University of Michigan junk science
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By Salam Fatohi

When it comes to guns, there is little to no hope for the average American to get a fair shot at accurate statistics.

Instead of the truth, the public receives the illusion of truth, repeated by media anchors, talking heads and spokespeople, government officials and gun control advocates. Much of what is passed off as fact these days about guns is propaganda: misinformation about Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), defensive use of firearms and the promised effectiveness of various firearm restrictions for law-abiding Americans, to name a few.

One of the most damning and easily refutable claims is that firearms are the leading cause of childhood fatalities. Motor vehicle accidents have exceeded counts of firearm fatalities for children since 2001, the oldest record from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows. Regardless of how loud gun control pundits yell or repeat their false claims, that hasn’t changed.

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Manipulating the Data

A recent claim about guns surpassing motor vehicles as the leading cause of childhood fatalities made headlines and came from a 2022 University of Michigan (U of M) study. No one dismisses the tragic murders of children by criminals and the mentally-deranged. The firearm industry is working for Real Solutions to ensure firearms stay out of the hands of those who should never possess them. However, the study doesn’t dismiss slanting the computation to include adults in the statistics to make firearms the top reason for child fatalities to put that category ahead of motor vehicles as a more deadly mechanism.

U of M led the misinformation campaign with government-funded organizations like NPR promulgating the obvious misinformation.

Politico also recently promoted the same misinformation from a similar study. Just because misconstrued data is widely and continually shared, it does not increase its veracity.

Instead, often the opposite effect happens where readers simply accept what’s being shared as fact due to the ubiquitous nature of the information. The danger here is that a herd mentality of acceptance takes hold rather than casting a critical eye and properly vetting the data.

Using CDC’s WISQARS, it is easy to decipher that the leading cause of death for children – aged 17 years old and younger – has been motor vehicles for the past 20 years. This is nothing to celebrate but it’s important to point out the facts. Antigun proponents were initially adding adults, aged 18 and 19 years old, into the count or using a specific subset of motor vehicle accidents to make firearm fatality numbers surpass motor vehicles for cause of death.

This was refuted last year, so it was curious, but not surprising, to hear the same narrative repeated again. Now talking heads are using age-adjusted rates instead of total figures to justify their claim.

Motor Vehicle Fatality Compared to Firearms

Changing how the data is packaged to justify a talking point is bad, but misrepresentation to cheat law-abiding Americans out of their fundamental Constitutional rights is reprehensible.

Annually from 2001 to 2020, motor vehicles were the leading cause of death of more kids aged <1 to 17 than firearm misuse. So-called researchers claimed that children were dying more from firearms even though motor vehicles still amass higher counts. In fact, the 20-year metrics for both mechanisms show motor vehicles more than doubling the number of childhood deaths by firearms.

Notably, these two injury mechanisms have different leading intents. Most motor vehicle fatalities for this population are unintentional. Homicide makes up almost 60 percent of childhood firearm deaths and predominantly affects older teens.

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

It is no secret that gangs target impressionable and vulnerable youths to participate in crime. These same criminals are also more likely to use firearms, illegally obtained, to commit homicide. Targeting the root cause of socioeconomic factors to reduce all violent crime would do much more to prevent unnecessary loss of life than to enact bans that only law-abiding citizens would observe.

Real Solutions to Help Solve the Problem

The firearm and ammunition industry actively pursues Real Solutions for unauthorized access to firearms and suicide prevention while antigun advocates are solely seeking bans and restrictions. Bans and restrictions do not reduce crime. They only reduce rights. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Director Steven Dettelbach recently commended firearm industry efforts to combat crime, which is the main driver of childhood fatalities with firearms.

Propagandists who knowingly push cherry-picked and incomplete information inflict genuine harm for the issues they misrepresent and the conversation around firearm safety is not exempt. Providing a comprehensive picture of reality allows the public to better understand the issues and make informed decisions. Preventing harm and misuse of firearms should be a priority for everyone.

