Just how many guns are there in the US?

David Yamane is a sociologist who runs a blog called Gun Culture 2.0; he tackles various topics that arise concerning the 2nd Amendment. I stumbled across his blog a few years back and was delighted to discover that he regularly puts out good information & has his students do studies on 2nd Amendment related topics.

He recently has been addressing the topic “How Many Households in America Today Have Guns?” and wrote:

 Legault and Lizotte estimated the U.S. civilian gun stock to be just over 216 million as of 2006. And the 2015 National Firearms Survey (NFS) pegs the current stock of firearms at somewhere between 245 million and 285 million.

I know some will argue that the NFS estimate is low, and that there are over 300 million firearms in the United States today. But for me, Wright’s “give or take a few tens of millions” is right on. The heart of Wright’s observation is that there are ALOT of guns in America. Even though no one knows exactly how many, these estimates all support the idea that there are ALOT. Far more than any other country, both in absolute numbers and per capita. Whether it is 285 million or 315 million is inconsequential.

Commentators responded that these estimates may be low by pointing a Weaponsman blog posting referring to ATF manufacturer figures showing 250 million serial numbered firearms manufactured since 1999.

David did a followup article and addresses this:

The author, who writes under the pseudonym “Hognose,” reports on a BAFTE data system called “Access 2000 (A2K)” (see Appendix II here for a brief overview). As Hognose describes it, “This system allows voluntarily participating manufacturers, importers and wholesalers (no retailers) to enter their firearms by the identifying data that goes on a 4473 directly into an ATF computer.”

————-

I’m going to quote from the Weaponsman article here to give some context:

 The typical estimate of the total number of firearms in the USA is about 300 million, depending on whom is queried. […]

We believe that the correct number is much higher — somewhere between 412 and 660 million. You may wonder how we came to that number, so buckle up (and cringe, if you’re a math-phobe, although it never gets too theoretical): unlike most of the academics and reporters we linked above, we’re going to use publicly available data, and show our work.

What if we told you that one ATF computer system logged, by serial number, 252,000,000 unique firearms, and represented only those firearms manufactured, imported or sold by a relatively small number of the nation’s tens of thousands of Federal Firearms Licensees?

ATF  maintains a system, introduced in 1999, called Access 2000 or A2K (GAO report; details are in the .pdfs linked at that .html link). This system allows voluntarily participating manufacturers, importers and wholesalers (no retailers) to enter their firearms by the identifying data that goes on a 4473 directly into an ATF computer.

The relevance of the A2K database to the question of how many guns is this: “As of 2 October, 2015,** the data in A2K included 252,433,229 records, representing one firearm each.”** […]

None of the current academic media and academic estimates were developed with A2K data, even though this data has been made publicly available. You’re probably reading about it here for the first time.

**The participants in A2K include, as of fall, 2015, 35 firms representing 66 FFLs total.**

**As of 2 October, 2015, the data in A2K included 252,433,229 records, representing one firearm each.** That means that at least those 250 million firearms have been manufactured, or imported, or sold at wholesale in approximately 15 years. (Duplicate records, say from a manufacturer or importer in 2000 a jobber as a used gun in 2007, don’t increment the count; the unique serial number ties those data points together as a single “record”).

For the total count of firearms in the USA to be 300 million, the following must be true:

(A2K + all firearms made and sold by non-A2K FFLs from 1999-2015 + all firearms made by everyone 1899-1999 + all firearms imported 1899-1999 + all firearms made or imported since October, 2015) – firearms exported = 300M.

It seems unlikely that 5/6 of all firearms were made or imported in the last 17 years. […]

They address numerous things and conclude with:

 At this point we have a reasonable and very conservative, very low estimate of 329 million new firearms to the US market 1999-2016. The question becomes one of estimating how many firearms were made and imported in the period from the invention of modern metallic cartridge, smokeless powder ammunition from, say, 1899 to 1998 — and how many of those survive as practical, usable firearms. […]

Absent a better idea, we can say that** the US inventory of firearms is almost certainly between 412 and 660 million**, not the lower numbers recently trumpeted in the media.

