Some important information turned up on the open thread courtesy of thefrollikingmole (possibly my favourite pseudonym). Read it all. The case for concealed carry is clear. The best protection against mad and bad people with guns is other people with concealed weapons that they can use effectively.
The statistics in the Washington Post report reflect the story I was told at the Friedman Conference. The author isolated the US homicide figures for notorious hot spots from the nation at large. Looking at the rest of the nation the rate dropped from top of the world to a distant place on par with most other places in the western world. The hot spots were mostly derelict inner city areas where people of a certain kind were killing each other in very large numbers. I think he went further in the analysis and found certain quite small sub-groups within those hot spots where most of the murder and mayhem was happening. I don’t recall his plans for publication, I think he was carefully checking his analysis to be sure he had got it right because it was a very politically incorrect piece of work.
From the Washington Post.
A distinct pattern emerged: In Democratic regions of the country, which tend to be cities, people are more likely to be murdered with a gun than they are to shoot themselves to death. In regions of the country won by Republicans, which tend to be rural areas and small towns, the opposite is true — people are more likely to shoot themselves to death than they are to be murdered with a gun.
This pattern, explored in more detail in the graphic below, could partially explain differing partisan views on the issue of gun control, experts say, though they added more analysis would be necessary to prove a direct link. In the most Democratic regions, gun violence is more often committed against another, crimes that probably generate more news coverage and fear. In the most Republican areas, it is more often committed against oneself, suicides that may not attract as much attention.
As the below charts show, Democratic areas (measured by the party that controls the congressional district) are far more likely to experience almost all forms of malicious gun violence than Republican areas. These charts exclude suicides, for which data are not available on a congressional district basis, so it only breaks down the fraction of gun violence that is accidental or confrontational.
In almost all cases, guns kill or injure more children, teens and people in Democratic districts. Mass shootings, which vary widely in number depending how restrictive your definition is, occur more often in Democratic districts.
UPDATE. Gary Larson on restricting recreational gun use.