Yes, this is definitely how we should be making public policy. Showing people pictures and asking them to confirm one side’s biases by picking the guns that seem the scariest.
Hat tip to Matt Vespa on this.
Vox showed pictures of guns to 2,000 people and asked them which guns should be legal versus illegal. The results they got are shown in the graphics below.
In June, Americans saw the deadliest mass shooting in US history in Orlando, Florida. Before that, the latest mass shooting was in San Bernardino, California. Both occurred at the hands of a shooter with an assault weapon. Now we face the murder of five police officers, shot by a sniper in Dallas. A recent CNN/ORC poll shows that Americans want stricter gun control — but on which guns?
According to our research: the types used in those very attacks.
Yay! Bias confirmation.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to say that each gun should be legal by about 20 percentage points. For example, about 80 percent of Republicans said the Golden Boy rifle should be legal, compared with 59 percent of Democrats.
The respondents’ views on gun legality are broken down by party in this graphic:
Matt Vespa has his usual, useful comments about gun facts, such as the point that handguns can actually be more lethal than an AR-15, depending on how they’re chambered. He cites the indispensable homework on gun-involved crime:
The data is clear that a) rifles and shotguns are rarely used in gun crimes; b) mass shootings, which precipitates all of this gun control nonsense, are rare—contributing to a very small fraction of gun fatalities; and c) gun violence isn’t a problem. We’re living in times where the country is remarkably safer than it was 25 years ago. As for gun homicides, they’ve been reduced dramatically, with another 3.9 percent reduction in 2015.
For the record, I wouldn’t say “gun violence isn’t a problem.” I’d put it differently, first parsing out reality from the freighted nonsense expression “gun violence.” Homicides are a problem, period, even though homicides committed with guns have plunged significantly over the last 20 years. We can fairly say that gun homicides are a problem that’s not on the increase — except in a handful of major cities.
But in the meantime, we can further observe that most mass shootings are committed with handguns – not rifles. So the overwhelming majority of all gun homicides in the U.S. are committed with handguns, and even in the mass-shooting category, the use of a rifle is still a minority occurrence.
In light of this background, what immediately struck me about Vox’s gun images – visual-cue-wise, as it were – is that they don’t even show the very most popular guns for gun homicides in the United States, which are 9mms, and .38s and .357s with (most typically) standard barrel lengths.
(For our liberal friends, that’s means they’re average, unassuming-looking handguns.)
The closest Vox comes is the snub-nosed Taurus 605. The .44-caliber handgun shown below it is certainly used in more homicides than any rifle, semi-automatic or not, but the .44 Magnum in the Vox illustration isn’t nearly as popular as other handguns for felonious activity. Which you’d understand if you’d ever handled one. They’re clunky, heavy to tote around and hard to conceal. Plus, the one in the image is a revolver. Sure, revolvers get used (.38s and .357s), but if you’re going to tote the .40-plus thump around, you’re more likely to go with a .40 or .45 automatic.
Which is what you see in this graphic of the most popular guns for felonious applications in Chicago.
These are the guns used in homicides and other gun-involved felonies in Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., etc., too.
Overwhelmingly, it’s guns like these that are used to commit the vast majority of the gun homicides in the United States. The handgun and caliber breakout hasn’t changed meaningfully for decades.
So when a person who knows that sees the Vox graphics, he’s probably thinking, “Where’s the Saturday night special? Where’s the Glock 9mm? What point are you folks trying to prove here?”
We can at least discern what they did prove.