This also doesn’t count the number of firearms made from “80%” receivers, AK flats, and the like.

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So much for ‘gun ownership is declining’: Poll: More Americans Have a Gun in Home Than Ever Before

One of the oft-repeated trope of the gun control movement is that gun ownership is decreasing.  And yet…

A new poll published on Thursday found more Americans report having a gun in their home than ever before.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey of 1,200 adults found 48 percent of Americans said they or somebody else in their household owned a gun. That’s 3 percentage points higher than when the same question was asked last year. It’s 9 percentage points higher than when the question was asked in 2011, the low point of the poll’s findings for self-reported gun ownership.

http://freebeacon.com/issues/poll-americans-gun-home-ever/

This topic deserves a longer post, so I’ll address this in greater detail later.

Pro-click: “The Political Philosophy Of Guns – Would America Really Be A Better Society Without Them?”

Came across this last night:

America’s decades long national argument about gun control is not a normal political debate about addressing policy to problems but about what kind of politics to have. It is fundamentally about how citizens should relate to each other and the state, and that makes it a matter of political philosophy, Politics with a capital P. That in turn explains why the debate has gone on so long without resolution and the division and frustration it inspires.

Of course it is up to Americans to decide what kind of society they should have, not philosophers, and certainly not foreign ones like me. Indeed, part of my argument is that even this most fundamental question must be decided politically, by the people, and not by appeal to the special authority of sacred constitutional principles or social science or even philosophy. Philosophers’ pronouncements of truth and rightness have no special authority over politics, nor should they. What philosophical analysis can do is offer new perspective and argumentative resources by which a political debate such as this one might be improved from its toxic stalemate.

I know what you are thinking.  This is going to be a long winded argument about how guns are bad.  WRONG!

So what does my philosophical perspective come down to? First a diagnosis. Both sides of the gun control debate know they are right. But only one side recognises it as a fundamentally philosophical dispute. The other has systematically evaded the real debate about values in favour of the faux objectivity of a statistical public health argument [See Hunt for a discussion of what the gun control debate is actually about]. Second some positive advice. The advocates of gun control need to take the political philosophy of the gun rights movement seriously and show that a society without guns is a better society not that it is a safer one.

It only gets better from there:

I’m going to have to be blunt. Gun control advocates rely excessively on a public health case that is not only much weaker than they believe it to be but also crowds out the kind of arguments that might actually win over their opponents. Their confidence that they are on the right side of history has blinded them to the fact that they have chosen to fight on the wrong ground. They keep harping on about guns killing people. As if guns were like cigarettes, and as if the numbers were big enough to matter

Guns are an excellent killing technology. They are extremely good at transforming an intention to kill into its achievement. However, that doesn’t mean that they are a particularly significant cause of death; only a particularly exciting one.The idea that forcibly removing guns from citizens would reduce death rates in any appreciable degree is a triumph of moral indignation over statistics. America is not 43rd in the world for life-expectancy because it kills so many people with guns, but, principally, because of the social gradient in health that follows from its shameful levels of socio-economic inequality [1].

Let’s go into this a little more.

We hear a lot about the large number of deaths caused by guns in America, around 33,000 per year. This sounds like a big number. But understanding whether a number is big enough to matter requires considering it in context. 2.6 million Americans die every year [CDC] [2]. Gun deaths represent just over 1% of deaths, and two thirds of those are suicides. From a public health perspective, many other causes of death seem much more deserving of our worry, and also more likely to yield to government intervention.

So happy to see someone else making the same arguments I’ve been using for years.  This one addresses a plethora of typical arguments: Guns vs Cars, Suicide, Mass Shootings, etc.  I have to disagree with the author’s “Your gun isn’t going to stop the military” argument for reasons outlined in previous posts, but you can’t have everything.

