a normal schedule at that time.

But that quote was not my main reason for writing. This one, from the Boston Globe, caught my attention:

“Fewer people using guns means fewer gun injuries, which in some ways is not surprising,” said Anupam Jena, senior author of the study and the Ruth L. Newhouse Associate Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. “But the drop in gun injuries during these large meetings attended by thousands of well-trained gun owners seems to refute the idea that gun injuries stem solely from lack of experience and training in gun use.”

Here is the problem with that statement: the assumption, perhaps out of deference to the NRA, that gun enthusiasts are necessarily all or largely “well-trained” and by implication safer gun users.

The reason for questioning the no-doubt positive assessment that NRA members would give of their practices is that self-scoring has been regularly demonstrated to be flattering. Garrison Keeler wasn’t joking when he said all children are above average. 80% of drivers say they are above average drivers, which is clearly not possible.

In the absence of an objective standard of what gun safety or being well trained amounts to, it isn’t at all clear that the majority of NRA members are in fact “well trained”.

Another possibility is that some gun users may not follow the training they received all that well. I read a summary of a study, but due to the crapification of Google, cannot find it again, that concluded that individuals who were instructed in gun safety before they started using firearms followed those practices, but those schooled later didn’t.

While I am not a gun user, I grew up in a household where guns were kept under lock and key, with the ammo stored separately, also under lock and key. It would be useful if this NRA study generated more research into how gun owners use, handle, and store their guns. The fact that this study gave an indication that “experienced” gun users are part of the gun injury problem will hopefully lead to more examination of the range of practices among gun enthusiasts, as opposed to blind acceptance of NRA bluster.

Now if the habits I saw at home are indeed a widely-accepted notion of how to handle guns safely, it’s at odds with the idea of having guns close at hand to defend against an intruder. Again, while there’s no way of knowing, I wonder how many gun owners keep a pistol in a nightstand, which would seem like a prescription for accidents or use in a domestic argument. Even though I seldom circulate with firearms owners, I have been in a car with a Wall Street buddy who had a loaded pistol on the front seat between us, which made me incredibly nervous, and have also had a friend in Dallas tell me she was the only woman in her circle who did not carry a gun in her purse. Another time was in Dallas when the couple I was with ran back to their SUV to lock it because they had 2000 round of ammo inside. I didn’t ask, but I assuem they also had a revolver in the glove compartment, since the wife later said she’d recently been held up by a kid with a BB gun despite having a weapon in the car (and oddly, she seemed blind to the fact that the robbery proved her self-defense strategy wasn’t effective).

In other words, I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of these “experienced” gun owners don’t hew to the sort of practices that my father and his fellow hunters observed.


1 The “Supplemental Appendix” has the gory details.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    There is a well known convention in aviation that the most dangerous time is that transition between ‘beginner’ to ‘moderately experienced’, and I believe it applies right across adventure sports. For example, I recall reading a study long ago into accidents in skydiving which identified the period of between around 80-100 jumps as being the most dangerous. The reason is fairly obvious – at some point a person goes from being a cautious beginner following the rules to being ‘hey, I know what I’m doing’, without actually having the deep experience of a hardened veteran. They get slack in the procedures they’ve been taught, but then don’t know how to get themselves out of trouble if something goes wrong. You see it all the time in climbing and wild country hiking.

    It’s not the beginners who get in trouble, its those with a couple of years experience but who get a bit overconfident in their ability to handle a crisis. In Ireland, its sometimes called ‘the Swiss’ (or sometimes Austrian) syndrome, referring to Alpinists who get themselves in horrible trouble in our small misty and boggy mountains because they overestimate their own abilities having handled much larger peaks.

    I would think its a reasonable hypothesis that lots of NRA people fall into that category of people who are newly enthusiastic about their guns, without necessarily having been brought up with them, or received high level training.

    1. JBird

      Oh yeah. Some people get really relaxed and comfortable with their guns, and then it’s can you not point that at my face, please? People do stop being consciously aware of what they are doing. I think it’s one of the reasons many woodworkers injure themselves. It’s not just the inherent dangerousness of their tools, or even how much they use them. Instead it is the I’ll just have some beer while talking and using the buzz saw.

