Murder in Vermont – Gun Control

Introduction

The website NRA-ILA INSTITUTE for LEGISLATIVE ACTION featured an article entitled The Opposite of Data-Driven Public Policy dated Friday, April 13, 2018.

This article questioned that there is any data-driven basis for recent gun control legislation in VT. You can click the link above to learn more about that legislation.

The key data-driven paragraph in the article was:

“Using FBI data, there were 18 people killed with a rifle of any type in Vermont between 2005 and 2016. The same number of people were killed by “personal weapons” – hands, fists, and feet. So, on average, two people are killed with rifles of any type in Vermont in a year (if you round up). The rate per 100,000 in population has ranged from 0.0 to 0.6 in this time period. Overall, six people were killed with a firearm in Vermont in 2016 – a rate of 1.0 firearms-related homicides per 100,000 Vermonters.” Quoted from The Opposite of Data-Driven Public Policy dated Friday, April 13, 2018.

This post will look at the same source of data and focus on murders by any sort of firearm vs murders by non-firearm. We will also compare VT to all other states combined both per capita and percentage break down by means of murder.

We will examine the raw counts, the per Capita (100k) and the percent break-down of murders.

First, a disclaimer:

Disclaimer

There are problems in comparing one state with another since neither process nor definitions used in each state to collect data are assured to be uniform from on state to another.

Another disclaimer is that we only have “murders for which supplemental homicide data were received”. We interpret this to indicate that we may not have all murders accounted for in this data. Also, this is so to different degrees and in different ways from state to state.

This data is for the year 2016 only.

So we are working with weak measures. Therefore, any conclusions would be preliminary at best and only the source for hypotheses that would await better studies for validation.

The Data

We will examine this table calculated by The Data-Driven View from FBI Crime Statistics and Wikipedia’s List of U.S. states by population

Link to Sources: FBI Stats (Table 12) and List of U.S. States by Population

“US – Not VT” means we have added the raw counts for crime and population for all states excluding VT. “per 100k Capita” means raw crime counts per hundred thousand population.

Let us now examine the raw counts, the percentage break-downs, and the per Capita rates in turn.

Raw Crime Counts

Note the following based on the table above:

  • This data shows a very small number of murders with firearms in VT in 2016.
  • This data shows fewer firearm murders than non-firearm murders in VT for 2016.

Per Capita Rates

Note that the above column chart illustrates the following:

  • This data shows a rate of murders per capita for VT is less than half that of the rest of the USA.
  • This data shows a rate of firearm-murders per capita for VT that is slightly close to one-fourth than that of the rest of the USA.
  • This data shows a rate of non-firearm-murders per capita for VT that is close to the same as that for the rest of the USA.

Percent Break-Down of Murders

Note that the above pie chart illustrates the following:

  • This data shows a bit less than half of murders in VT are by firearm while almost three-fourths of murders in the USA are by firearm.

Conclusion

The Data-Driven View believes that this data construed in this way lines up with the story as told by NRA-ILA.

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