Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

The 0.08-percent

Written By: Bob - Dec• 27•11

Can the atypical actions of 200 be fairly used to smear a group of 240,000?

The New York Times seems to think so, in a laughable op-ed disguised as a news story.

In state after state, guns are being allowed in places once off-limits, like bars, college campuses and houses of worship. And gun rights advocates are seeking to expand the map still further, pushing federal legislation that would require states to honor other states’ concealed weapons permits. The House approved the bill last month; the Senate is expected to take it up next year.

The bedrock argument for this movement is that permit holders are law-abiding citizens who should be able to carry guns in public to protect themselves. “These are people who have proven themselves to be among the most responsible and safe members of our community,” the federal legislation’s author, Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, said on the House floor.

To assess that claim, The New York Times examined the permit program in North Carolina, one of a dwindling number of states where the identities of permit holders remain public. The review, encompassing the last five years, offers a rare, detailed look at how a liberalized concealed weapons law has played out in one state. And while it does not provide answers, it does raise questions.

More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees. While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. All but two of the killers used a gun.

In other words, 200 permit holders were convicted of felonies out of 240,000 permit holders, or 0.0833333334-percent of NC concealed carry permit population.

I would love for the New York Times to do the research and see what percentage of the NYPD,  Chicago PD, Los Angeles PD, or New Orleans PD is convicted of felonies in any given year.

According to Wikipedia, the NYPD is currently composed of about 36,000 police officers. 0.0833333334-percent of 36,000 is just 30 officers. The Chicago PD (15,250) would exceed that percentage with 13 officer felonies, the LAPD (13,268 officers) would exceed that percentage with just 11 officer felonies, the Chicago PD NOPD (1,406) with just two.

Does the Times really want to place bets that any of these major police departments come close to be as law-abiding as North Carolina’s concealed carry permit holders?

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  1. Orion says:

    Can we see how many murders the Las Vegas PD would have to commit to match that percentage?

    They’ve had what, 12 so far this year? Alone?


  2. Rob says:

    The “study” was over a 5 year period. I’d hate to see 5 year figures for the major metro PD’s.

  3. alanstorm says:

    Bob, if your excerpt is correct, the number is less than 200. Quote:

    “While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter.”

    So it’s 200 convicted of felonies, but only 10 listed as committing murder or manslaughter. Of these, 8 are noted as using a gun. That works out to 8/240,000 = 0.0033%. (It’s like the Wild West!)

    So not only is the NYT inept, they include the information to disprove their story within the story itself. They can’t even LIE successfully.

  4. […] of comparisons for those whose minds are made up. Then, I am reminded that I should stop being so cynical: [quote from the NY […]

  5. ameryx says:

    Note also how the Times hypes the lead number by a factor of 12, by including misdemeanors (except for traffic violations). 2200 of the 24000 convictions were not felony convictions. What classes of misdemeanors (North Carolina has 4)? The conflation of two sets has the effect of making the smaller set seem bigger, and is a dishonest way of reporting.

  6. Bob,

    you overstate the case at “0.0833333334-percent.” Because that’s over a 5-year period, as Rob above notes. The annual rate (assuming a constant 240k permit holders) is not 200/240k but 40/240k. That comes to 0.0166(repeating 6) percent or as a machinist would put it, seventeen thousandths of a percent. At the 1/10 of a percent level, at one decimal place, the actual annual rate rounds to zero. The number probably would go up if we did a weighted average using the total permit numbers for all five years, but probably not enough to move the peg off zero.

    True, people live in a non-rounded world and statistics are only a model; the victims of these crimes were really harmed. But they are not the major tendency in crime victims in NC. I think we know why Mr Luo does not mention the many homicide and assault victims in NC whose attackers were not licensed. Or the many victims in Manhattan, where you’re completely safe from guns except in the hands of the cops, the connected, and the criminals.

    Perhaps Luo is the new occupant of the Jayson Blair chair. I imagine he simply retyped a press release from Bloomberg or Schumer. Well, two things we can usually expect from a Times novice are innumeracy and dishonesty. QED.

  7. Paul J says:

    You forget .. Police officers are rarely if ever convicted or even charged with anything.