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As the anniversary of the Newtown shooting approaches, the usual gun control advocacy organizations are gearing up their propaganda campaigns to try and convince us that guns make us less safe, and that the only “common sense” solution to the “gun violence epidemic” is gun control. But as we’ve proven time and again here on this website (and cataloged for you in our Gun Facts section), that’s just not the case. Every claim that gun control advocates make trying to link the existence of guns to violence falls flat on its face when you add a splash of context and some verified numbers. But in preparation for this weekend, I wanted to bring together some of those hard and fast facts, based on verified numbers from the U.S. government (rather than surveys or flawed studies), that illustrate the truth about guns and violence in the United States. This way you’ll have a single post to link to when you come across one of these pro-disarmament articles . . .

Gun Ownership On the Rise


Over the last decade, the number of guns being purchased in the United States has skyrocketed. Just over the last two years, there really hasn’t been a month where the NICS checks (the background check required to buy a firearm from a firearms dealer) has dropped under a million checks per month. The NSSF tracks the number of NICS checks reported by the FBI, and while the numbers are slightly lower than last year around this time (artificially high due to Obama’s re-election) sales are still through the roof. And that doesn’t even count the number of new (factory fresh) gun sales in states where a concealed handgun license exempts the holder from having to pass a NICS check, such as Texas and Virginia.

Ruger is shipping over 1.2 million firearms this year, and that’s just one gun manufacturer — and not even the largest one. Some companies have backlogs of gun orders that will take them up to 2 years to fill, and when those guns do hit the market they’re quickly sold out in stores. Even without the new sales, guns are “durable goods” which means that they last a long time and the existing number of guns in the United States is (by some estimates) enough for eight guns for every ten people in the country.

All this is to say that guns are prevalent, and more guns are being sold every year in this country. The standard cry from gun control advocates is that more guns equals more death and more crime, so if their assertion is correct we should see a direct correlation between the number of guns being sold and an increase in the death rate in this country. But the numbers say otherwise.

Firearms Related Deaths On the Decline


If the gun control activists are right, then more guns must equal more crime. However, even in this graph that shows the overall homicide rate in blue and the firearms related homicide rate in red, you can clearly see that the phrase “steady” is the worst you can use to describe the current state of affairs in the United States, and the phrase “decline” might be more appropriate for the years since 2005. These numbers are from the U.S. Government Center for Disease Control, which tracks all deaths in the United States, and I personally pulled them yesterday when researching this article. .

Gun control activists constantly clamor that there’s a “gun violence epidemic” in the United States, but the numbers don’t reflect that statement. In fact, the argument could be made that as the firearms ownership rate increases there’s a correlation to a decline in the murder rate. So perhaps, more guns equal less crime? That’s the position taken by a recent study from Virginia that showed a decrease in violent crime as the number of firearms being sold increased, and while it’s an interesting possibility there’s no good way to decisively prove it. On the other hand, this data does decisively disprove the gun control hypothesis that “more guns = more crime.”


To give you a little context on where these crime rates are compared to historical data, take this chart which shows the murder rate over a much larger period. The last time the United States was this peaceful was 33 years ago, according to the CDC. The United States has seen a decline in the murder rate ever since the peaks of the 1990s, and yet the gun control advocates claim that there’s now a “gun violence epidemic.” I’m not buying it.

Accidental Deaths On the Decline


While crime prevention is one claim of gun control advocates, another popular statement is that more guns mean that more people will accidentally shoot themselves. Well, again, the CDC disagrees with that assessment. Even as gun ownership is on the rise, and more people than ever are carrying concealed firearms, the number of people (raw number, mind you) accidentally killed with firearms each year continues to drop. The accident rate shows an even more marked decline.

Let me put this into context a little bit more. There are, according to the CDC, 308 million people in the United States. That’s 308,745,538. Of those 308 million people, only 600 were accidentally killed with a firearm. That’s a 0.000194% chance that you will be accidentally killed with a gun in any given year. According to the National Safety Council, over 12,000 people die every year simply by falling down.