      I think that whenever I get back to target shooting that I am going to get myself some serious refresher safety training as I will be one of those relaxed idiots.

  2. trout creek

    As a long time target shooter (non-NRA) this has the ring of truth. There have been many times when I left the range because of unsafe gun handling. Just last year, at a trapshooting range (shotgun/clay targets) the club shutdown the entire range (8 traps almost 50 shooters) because of repeated safety violations and conducted a 5 minute safety drill. Shooters were walking around with loaded shotguns, a big no-no. You are allowed to only load your gun exactly when it’s your turn to shoot. I’ve seen similar situations at pistol and rifle ranges too. Needless to say, I like to shoot alone and when the crowd arrives, I go home.

    1. Arizona Slim

      My dad and I were target shooters. We belonged to a gun club with very strict safety rules. I never saw them violated.

      1. Mel

        Me too. I am, and I do, and I have. Broke them myself until the Range Safety Officer tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that what I was doing was wrong. It’s to be hoped that I won’t break them again. But it would appear that some other nitwit took a shotgun onto the rifle range and blew away the target stands for some obscure reason. Human, all too human.

    2. diptherio

      Glad to hear your gun club doesn’t require NRA membership. I’m told a lot of them do, or at least used to. That’s why my father has always been a member, despite despising their politics. You want to use the facilities? Sign up for the NRA. He tells me that way back when, they used to be more of a sportsman’s association, before the wackos got a hold of the leadership.

      Safety was a big thing on the shooting ranges around here (in Montana), although there are always a few idiots in every group…then I went to one up in Alaska. Beer and AK47s. Everywhere. It was truly ridiculous. We sighted in the rifle and got the heck out.

      1. jhg

        In Canada, I don’t think there there is any equivalent of the NRA. In order to posses a firearm one must first pass a mandatory safety course and then apply for a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) which includes a RCMP background check. There are two levels of License: Non-restricted (Most long guns) and Restricted (Handguns and certain types of Military Assault types including the AR-15). To get a restricted license one must pass another safety course and apply again with additional background checks.

    3. Anonymous

      If you see someone handling a gun unsafely you are supposed to leave the area. They teach that in gun safety classes.

  3. Eduardo

    Re: Promoting Critical Thinking

    “80% of drivers say they are above average drivers, which is clearly not possible.”

    It is possible and likely that a majority of drivers are, in fact, “above average.” If the question is “How good of a driver are you: A-Above average, B- Below average or C-Average.”

    The issue with driving is, as mentioned for guns:
    “In the absence of an objective standard of what gun safety or being well trained amounts to, it isn’t at all clear that the majority of NRA members are in fact “well trained”.”

    One person’s idea of great driving is another person’s idea of bad driving. It is not that most are above average of some objective standard; the issue is the lack of an objective standard.

    And yes, flattering self-scoring is an important aspect of that and maybe the largest component but it is not the only aspect.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, come on. The question is classically worded, “How do you rate yourself as a driver: above or below average?” This is really strained and you know it. All sorts of other self-assessment exercises produce broadly similar results, that people consistently over-estimate themselves and their odds of success.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          First, if you had actually taken a statistics course, you would know that mean, median, and mode are all ways to describe an average.

          Second, you have no evidence whatsoever that driving skills are not pretty symmetrically distributed, as in the mean will be close to or the same as the median, particularly since we are talking about a large population. You posit that there are terrible drivers. We know that there are great drivers, starting with race car, performance car, and stunt drivers. In addition, driving is the biggest single employment category for men in the US, specifically truck driving. So they can’t be terrible or they’d be out of a job pronto:

          7.3 million people employed throughout the economy in jobs that relate to trucking activity in 2014, excluding the self-employed
          3.5 million truck drivers employed in 2015 (3.4 million in 2014)

  4. Northeaster

    loaded pistol on the front seat between us, which made me incredibly nervous

    This about sums up the bias of this entire piece.

    We get it, many of you don’t like firearms. No, I don’t belong to The NRA. Yes, I live in one of the most restrictive states in the country. Thank fully, in a inner-city of almost 70K, there are 3500 of us with CCW, I wish there were more.

