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The common rallying cry of any gun control activist is “won’t someone think of the children?” That siren song has been used to justify more gun control schemes than any other, all while providing little to no proof that said schemes actually work. There’s a story in the Associated Press this morning attempting to back that statement up, claiming that Massachusetts’ strict gun storage laws prevented children from accessing firearms and therefore saved lives.

“Massachusetts, a state with one of the strictest gun-storage laws in the country, had one fatal accidental shooting of a child under the age of 12 from 2014 to 2016.” Apparently since there was only one fatal accidental shooting of a child in Massachusetts that’s proof that the laws are working. But is it really?

Let me start here: every death is a tragedy. But when we are dealing with public policy and rule making, the common thought is that we should be enacting laws that do the most good for the most people. A law that “feels good” and might save five lives at the cost of hundreds of other deaths isn’t a very good law. So with that lens in mind let’s take a look at the numbers.

As I discussed in my often cited Guns and Violence in the United States, By the Numbers article the number of children who accidentally die in the United States every year is shockingly small. For 2015, the most recent year the CDC provides results, there are only 48 recorded incidents where a child under the age of 14 was killed accidentally with a firearm. That’s less than one per state per year, on average.

That’s a lazy way of looking at the situation, though. And we’re not USA Today — we actually do our homework.

Massachusetts is home to 2.11% of the U.S. population as of the last census. There really isn’t a reliable metric for how many people in a given state own guns, so I’m going to make an assumption that firearms are evenly distributed and people in Massachusetts are as likely as people in California to own or have access to guns. Therefore we can expect that Massachusetts (which has 2.11% of the total population) would have a proportional number of firearms related fatalities among children (2.11% of 48) or roughly 1.0128 children per year. Over the three year period they studied we would expect that about three to four children would be accidentally killed with a firearm.

OK. USA Today and the Associated Press are proclaiming that Massachusetts’ gun laws are preventing accidental deaths in children because there was “only” one accidental death. When taken at face value, most people will naturally assume that the “normal” accidental death rate is significantly higher and that a single death is an amazing achievement. In reality, while there appears to be a decrease in the number of accidental deaths they have “saved” a grand total of two children. As a percentage that’s an amazing reduction, but when looking at the raw data that number is so insignificantly small that no possible analysis can be derived from it.

There’s no way to know for sure what impact the “safe storage” laws are having on accidental fatalities among children because the numbers are already so small. Only 48 children per year die from accidental firearms discharges, and an even smaller percentage of those are actually from the situation gun control groups constantly proclaim is a huge issue: children playing with “found” guns. In reality that almost never happens. What does happen, on the other hand, are incidents like this one where an unarmed couple was murdered in their house in Boston. Two people whose lives could have been saved if, perhaps, they had been able to defend themselves with a firearm.

Is the Associated Press technically correct, that a single accidental death is remarkable? Sure. But proclaiming that this is solid and incontrovertible proof that “safe storage” laws save lives is as scientifically sound as proclaiming that worshiping Baal saves your computer from ransomware infections.

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  1. Any decrease in death or injury from gun safety legislation would need to be offset by any increase in murders and injury resulting from same.

    It seems a hard proposition to prove, even if you were being honest about it.

  2. That billboard is their wet dream writ large. They’d LOVE to see white flags of surrender being waved by every gun owner in the union.

    • I’m glad these guys have decided to champion for the lives of children. I don’t live in Massachusetts, but I’m willing to bet the pro lifer’s are outnumbered by the pro choice groups. Good to see the tide is turning. THINK OF THE CHILDREN! ?

    • I was about to say the same thing actually. They just can’t seem to make up their mind can they?

  3. Why does a billboard from “Stop Handgun Violence” show a rifle instead of a handgun? And what is the white flag supposed to mean next to “We’re not anti-gun”–surrender your guns?

    Oh, that’s right–propaganda doesn’t have to make sense.

  4. And how many children died in car accidents caused by drivers distracted by emotional billboards? Yes, billboards affect driver behavior. Sexy billboards cause average speed to increase. Depressing ones like graphic lung cancer warnings, or kids shooting themselves, tend to cause erratic behavior and lane drifts.