Accidental Death Rate High, but Guns are Not the Problem


The accidental death rate in the United States is about twice that of other countries, like the United Kingdom (18/100,000 versus 39/100,000). And while that may seem like a vote against guns, in reality the number of firearms related accidental deaths are so small that they’re barely visible in this chart (source: CDC). The main issue in the accidental death rate is traffic accidents, but when gun control advocates talk about their topic of choice they make it seem like the only thing keeping us from having the same lower statistics as the UK is gun control. It’s a lazy analysis of the situation, and even if we eliminated all firearms related accidental deaths it still wouldn’t bring us any closer to eliminating the gap in overall accidental deaths.

Interesting side note: the difference in accidental death rate is actually based on the way we commute to work. Cars are basically death traps, and the United Kingdom relies more on public transportation to get to work than the United States. We love our cars, even though we have an extremely high likelihood of dying in them. And yet we still drive, even though there’s a 0.012% chance we’ll die in one every year. For comparison, I have a 0.0002% chance that I’ll accidentally kill myself with my gun. So in reality, my gun is safer than my car. Go figure. Maybe I can somehow shoot my way to work, circus clown style…

Proportion of Guns Used in Crimes: Very, Very Low

Going back to that original point of the gun control advocates, that guns directly cause crime, then we should expect that a large percentage of the guns in this country would be used in a crime. However, that’s just not the case.

Percent firearms used in crime

This chart shows the number of guns in the United States (using a LOW estimate from Wikipedia) versus the total number of victims of violent crime involving a firearm every year (source: Bureau of Justice Statistics numbers for 2012). If we assume that a different gun was used for every robbery, murder and assault, then that number comes out to 460,718 firearms. That’s 0.185% of all guns in the United States. For reference, every year 2.13% of all motor vehicles are involved in a collision. So again, guns are safer than cars.

Concealed Carry: Safer and More Law Abiding than the Police

With the increasing popularity of concealed carry, there was a common thread among the gun control advocacy groups’ opposition: the statement that concealed carry would bring “blood in the streets.” That these “gun nuts” who carry guns everywhere they go are just “looking for trouble” and itching to kill someone. Well, again, that’s just not right.


Thanks to some sleuthing, we know that concealed carry holders are actually less likely than even the police to commit a murder. According to the Violence Policy Center, Florida has the highest murder rate among concealed carry holders, and Dean figured out that those numbers put the murder rate at somewhere around .58/100,000. Counting domestic homicides only, police officers committed 1.85/100,000 over the same time period. Nationally, the murder rate in the United States sits right around 4.5/100,000. Therefore, you’re over three times less likely to be killed in a room filled with concealed carry holders than police officers.

Cool, huh?

Firearms and Children: Declining Murders and Accidents

The last refuge for those without a logical leg to stand on is “think of the children!” OK, let’s think about the children for a second in terms of guns.


According to the CDC, the number of firearms related fatalities for “children” has been steadily falling over the last two decades even without more restrictive gun control laws. I put children in quotation marks because, while some people consider 24 year old people to still be children, my cut-off is the age at which the state lets you operate a 2-ton moving death machine unsupervised in public (16). The reason that this age bracket is used by gun control advocacy groups, as I outlined in this article, is that this is the age range in which most gang related crime is committed. Some estimates put the percentage of gang related murders in the United States at around 80%, indicating that the issue isn’t the availability of guns but the prevalence of gangs and the related violence.

Let’s move away from the murders for a second. Gun control advocates love to use the image of a child who accidentally shot themselves or someone else and died after “playing” with a gun. It evokes a parental response, making you feel like you need to “do something” to prevent such tragedies. And while those incidents do happen, it’s extremely rare — and getting rarer by the year.


Notice that distinctive downward trend? Yeah, I did too. Nevermind the fact that this happens to less than 150 kids every year, the fact of the matter is that the “problem” of kids accidentally killing themselves or others with a gun is one that is disappearing. Instead of increasing as more guns are being sold to the U.S. population, not only is the raw number of kids being killed in this matter staying relatively stable but it even seems to be declining.

