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Are gun owners more violent?

  1. Aug 5, 2009 #1
    Are legal gun owners more violent than the general population?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2009 #2
    Maybe on average. How?
  4. Aug 5, 2009 #3
    You may have to qualify "gun owners". Legally owned or illegally. I would venture that those who legally own guns are no more or less violent than those who do not. But those who own guns illegally are likely to be much more violent.
  5. Aug 5, 2009 #4
    I think it depends on how you define "violent". Are they more likely to commit violent crimes? I am uncertain. Are they more likely to commit an act of violence? I would hypothesize that, yes, they probably are.

    There is a developing body of evidence that there exists a correlation between average fearfulness and politically conservative views, which also correlate with gun ownership. More fearful people are more likely to perceive something as a threat (real or imagined), and it stands to reason that they may be more likely to act on their perception of a threat by using force.

    Whether you look specifically at legal or illegal acts of violence may make a big difference in your results as well. I make no prediction whether legal gun owners are more likely to commit violent crimes, but I would suspect that they are more likely to commit acts of violence.
  6. Aug 5, 2009 #5
    I would bet they are! What's the chance they are exactly the same violent?
  7. Aug 5, 2009 #6
    I would bet none of you have any data to support either proposition.
  8. Aug 5, 2009 #7
    Some statistics can and will surprise you. Science and inquiry isn't about gut-reactions like 'I bet they are because they're mean bastards who shoot at deer'.

    (And Kasse, I think he meant no more or less statistically relevant, of course there'll be some discrepancy but not all discrepancies are noteworthy or telling).
  9. Aug 5, 2009 #8
    Most of the bullies I have met have been more interested in sport fighting and martial arts. Shooting someone is a rather impersonal method of violence. Those who are violent, in my experience, have a preference for direct physical contact with their victims. Shootings, while doing alot of damage, seem to be rather low on the scale of violent behavior.

    It would seem to stand to reason that the fearful would prefer to avoid violence. You would think that a violent person would get much more satisfaction out of beating someone up with a baseball bat than simply shooting them. Do wife beaters often shoot their wives? People who beat their children tend to shoot them? Rapists often shoot their victims? I'm pretty sure the answer to those questions are all no. Violent people do not seem to prefer guns. People worried about violence seem to be the ones who tend to own guns.
  10. Aug 5, 2009 #9
    I live in South-Africa and I and almost all of the other good people I know ownes a gun.
    Not because we are violent and because we want to kill, but becuse there are a whole lot of extremely violent crimes in my country (And about all these crimes are rassist related crimes). These crimes are not just murder but little girls getting raped by two or more men while their parents are forced to watch with guns held against their heads.
    We all own guns to prevent this from happening to us.

    Now I know some people are asking: "Why not leave it to the police to enforce the law?"
    Well in a country filled with corruption, the police are just as corrupt and violent if not even more.
    And another thing is that every terrorist has an AK-47 in their taxi so how are we to defend ourselves and families without a weapon.

    So to your question: "Are legal gun owners more violent than the general population?".
    No, we just want to live.
  11. Aug 5, 2009 #10
    It's good to know that the terrorist network isn't limited to arab cab drivers in the united states, but arab cab drives around the entire world!
  12. Aug 5, 2009 #11


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    I wonder whether anyone will even try and post some statistics in this thread, or are all comments on this topic just going to be anecdotal?
  13. Aug 5, 2009 #12
    Regarding your SA crime scene, I've a story to share.

    Once my ex-boss had to travel to Nigeria on a few months trip. One night, a guy knocked at his door and asked for his car. He had to give car to the stranger, otherwise he might get killed. He thought he lost his car, but was very surprised to see that the other guy returned the car the very next day. When he looked inside the car, there were lots of blood inside. My ex-boss got so frightened and went to the police station to report the incident. In the police station, he saw the same guy who took his car, and realized that he's a policeman. My ex-boss just came back home and left the country.

