Guns and Peace…

A recent study made by the Institute for Economics and Peace was just released.  You can find the full study at the site: Vision of Humanity.   They rank the 50 States of the US in a Peace Index.  Utah ranked 6th in the most peaceful states.

What I find kinda funny with this study is that they include Availability of Small Arms as one of their indicators of peace.   But if you look at the numbers, it is not a very reliable indicator.  They rank the states from 1-50 on availability of small arms.   But this is a misleading indicator.  They are not actually ranking them based on number of guns per population, but number of suicides committed with guns as a percentage.

“Additionally, this logic also applies to small arms: the USPI does not make judgments about appropriate levels of small arms in society but rather considers their prevalence a reflection of the need for self-defense and a potential to generate violence.” pg 8.

Hold on a minute….  You are not making any judgment calls, but you say that people only own small arms because they want to generate violence, or have a need for self-defense?  What about those of us that just like to shot guns?

“An accurate measure of gun prevalence cannot be calculated from administrative records alone. For this reason many studies on gun prevalence use a quantitative proxy. The proxy used in the USPI is: fi rearm suicides as a percentage of total suicides (FS/S). As this indicator varied significantly from year to year for some states, a five year moving average was used in order to smooth out the variance. For example, the figure used for Alabama for 2008 was an average of FS/S for 2003-2007. More detail on why this proxy was chosen is supplied in Appendix B to this report.”  pg. 10

So, basically, you can’t get a figure that shows the Availability of Small Arms, so you then find a proxy, and the proxy you are going to use is the number of gun suicides as a percentage of total suicides?   Sounds like you are trying to skew your results based on people who kill themselves with guns.  Would not a better indicator be percentage of crimes committed with guns, after all, you are trying to build a peace index, not a happiness index.  They even had to change it to an average to “smooth out the variance.”  Sounds like a number trick to me.

Below is a chart of how the different states ranked. 

State Overall Rank  Availability of Small Arms
Hawaii 12 1
Massachusetts 7 2
Rhode Island 8 3
Vermont 3 4
New Jersey 26 5
Connecticut 15 6
New York 29 7
Illinois 35 8
California 33 9
New Hampshire 2 10
Iowa 9 11
Wisconsin 19 12
Minnesota 4 13
Maryland 41 14
Delaware 36 15
Washington 10 16
Ohio 22 17
Colorado 28 18
Florida 47 19
Michigan 31 20
Nebraska 11 22
Pennsylvania 21 23
Utah 6 24
New Mexico 38 25
North Dakota 5 26
South Dakota 14 27
Indiana 24 28
Maine 1 29
Oregon 13 30
Kansas 27 31
Nevada 48 32
Arizona 37 33
Missouri 40 34
Texas 45 35
Virginia  25 36
Oklahoma 43 37
North Carolina 32 38
Montana 17 39
Wyoming  23 40
Alaska 30 41
South Carolina 42 42
Georgia 39 43
Arkansas 44 44
Tennessee 49 45
Kentucky 20 46
Idaho 16 47
Louisiana 50 48
Alabama 46 49
West Virginia 18 50
Mississippi 34 51

You can look at the data yourself.   Do you really see a correlation between suicide by gun and peace for each state?  Notice that California ranked the 9th hardest to get a gun, but was ranked 33rd overall..  This entire study is flawed.

First, they say the indicator is Availability of small arms, but it is not the number of small arms in the state based on population, but “Firearm suicides as a percentage of total suicides.”   I think that this would be a better indicator of happiness, etc. But if you take this index and compare it to the “2010 Happiness Index“, you don’t even see a correlation.  Wyoming is the second happiest state, but is ranked 40th for “Availability of Guns” by this index.

This is just a perfect example of how a group will try to bring Gun ownership into an index.  But after doing so, it does not prove what they want it to prove.  Does anyone else see an agenda to the way they worded it in the study?   Why use the wording “Availability of Small Arms” when you are actually adding suicide by firearms into the index instead.  I am glad the Gun indicator with a weight of 1.


    1. You and me both… Lets just hope that it does not get the the point where I have to use on to protect my family.

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