This is an X-Y scatterplot of Gallup’s gun owner data between 1980 though 2014 and the FBI’s homicide rate data during the same time period.
To create an apples-to-apples comparison of the two polling sources, I created an X-Y scatterplot of GSS’s gun owner data between 1980 through 2014 and the same FBI homicide rate data of the same time period.
The coefficients of correlation in both of these charts is highly significant, suggesting–no, screaming–a relationship between the share of Americans who have guns and the share of Americans getting murdered every year.
Now, I realize that nothing I can ever write will convince the guns-at-any-cost crowd. I’m not going to try.
But for everyone else who’s mildly open to the idea that–wait for it–when more Americans per capita have flesh-piercing tools to extend force farther, faster and more lethally that that would ever result in more people getting killed per capita, then here you go.
A crime is a product–not a sum–of three essential ingredients: motive*method*opportunity.
Weapons regulation can’t change motive. It can change the method and therefore the opportunity. JFK wasn’t killed by a lance, a spear, a knife or an arrow. He was killed by a sniper rifle.
Why is that important?
Gun ownership didn’t change Lee Harvey Oswald’s motive. It changed–expanded–his opportunity.
More than any other weapon besides bombs and missiles, guns increase opportunity and effectiveness to realize motive.
So motive stays same. But method => increases opportunity ==> more successful crime.