Get ready to strap on your stupid: David Smalley vomits “Why Gun Nuts Lie – I Know From Experience”

So I came across an article this morning where David Smalley, Proud Atheist, lectures America about “Why Gun Nuts Lie – I Know From Experience” – and with a premise like that, you know you are in for quite a wild ride.

First, he starts with his credentials:

I live in Texas. I’m a gun owner. I have a concealed handgun license. I’ve taught my kids how to fire weapons.

I also understand and appreciate our Constitution. I’m fully aware of the 2nd Amendment, and how its authors wanted to prevent government tyranny. Considering what they had gone through, they had every right to demand such a thing.

I know enough about weapons to have a near perfect score on my firing test, to know that the “c” in SR9c stands for “compact” to make the weapon easier to hide; and to know that the AR in AR-15 doesn’t stand for ‘Assault Rifle,’ but ‘Armalite’ after the original company who made the gun.

Am I a gun nut? Maybe. But I like to keep myself skeptical and informed. And that includes realizing when I’m being illogically influenced by my culture, and taking necessary steps to correct it.

Great, you’d think someone so informed would also be up to speed on current laws and important court decisions like Heller v DC or McDonald v Chicago.  Of course, he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.

At this nation’s beginning, it made sense for the citizens to be armed similarly to the government to prevent tyranny.

Today, that’s ridiculous. The very concept is outdated. Some have said to me; the point is for the citizens to be “as armed as well as the government.”

Really? The concept is outdated? This would seem to indicate that Mr. Smalley’s beliefs are predicated on either strawman arguments or a lack of history (or both).  We’ll go into detail though, don’t worry.

For starters, today, the military has fully automatic M-16s. Citizens can’t buy that. You have to get a tamer version: AR-15.

You can’t have flame throwers, bombs, bazookas, Z10 attack helicopters, bradleys, tanks, fighter jets, nuclear reactors, or a plethora of other secret military weapons you don’t even know exist.

Mr Smalley shows a fundamental lack of knowledge with these statements, starting with current gun control laws.  Citizens can buy fully automatic M-16s, they are regulated as Machineguns under the National Firearms Act of 1934.  Flamethrowers? Not even federally regulated (even CNN scratched their head on that) and there are models for sale online right now in various configurations.  Bombs & Bazookas? They are considered “destructive devices” and have similar paperwork to machineguns.  Attack helicopters (Z10? wtf) & fighter jets? Uh, here ya go. Bradleys, tanks? Whoops.

So right off the bat, Mr. Smalley is entirely full of shit.  Of course if you confront him on this, he will shift the goalposts to whine about how you can’t buy the latest in military weapons systems like AH-64 Apaches with full Block upgrades, or a F-22, but that is besides the point – anyone citizen based uprising doesn’t require full air dominance & support.  They just have to apply the same asymmetric warfare principles that were used against the US in Iraq, Afghanistan & Vietnam.

Secondly, what if you were? I could hand you 50 AR-15s, give you 1000 illegal bombs, steal you a couple of tanks, and smuggle in some bazookas, and even let you fully train 500 of your closest friends.

If the government wants your shit, they’re going to take it.

You still wouldn’t be a match for even a single battalion of the United States Marine Corps. Not to mention the Air Force, Army, Navy, National Guard, Secret Service, FBI, CIA, and Seals.

So stop acting like your little AR-15 is going to stop tyranny.

There’s the money shot!  The argument is “your AR-15 doesn’t matter against the full weight of the US Government.  At a base level, he’s correct – one person cannot stand against the government.  One person, however, can make a difference, whether they are Ed Snowden, or Bradley Manning, or others.  If Mr. Smalley had a base level of knowledge, he’d recall back to how WWI was started before making such a vacuous argument.