    Do many need more training? Yes, especially our own cops. Maybe do a piece on those who carried firearms and saved their own life or that of others? There’s a Women’s Defense League in NH that I’m sure that would be happy to talk to you. It’s obvious that the media, including Naked Capitalism, only want to have a one-way discussion in regard to firearms. Made worse since our schools are actually safer now, and firearm murder/crimes hover at multi-decade lows (FBI UCR’s).

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If you think having a loaded revolver with no safety on in a moving car is a reasonable thing to do, you are utterly out of your mind. If anyone here is biased, it’s you, buddy. I grew up in small towns with hunters. To a person, they would regard your defense of this suburbanite as yahoo ignorance.

      Moreover, for someone who is pretending to be objective, the facts are against you.

      “Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher.”

      Gun deaths are now barely below car-related deaths, formerly the clear leader in accidental deaths:

      The decline in murders is seen by public health specialists as most likely due to getting lead out of gasoline:

      As for guns for self defense, that is a ludicrous idea. First, even police officers who are trained to shoot and generally have their weapons out of their holsters when coming upon dangerous situations, hit their target only 10%-15% of the time. Even these pros are too amped up on adrenaline to aim and fire well when they really need to.

      Second, police studies have found that when an assailant is within 21 feet, he can get to the cop before the cop and can aim and get a shot off.

      Third, I have (for sport, not out of personal concern, I like acquiring skills) have taken what would probably be mislabeled as a self defense course. It was taught by the man who developed the hand to hand combat program for the Navy Seals and continued to refine his techniques after he left the service. Many of the people who take his course are law enforcement professionals.

      The reason “self defense is a mislabel” is that the focus of the program that if someone really wants to hurt you, you have to inflict trauma on them first. That includes possibly killing them. They disinhibit you and train you to do things like gouge eyes out and crush testicles. People who have taken martial arts have to unlearn their sports habits. And yes, they assumed you were slower, smaller, and weaker than the person attacking you. Doesn’t matter. The human body has 170 vulnerable points. Hit any two in succession (which can include doing things like stomping on someone’s ankle) and you shut their central nervous system down.

      We also sparred with assailants with various weapons. At close range, a bludgeon is far and away the best weapon at close range, much better than a gun. Everyone in the class agreed. And I happen to carry one all the time and have even interceded in a domestic violence situation.

      1. fajensen

        If one is living out in the forest around here, then having a shotgun and a dog is a great comfort. The dog knows who and what is supposed to be around so if there is a noise (I sleep lightly) and the dog ignores it, I don’t have to do anything and I get my sleep.

        On the rare occasion that someone that the dog doesn’t like are skulking around the house, like those eastern european registered car drivers “asking for directions to the local hospital”, showing up on the porch with the shotgun will make these characters go away real quickly.

      2. Expat

        I always chuckle at this quaint notion of NRA members rushing to the rescue with their gun in hand. Unlike our brave president who would have rushed in without a gun (but he is a highly decorated golf club hero, so he is special).

        Study after study and simulation after simulation have shown that carrying a gun will most likely result in the person shooting himself, shooting an innocent bystander, or simply crouching in terror and wetting his pants (option 3 is, in fact, the most common reaction). Military and police need to train regularly in combat-type simulations to be able to react well. Most cops just have minimum range time which teaches them nothing about real-life threats. Most civilians never do any combat training (Hogan’s Alley type stuff).

        I am a 3rd degree black belt. I know how to kill people with a well-placed strike. I have the power to crack a sternum with one punch. But I also know I can’t really fight since I have never really fought. I am most likely to use my feet in a fight…to run away. But I am older, wiser and well past adolescent fantasies of being the Hero.

      3. Northeaster

        police studies have found that when an assailant is within 21 feet

        True. Which is why we’re trained to hip-fire in the police academy.

        Many of the people who take his course are law enforcement professionals.

        In MA, most of law enforcement are ex-military, we’re given absolute preference.

        Doesn’t matter. The human body has 170 vulnerable points.

        Military training for being ambushed is: You’re probably dead already. Only recourse is to die trying.

        a bludgeon is far and away the best weapon at close range,

        Here in MA, the weapon of choice for gang-bangers are knives. No noise, no attraction.