Public Support for Increased Gun Control Measures

The gun control activists like to make the claim that “90% of Americans” support whatever new gun control scheme they’re pushing that week. However, if you look at the results of a reputable polling organization (like Gallup) the truth is very, very different.


The facts of the matter are that the hunger for stricter gun control in the United States is like a fad that has run its course — fewer and fewer people every year believe that gun control is a good idea. The numbers of supporters have been steadily dropping since 2002, and with the exception of a small spike in 2012 (just after the Newtown shooting) that trend has been steady. The real surprise is that the percentage of people who think gun control laws should be less strict has been steadily on the rise, and in 2014 that number tripled to 16%.

Gun control advocates claim that the vast majority of Americans support new gun control laws. In reality, 56% of Americans either want gun laws to stay the same or become less strict. “Common sense” indeed.


The burden of proof is on the gun control activists. Their assertion is that more guns equal more crime, that concealed carry means “shoot-outs in the streets” and deranged “gun nuts” looking to kill people, and that there’s a “gun violence epidemic” that needs to be addressed. But looking at the numbers from the CDC, I don’t see it. Gun sales have gone through the roof in the last six years, and at worst the numbers for firearm related deaths are stable. At best, they’re declining. Not one single metric that I could find indicated that gun owners were anything less than model citizens, and that gun ownership is not the root of all evil.

The best confirmation of this comes not from any study or calculation, but from the opinions of the American people themselves. Support for gun control is at an all time low. I’d like to think that it’s because people are finally understanding that the object is not the problem but instead it’s the behavior that needs to be changed. However, some people still don’t see the light. Hopefully with enough proof we can change their minds as well.

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        • A combination of all of the above, I would suspect. Masses of humanity living in abject poverty, many of them immigrating with little to nothing but the clothes on their back and fed into an industrial system that took ruthless advantage of the aformentioned facts. Unions began forming as early as 1886 to offset industerial totalitarianism, leading to violent clashes. Not saying this is the sum total reason, but its a good foundation.

    • I would assume homicides skyrocketed after 1905 because of the influx of immigrants and the technology available at the time. In the first decade of the 20th century, the US had 9 million immigrants alone.

      The turn of the century in America had some of the highest immigration rates not seen until the 1980-90s.

    • The great depression, prohibition, lack of effective trauma care and World War 1. I’m sure I am missing a couple.

      • HB’s got it right. Data collection and record keeping improved…along with the way crimes were reported changing in many places.

        If you have a few minutes, I stumbled across this out there in Internet-land. Good writeup about the “surge” in homicide rates back then, vs the 1800s, and also draws some very interesting data about the homicide rates in England going back many hundreds of years.

        I don’t know who Jess Nevins is, BTW. Google just thought that was a good search result when I searched for “1905 surge homicides”. I like the post because he cites his data sources (important!) and takes a logical look at the data.

      • Bingo. The reason we don’t know more about history is because storing large amounts of data on everything for a long time was a hell of a lot harder pre-integrated circuit. And harder still pre-printing press.

        Them computers sure are useful sometimes!

    • I would also guess that the recession and depression had something to do with it. More desperate people perhaps?

      • The Great Depression didn’t happen until the end of the 1920’s after the stock market crashed

    • Principally from the influx of immigrants, many of whom were involved in criminal activity, from Southern Italy and Russia. The Jews and the Italians formed an alliance and began pushing out the exiting Irish mob. Prohibition added an extra bonus as the new guys on the block were only killing the olds guys over traditional rackets but also over the new market for newly prohibited alcoholic beverages. And yes, better record keeping accounts for some of the rapid increase.

    • I would say immigration had a lot to do with it. late 1800s, early 1900s very large numbers of immigrants many packing into cities like NY and Phili. Those areas were slums with lots of violence as ethnic gangs sought control. If you look at many of the news stories and histories of these time life was violent and often short. The police really didn’t care what they did to each other as long as they kept it to the neighborhood. Some of the gangs ended up connected to politicians and using those connections tried to solidify their positions. Look at the history of the Sullivan act in NY (1911 IIRC). Sullivan was in the pocket of one gang and got the law passed that made it illegal to have handgun without a permit. Well he “friends” got permits and the others didn’t. That resulted in a few altercations.
      Also if you look at violent crime in Great Britain there has much to suggest that the authorities are suppressing the real number by not taking down reports and the like.

