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CDC: More Guns, Less Death

The CDC, or Centers for Disease Control, keep track of the “cause of death” for every known fatality in the United States. They update the numbers every once in a while and publish them on their website, where Linoge over at Walls of the City grabs them and whips up a handy chart for us lazy bastards. For the third year in a row the total number of firearm related deaths (including suicide and accidental) has increased. BUT taking into account the population the rate of firearm deaths has leveled off or even declined slightly. So while there are more deaths you’re less likely to be included in that number. Even more interesting . . .

While firearm ownership is increasing, firearms deaths are not increasing as rapidly, disproving the “more guns = more deaths” hypothesis. There’s a couple wonky things about the graph (like changes in scale and the improper location of the AWB expiration) but it’s a good stab at deciphering the numbers and disproving the “blood in the streets” argument.

Head on over to Walls of the City for more analysis.

[h/t: Frank]


  1. avatar Aharon says:

    Interesting stats. Thanks for posting. I’m pro-choice: if you want a gun then own own one. If you don’t want a gun then don’t own one.

  2. avatar Magoo says:

    Nick Leghorn says: “While firearm ownership is increasing…”

    Says who?

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      Says NICS statistics from the FBI. And firearm sales statistics. And one quick look around a gun show. And common sense.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:


        You know all those extra sales go down the iron river into Mexico.

    2. avatar Magoo says:

      Then produce your numbers.

      1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

        Bottom of the post is the NICS checks over time. Note the decidedly upward trend. Not as steep a slope as our site’s statistics, but still statistically significant.

        NICS checks only happen when a gun or explosive is being sold, and since explosives sales are so rare according to their report it’s a safe assumption that the bars accurately represent an attempted sale of a firearm. Or two. Or three.

        In addition, manufacturers like Remington and Mossberg and AAC are seeing dramatic increases in sales. I can’t find the article we did about it right now, but here’s one from 2007 from another website:

        Even better, here’s the ATF’s statistics on firearms manufacture and importation. Gimme a few and I might crank out a graphic:

        That, combined with increasing attendance at gun shows and other shooting events, leads me to the common sense conclusion that gun sales are increasing.


      2. avatar William says:

        See this is a major difference between the pro-2A “gun-nuts” and the “common sense” gun-grabbers.

        The grabbers ignore repeated appeals for actual proofs and numbers and mock us and try to pretend they answered in the thread when everyone can see that they have done nothing but dodge the question.

        Then the grabbers have the audacity to demand proof from their opposition…and we can back it up with real proof and not some lame reference to so called “common sense” which is really nothing more than hyper-emotionalism or ivory tower liberal intellectual hubris.

        It’s so nice living in the real world. I don’t know how much rent the grabbers pay to live in a delusional world, but it’s too much.

    3. avatar Magoo says:

      Boy, I was going to gun shows in the 1960s. You’ve never seen a real gun show. You’re not old enough. You’ve only seen pale imitations– ghosts of gun shows as they once were. According to several authorities, firearms ownership in the USA peaked in approximately 1977. Sounds about right to me.

      If you have data that says otherwise, fine. Haul it out. But it better be specific and conclusive. Don’t paint me watercolors.

      1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        Careful, Magoo. Your argument is starting to sound like an irrelevant appeal to authority.

      2. avatar RuffRidr says:

        “According to several authorities, firearms ownership in the USA peaked in approximately 1977.”

        Which authorities? Do they have statistics to back up their claims? Show your work Magoo, we’re holding you to the same standards.

      3. avatar TTACer says:

        What authorities? Citations please.

  3. avatar Steve says:

    Nick, all I hear is crickets…

    I once heard a Quality Assurance Engineer say that Unless your name is Jesus and you are the SON of GOD, your words are not Gospel… So make with the Data.

    I love my guns, but I dont care for hearsay.

    Unless you can produce evidence, verifiable and repeatable evidence, then you are just blowing smoke.

    Are you going to let Magoo have this one?

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      (A) Not my graphic.

      (B) Data provided, see my reply.

      1. avatar Steve says:

        Well done.

  4. avatar Aharon says:

    I think it is important to also recognize how the use or definitions of gun ownership by individuals and households comes into play. The American nuclear family unit was alive and functioning back in the 1960s and still into the 1970s though it was breaking up with divorces and never married mothers living without the child(s) father. I’m not sure how to state this statistically yet it might be that the percentage of household gun ownership might have declined while individual ownership has risen (or is it the other way around?). Nowadays, America has a huge number of single-parent homes (usually mother & kids — dads seldom get custody even though more should). Those single mother homes, as a percentage, may not have as much gun ownership. Individual men, women, and/or couples may have a higher percentage of ownership. Just some thoughts.

    Magoo wrote: “According to several authorities, firearms ownership in the USA peaked in approximately 1977”.

    Who are these authorities you are referring too? Please present proof of your supporting statements that gun ownership peaked decades ago and that gun shows now are ghosts of what they once were. Thanks.

  5. avatar Linoge says:

    Thank, Nick, for taking the time to propertly cite your sources.

    You and your readers may also be interested in this follow-up post: Seems the UCR data trends mirror the WISQARS data trends…

  6. avatar Nicholas Dixon says:

    It’s false to claim “While firearm ownership is increasing, firearms deaths are not increasing as rapidly, disproving the “more guns = more deaths” hypothesis.”

    If 1/5 guns bought were used in crime, the change in crime rate would be roughly 1/5 that of the change in gun ownership, satisfying “firearm ownership is increasing, firearm deaths are not increasing as rapidly” but also satisfying the “more guns = more deaths” hypothesis.

    Rather, if these charts are correct we don’t see much change at all in the crime rates, but we see a steady increase in firearms ownership. THIS observation is the one that seems to rule out “more guns = more crime”

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