Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Numbers Are In

From the BBC

US gun homicides at 20-year low, surveys say

Gun homicides in the United States have fallen sharply since peaking in 1993, two studies have found.
The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics said firearms-related homicides had dropped to 11,101 in 2011 from 18,253 – a reduction of 39%.
Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center found gun homicides fell to 3.6 per 100,000 people in 2010 from 7 in 1993.

This graph from the Pew Research Center gives a little more context.
Pew Crime Graph

I spent some time looking but could not find a graph for a longer period of time, but note that the rate hasn’t been this low in the last 30 years.

If you would like to read the Bureau of Justice Statistics report you can find it here: Firearm Violence, 1993-2011
Listed Highlights:

  • Firearm-related homicides declined 39%, from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011.
  • Nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69%, from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 victimizations in 2011.
  • Firearm violence accounted for about 70% of all homicides and less than 10% of all nonfatal violent crime from 1993 to 2011.
  • From 1993 to 2011, about 70% to 80% of firearm homicides and 90% of nonfatal firearm victimizations were committed with a handgun.
  • Males, blacks, and persons ages 18 to 24 had the highest rates of firearm homicide from 1993 to 2010.
  • About 61% of nonfatal firearm violence was reported to the police in 2007-11.

The Pew Research study can be found here: Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware

Despite the attention to gun violence in recent months, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is markedly lower than it was two decades ago.

Kansas Makes Enforcement of Federal Gun Laws Illegal

An article looking at the law quotes a letter sent by Eric Holder who claims this move by Kansas is “unconstitutional.” Since the Kansas law applies only to guns and ammunition made entirely within the state, and since the Federal government’s authority to regulate firearms comes from inter-state commerce, Holder’s assertion seems laughable. However, the consequences are not. Not that this development is bad but the results are weighty and we should all be paying close attention to this regardless of our thoughts on guns.

Guns and Shooting – A Primer (part 1)

Guns and Shooting – A Primer (part 1)

The topic of the different firearms and the various ways to properly shoot them is so broad that it’s hard to know where to start. I think the best starting point is firearms. What is a firearm? Is a BB gun or a pellet gun a firearm? Here is a definition used by the federal government:

The term “firearm” is defined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(3), to include (A) any weapon (including a starter gun), which will, or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon….

So, a BB gun is not a firearm because it uses compressed air or a spring to shoot the BB. Interestingly the law’s definition is not actually correct. No modern firearms use an explosive to propel the projectile. Did you know that? While black powder is an explosive, the modern smokeless powders used for the last hundred years are actually classified and regulated as propellants. This brings up another important point. When a round is fired the gunpowder does not detonate, it burns. It burns so quickly that it has a special name called “deflagration” to describe it. When it burns it release huge volumes of gas that push the bullet out of the barrel. I don’t figure you are reading this to get a dissertation on internal ballistics so I found this short 3 minute video that gives a nice overview:

It is a device that propels a device by that action of powder that constitutes a firearm.