The “left side” and the “right side” are in constant disagreement and debate over the causes (and correlations between factors) that might lead to more gun related crimes in the US. And as the age-old phrase goes, “you can use statistics to prove any point,” this is even more real today than ever before. But now we know the REAL FACTORS that the FBI uses to get to the heart of the problem.
There was a great article written in NewsTimes, “Listen to FBI, not bogus science, on gun safety,” that specifically lists out what the FBI uses in its analysis on gun crimes in the US…and none of them are related to “gun control.” In this article, they listed out the items the FBI uses when evaluating gun safety and it is a pretty extensive list. Here are their factors…
- Population density and degree of urbanization.
- Variations in composition of the population, particularly youth concentration.
- Stability of the population with respect to residents’ mobility, commuting patterns, and transient factors.
- Economic conditions, including median income, poverty level, and job availability.
- Modes of transportation and highway systems.
- Cultural factors and educational, recreational, and religious characteristics.
- Family conditions with respect to divorce and family cohesiveness.
- Effective strength of law enforcement agencies.
- Administrative and investigative emphases on law enforcement.
- Citizens’ attitudes toward crime.
- Crime reporting practices of the citizenry.
Out of the 12 they listed, none related to “gun control laws” in any area…they don’t feel these are a factor in analyzing safety and crime.
There was a great quote in the article that summed up how other groups try to use only parts of data to prove their points…creating false findings in their reports. They used an easy example to illustrate how many use “selected data” to create their reports…
“The CAP report is junk science meant to provoke a political response, not answer a legitimate research question. This approach is known in the social sciences as a “bivariate” analysis. This is where a researcher only examines the relationship between two variables, when there are in fact other factors that could influence the outcome of interest. For example, roosters crow frequently when the sun rises. There is indeed a strong correlation between these two variables. But could anyone credibly say that the sun rises because roosters crow? Of course not.”
So the next time you see a report on “crime rates related to firearms” it might be helpful to see how many of these data points identified by the FBI are being used…or are they simply selecting the ones they want to make their point. Data is an incredibly powerful tool in helping us identify “root causes” to issues…but only when used correctly and appropriately. And even with all the data, it’s important to remember that we all play a role when it comes to firearms so it’s important to…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.