Here’s the thing though: We’ve been at war since just after 9/11 – 15 years now.  Despite that, we haven’t been able to pacify two areas that are smaller than Texas.  We still have troops deployed in Afghanistan, and despite “withdrawing” from Iraq, we have troops fighting there as well.  So while one man with a rifle can’t make a difference, it would behoove Mr. Smalley to recall the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, or the LA Riots from the 90s,  before dismissing the effectiveness of large groups of people.  Larry Correia has a great article on why your “citizens can’t stand up to the government” argument is not grounded in reality, I suggest you read it.

But that can’t be all of his argument now, can it? Of course not:

Just be honest. You like it because it makes your pee-pee big, and when you fire it, it gives you a tingle in your no-no place.

Of course, nobody could want an AR-15 (or equivalent rifle) because they are fun guns to shoot. Or that they are excellent for home protection. Or that they work for shooters as tall as 6’6″, or children barely in their teens. No, it’s because we’ve got little dicks.  And Mr. Smalley has a vast amount of experience with the genitalia of gun owners because he’s clearly conversant and can speak from experience having handled many of them, right?

So what’s next? Oh, more of the usual antigun talking points:

A collection of studies from 2012-2013 found that having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death—and that of your spouse and children. If you have a gun (regardless of how it’s stored), everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owning neighbors and their families to die in a gun-related accident, suicide or homicide.

 

Oh look, a list of 10 strawman arguments from Mother Jones, followed by a moronic “correlation = causation” argument that ignores that firearms homicides or suicides aren’t even on the top ten lists of ways to die in America.  Guess what, Mr Smalley – owning a car makes it more likely you’ll be in a car accident too.  Please, let go of your pearls.

Gun owners and their families are not more suicidal than non-gun-owners, research shows. Nor are they more likely to have a history of depression or other mental health problems.

But they—and their families—are at significantly increased risk of successfully taking their lives with a gun.

Sure, because firearms are pretty efficient like that.  But, as I’ve stated before, “Remove guns, PROBLEM SOLVED” doesn’t work with suicides either, as people will switch methods.  See (gun free) Japan with 2x our suicide rate, and (gun free) South Korea with more than 2x our suicide rate, and (heavily gun restricted) Belgium with 1.33 our suicide rate.

Next, Mr. Smalley fails at the google:

Let’s play a little research game. Google: “man fights off gang of bad guys with AR-15” and the first thing that pops up is a video of criminals shooting at a moving car with handguns.  …

Your fantasy of wiping out those 14 burglars, like Rambo spraying bullets from your AR-15, just isn’t going to happen.

It doesn’t happen. Period.

It doesn’t happen? Oh ok.  Let’s try that with videos. First result for “man defends with AR-15” is this:

Second result:

Here’s another video:

And here’s a woman defending her home in Detroit with a Hi Point carbine:

Hmm, sure looks like people defend themselves with rifles, Mr. Smalley.

I’m not advocating for you to lose all your guns. Even aware of the statistical dangers, I struggle with what to do with mine. I want my kids to be educated on the dangers, but I don’t want to act like guns make me safer. At least if I’m being skeptical even when it hurts.

Ah yes, the “No one wants to take your guns” strawman rears its head.

Here’s an idea: Disarm yourself.  If you don’t want a gun, don’t buy one. We’re pro-choice like that. As a matter of fact, I’d suggest you sell all of yours immediately because you sound like an asshole and I’d hate for you to hurt yourself or someone else.  Because you aren’t being skeptical: you are showing confirmation bias and are ignoring information that counters your viewpoints.

Then comes the litany of gun control masturbation:

But we have to draw the line somewhere. The bottom line is, we just need common sense. And we need to stop lying to ourselves.

I detailed my proposal for gun legislation on Dogma Debate #211: Guns & Atheists. But here’s the gist of it:

Treat guns like cars.
Mandatory licenses
License renewals
Mandatory training
Mandatory insurance
Operating laws
Operating age limits
Restrict some models
Require safety inspections
Mandatory registration
Background checks

I’m drawing the line well before that, because you aren’t educated enough about the laws to have a layman’s opinion and your facts are wrong.