        I am biased, 30-years of firearm training/usage via military/law enforcement. Thankfully, in a one-way state like MA, police chiefs are finally starting to speak up. At least the ones no beholden to the political status quo here. Police Chiefs here are the appointing authority for firearms, and thankfully, the overwhelming majority will issue licenses, with only a handful “no go” municipalities.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          We sparred with knives as well. Bludgeons are better. And the guys who run this course study prison tapes all the time to look at the fights to see how people fight in practice. Oh, and it turns out a lot of prisoners get anatomy books to study where to hit and stab people most effectively.

          The reason not to carry a bludgeon is they are illegal most places, like in NYC.

          1. Northeaster

            Which is exactly why the “Defensive Tactics” taught in the police academy suck.

            20+ years ago I tried getting the program to change, to teach more wrestling maneuvers instead of the politically correct crap they still teach today. It was rejected, we even had a national champion (and Hall of Fame Coach) from our state on my department that agreed. Non-lethal, but because it looks bad, it wasn’t even considered.

            The prison instruction in particular was interesting as the convicts regularly practice how to remove our belts, even with “keepers” fastened, in order to disarm anyone not in a gun ready position. Most of the state ex-prisoners also know the law better than some of the cops…

    2. Quanka

      I have always found the conceal carry permit (which I assume is what you mean by CCW) to be a complete inversion of the 2nd amendment. Do you consider 3,500/70,000 a reasonable percentage of the population walking around while secretly carry a weapon? What is the point in arming 10% of the population with undeclared / invisible weapons?

      1. JTMcPhee

        …and one might ask, on a larger scale, what is the point of “arming” 0.01% of the population with invisible/undeclared weapons of fiscal/financial destruction? Gee, I wonder what that point might be… IIRC, J. Paul Getty, thought to be at the time the “richest man in the world,” was asked by an interlocutor what else he could possibly desire. Simple answer: “MORE!”

        Gives one a sense of power, to feel the comforting hardness of a nice little .380 or .32cal or even one of the larger-framed semi-auto 9mm or .40cal or even .45ACP pistols in a holster or nestled in the small of one’s back. Or up a skirt on a thigh holster or in one’s purse that has that quick-access slit in the side so you can reach in, settle your grip and shoot someone right through the other side of the purse…

        Of course your 2-year-old might curiously reach in and find that grip and shoot you through your nuclear scientist head, so you are dead before the First Responders can even get to you…… just part of the culture ‘round there… “An armed society is a polite society.” Erm…

      2. The Rev Kev

        They are not always concealed weapons. You have idiots open carrying rifles in Walmart and supermarkets to demonstrate their right to bear arms in public. Watch what happens when two guys go into a police station to protest harassment about this by police with one guy carrying an assault rifle, body-armor and a ski mask-
        (shakes his head and walks away)

        1. Code Name D

          The sad part is there appear to be dozens of videos like this. What did they think was going to happen?

    3. diptherio

      Dude. I grew up around firearms. Got my first one from my grandfather at the age of 13. I now own three. I am just fine around guns, and caring a loaded handgun with you in the car sounds crazy to me. That person strikes me as paranoid and is probably a danger to everyone around them, due to that fact. And I’m a lifelong gun owner. Capisce?

      Sometimes someone with a concealed carry permit stops a violent crime, and sometimes a golfer hits a hole-in-one. It’s called the law of large numbers. Got any data on foiled crimes vs. accidental discharges? Wonder which is more common…hmmmm….I wonder.

      My mother works in a downtown office in Helena MT. One of the lawyers in the next office over was fiddling around with his concealed carry weapon and…oopsie…fired a shot through the wall. Thankfully, no one was injured and the doofus sheepishly apologized and promised to not bring firearms into the building anymore. You want to know why I’m opposed to concealed carry permits, there it is.

    4. fajensen

      We get it, many of you don’t like firearms.

      I don’t mind firearms – As long as I am the one holding the proper end of the handgun, rifle or shotgun I am totally calm because *I* know what *I* am doing with that weapon. Someone allowing a loaded gun rattling around in a car, clearly visible to the cops and within immediate reach in the case of a traffic stop shows that it’s owner in the first instance is not in control of his/her weapon and totally does not know what he/she is doing with it.

