gun violence
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By Robert A. Margulies, MD

I do not believe that there is any such thing as “gun violence.” There is also no such thing as knife violence, car violence, alcohol violence, etc. Violence is perpetrated by an individual or group. The tool used is irrelevant.

Most articles about ‘gun violence’ are written as if to justify positions that the authors don’t recognize or accept aren’t true. Let’s break it down:

1.  Suicide, whether involving firearms or not, is an act of desperation, remorse, inability to accept circumstances, or choosing to avoid a situation that the individual cannot control.

The literature is replete with data about other countries’ numbers and rates of suicide. Culture strongly influences rates as well as the preferred mechanisms. Suicide by firearm makes up approximately two-thirds of United States firearm-associated deaths.

2.  Justifiable homicide falls into the category of self-defense, including law enforcement action. Whether it involves firearms, conducted electrical weapons, blunt objects, pointed objects or blades, or hands makes no difference in the end.

These make up 20 to 25% of firearms-associated deaths. These outcomes are socially and culturally acceptable.

3.  There are small and declining numbers of accidental firearm deaths in the United States.

4.  That leaves approximately 25% of firearms associated deaths due to criminal activity. More than half of these occur in just a few of our large cities and are associated with gang activity and other drug or sex trafficking crime.

With that basic information on the table, the question becomes: What to do about violence? The emphasis on firearms is a proverbial red herring. The problem is not firearms, knives, or tire irons in the hands of the police or honest citizens.

The avowed intent of much of the literature on “gun violence” is to design laws that will preclude criminals obtaining firearms. That idea is either mistaken or malicious. No law will prevent a criminal from breaking the law. That is what defines “criminal”. The only purpose of laws is to punish people for violating them, which may be of some deterrence. Until human nature becomes angelic, there will be the need to punish criminal behavior.

By definition, honest people are not criminals, so the only purpose of such laws can be to harass honest people. To paraphrase Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged: “The government cannot control honest people. The government can only control criminals. Therefore the plan is to pass laws that no one can obey and make everyone criminals. Then the government can control everyone.”

The emphasis on firearms by many of our politicians and academics represents their blatant failure to grasp reality. Life circumstances do not explain the venality of a Bernie Madoff, the pederasty of some members of the clergy, or the violence of gangs. They have all chosen to manipulate and control people criminally. A firearm is a tool some use to exercise that control, nothing more or less.

I value laws that are based on the moral principles of society. Abusive behavior toward other human beings is the problem, not the tools used in doing so.


Robert A. Margulies, MD, MPH, FACEP, FACPM is an emergency medicine specialist, retired Navy Medical Corps captain, sworn peace officer, and firearm trainer with multiple certifications from the NRA and the Massad Ayoob Group. 

This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. “20 to 25% of firearms-associated deaths” are self defiance, Where did this come from, world really like to know

    “25% of firearms associated deaths due to criminal activity” Really ???????

    Come on TAG, at least look at what you are posting

    • binder,

      Firearms are the instrument of death for about 33,000 people every year (in recent years) in the United States. Very close to 2/3rds of those deaths by firearm are, indeed, suicides with firearms.

      Of the remaining 11,000 or so non-suicide deaths where firearms were the instrument of death, about 1,000 of those are justifiable homicides (legal self-defense, whether by citizen or police) and another 450 are negligent (the dreaded “accident”). That leaves about 9,500 deaths every year (where a firearm is the instrument of death) that are criminal homicide (murder).

      I also know that criminals use edge weapons for about 1/3rd of all murders every year, which should be about 3,000 murders annually if my above number of murders with firearms is correct.

      You can combine those numbers any you want for totals, percentages, etc.

      Oh, and note that criminal gangs are responsible for about 80% of all violent crime which, incidentally, almost always involves another criminal as the victim.

      You can find various sources such as the Centers for Disease Control as well as FBI Uniform Crime Reports. I believe USAToday also had a story that quantified what percentage of violent crime we can attribute to violent criminals.

      • Real number is 37% or all firearm deaths were non justified homicides for 2017, but you were only off by 50%

        • Where are you getting that number? If you ask for a citation from someone and claim their numbers are wrong it’s a good idea to provide a citation with your numbers. Without that citation your numbers are just add unreliable.


          John Lott look him up.

          Everyone on this page should know who John is. If not, you are a dunce on gun and crime statistics and need to do your homework before your fingers engage.

  2. This article, although preaching to the choir, provides good talking points for countering the pap spouted by anti-gunners, if one can be found that will engage in a reasonable debate about guns and listen to what you have to say without shouting you down, resorting to all the standard anti-gun catechism’s lies, going ad hominium on you, and otherwise being “commonsense.” Good luck finding one of those…

    • Good luck finding one of those [gun-grabber who is willing to have a rational debate] …

      Exactly. If gun-grabbers were willing to entertain a rational, fact-based discussion, they would almost certainly no longer be a gun-grabber.

      Unfortunately, when someone acts like a toddler and forms their position based strictly on emotion and fantasy, we have little change of imparting wisdom to them.

