Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

"Nice Try, But No Cigar" For Brady Campaign's Paul Helmke

Friday, September 24, 2010

"The NRA is wrong again," said Brady Campaign president Paul Helmke on Tuesday, in his 176th (and counting) blog post on the left-wing Huffington Post website. Helmke was upset because of three things we pointed out in our annual "More Guns, Less Crime" fact sheet and Grassroots Alert last week.

First, the number of guns has risen to an all-time high. Second, for decades Brady Campaign has repeatedly predicted with unfettered confidence that more guns would necessarily cause crime to rise. But third, the nation's violent crime and murder rates have instead fallen to 35- and 45-year lows, respectively.

Our fact sheet and alert didn't say that crime has gone down because the number of guns has risen. And we didn't even mention that crime has gone down in large part because in the 1990s many states adopted laws that NRA called for, to require violent criminals to spend time behind bars, to increase the length of violent criminals' prison sentences, and to reduce their ability to obtain parole and probation (we'll do that in next year's fact sheet.  Thanks for the reminder, Paul).

All our fact sheet and alert pointed out was that, contrary to Brady Campaign predictions, an increase in guns didn't cause crime to go up.

Nevertheless, Helmke whined, "The NRA is misleading again."  The NRA is trying "to wave and shout and dance and steal the credit" for crime going down. NRA's leaders "treat us as fools."

Helmke didn't deny that there is less crime. And he didn't deny that there are more guns. Instead, he paraphrased some of Violence Policy Center's hogwash, saying, "the average number of guns per owner has gone up, but the percent of American households with a gun? That's right: it's gone down."

What Helmke didn't mention is that polls measuring the percentage of households that acknowledge having at least one gun don't accurately measure gun ownership by household or the number of Americans who own guns.

In its 1996 National Survey of Private Ownership of Firearms in the United States (NSPOF), the Police Foundation identified one of the limits of surveys attempting to measure gun ownership by household.

"For households headed by a married couple, 49 percent of the husbands report a gun in the home, compared with just 36 percent of the wives. Since this difference is far larger than can be explained by chance, it appears that many wives either do not know about their husband's guns or are reluctant to discuss it with a stranger. The NSPOF estimates based on a respondent's report of all guns in the household is 107.2 million working firearms. The NSPOF estimate based on a respondent's report of his or her own firearms is 192.1 million working firearms."

Similarly, criminologist Gary Kleck has noted that in his and Marc Gertz's landmark survey of defensive firearm use, "50.1% of married men reported a household gun, but only 37.4% of married women did. . . . Fourteen consecutive General Social Surveys found married women to report household guns at lower levels than married men."

Kleck added that a person is more likely to acknowledge that he or she own guns, than to acknowledge the ownership of guns by someone else in the household, but that while "it is most commonly a male who owns the household guns . . . . [M]arried women make up around 31% of the usual adult survey samples."

Helmke also didn't note (but Kleck did) that the percentage of people telling pollsters that they have guns in their homes dropped precipitously during the years of the Clinton Administration's war against gun owners, from the 40+ percentage range, down into the 30s.

And there is one other, factor that Helmke didn't take into account: The population of the country rises by about one percent, or three million, every year. Surveys began showing a decline in "household" gun ownership in the 1980s, but since 1985, for example, the population of the country has increased 30 percent, from 239 million to 310 million. That's more than enough to compensate for the decline in "yes" responses to pollsters asking whether people have any guns in their homes.

So, we'd say we hate to be the one to tell you, Paul, but that wouldn't be honest. We're glad to tell you. There are more Americans owning more guns than ever before and, as we both agree, violent crime is way, way, down.

TRENDING NOW
Urban Myth: Crime Doesn’t Pay – California City Authorizes Stipends to Gang Members

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Urban Myth: Crime Doesn’t Pay – California City Authorizes Stipends to Gang Members

In a special meeting on August 29, the nine-member City Council of Sacramento unanimously agreed to allocate $1.5 million in funding and to move forward with a “gun-violence reduction strategy” that will include cash payments ...

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

Gun owners received good news this week with the passage of the SHARE Act by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources (see related story). Meanwhile, progress continued to be made on another NRA legislative ...

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Most concealed-carry permit holders understand the potential pitfalls of traveling with a firearm, given the outrageous patchwork of state laws involved in even a short interstate trip. And while we haven’t posted much about reciprocity ...

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

Hunting  

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting and broadening access to federal lands ...

NRA Backed SHARE Act Passes Committee

News  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NRA Backed SHARE Act Passes Committee

“Today marks an important step in protecting the Second Amendment freedoms of America’s hunters and sportsmen and strengthening our outdoor heritage,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The SHARE Act will cut burdensome red tape that restricts ...

Wisconsin: Important Concealed Carry Legislation Scheduled for Committee Vote This Week

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wisconsin: Important Concealed Carry Legislation Scheduled for Committee Vote This Week

This Tuesday, September 19, Senate Bill 169 is scheduled for a vote during the executive session in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  SB 169 would allow for the concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry license ...

Bloomberg Spending Millions To Elect Anti-Gun Virginia Governor

News  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bloomberg Spending Millions To Elect Anti-Gun Virginia Governor

Billionaire anti-gunner Michael Bloomberg is at it again, pledging to spend $1 million through his gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety in an attempt to impact Virginia’s upcoming elections for governor and attorney general.

NRA Applauds Reintroduction and Expansion of SHARE Act

News  

Hunting  

Friday, September 8, 2017

NRA Applauds Reintroduction and Expansion of SHARE Act

On Sept. 1, U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan introduced H.R. 3668, the Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), a wide-ranging package of legislation aimed at promoting Second Amendment rights and America’s outdoor sporting traditions.

Washington Post’s Resident Anti-Gun Zealot Parades his Ignorance in SHARE Act Column

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Washington Post’s Resident Anti-Gun Zealot Parades his Ignorance in SHARE Act Column

Dana Milbank is not a serious journalist. A former White House correspondent for the Washington Post, Milbank now writes what can be characterized as a humor column for the paper.

Wisconsin: Constitutional Carry Passes Committee Vote

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wisconsin: Constitutional Carry Passes Committee Vote

Today, Senate Bill 169 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a vote of 3-2.  SB 169 would allow for the concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry license anywhere in the state where ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.