    • 1900-1910 the US experienced a huge (9 million) wave of immigration. New immigrants tend to be poor and economic status has the strongest correlation with violent crime that I know of. Those crime families already existed when prohibition started, they just became more organized and mega rich/powerful after prohibition was enacted. Prohibition stoked the fires in the 20s and the overwhelming economic devastation of the Great Depression carried that number up through the late 30s.

      The economy has always tracked fairly well with crime rates…the only real exception would have to be the recent economic downturn in the mid 2000. Crime should have gone up, but it stayed level or declined in many cases. Guess the world is just becoming a safer, and more reasonable place after all…


    • My guess would be that it’s related to the population boom of immigration around that time period. The US population grew heavily during that time and you had a lot more immigrants from Europe, the expansion into the west was being assimilated into a more civilized and less frontier type environment, and urbanization was on the rise.

      Cities cause murder far more than guns.

    • I think that influx of immigrants from the pre-war Europe and following turf wars contributed to the violence and increased number of homicides.

    • This will sound incredibly racist, but look to see if that year coincided with a substantial increase of immigration (regardless of what ethnicity)

    • The rise in murder rates after 1905 was ikely due to the urbanization of society and the anonymity it brings when communities are much larger. In rural america it’s harder to murder someone you know (and MOST murders are of passion or some kind of emotional trigger) and get away with it because people know you. Also, faster and much safer transportation became more readily available, thus letting the murderer escape.

    • I’d say it’s probably the start of the industrial revolution, which brought with it the birth of organized crime.

  1. But But But…. You CAN’T mean that everything Pelosi, Reed, Bumbleburg or Watts has ever said was a blatant LIE….. Say it aint so!

  2. I wish someone would do a per capita study on gun deaths between here and Switzerland. There firearm ownership is required by their laws and constitution. Then show the results for all to see.

    • The problem with that comparison is the relative economic and social/ethnic stability in that country. It’s like a northern Midwest rural county with regards to diversity. Not much crime in those regions either.

    • gun ownership isn’t so much required in Switzerland its that every male of fighting age is required to serve and maintain proficiency with their issued battle riffle. Their army operates more like a national guard or a highly (federal) structured/regulated militia

    • It’s not easy to discern if the homicide numbers are for ALL homicides or just gun-related homicides. And whether they include gang-related homicides. And what is the upper age limit for the study group?

      • if you tweak the settings on the visualization you can see that the vast majority of child homicides are non-gun related, and of those that are, the fraction of rifles is less than kids intentionally murdered with fire. Several times more children are intentionally murdered with hands and feet than with even handguns.

    • No, the response would be that since high crime cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have effective gun control, they have brought down the homicide rate of the US down, as a whole.

      Just sayin.

      A study like this on New York or Chicago would further solidify our point, for the record.

    • Our response? “so? so, do facts matter or do facts not matter? – what is more important to feel like something is correct or to actually be correct? if your child gets a 60% on a math test but feels that he did well, should he still get an A?”

    • Or, they’ll just ignore it and either repeat their talking points in a louder voice or change the subject.

  3. Does anyone know if the stats regarding the national murder average vs cops vs CCW holders is counting people killed by cops on-duty while upholding the law, or if it’s a Murder by someone who also happens to be an off-duty cop, or both?

    • The article states the 1.85 /100,000 homicide rate for cops specifically counts only domestic homicides. It doesn’t count “clean shoots” while on the job. It doesn’t count “bad shoots” while on the job. It doesn’t even count any murder of a stranger while off-duty.

      It should be noted the 0.58/100,000 figure for CCW holders is also domestic homicides only. The source for those figures show that the overall rate for CCW holders should be around 1.1/100,000. If the police hold to the same pattern their overall homicide rate would be somewhere around 3.6/100,000.