    I am under the impression that SA and Botswana are less crime stricken countries compared to most other African nations. Also, some of the northern African countries are safe too (Morocco, Egypt, Libya). Am I correct?
  14. Aug 5, 2009 #13
    Botswana yes. Alot of farmers are moving to Botswana because of good farming oppertunities. I should also add thats it is not the whole SA being seriously affected by crime. The Cape is rather safe (Yet not totally). The worst areas is in Guateng and Limpopo.

    I don't know about other countries.
  15. Aug 5, 2009 #14
    I've been thinking about this. What statistics would we use really? There is a difference between a legal gun owner and a person who illegally owns a gun. There is a difference between a 'violent person' and an ex police officer or military person who have been trained to use 'violence' as a tool. A current/ex military or law enforcement individual likely owns a gun due to their occupation more than any violent tendency and persons with violent tendencies are perhaps more likely have criminal records and are less likely to own a gun regardless of any desire to own one.

    So how do we get the statistics and how do we come to any conclusion about what they mean? There just seem to be too many problems with such a generalized question.
  16. Aug 5, 2009 #15
    Like any good statistician would. You make it up. 26% sounds good to me.
  17. Aug 5, 2009 #16
    I understand that you're probably trying to inject some humour into this thread but I can't help but mention that simply stating a percentage, without defining what it refers to, is completely meaningless...as any good statistician would know :wink:
  18. Aug 5, 2009 #17

    Chi Meson

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    I'm worried more about shoe owners. They seem to be behind almost every crime, from white-collar embezzlement to candy-store misdemeanors.

    Sorry for the sarcasm. I think that there are some psychotics that own massive quantities of guns legally, ...they scare me... but it doesn't seem that they are the primary source of violence in the daily news. But so many people "own a gun" or two (my father has a nice rifle), and never commit a violent act in their lives.

    Then you have the gangsters and drug cartels who are simply violence incarnate. Their violence is not limited to the use of guns, and it is not the guns that make them violent (but the guns do indeed make the violence easier and flashier).

    It appears to me that there are some violent people, and some of them have guns.
  19. Aug 5, 2009 #18
  20. Aug 5, 2009 #19
    Does "New and Improved Dreck" get your white things whiter and your blue things bluer?
  21. Aug 5, 2009 #20
    And that was my point. More fearful people are more likely to own guns, because they are afraid of themselves or members of their family/social group being victimized. More fearful people also tend to be more violent.

    This is not something novel, it goes back to these kind of evolved psychological traits.

    Back in the caveman days, say a lone hunter spotted a stranger from another tribe. A more fearful hunter would be more likely to engage his "fight or flight" instinct and either try to kill the foreign tribesman, or run, or hide from him. This would help ensure his survival, but, on the other hand, it would make it difficult for nearby tribes to cooperate and could easily spark a feud.

    A less fearful tribesman may greet the stranger, and for his lack of fear, be killed by the stranger. Or he may help initiate a mutually beneficial alliance between his tribe and theirs.

    But, more fearful people do tend to advocate violence much more, and they are probably more likely to commit violent (though not necessarily illegal) acts.
  22. Aug 5, 2009 #21


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  23. Aug 5, 2009 #22


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    Google on gun violence statistics and you will see that gun violence is highly correlated to the age of the aggressor and the nature of the municipality. The vast majority of aggressors are young males, and urban areas experience much more handgun-related violence than suburban and rural areas. There is not a single household on my rural road that does not have several (at least) firearms, and many own handguns, in addition to the typical shotguns and hunting rifles. No violence here. Apart from deer, partridge, and rabbits, most folks here shoot paper targets. In fact, Maine is probably one of the most heavily-armed states in the union - mostly because of the hunting traditions. Lots of guns around here wouldn't be counted in polls, and guns aren't required to be registered here, so statistics on gun-ownership here should be taken with a grain of salt. If violence and gun-ownership went hand-in-hand as the OP asked, Maine would be a very dangerous place to live. Instead, Maine is a very dangerous place to practice burglary or home-invasion.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  24. Aug 5, 2009 #23

  25. Aug 5, 2009 #24


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    Didn't think so.
  26. Aug 5, 2009 #25
    Besides, I'm just joking around.
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