Your laundry list is dumb for a few reason. For one, you don’t want to treat guns like cars, because if you did, you’d actually be making the case to loosen laws.  Here’s a couple things for you to read about why your argument has the facts exactly backwards:

All of those lay it out in very simple language why your argument is dumb.

Mandatory licenses? This is a non-starter unless they are freely available on a shall-issue basis.  By the way, Illinois has mandatory licenses for even purchasing ammunition under their Firearms Owner Identification requirements. Guess how that works out for them?

But hey, are you going to be ok with 16 year olds getting concealed carry permits? Because that’s what you are asking for.

Mandatory training? I’m down for that if you make it part of K-12 public school curriculum.  Otherwise you are just using dogwhistle racism to try to deny those who live in lower income brackets the ability to defend themselves.

Mandatory insurance? There’s not an insurance company out there that’s going to cover criminal actions (the primary reason you want firearms insurance, right?) and suicide requirements are pretty strict in existing health insurance as well.  But again, this goes back to dogwhistle racism as the people most likely to be victimized are also the same group disproportionately represented as homicide offenders.

Age limits? Why?  This sounds like you aren’t interested in safety whatsoever.  We have 360x more children 12 & under being injured in bicycle accidents every year (144,573 in 2014) than firearms (460 again 2014).  Hell, almost 6800 kids under 12 almost drowned in 2014.  Even looking at fatal injury data, bicycles killed 29 kids, 597 were drowned, 43 fell to their deaths, and 44 were killed unintentionally by firearms.  Roughly the same number of kids died falling down stairs or off ladders as were accidentally shot.  Double digit numbers of deaths, while tragic and horrendous for the families, are not reasons to curtail constitutional rights.

Model restrictions? Why? What restrictions?  Let me guess, ones that scare you based on cosmetic features.  We already have model restrictions, thanks, and we don’t need more for dubious reasons.

Safety inspections? Why?  Sounds like you aren’t a fan of privacy either.

Mandatory registration? LOL no.  Sorry! First, registration schemes are the epitome of Southpark’s Underpants Gnomes style gun control logic.  It’s one of those ideas that sounds good in theory, but doesn’t actually work out in practice.  Why? Because when guns are stolen, or straw purchased, or otherwise disappear, your registry is useless. Registries are good for one thing, and that’s revenue generation.  Past that, they don’t work unless the firearm is recovered at the crime scene… and if you have the gun, you typically have the shooter too.

Finally, Background Checks. See Illinois above.  If you want truly effective background checks, open a publicly accessible NICS portal that requires two party token authentication and you’ll have actual gun owners supporting the concept.  Meanwhile until straw purchasing and the like are eliminated, not to mention burglary, you are missing the crime gun forest for the trees.

Thomas Sowell’s take on the President’s speech: “On Gun Control, Obama Is Showman In Chief”

Those of you who read this blog should be familiar with my use of the term “security theater” and how most gun control proposals are little more than soundbites.   Thomas Sowell, noted economist, wrote an article covering yesterday’s Presidential address and reminded me of the flip side; political theater.

Those who have been marveling at Donald Trump’s political showmanship were given a reminder of who is the top showman of them all, when President Obama went on television to make a pitch for his unilateral actions to restrict gun sales and make a more general case for tighter gun-control laws.

It was beautifully choreographed, like a great ballet, and performed with consummate skill and understated eloquence.

First of all, the scene was set with a room full of people who have lost loved ones to gun violence. A father whose son had been gunned down made a long introduction before the president showed up, walked down the aisle and up onto the stage to growing applause.

As political theater, it put Donald Trump’s rantings in the shade.

As for the substance of what Obama said, there was very little substance, and much of it false, but one of the signs of great artistry was that the presentation overshadowed the substance.