      • The white elephant in the room on the ‘cops’ vs. ‘CCW’ holder stats is that cops are employed to be and many routinely find themselves responding to incidents that expose them to violence including ADW’s and shootings.

        The same cannot be said for CCW holders, who have no duty to engage any violent situation and if they are prudent, will be aware of and avoid potentially confrontational situations when possible.

  4. Can anyone comment on the “Yes, there are more guns, but in fewer hands” concept? The premise that those who already posses guns are simply purchasing more of them, in contrast to more of the population becoming gun owners.

    None of these statistics comment on the effects of more wide spread ownership, but rather simply the volume of guns in general.

  5. Great article Nick.

    Maybe it’s just me, but the statement “Some estimates put the percentage of gang related murders in the United States at around 80%” seems unclear. 80% of what? The gun fatalities in the 10-24 bracket? 80% of gang members get murdered? 80% of gang members are murderers?

    • It is 80% of the murder/homicide rate. Somewhere I read a related analysis (using 2011 FBI numbers) that if you took out suicides (about 13,000 a year) the violent deaths would be about 9,000 a year of that 80% would be gang/drug related. During that same time there were 382 long arm, not handguns all long arms, deaths.

  6. Not that it was consciously intended by the grabbers and their media cheerleaders, but this statistical information showing reduced incidence of gun deaths from all causes may actually have been influenced in some small measure by the continuous media hoopla over the recent “epidemic” of gun deaths and the reporting and coverage of every local and national tragedy to the point of oversaturation.

    That constant 24/7 spotlight on all kinds of firearm related incidents may well have heightened people’s personal situational awareness and their firearm safe handling / storage knowledge and practices.

    Consequently the recent years of elevated liberal media scrutiny may have had the inadvertent and unintended positive effect of helping to influence the downward trend in the statistics for gun related deaths of all kinds.

    Of course, as people become ever more numb to the constant media haranguing about how bad “guns” are (Bad gun…go sit in your corner and stay there.) the constant ever biased anti-gun coverage will likely have less and less influence on the downward statistical trends as people begin to get bored with and turn a deaf ear to such coverage. The stats also appear show this trend by the reduced interest in “gun control” measures.

    Or, it could just all be coincidence.

  7. Very good, well laid out.

    One quibble: I’d like to see more charts that go back to 1960 or so. Why?

    Because the one huge, major win the anti’s have had since 1960 is the GCA of ’68. If you look at the crime rate prior to ’68, you see that they were addressing a problem that wasn’t there. You can also see in the data that as cities and states started passing more laws throughout the 70’s, the crime rate kept going UP, not down. You can also see the huge peak in the late 80’s, when they were trying to ram more gun control down our throats that what we got in ’94.

    One more chart to add is the number of states with shall-issue CCW, superimposed against the fall in crime rates since 1987 (when Florida became the first modern shall-issue state).

  8. To be honest, we have to also factor in the advanced medical intervention as one cause of the murder as in death rate from gun assaults going down.
    What is the gun assault rate curve. Many a Doctor has helped a criminal avoid a murder charge regardless of the shooters intent.
    It would be interesting to know what is the total of gun wounds trend rate after removing self and accidental infliction.

    • Glad I read down through the comments to this point because I was going to ask a similar question.

      If we are going to be totally honest in our position we need o address the question of not just how many people DIE from gunshot wounds, but how many are actually SHOT. I have seen somewhere that only about 30% of pistol wounds are fatal due to rapid medical intervention.

      If we want to stand firmly on our contention that more guns equals less crimes/less danger from those guns, we need to know how may attempts were made at murder or suicide, and how many accidental shootings, not just how many ended in death. If THAT statistic shows a similar trend then we are on very firm ground indeed.