  3. I’m guessing that 99.9% of women suicides are not by gun. Women thinks about how they’ll look at the funeral. We are all vain. (Yea, I know that’s morbid.)

    • No need to guess, statistically that is true that women use different methods. In the past I’ve seen it said they choose “less effective” techniques.

      “The findings revealed that the female subjects tended to choose pharmacological drugs overdose and exsanguination as the suicide method, while males more frequently used hanging and asphyxia. Females also used a greater number of different suicide methods.”

  4. The original article at has changed. It now states:

    “Suicide by firearm makes up approximately half of United States firearm associated deaths.”

    So now we have:

    Suicide – 50%
    Justifiable – 20-25%
    Which leaves Criminal at 25-30%

  5. We all here know a gun is nothing more then a tool. Its the human being holding it that’s violent or not.
    Most gun deaths are suicides granted. Its a chicken shit easy way out.
    Fast and no going back once the trigger is pulled.
    Why more suicides don’t drive their cars into a wall is beyond me.
    Then they can add another 20K deaths a year due to cars which no one bitches about.

  6. “Gun Violence is a Myth”


    Gun-grabbers are NOT concerned with violence at large, never claimed to be. Gun-grabbers are not concerned with guns being used in random crime (holdups, robbery, theft, etc.), never actually claimed to be. No matter the terms used, or the justification offered, gun-grabbers are only concerned with random, mass attacks at malls, schools, theaters. They are only concerned with “normals” with guns who just go crazy as start killing “good” people.

    English is a sloppy language, and we naturally create simple-to-use shortcuts to convey to convey more complex thoughts. Indeed, think of how much information is transmitted with just the f-word. The idea that we need some complex phrase to discuss all the violence issuing from the illegal use of a firearm is not particularly useful when talking among ourselves, or on the general political stage at large. To gun grabbers, “gun violence” starts and ends with mass shootings in relatively “nice” settings. For POTG, “gun violence” means any incident where a gun is used to kill, harm or intimidate another person.

    An axiom of political science is, “Whoever controls the words, controls the debate”. Not saying the axiom is not instructive, but unless we (pro-2A) can come up with our own universally acceptable, short, informative shorthand, we will continue to trail and co-opt much of the gun related language of the popular press.

    Saying there is no such thing as “gun violence” does absolutely nothing to forward the pro-gun movement.

  7. numbers still pale when compared to 600,000+ abortions every year…and dems/libs LOVE them
    I am actually pro 2A and pro-choice…as I am for population control
    I like to ask people…if they found a fetus on any other planet or planetary body…what would they call it? LIFE
    Even the dem/lib scientists would call it life…guaranteed…
    just sayin’…

    • I have been pro gun, pro gun rights for a very long time, possibly even for more years than you have lived. As to you being anti abortion, you are entitled to your opinion, which I strongly disagree with, to each their own. I do however, fail to see any connection between the two, that is guns, gun rights and abortion. You might consider the following aspect of the thing. The anti abortionists and the anti firearms types have one thing in common, that being their desire to order others around.

  8. I have firsthand knowledge followed by intensive research on suicide. The inference is it’s a choice. It is for some people. Some others are so ill, their brains not functioning properly, that it’s not a decision.
    The mildest example people experience is being hangry. No matter how hard they try to be nice they can’t until their blood sugar level rises.
    Out of respect for those ill folks I include this.
    Thanks for the article.

  9. I read recently that some Euro-trash countries a starting to loosen private gun ownership. Gun control is people control. Same as that a.o.c. PR bit.h pushing “high speed rail” people control.

  10. First, EVERY anti gun law is UNCONSTITUTIONAL Every Politician swears an oath to Follow & Uphold said Constitution. The 2nd Amendment was first the 22nd & then all were reduced to 10 & it was placed after Freedom Of Speech. It was meant to STOP Tyrannical Governments, like King George’s, who butt we kicked way back when. In My opinion we may NEED another King George very soon as the Democrats surely mean to dis-arm all, so as to control us. It is PEOPLE CONTROL they want & they’re latest SOCIALISTIC DREAMS ARE MORE ASSUREDLY PROOF. Forget buying gold, buy LEAD & lots of it.

  11. The Leftard myth is that a gun is capable of committing violence,only a person can chose or not to commit violence,then again Leftard’s are brain dead,example Alexandria Occasional Cortex.

    • There’s violence everywhere including the USA. Black? Really. Technically that’s economically driven. When 18-25 year old spree shooters tend/trend white how do you leave them out of the discussion.

      In fact our rights are under attack because of those white shooters.

      Wait! You must be trolling. I get it!

  12. By far, there are more murders and deaths associated with automobiles. You aren’t taking my car! Statistics don’t tell a story. A story uses statistics to confirm the story. Who do you use for your statistics? Are they valid? I have read numerous times about more mass shootings in the U.S. than any other country. Not true. Poorly done research made that claim. Problem is as above. I don’t believe your stats because i have my own. Neither side wants to use the same data as it would bring the same results. What say you?


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