None of the things proposed by the president is likely to reduce gun violence. Like other restrictions on people’s ability to defend themselves, or to deter attacks by showing that they are armed, these new restrictions can cost more lives on net balance.

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-on-the-right/010516-788259-thomas-sowell-donald-trump-has-nothing-on-barack-obama-when-it-comes-to-showmanship.htm?fromcampaign=1&p=full

I’m always glad to read when my point of view is the same as others that I respect.

People who are prepared to defy the laws against murder are not very likely to be stopped by laws against guns. Only law-abiding citizens are likely to be stopped by gun-control laws, and to become sitting ducks.

As for facts and statistics, the only ones likely to be mentioned by gun-control zealots, including the media, are those on how many people were killed by guns. How many lives were saved by guns will never make it through the ideological filters of the media, the political establishment or our educational institutions.

Yet factual data on how many threats or attacks were deterred in a given year by displaying a firearm have long been available. Seldom is it necessary to actually pull the trigger to get some thug or criminal to back off and go elsewhere, often in some haste.

Are the only lives that matter those that are lost, usually because there is no gun immediately available to protect them, but not the lives saved because they did have a gun at hand to protect them?

Gun-control zealots seem especially opposed to people being allowed to carry their guns concealed. But concealed weapons protect not only those who carry them, but also to some extent those who do not, because criminals have no way of knowing in advance who does and does not have a gun.

Muggings and rapes become much more dangerous activities for criminals where many law-abiding people are allowed to carry concealed guns. It can take a lot of the fun out of being a thug.

Obama said that we are the only “advanced” nation with so much gun violence. But there are a number of countries with higher murder rates than ours and stronger gun-control laws. But that leaves the definition of “advanced” to Obama — and makes for clever political theater.

Damn straight.  Thank you Dr. Sowell, for seeing through the bullshit.

WSJ Calls out Administration on false mass shooting report: Obama’s Gun-Control Misfire Before the 2014 election, the FBI claimed that mass shootings were up. False.

Last year, the FBI released a report about active shooters that was seized upon by the antigun faithful and twisted into a screed about mass shootings.  Last week, it turned out that the information was not only wrong, but massaged.  Yeserday, the WSJ showed a rare moment of honesty and reported on it:

Last September the Obama administration produced an FBI report that said mass shooting attacks and deaths were up sharply—by an average annual rate of about 16% between 2000 and 2013. Moreover, the problem was worsening. “The findings establish an increasing frequency of incidents,” said the authors. “During the first 7 years included in the study, an average of 6.4 incidents occurred annually. In the last 7 years of the study, that average increased to 16.4 incidents annually.”

The White House could not possibly have been more pleased with the media reaction to these findings, which were prominently featured by the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, the Washington Post and other major outlets. The FBI report landed six weeks before the midterm elections, and the administration was hoping that the gun-control issue would help drive Democratic turnout.

Source: WSJ

The author understates how far and wide this was spread:

New York Times: F.B.I. Confirms a Sharp Rise in Mass Shootings Since 2000

A report released by the F.B.I. on Wednesday confirmed what many Americans had feared but law enforcement officials had never documented: Mass shootings have risen drastically in the past half-dozen years.

NBC: Number of Mass Shootings on the Rise, Most at Schools: FBI Report

The number of shootings in which a gunman wounds or kills multiple people has increased dramatically in recent years, with the majority of attacks in the last decade occurring at a business or a school, according to an FBI report released Wednesday. The study focused on 160 “active shooter incidents” between 2000 and 2013. Those are typically defined as cases in which a gunman in an attack shoots or attempts to shoot people in a populated area. The goal of the report, which excluded shootings that are gang and drug related, was to compile accurate data about the attacks and to help local police prepare for or respond to similar killings in the future, federal law enforcement officials said.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/number-mass-shootings-rise-most-schools-fbi-report-n211261

Newsweek: Mass Shootings on the Rise, New FBI Study Shows

A new study released Wednesday by the FBI shows that mass shootings, or “active shooter incidents,” as the bureau calls them, are increasing in frequency.