      • Possibly having to do with the variety of calibers used in handgun shootings and the diversity of stopping power. In the hands of an untrained shooter, most one-shot shootings will not stop/kill the victim. Here are some statistics: (Sub-caliber): .22 long rifle, .22 magnum, .25, .32, and .380; (Minor caliber) .357 magnum from 3″ or shorter barrel, 9mm and .38 special; (Major caliber) .357 magnum from 4″ or longer barrel, 10mm, .40 S&W, .41, .44, .45 and .45 ACP.

        The energy delivered by a sub-caliber cartridge at best is no more than 150 ft/lbs. Studies of shootings reveal that when sub-caliber cartridges are used, one-shot stops only occur approximately 6 out of every 20 shootings-even when the hit is in a vital area. What this means is that the victim must be shot multiple times and the hits must be in a vital area. Why do people carry sub-caliber weapons? They don’t know any better or they are aware of the limitations, but require the ease of concealment, cheaper cost of the gun and ammunition, etc.

        Minor caliber cartridges produce one-shot stops approximately 10 times in every 20 shootings.
        Major caliber cartridges produce one-shot stops approximately 18 times in every 20 shootings.

        Even when using a major caliber handgun, the shooter must deliver two, well-placed shots to the thoracic cavity and then be ready to respond if those hits do not stop the assailant. If it does not, then one to the brain. Assailants are often high on drugs and/or alcohol and may possess very high levels of adrenaline which may make them even more difficult to stop with a handgun.

        Most handgun owners are untrained and don’t practice shooting or handling. They have never experienced the stress of a lethal encounter, which may be in low-light conditions, and their level of rarely-practiced accuracy will be reduced by at least 50% and can also be against multiple adversaries.

        Personally, I carry a Glock model 22 in .40 S&W, the same gun as a very large percentage of law enforcement use. Proven, reliable, accurate with training and practice, great stopping power, very high capacity magazines.

  9. A pic is worth a thousand words….In this case no words were needed except graph sources. Good work.

    The article could have been titled BAM with only graphs posted one after another.

  10. Kudos to you sir! Well done!

    Gun “control” means nothing to criminals and parents that are too stupid to secure their guns so their kids can’t get at them. Every time we hear about a kid dieing because a dumb ass parent didn’t do THEIR JOB it makes me sick.

    We’ve got got a lot of Gun “Laws” now. Having more will do nothing.

    EDUCATING kids and honest, law abiding people about gun SAFETY is what will help.

    • And aside from professional hand-wringers and psychotic obsessed billionaires, I think the true grief-stricken parents and relatives should be given space and time instead of an international megaphone. That does no service to the memory of the deceased and just aggravates the grieving process.

  11. The average of 8 guns for every 10 people in this country is from a (low) 2007 estimate of 250 million firearms. The high number from the same survey was 290 million. The average was 270 million.

    Since then, the number of new firearms in this country has increased much faster than the population. If the original numbers were accurate, then there are conservatively between 9 and 10+ guns for every 10 people in this country now based on ATF production and import numbers. (I used the 2008-2010 average for the last 3 years so the number is actually higher.)

  12. I have spent a considerable amount of time developing my theories, which has led me to two main places as to why I think the push for gun control exists.

    1. Guns are a visible and tangible symbol of masculinity. Our Society wants to be feminism-based and to therefore drive all masculinity out. If gun control advocates could remove your cojones, that’s what they’d be going for. They can’t so they go for your guns.
    Eureka! I found a book that links these things:

    2. Guns control is an effort by the weak to artificially set a level playing field where they have a shot at survival and procreation. So is Socialism and Communism. So is, most likely, the suppression of masculinity (see #1, above.) This is where the r/K selection theory from the Anonymous Conservative comes into play and in his theory he gives us everything we need to fight them. Hint: It ain’t facts and data although having those two things on our side doesn’t hurt.

    • I dunno how many people are going to see this down here, but for anyone who does, I’ll second Mina’s endorsement.


      I don’t agree with everything Anonymous Conservative theorizes about, but when it comes to the mental workings and motivations of the liberal/progressive masses (and how to destroy them in an argument), this guy knows of what he speaks.

