This will be a brief article. Hey, stop applauding! Yes, I’m talking to you in the back row! I mean brief by my standards—just a bit over 1500 words. Gallup.Com reports:
Americans who have been recent crime victims report higher rates of gun ownership than those who have not been victims, according to an analysis of aggregated data from Gallup Crime surveys. Thirty-three percent of U.S. adults who have been recent victims of assault, theft or property crimes own a gun, compared with 28% of those who have not been victims — a statistically significant difference.
As part of its annual Crime survey, Gallup asks Americans whether in the past 12 months they personally have been the victim of a number of crimes, including burglary, property theft, assault and vandalism. In most years the survey has also asked Americans whether they personally own a gun, including in 2000, 2005, 2007-2011 and 2013-2016. The analysis is based on a combined 11,165 interviews from those surveys. Overall, an average of 17% of Americans reported being the victim of at least one of the crimes in those polls, and 29% said they personally owned a gun.
Although it is not possible to know from the survey questions whether the crime prompted the individual to buy a gun or if the person owned a gun before the crime occurred, the modest yet significant relationship between recent crime victimization and gun ownership is clear. Also, because the survey asks only about crime victimization in the last 12 months, it is possible many people victimized by crimes in the more distant past bought a gun in reaction to those crimes. Thus, the analysis may understate the relationship between crime victimization and gun ownership.
This very nearly falls into the “no s**t Sherlock” category. My police experience certainly suggests those recently victimized by criminals are far more likely to seek effective measures to protect themselves in the future, and few measures are more effective than guns. My common sense, what little there is of it, also affirms it. This would be remarkable only if the opposite were observed, only if recent victims of crime did what they could to make themselves more vulnerable in the future.
Past Gallup analysis has shown that men are far more likely than women to own a gun — in fact, gender is the strongest predictor of gun ownership. For both men and women, gun ownership is higher among crime victims than nonvictims. Specifically, 48% of men who have experienced a recent personal or property crime own a gun, compared with 43% of men who have not been victimized. Meanwhile, 19% of female crime victims own a gun, compared with 14% of all other women.
This is a factor that has, during the age of Obama with its race riots, abandonment of the rule of law, and suppression of effective policing, begun to change. More and more women are becoming first time gun owners, and enjoying the sporting and recreational aspects of shooting.
Gun ownership overall is also much higher among those living in towns or rural areas (39%) than those living in suburbs (28%) or cities (22%). Suburban and rural crime victims show higher gun ownership rates than their nonvictim counterparts, but this is not true among urban residents. To some degree, tougher restrictions on gun ownership in many cities may make it harder for crime victims to obtain guns.
Wow. No s**t Sherlock. If one lives in cities like New York or Chicago where only criminals or the very wealthy and politically connected have guns, it is indeed “harder for crime victims to obtain guns.” It’s not a matter of degree. It’s reality. Criminals have little difficulty obtaining arms. Imagine that.
Although the analysis demonstrates a statistically significant relationship between crime victimization and gun ownership, it cannot answer why the relationship exists. An obvious explanation is some of those who have been a crime victim purchase a gun as a reaction to that event. The Gallup data do not explore when the gun purchase was made in relation to when the crime occurred, so it is not possible to know to what extent this explains the relationship.
It does not appear that those who live in higher-crime areas, and who therefore may be more likely to become a victim, are also more likely to own guns. Gallup’s Crime surveys show urban residents are much more likely than rural residents to report being crime victims, 20% to 15%, but rural residents are far more likely to own guns. The data do suggest, though, that crime victimization has a greater effect on gun ownership among suburban and rural residents than among urban residents.
Here is where this kind of statistical analysis inevitably breaks down. Human nature plays the most important role in such matters. People victimized in states or cities that make gun ownership by the law-abiding almost impossible are surely less likely to obtain guns as a result of being recent crime victims. The motivation is there, but the availability is not. In addition, rational people in such places know they also have to fear the police where gun ownership is concerned. The police and courts will often be much harder on victims than criminals.
Another factor is ideological. While some progressives, motivated by having been robbed, assaulted or raped, are willing to change their minds about the efficacy of guns and the wisdom and necessity of ownership, it’s likely more refuse to bow to reality, seeing purchasing a gun as a complete repudiation of the beliefs that have informed their lives and given them meaning. It is, to many of them, apostasy.
As I’ve often written, progressivism, particularly progressivism that informs every facet of life rather than merely being periodically expressed at the ballot box, takes on the characteristics of a religion, and a particularly angry, fervent and insecure faith it tends to be. Such progressives cannot brook the slightest challenge to their beliefs. They embrace the illusion that thinking the right thoughts and saying the right things—virtue signaling—is goodness. It is such people that are particularly prone to resort to sudden and vicious anger out of proportion to provocation when they think themselves or their beliefs challenged in any way.
Beaten, robbed, raped, they cannot blame the criminal, but must seek the “root causes,” asking what they did, or what society did to the poor criminal to make them behave as they did. Allied is blaming political opponents for preventing them—and all progressives—from enacting the policies and laws that would cause all to live in perfect peace and harmony. The mere idea of buying a gun would induce cognitive dissonance on a level that could lead to a nervous breakdown. Gallup touches on this, but is mostly oblivious:
Nor does fear of crime explain the relationship, because gun ownership is higher among victims than nonvictims when fear is held constant. It is possible some other unmeasurable psychological, cultural or situational characteristics could be related to both one’s likelihood of buying a gun and one’s vulnerability to being a crime victim.
Pity the progressive, living in the world they believe ought to be, where weapons are not only unnecessary, but indicative of mental illness, even evil in their owners. Pity more the progressive thinking inanimate objects inherently evil, or capable of sparking evil in their owners. People that do not live in reality, people that are unwilling to recognize the nature of criminals, are surely far more vulnerable to criminals, who see them as walking pieces of meat wearing flashing neon “eat me” signs. People with no situational awareness, which tends to be developed in those carrying concealed weapons, are related to one’s likelihood of buying a gun—they won’t—and their vulnerability to being a crime victim—they’re much more likely to be preyed upon.
In 2013, Gallup asked gun owners why they keep a weapon. The majority, 60%, cited personal safety or protection. More broadly, Americans tend to believe that having a gun in the home or carrying concealed weapons would do more to keep people safe than to put them at risk of harm.
Perhaps this is so because while Americans own more guns than at any time in history, the rate of accidental shootings has been dramatically declining for more than a century, and continues to decline.
U.S. gun policy has come under increased scrutiny in recent decades, driven partly by mass shootings but also by the high rate of gun-related homicides. For crime victims, the threat of victimization is no longer a possibility but a reality. Crime victims’ desire to protect themselves may explain why many gun owners do not favor stricter gun laws, and why gun owners as well as nonowners are reluctant to back outright bans on guns.
Mass shootings remain, thankfully, rare, however, they do tend to make the threat real for thinking people, because while one might be more likely to be hit by a meteor, there is nothing keeping one–or their loved ones–from being present where a mass shooting takes place. There are surely practical reasons why Americans don’t favor gun bans, but the last eight years have taught Americans, as no previous political motivation, that government cannot be trusted, and tyranny is always possible. In effect, Americans are reawakening to the reality of the Founders, and in so doing, those politically, emotionally and rationally capable, are embracing the Second Amendment and all that accompanies it.