      Uncontrolled weapons and a general cavalier sloppiness around deadly things makes me very nervous and I will get away from that situation as quickly as practical.

      The dice of misfortune is loaded so that often the cretin causing the accident is also the one to escape unscathed, which is why a sensible person cannot abide idiots with dangerous tools.

  5. The Rev Kev

    I’m not sure that the information in that study has enough fine grain detail on the shooters themselves to be of much valuable. Both PlutoniumKun and trout creek’s stories show the different types of shooter experience levels out there. If I was wicked, I could suggest that the study might actually imply that the sort of person to get involved in a shooting is also the same sort of person that would head on over to an NRA convention. The difference here is that there would be plenty of adult supervision by more experienced shooters to keep them in line than when they are at home trying to win themselves a Darwin Award by shooting tannerite or hunting with military assault weapons.
    Don’t get me wrong – I have done a bit of shooting and hunting myself in my earlier years but I knew that you had to match your caliber to what you were shooting so you would shoot rabbits with a .22 and not a .303. But here is a difference. A rifle’s primary aim is to shoot animals. A pistol is designed to shoot only one specific animal and it has made me prejudiced against them for that reason, even though I have never used one. My personal rule is when handling a rifle is to treat it as if it was still loaded. With a pistol, because of its much smaller turning axis, I would handle it as if it was personally trying to kill me. Tonight’s link about Taurus pistols only reinforce that mistrust. A prejudice yes but there it is.

  6. John Zelnicker

    In just the past two weeks I have had to ask two clients to leave their weapon in their vehicle as I don’t allow guns in my house/office. I have never had to do this before and it seems to be symptomatic of the fear and anxiety being fostered by the political and financial elites as they work to keep people divided and afraid of the “Other”.

    The deconstruction of the sense of community that we once enjoyed in this country has been one of the most damaging aspects of the neoliberal project.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Please forgive a small cavil, John: I’m turning 72, and have lived in only 12 different states in that time (and one foreign country, “South Vietnam”). My experience is that there was a local sense of community in a few of those places, linked to a couple of different ties that bind. But that sense was hardly widely shared across the 150 to 200 million “Americans” of my younger years, any more than it is today. The divides and hatred were clearly visible for those who dared to look.

      When I was young, I imbibed what there was of shared myths (and looking back, that’s all they were, myths and shibboleths), to the extent that I enlisted in the Imperial Army like a good God and Country Boy Scout. Lots of us USians might pine for a good old days of comity and all that, but by my lights there never was one. Your experience may differ.

      And of course the predatory and parasitic and cancerous elites and advantage-seekers among us are happy to play up and create and exacerbate those divisions, as you point out.

      One can always wish for better, of course…

      1. John Zelnicker

        March 1, 2018 at 9:36 am
        Oh, I’m quite aware of the divisions back then. (I’ll be 68 tomorrow.) I grew up in the Deep South and my family was very involved in desegregating the local schools (to the point of getting death threats) and I was very involved in the anti-war movement.

        However, there was a somewhat (slightly?) broader feeling that we are all in this together and we get further by helping each other rather than always being super-competitive; notwithstanding the lack of certain civil rights for women and minorities.

        That’s all gone now, sadly.

        1. jrs

          It was possibly a legacy of WWII, because people did feel they were in it together, remember they even endured rationing together in the name of the war effort. Still though labor and capital have seldom been “all in this together”.

  7. DJG

    Yves Smith: You bring up an important point, which is that the success of the NRA and gun lobby lies in blurring the distinction between a well-regulated militia (mentioned in the Second Amendment and implying training and rules about display and use of firearms), hunters and their traditions of use and storage of long guns, and what I’ll call retail firearms, which are sloshing around in cities and towns as protection against the neighbors. (Which goes to a deep cultural problem of American lack of social trust.)

    Neither a militia nor hunters (nor target ranges and skeet-shooting clubs, as mentioned above) allow people just to wander around with loaded firearms. Yet the same people who never learned how to gauge the oil in their cars by reading the dipstick or who cannot load software on computers on their own are supposed to know enough to keep a death-dealing weapon loaded and in the glove compartment or purse or drawer of the nightstand.