  13. Great article. Clearest and most complete summary of the numbers vs. the arguments I’ve ever seen in one place.

    Also, props for humor. “Maybe I can somehow shoot my way to work, circus clown style…” That made my afternoon.

  14. I guess without me Ruger would have only shipped 1.199997 million firearms this year.

  15. What happened to that NIH study that President Obama ordered as part of his “executive orders” following Sandy Hook? The study is complete. The results are published.

    Why isn’t Obama or Biden on their podiums preaching about how bad guns are quoting the results of the research they ordered to be done (even though the NIH already did the study, we, the tax-payers, had to fund another one).

    Oh thats right because the results didn’t show what they wanted. Guns are used more often to defend people than commit homicide. Nothing to see here, move along…. MSNBC why don’t you show clips of Miley twerking some more….

  16. I did quite a bit of research on the subject and I am surprised that more people have not found the FBI Crime Statistics website. It has a wealth of information and is the most authoritative source that you could possibly find. It is at It takes them several years to compile all of the data so 2012 is the most recent complete compilation available. It contains violent crime numbers broken down in just about every possible way and will lead even a gun control advocate to become a subscriber to this site. It provides very convincing data in very short order but, if you are willing to spend the time, it would yield data that would even convince Mr Obama.

  17. As small as it is, the accidental death rate of children (again removing the 17 – 24 gang bangers) could be reduced simply by removing the mystique of guns by having an age appropriate gun safety/handling segment beginning in Kindergarten progressing to rnge time in Jr High PE to a shooting team in High School.

    If children know about and are familiar with something, they are less inclined to be allured to the unknown of it. At leas in my experience with my children and grand children.

    • So true. I never could afford a safe when my kids were little. I gave them simple rules for handling guns. If you see one and want to touch it let me know and I will let you. If you see one somewhere else leave the area and tell an adult. When they handled my guns they had to treat them as if loaded. No pointing at things and snapping the trigger for fun. They got a lesson each time. Guess what? Not one time did they every just want to play with one. It was always “dad can I shoot the gun?” my answer was always YES, no matter how busy I was. They are in their 30s today and they still value those lessons learned and still have a great deal of respect for a gun. I’m now working on those 2 granddaughters.

  18. You can show gun control advocates the undeniable proof and even if it came down from God written in stone they wold deny it. Those that would sacrifice their children for an agenda have no qualms calling God a liar.
    The fact that is lost in the argument is The Second Amendment. Simply: The Right of the People Shall Not Be Infringed. No concessions, no discussion. The nu-Constitutional laws in place are to be ignored. New laws will be as well. My advice to those who want bans is “move”.
    I asked “Mothers Against …” whatever they call themselves to supply me with their financial report as they are “charitable”, asking for donations and linked with billionaire ex-NY mayor Bloomberg. Their response was “no” with a threat to report me for being “threatening”! “Mother” is not a sacred word or endeavor. MADD ran it into the ground and if our Reps keep falling for it by their “hands off” motherhood attitude then we all should call ourselves “Mothers”. The twisted thought process coming from people wanting “sensible” laws just does not wash on the face of it. Just one of the backward thoughts that their discourse that always raises red flags. Another preface to their argument that is common: “I am a hunter, I have a rifle, I do not need a….”
    My only statement to advocates of gun bans is not recitals of stats but one fact: If you attempt to deprive me of my Rights, inherent or Constitutional, you are then my sworn enemy, having declared war against me I will treat you accordingly. That will be deadly force.
    I will die for my Freedom and for those who cherish Freedom, in its true definition, as much as I do.

    Please note that I have grown tired of commenting on web sites and my spelling may lack, my sentences might be unstructured etc…

    • It is unfortunate you are not capable of retrieving financial reports for yourself. Nonprofit tax returns are widely available. Charity Navigator and Guidestar are two of the most popular repositories.

      I think you are dishonest to pretend anyone threatened you for asking for a non profit’s tax return.