    It’s almost like life itself can be dangerous!

    • I’m building my altar this weekend. If it saves just one computer…specifically mine…

      Also, I finally have the $$ to buy that long-awaited AR-15. And when I order my evil gun parts online (to be shipped to my FFL, of course), I’ll be listening to evil death metal. And fondling my evil NRA membership card. (It’s the evil trifecta!)

      Meanwhile, today my daughter’s school had a lockdown drill. Another reminder that the state would condemn my children to die huddled in a dark corner rather than let anyone defend them.

      Evil is as evil does.

    • And your variance is probably as statistically significant as the number/rate of firearm-related accidental child deaths in Massachusetts (that is to say: not at all).

      Let’s say it all together: correlation does not prove causation .

      • I have peer-reviewed and confirmed the papers on worshipping Baal as an effective malware deterent. Clearly this is causation, not correlation.

        Also, Moloch is great at keeping spam out of my inbox.

  5. Over 1,000 lives a year are lost on Mass. highways.

    Ban all passenger vehicles. It’s not anti-car, it’s PRO-LIFE…

  6. How many accidental deaths in the years prior to the strict storage law being passed? Bet ya it was also very low. But logic has no place in this debate,

  7. anti-gun = We prefer to kill babies in the womb before we can see them, or allow adults to kill themselves with drugs. So long as it’s not a gun.

  8. Kids playing ball in the street
    Kids drinking/eating things they shouldn’t
    Kids not wearing their seatbelt
    Kids climbing on things they shouldn’t
    Kids playing with matches
    Kids falling into a bucket
    Kids putting their heads in plastic bags…

    Kids can do something incredibly stupid and dangerous with anything they get their hands on. That said, I am super careful with my guns. They’re locked away, and trigger locked, except for the one I am carrying. They’d have to wrestle it away from me to do something with it. They’re also well trained, and shoot with me every week. I’m really not worried about them hurting themselves with a gun; Sticking their tongues in the electric socket though…

  9. “If it saves only one child….”

    So, we have irrefutable “data” that “proves” strict gun laws 9of one type) “save lives”, and are justified.

    One expects that once the statistic of gun related events (of whatever nature) reaches only one in a given time frame, the rage for gun confiscation and all the other restrictions will go away. But, no. The clamor will move from proven events to “might happen”. Which is the rallying cry for all leftist, statist, progressive, liberal, demoncrat baby sitters; everyone else is too stupid to lead their own lives.

  10. I always make sure that the children are safely locked up whenever there are guns around.

  11. Screw “the children”, if they aren’t smart enough to know not to point a firearm in an unsafe direction or their parents neglected to teach them the rules of firearm safety they won’t responsible productive members of society in the first place. Think of it this way, (Liberals/Progressives) are all about “abortion” thus kids killing kids is just another form of “reproductive health”, one which benefits society eliminating the “inferior” at an early age, Margaret Sanger would give it her seal of approval.

  12. If these people including Bloombergs money cared about kids and them not dying they would focus on drowning and poisoning deaths. Those two things cause a significantly larger amount of accidental child deaths every year and are avoidable.

    Fences, gates and walls save lives! We need to enforce existing pool fence laws. Six times more kids accidentally drown in pools then are accidentally shot and killed.

  13. As someone from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts…The current state of Massachusetts sucks…High taxes, Political and Police corruption…High Crime…Sanctuary towns, and cities (with enough MS-13 ink to think you were in Guadalajara.) A place where US citizens/MA. Residents are awaiting some form of 2nd Amendment reforms…A place where local police departments infringe upon a US citizens 2nd Amendment rights daily….A place where their is plenty of Left-wing, Militant, paramilitarizied Law enforcement, complete with substantial “cop-carve-outs, special political privileges, and LE Job Entitlements…” Whatever you people do from true “Free-states.” DON’T let your politicians, and police turn it into an “Authoritarian state” like Massachusetts…

  14. May I point out that every abortion performed in Massachusetts was 100% preventable. When the Progressives surrender on abortion, then maybe we can talk about guns.

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