Muddying the waters with patently false claims and stringing together correlation with no causation is distracting, at best.


Salam Fatohi is Manager, Legislative and Policy Research for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. 

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  1. A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth
    Joseph Goebbels
    Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.
    Joseph Goebbels
    Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.
    Joseph Goebbels
    If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.
    Joseph Goebbels

  2. Rest assured there is another Columbine wannabe out there and when they make a move Gun Control zealots will be there to blame Gun manufacturers, the NRA, you and your gun.

    The reason Gun Control zealots play the blame game is because Gun manufacturers, the NRA, Gun Owners et al have failed miserably to Define Gun Control according to its roots in racism and genocide. People should react to calls for Gun Control like they reacted to a noose, etc. Instead they unknowingly march around and used a bullhorn on the behalf of Gun Control the History Confirmed agenda rooted in slavery, lynching, etc.

    And the motive behind Louisiville has not yet been released…Could the perp’s actions have been to give Gun Control a push following Nashville? If so that could be the reason no one is doing much talking anymore….just saying.

  3. Making Good people Helpless…Won’t make Bad people Harmless…It only allows more opportunities for Criminals to commit Acts of Evil.

  4. Propagandists who knowingly push cherry-picked and incomplete information inflict genuine harm for the issues they misrepresent …

    So this writer personally knows dacien and Liar49er?

  5. Oh my that’s just terrible. Gunms being the leading cause of death in 2020. Now what about all them other years cars was in top spot, take away the gunms take away the cars.
    Nothings free in Watta World

  6. Why did they include 18- and 19-year-olds in the study? To plump and distort the numbers:

    Upon further analysis, it is clear why the authors included adults in the study. Almost half of the reported deaths, 47.9 percent, originate from 18 to 19-year-old adult victims.

    That’s 2,087 of the 4,357 deaths compiled by the study.

    Information from the source at the link “refuted” in the article:

  7. It’s all as true as you want it to be.
    Post-truth has already infiltrated medicine. Can’t wait for it to infest engineering in any sector. If men can have uteruses who’s to say balsawood doesn’t make good parking garages or twine can’t suspend a bridge. We’re already planning to Dig up minerals that don’t exist to create batteries to charge with alternative energy we don’t have the sunlight hours, rivers or windy days to generate so what’s one more made up facet to our make-believe reality?

    • Shire-man,

      We’re already planning to Dig up minerals that don’t exist to create batteries to charge with alternative energy we don’t have the sunlight hours, rivers or windy days to generate so what’s one more made up facet to our make-believe reality?

      I will argue that we have plenty of moving water (rivers), sunlight, and wind energy to satisfy all of our wildest dreams. The real problem is that our solar converters are not very efficient yet and we do not have any practical storage mechanism for energy (regardless of the source) after we convert it to electricity.

      Case in point: even during the depths of winter in our nation’s northern latitudes, our sun blasts us with about 500 watts per square meter (per 1.2 square yards for metric challenged readers) during peak sun hours. With the average home only using something like 700 watts of continuous electricity on average, that average home would only need something like 40 square meters (roughly 12 feet x 34 feet) of solar panels to generate that electricity during winter months. And if that average home could generate and store that electricity during the summer months, they would need far less area of solar panels. The real problem is electricity storage. The size and cost of lithium batteries to store significant amounts of electricity for an average home to use solar (or even wind for that matter) are astronomical.

      Having said all that, all of these problems are supposed to go away in about 10 years now that some university allegedly figured out cold-fusion a few months ago. For the uninitiated, cold-fusion is the Holy Grail of energy production–especially “green” energy production.

      • If you are referring to the lasers and mirrors experiment that isn’t cold fusion and I doubt we will see a cost effective commercial application inside of twenty years.

  8. Misrepresenting, deceiving, and flat-out lying are standard fare in the Ultra Far Left Pr0gressive True Believer ranks. And since something like 93% of Journalist are card-carrying True Believers, it comes as no surprise that news media are lying to the masses.