    Concealed carry is a patent absurdity: I am reminded of the campaigns to allow concealed carry on campus, ostensibly to protect women. Another blurring–guns and the delicate wimminfolk. Twenty-year-olds with guns on a college campus that they cannot not be completely familiar with: What could possibly go wrong?

  8. tc10021

    Yet more virtue signalling by self-involved elites about the evils of guns. Guns are simply another tool used by many, some well, some poorly. I’ve always asked the anti-gun crowd, are you against guns due to the veiled threat of violence or simply dont like guns, as I dont like pecan pie? The answer is usually is they are against not violence (as that means their security detail needs to get fired) but people getting hurt. Perhaps then include the issue of drunk drivers, illegal narcotics, yes marijuana too. But so many elites and their family use drugs its somehow OK as they all look the other way on the violence prevalent in failed states such as Mexico. Or as we’ve all had a drink and driven, thats somehow less of a sin than guns.

    As for the ‘study’, several points-
    1. The good folks at Harvard should ask if the gun-related injury was caused by a NRA member,
    2. Perhaps violence decreased as many cops prowl the convention halls looking for freebies. I think the stat is that USA cops have killed more folks in a year the the Brits did in 100. The security theater we see in public places, simply adds to the possibility of elevated violence.
    3. And finally, if this is a valid study, shouldnt violence prone cities, such as Chicago, Paterson etc beg the NRA to hold conventions there?

    IMO, you can’t really say, guns bad, but my lifestyle choices good and look the other way on the violence and pain your lifestyle forces on those with less means or because you have a bigger megaphone and soapbox. Its intellectually dishonest.

    1. Ape

      Hmm guns, lifestyle choices, sin…

      This all isn’t really about anything just the habits of thought in identity politics it seems. There’s a deeper problem in US culture here about the meaning of even having a conversation rather than a theological discussion on who is better, who can enforce their will.

      Not hopeful.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh my goodness. Straw manning as well as making shit up (accusing yours truly of having relatives with drug habits). 4Chan is over there.

      You aren’t very good at making arguments either. Pecan pie is not one of the leading causes of death in America, and what you represent as a mere lifestyle choice imposes costs on others, as in medical system costs, for starters.

      And finally, you act as if this is a class issue. All of the gun-totin’ folks I know in Texas are upper middle class, and the guy with the pistol on his front seat is 0.1%.

  9. XXYY

    Jennifer Baker, a spokesperson for the NRA, told CNN that the study’s results were “absurd,” adding, “This study claims that firearms-related injury plummets 20 percent nationwide when less than one-tenth of 1 percent of gun owners attend this event? That’s absurd. You don’t have to be a Harvard researcher to see those numbers simply don’t add up.”

    I don’t see anything inherently implausible about the idea that 0.1% of the population are involved in 20% of the firearms injuries in the US. The number of firearms injuries is not tremendous on any given day (though of course adds up to a big number over time). I imagine a similarly small number commits 20% of the convenience store robberies a day, for example. And of course anyone who will travel a thousand miles and pay a thousand dollars to attend an NRA convention is obviously someone who spends a lot of time handling guns and is much more likely to accidentally shoot himself or others than a randomly chosen American. So I buy this.

    One thing is for sure: If we could somehow send every American gun owner to an NRA convention in Antarctica for a month, gun deaths in the country would drop to zero and the rest of us would have a very nice and well-deserved break.

  10. Oregoncharles

    About guns in nightstands: this evokes one of the more memorable scenes in a famous sci-fi novel – William Gibson, I think, but I don’t remember which one:

    Our heroine, while having sex at her lover’s apartment, grabs the headboard – and discovers, by feel, a gun taped to the back of it. She doesn’t say anything at the time, but concludes he might not be healthy to hang around with. The book was really about advertising, IIRC, but had a gangster sub-theme.

  11. Jon Paul

    When I was in the army, we stood guard duty with empty mags, even at the main gate. Why? Too many accidents. The only time I carried ammo was when I was guarding the pay officer, traveling with the arms room or at the range.


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