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“In California, gun-related homicide and suicide has fallen by more than 20 percent during the past 15 years,’s Editorial Board opines. “Across the nation, the rate of gun-related deaths has been stable. Why?” Wait. What? Check out this chart from

(courtesy pew

Even if we accept the Editorial Board’s initial, unsubstantiated estimate of a 20 percent drop in The Golden State’s “gun homicide rate,” this 14-year chart shows that the “national gun violence rate” has NOT remained stable. It’s also declined. Dramatically.

The Merced Sun-Star’s Editorial Board dropped this statistical whoopsie (to be charitable) so readers would infer that California’s unconstitutional gun control laws are responsible for the state’s lower firearms-related death rate. And thus support those laws. And then join The Board in celebrating anti-gun pork barrel spending and damning the NRA. Like this:

Because gun violence is a national issue, Congress should be funding such research. That’s not going to happen so long as Congress remains under the thumb of the NRA. At the NRA’s insistence, Congress has restricted funding used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for any gun-related research. The NRA was afraid of what we might learn.

The ensuing vacuum has been only partially filled by philanthropists, including Wintemute, who used his own money to keep the lights on at his UC Davis center. Now the state of California will spend $5 million over five years for this work.

This is a perfect example of why gun rights advocates view the Golden State’s grant to long-time gun control advocate Gary Wintermute — via his UC Davis Firearm Violence Research Center — as a prelude to [more] propaganda. The antis’ assertion that there’s a block on CDC “gun violence” research is a lie.

In 1996, federal legislators inserted this clause — known as the Dickey Amendment — into the 1996 Omnibus Appropriations Bill:

None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.

Is there anything in that text preventing the CDC from studying “gun violence”? There is not. The CDC is free to allocate some of its $6 billion-plus budget to objective firearms-related research. It has chosen not to. As for additional funding for “gun violence” research . . .

After the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama issued an executive order directing the CDC to “conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it.” Congress denied his request for $10m in earmarked funding to implement the order.

Perhaps that’s because Republican Congresscritters know that so-called “gun violence” researchers have an anti-gun axe to grind. As evidenced by this quote from the Merced Sun-Star’s editorial:

Maybe now, excellent ideas – guns that can’t be fired by anyone except rightful owners; requiring more pressure to pull triggers; micro-stamping bullets – can be studied for effectiveness.

Setting aside the well-established ineffectiveness and impracticality of “smart guns” and micro-stamping, this is the first time I’ve seen antigun agit-propagators argue that increasing a handgun’s trigger pull weight would reduce “gun violence.” If the Editorial Board knew thing one about guns, they’d know that not one thin dime needs spending to research that idea.

We have never believed the presence of legally carried concealed guns make our communities one bit safer. Anecdotal evidence of a “good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun,” prove nothing, and there are just as many anecdotes of gun owners accidentally shooting loved ones and bystanders (also proving nothing). Until we gather the facts, we won’t know the value or harm of either scenario.

Gathering facts like…. the lowest estimate of annual defensive gun uses in the US is 55k per year. (The highest reliable estimates crest 1m p.a.) And in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pegged the number of accidental firearms deaths at 505 — representing less than one percent of all unintentional deaths for that year.

The facts about guns are out there. While there’s no reason not to collect more of them — as objectively as possible — suggesting that these facts support gun control requires turning your back on existing data, of which there is plenty.

Meanwhile, Guns, tobacco and polluters targeted by California legislature but roads and affordable housing slip away.

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  1. Huh, heavier trigger pulls? That’s a first for me too. Maybe we should regulate away from triggers and require that guns only fire with a voice activated command issued while typing in a 16 digit unique identifier, and squeezing a 35 lb trigger pull. That should completely eliminate gun violence!!

  2. Whoa, my home town featured on TTAG, crazy. Not surprised though, the city of Merced is pretty anti-gun, whereas the rest of the county is decently pro-gun.

    • yup, thats a recurring theme, population centers squawk about evil guns and rural areas lock and load. And people who do crimes understand this and pick on the urban and city areas, where the anti-guns live. Safest place the pick on usually has a feel the bern or hillary yard signs.

  3. Can you imagine how many fewer gun firings will occur with 75# triggers?

    Pretty easy to see those who have mastered this by way of their over developed trigger finger muscles protruding from their arms Popeye style.

    As for micro engraving serial#’s on bullets – Isn’t that simply using the same size font as legal disclaimers on TV commercials?

    / sarc

  4. So, they know these ideas are “excellent” before they’ve been studied for results? No need for the studies, then. That’s some money saved. Excellent.

    I’m not sure what the restrictions would gain. 55k-ish D G Us less 500-ish homicides, says something like 54.5k folks live or die at the whim of predators, thugs, terrorists n crazies who might have had a vote, were their guns not taken away.

    What’s the conversion rate from unopposed thuggery to murder? If it’s anything over 1% “No guns for you.” is about getting more citizens killed. I’m suspicious that the conversion from thuggery that would prompt a D G U to murder is higher than that.

    It ain’t the N R A, either. Some people vote to keep their guns, so they’ll have a vote when a B G shows up. They don’t want to #shootfirst, they just want the option to #shootback, after persuasion has failed. The N R A has just taken up advocating for its members because some relentless boneheads are set on disarming people wbo have never done anything to anybody. By whatever political hijinks they can manage.