    What I am failing to wrap my head around is how such a giant number of people in a relatively small number of entities are such ardent Ultra Far Left Pr0gressive True Believers. For reference those entities would be Journalism, Entertainment (television, movies, and music), and Academia–and I will also argue Big Tech.

    • Sense, it’s an illusion. The number of leftists in the fields you listed, is actually small. They’re just very noisy, giving the appearance of being many — then the remainder of employees at those fields keep their mouths shut either because they’re not much interested or they’re afraid of losing their jobs. Just like Twitter — how many accounts there did Musk discover that are bots?

      • Man with no name,

        I would love to learn that the number of Leftists is an illusion. Your claim has not convinced me for three reasons:

        1) I have seen HUGE numbers of Leftists at our local school board meetings as well as at our state capitol building during demonstrations.

        2) Huge numbers of Leftists in population centers vote and install Leftist politicians in vast swaths of our nation.

        3) Formal studies and polls revealed that 93% (or darn close to that) of journalists are on the Far Left end of the political spectrum.

        • It’s pretty easy to convince yourself and others that free stuff is a good thing. Even when you really know it doesn’t exist. I can’t even guess how many times I have pointed that out to someone only to hear something like “lots of smart people say free stuff is what we need”, even when everybody knows there is no free stuff. ANYTHING which is free is worth every penny, but not a cent more.

  9. No shit. Same way “data” has always been manipulated. Especially for shit like opiods. Really gave the media an eye opener on how easy it is.

  10. You think that’s bad — using bogus data.

    How about having your kids used as props without your permission?

    It happened at the NRA convention last week — and I think it’s deserving of a stand-alone thread.

    Reuters photos of young kids at NRA event slammed as ‘set-up’ by parents who say they never gave consent — Families whose children were photographed at an NRA event and used by the media say they are being portrayed ‘grooming future murderers’

    >> Dan Eckart, who took his two grandsons to the meeting last Saturday, called the photo of his 6-year-old grandchild aiming the firearm toward the camera “a set-up.”

    >> “What I noticed was [the photographer] was moving around so that whichever direction [his grandson] was, she tried to get in front of him,” Eckart told Fox News Digital in a phone interview.

    >> The photographer, Evelyn Hockstein, allegedly told the boy to “look at her” as he handled one of the firearms, Eckart said, citing what his grandson told him. The photo captured a shot of the young boy looking at the camera straight-on while appearing to point the gun at the lens.

  11. “Bogus Data Is Regurgitated by the Media to Cheat Americans Out of Their Constitutional Rights”

    We DON’T HAVE Constitutional rights.

    We have Constitutional PROTECTIONS.

    There is a difference and the distinction IS important. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: The misinterpretation/misapplication of constitutional rights implies that the right can be amended, altered, repealed, or removed by legislative action. Nothing is further from the truth. The rights exist independent of the Constitution or the so-called ‘Bill of Rights’ (terrible name — it is a Bill of /Protections/!). If you doubt this, read the Declaration of Independence (first paragraph) and the Preamble to the Amendments.

    Rights are secured by (just) governments; rights are protected by (just) governments. Rights are not created or removed by governments — any government.

    Authors for these postings, please refrain from calling them “Constitutional Rights” and call them what they are: Constitutional PROTECTIONS.

    Thank you, have a nice day, and stay in condition yellow.

  12. The federal(feral) government has recognized adulthood as begining at 18 eighteen years of age, why can’t they use this in their misinforfation campaign? Obama wanted to raise this, excluding voter eligibility, to 26.

  13. I guarantee there are absolutely zero murders by firearms committed by people opposed to and not owning any guns. Only extremist ammosexuals oppose common sense laws. Gunnutz care more about thier murder-toys than the lives of children.

  14. Providing a comprehensive picture of reality allows the public to better understand the issues and make informed decisions?

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