The study tracked 160 shootings between 2000 and 2013. Between 2000 and 2007, an average of 6.4 incidents occurred annually, according to the study. That number more than doubled—to 16.4 incidents annually—between 2008 and 2013. “This trend reinforces the need to remain vigilant regarding prevention efforts,” the study said, “and for law enforcement to aggressively train to better respond to—and help communities recover from—active shooter incidents.”

http://www.newsweek.com/mass-shootings-rise-new-fbi-study-shows-273020

WSJ wasn’t above the joining in the fray: Mass Shootings on the Rise, FBI Says | Data Show Average of 16.4 Active-Shooter Incidents a Year From 2006 to 2013

Mass shootings are happening more often, resulting in more deaths and usually ending before police get to the scene, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation study released Wednesday.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/mass-shootings-on-the-rise-fbi-says-1411574475

Reason magazine was made an effort to point out that the media was getting the FBI report wrong:

To be fair, the authors of the FBI’s “active shooter” report explicitly cautioned their study was not about mass shootings, although this caveat was later ignored in much of the news media’s coverage of it.

The bulk of the article is directed towards destroying Mother Jones’ propaganda and didn’t address the widespread media misinformation.

The antigun supporters in mass media made sure to make hay while the sun was shining.

There was just one problem: The facts didn’t support the FBI report.

But late last week, J. Pete Blair and M. Hunter Martaindale, two academics at Texas State University who co-authored the FBI report, acknowledged that “our data is imperfect.” They said that the news media “got it wrong” last year when they “mistakenly reported mass shootings were on the rise.”

Mind you, the authors did not issue this mea culpa in the major news outlets that supposedly misreported the original findings. Instead, the authors published it in ACJS Today, an academic journal published by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. “Because official data did not contain the information we needed, we had to develop our own,” wrote Messrs. Blair and Martaindale. “This required choices between various options with various strengths and weaknesses.” You don’t say.

Surprisingly, VICE Magazine has written about this too, citing it as an example of media bullshit:

As noted recently by the Wall Street Journal and others, the authors of the study — Texas State University academics J. Pete Blair and M. Hunter Martaindale — have been forced to backpedal, acknowledging that their data was “imperfect” and asserting that the media coverage of their findings “got it wrong.”

In an ongoing exchange in ACJS Today, a regular publication of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Blair and Hunter have defended their work, but they still stand accused of playing fast and loose with the numbers for political ends. As others have since pointed out, going all the way back to 1970 — instead of just the narrow 2000-2013 timeframe used in the study — shows that there has been no significant increase in the rate of mass shootings.

Never fear though, the partisan hacks over at Media Matters are quick on the trigger to make sure that they can try to attack the character of the people going against the party line, by criticizing Lott without addressing any of the points he’s raised.  This is par for the course with antigun activists – if you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger.

Charles W. Cooke’s words are ever so appropriate here:

But who cares, right? Black gun scary. NRA crazy. Shootings sad. Automatic, shmautomatic. The real question: Are you on the right side? No? Me good. You bad. Let’s not get bogged down in the facts.

The latest from Pew: Support for gun rights up, perception of gun crime still high (despite lower rates)

Why has public opinion shifted about gun control? As my colleagues at Pew Research Center have documented elsewhere, some of this is related to politics, as Republicans have become far more supportive of gun rights during the Obama years. The rise in support for gun rights has also spanned many other regional and demographic groups.

But there may be another factor behind this shift: Americans’ changing perceptions about crime. Over the past 25 years or so, there has been a divergence between American perceptions about crime and actual crime rates. And those who worried about crime had favored stricter gun control; now, they tend to desire keeping the laws as they are or loosening gun control. In short, we are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership – not gun control – makes people safer.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/17/despite-lower-crime-rates-support-for-gun-rights-increases/