    Back to the point at hand, if we know those restrictions and unproven technologies are “excellent” regardless of lives saved, it’s almost like those ideas are “excellent” for other reasons.

    This is my shocked face.

    • Me too. And I thought when they were talking about there being too many guns in America it meant they were going to try and deport all the illegal guns. They meant building a wall between me and my legal guns. FLIP FLOPPERS!

  5. “Congress has restricted funding used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for any gun-related research. The NRA was afraid of what we might learn.”

    Is that the reason? How about we commission those “studies” you are so hot about, let’s say fund them with 100 million taxpayer dollars, OK? Hey, we’re really cooking here, I feel an important agreement coming on! Just one more thing; since I suspect that a government agency such as the CDC knows absolutely nothing about firearms and would not even be able to ask the right questions, besides being under the direct control of hardcore gun-haters, let’s assign (and pay those millions to) the NRA to perform those studies. NOW do you see why no money should go to such “studies”?

  6. Robert, As a professional scientist and statistician who has been reading the original research articles on DGUs, I can never understand why you keep setting the limit at ~1 million. I have read hundreds of papers in this field and there is no doubt that Kleck’s work is the gold standard for estimating annual DGUs. If anything, he has underestimated the rate of DGUs, as he explains in his books. The problem is that people have attacked subsets of his data where the sample sizes are small. But when the data set is taken in total, from 5,000 subjects, his estimates of 2.1-2.5 million DGUs each year is still the most accurate. Cook and Ludwig, who are gun control advocates masquerading as scientists, find even higher estimates (3-5 million) using less rigorous methods and smaller sample sizes.

    By the way, Kleck is a full professor at Florida State University in the top criminology department in the country (it is rated as the number 1 department almost every year in terms of amount and quality of gun research; Cincinnati also has a great program). Kleck teaches graduate level stats classes which include some high level methods like path analysis and LISREL. So does anyone really think that Kleck overlooked these bias issues in estimating gun use?

    If we don’t embrace his work, who will?

  7. I question the number of accidental deaths. Some of those claiming mechanical failure and accidental discharge while cleaning are either lying or grossly negligent. You ALWAYS clear the action , remove the magazine, BEFORE cleaning and check the mechanics after, not before clearing and cleaning. Either way, I believe real , actual accidental deaths are lower in number than as currently credited.

  8. The Young Turks parrot this bullshit about the NRA somehow managing to suppress all federal research into gun violence on a regular basis and they are seen and heard globally by an enormous amount of people.

  9. California has a cultural problem. No law suit will change that. The majority don’t believe in freedom. Because being free means being responsible and also being held accountable.
    The utopia of being non judgmental.

  10. I can see it now,…. the future…. It is the year 2018….. and Californians are only allowed black powder muskets similar to those employed at the nation’s founding, with 90# triggers, which require a kickstand and portable bench to provide the requisite leverage to operate.

    After each shot, the fire-arm must be completely disassembled when a 9 minute invocation must be intoned about the stunning power of the BATFE, the Democratic Party, and the legitimacy of common sense gun control.

    Only after the 9 minutes are up can the fire-arm owner be allowed to reassemble his/her/them/they/etc/etc musket and each reload requires your smart phone be equipped with a BATFE App, the NotOneMoreDeath app, and you must swipe your phone against the built in wifi lock on your barrel in order to operate.

    This tripe just gets juicier each day here in sunny sunny Hellifornia.

  11. You might want to reread the chart you presented in this article to refute the Sun-Star’s statement. It’s a 21 year chart (1993-2014), not a 14 year chart, and over the last 15 years or so it does, in fact, show a pretty much steady firearm-related death rate since about 2000. The big dropoff in the chart you’ve presented is in the 90s.

    So, their statement about national gun-related deaths over the last 15 years has been steady isn’t actually shown to be incorrect by the evidence you’ve provided.

    I don’t agree with the overall point they’re trying to make. Just thought I should point out that your counterarguement is flawed.

  12. I’m with Shrike30 on this, the chart presented does show steady for the last 15 years. The question is, is it accurate?

    It has been said many times that firearms homicides are at a 20 year low, and looking at a 20 year period in that graph, that would appear correct. And I think it can correctly be said that this is while gun ownership has gone up.

    Whether the claim about California is correct, I have no idea.

  13. I don’t understand why we should concentrate only on gun related deaths. No guns equals no gun deaths, right? Hurray!

    Let’s say we regulate airlines out of business and ban private planes in order to lower the “airplane related deaths”. Will it work as proposed? Can we finally get those horrible “plummet into the fireball” deaths as low as some back woods nations that do not fly? You bet! Success! No more “airplain deaths”!

    As long as you don’t count all those corpses on the roads. No flying means more miles driven and statistically we are more likely to die in a car wreck than in a plane per mile traveled. Same as stabbings will skyrocket if some magical force field changed all guns into flowers. Remember England?

    Unintended consequences are a bitch.

    We need to see a bigger picture and don’t succumb to anti’s rhetorica. Death is a death no matter the tool causing it.

    (All this pretending that gun grabbers really care for dead people and not more power)


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