I won’t comment on the VT shootings. What I can say on the subject won’t ease the pain nor offer solutions on how to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future. I don’t believe gun control laws would prevent someone from killing large groups of people if they are intent on doing so, just like I don’t believe allowing concealed weapons on campus would have prevented it either (in fact, I think the death toll would have likely been higher… simple math, more guns, more bullets, more likelihood that strays and ricochets find an innocent bystander).
I commented on a post Frank wrote on his blog about VT. Here is what I wrote:
I don’t believe there is anything wrong with owning guns… they are a hobby, albeit a dangerous one.
The problem in the US isn’t the readily available weapons, but the ignorant people who use them to force their will on others. Criminals, militants, etc. If the government said, “You want to own a gun? You must first pass this IQ test!” I seriously doubt the problems that are normally attributed to a lack of gun control would ever take place.
Guns don’t kill people… ignorant people kill people. If I had to guess, I would say the average IQ of a gun owner hovers in the low 80s. Not stupid, but not exactly the top ten percent of the countries intelligencia.
Frank, quite obviously, took offense to my comments. His stance was that I was offending gun owners, perhaps going as far as to think I believe all gun owners are morons. Of course, I don’t believe they are morons. A moron has an IQ of roughly 51-70 and is a step up from “imbecile” (IQ of 26-50) and two steps up from “idiot” (IQ of 0-25). I admit I posted a number (the low 80s) based on nothing more than a personal experience with gun owners. Clearly, if my math is accurate, and that math is based on numbers that I was able to dig up, the average gun owner has an IQ of roughly 92. Clearly my original estimate was off by as much as 12 points (given low 80s would mean an IQ of 80-85). But still, the average of 92 is still lower than the national average of 98. How did I arrive at this number? Keep in mind that this is by NO MEANS a scientific study on the correlation between IQ and gun ownership. I made a generalization and I am using available data to substantiate my belief. Don’t get bent all out of shape or you will force me to postulate that people with low IQs also have a low sense of humor.
Well, first we try to get an idea of the average IQ of each state population. I used the information gathered here.
Then we try to get an idea of where gun owners live. Based on available data, in 1994, 44 million Americans owned 192 million firearms, 65 million of which were handguns. Although there were enough guns to have provided every U.S. adult with one, only 25 percent of adults actually owned firearms; 74 percent of gun owners possessed two or more. Thirty percent of all handgun owners had an unlocked, loaded handgun in the house at the time of the survey.
I got my numbers here.
Upon studying that piece of information, I surmised that a preponderance of gun owners (not all, but on the average, MORE) live in southern states. This is arguable, but for the sake of this piece, we will take it on merit that it is RELATIVELY ACCURATE. So, if this is relatively true, and more gun owners live in southern states than they do in northern states, then we can begin to harvest data for how I arrived at my belief.
Based on the information, southern states had the following IQ statistics on average:
State Avg IQ
North Carolina 93
West Virginia 93
New Mexico 92
South Carolina 89
14 states with an average IQ of 92 (add up all the averages–1290– and divide by the number of states–14– and arrive at the average IQ for those states). Again, not scientific, but close enough to shoot in the head with a handgun.
So, if the average IQ of those states is 92, then we can postulate that the average IQ of gun owners in those states is commensurate with those statistics. If those statistics are fairly accurate, you can then, with a reasonable level of accuracy, further postulate that the national average of gun owners across the US is around the same. Not science, but at least enough to begin a discussion on whether or not gun owners are the smartest tools in the shed. Clearly, my original statement, “Not stupid, but not exactly the top ten percent of the countries intelligencia,” isn’t as offensive as one may think.
We can further explore the IQ by addressing certain facts about gun owners in general. In a survey of 800 gun owners, more than 20 percent reported keeping a firearm both loaded and unlocked in the home. Smart? Arguable.
I honestly do not believe gun laws will change the American gun culture. Our culture was built on violence on every level of our history and as such, it isn’t something that is easily forgotten or abandoned. The right to bear arms is a fundamental right that shouldn’t ever be curtailed, but the fact that we are quicker on the draw than other countries belies a much deeper problem than just a lack of intelligence on the part of gun owners. We glamorize guns and the culture of violence and until we stop doing that, guns and violence will continue to be accepted as just a part of being American.
So, to Frank I apologize if all you got from my comment was that gun owners are dumber than the rest of the population. A lot of times the way I communicate my ideas tends to overshadow the content of my ideas. If you ignore everything else, and focus instead on this perceived slight to you as a gun owner, then you are clearly missing the point. My point was that most gun owners (and here the stats at least partly justify my beliefs) are not the brightest bulbs in the box and allowing them to make decisions for rational human beings isn’t exactly the safest bet.
The fact that guns are available has nothing to do with crime. Just as having a gun for protection is NOT insurance against having a crime committed against you. Their is no correlation between any of these ideas. I would imagine that comic book evil geniuses nonwithstanding, most criminals are on the lower end of the IQ bar. Yet, they are still able to get guns. And if you think having stricter gun controls will prevent them from getting guns, you are clearly not very bright either.