Friday, February 2, 2018

How Many Guns Again?

The news tonight said there had been almost 350 guns stolen in the first 10 months of 2017 in Jacksonville. A little math implies over 400 guns were stolen for the whole year. The news story suggested most of these guns were stolen from unlocked cars. While I've already written about car burglary, that was before I understood just how many guns were part of the equation.


I found some stats online that suggested around 30% of guns used in crimes had been stolen. We average a little over 100 murders per year in Jax. Since guns are the most efficient killing tools we own or steal, I'd assume most of these are gun-related deaths. Low end, let's say that's 20 stolen guns used in yearly murders. While that's terrible, it also implies that over 90% of local stolen guns are not used to kill people each year. I suppose that's a win. 

I don't know how long people have been stealing guns from unlocked cars in Jacksonville, but let's just assume 300 guns per year for a decade. That's 3000 guns. But that's really nothing. When I looked at the DOJ and FBI stats, it's much worse than just Jax. From about 1975 on, US gun owners have had 200,000 or more guns lost or stolen per year. That is insane. These are not all from cars, and they're not all handguns--my grandpa got three rifles stolen back in the 80s in Milwaukee from his house. But let's just say low-end 200,000 per year for the last 42 years. That's around 8.5 million guns.

Less than 15% of stolen guns are recovered, but let's be optimistic and say that 2,000,000 or so of those guns have been recovered. That's still 6.5 million missing guns in our country.

8.5 million guns also means we've had more guns LOST or STOLEN than every single other country in the world even OWNS except:
2. India 46 million
3. China 40 million
4. Germany 25 million
5. France 19 million
6. Pakistan 18 million
7. Mexico 15.5 million
8. Brazil 15.3 million
9. Russian Federation 12.75 million
10. Yemen 11.5 million
11. Thailand 10 million
12. Canada 9.95 million
13. Iraq 9.75 million
14. Turkey 9 million

We own around 300 million guns here, by the way, so there's that. Somewhere near one gun for every man, woman, and child. That's why when my daughter asked why we don't just get rid of guns to stop murders, I told her it seems to be a fairly impossible task. We compared it to changing to the metric system, now that we've made every speed limit sign on our vast road system say MPH. In fact, there's probably a similar number of MPH speed limit signs as missing firearms in America.

But 300 million is a crazy number. The same number of people worldwide with depression (and hopefully not guns). Or the number of Netflix subscribers who actually pay for the service. Or the number of years back to the Carboniferous Period, when Pangaea was formed. That's a lot of non-missing guns.