  19. Correction:
    ”As murder is on the increase, so are all offenses of the felony class, and there can be no doubt that they will continue to increase unless the criminal laws are enforced with more certainty, more uniformity, more severity than they now are. I presume it is useless to expect that courts will turn from their present tendency to amplify technicalities in behalf of defendants until legislatures shall initiate the change.” – William Howard Taft June 26, 1905

  20. Interesting compilation of stats and guns. Thank you. So roughly speaking 3 out of 100 people (3 percent) will die of homicide by guns and 6 out of 100 people (6%) will die of suicide by guns annually. Yes, unintentional deaths by guns are trivial. In 2001, roughly 3000 people died in the 9-11 twin tower debacle, or 0.01 percent of the US population at that time, leading to the decade long trillion dollar war on terror. Annual deaths by suicides and homicides are ten times the number who died on 9-11. Annual deaths by heart disease are about 600,000/year. We are one screwed up country, with respect to our priorities, gun control or no gun control.

    • Correction: That would be 3 out of 100,000 for homicide an 6 out of 100,000 for suicide. If we were losing 9% of our population per year to gun violence we would be burying 27,000,000 annually and we truly *would* have that gun violence epidemic I keep hearing so much about.

  21. Is there a reason you do not include a chart of mass killings over the past 40 years? Does it surprise you that is what concerns most Americans with regard to murder by gun?

  22. “God made man, Sam Colt made them equal”

    From reading this article it is clear that criminals fearing law abiding citizens (such as myself) that legally carry a firearm daily for protection of themselves and those around them is the best deterrent for crime.

    The numbers don’t lie…

  23. Does anyone have the numbers for homicides using illegally obtained firearms vs legally purchased firearms? Maybe numbers for suicides using firearms vs other means? Great article.

  24. So I’ve been looking through this and wanted to mention one piece of context. In 2011 America’s gun related homicide rate was 3.60 per 100,000 people. If you show a graph starting in the 1990’s in America, that looks really low. But with some context you can clearly see that isn’t really the case. The 1980’s saw a spectacular increase in crime in American, so that is the first thing that skews this claim that gun violence is so low in America. It is actually quite average for our country. We had a wild crime epidemic so fixing that isn’t the same thing as saying we have low gun violence.

    Second, for some real context why didn’t you compare the US to other developed countries? Per 100,000 people the gun homicides per 100,000 people is .06 in Japan, .25 in the UK, 1.06 in Australia and 1.24 in Germany. Our rate is more similar to countries like Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Uruguay.

    I’m not trying to take everyone’s guns, I own handguns and would like to keep them. I just don’t think my political beliefs should mean that I can’t accept the fact that we are unique among the developed world in the rate of firearm related fatalities. That is definitely true.

  25. Using your info: Around 75% of homicides are from guns.
    From 2008 to 2010 accidental gun deaths of children under 14 rose by about 20%.

    Other info:

    The real number of accidental deaths from guns is under reported by about 50% due to coroners or police classifications. Some will report it as a homicide if, for example, the gun was not stored properly.

    The number of non-lethal injuries from guns is estimated to be between 2.5 to 5 times the number of deaths. So for example there would have been between 1500 and 3000 accidental shootings causing injury in 2010 and 150-300 involving children under 14.

  26. Also, non-lethal injuries from gun violence has steadily risen the last 7 or 8 years…as some have mentioned this may be the result of better/quicker medical intervention.

  27. The founders of the USA opined that the government they created required the people have a good sense of morality. Some that lack the morality required to maintain peace and tranquility. They’ll take advantage of the majority of the population that are moral. Killing an innocent person is the ultimate lack of morals. Don.

  28. Are you safer with a gun in your home? Statistically, no. You are 43 times more likely to be killed or injured at home with your own gun than by an intruder (source: HBO documentary).
    At age 8, I found my father’s .38 revolver in an unlocked drawer, loaded it with a single round, pulled the trigger (why? I was a little kid!) and nearly shot my friend standing next to me. I think this is a typical scenario, and that the widespread availability of firearms (they’re everywhere!) is the primary cause. Fact:
    An NRA-sponsored child safety program in schools is not effective; though taught to not touch a gun they find, and to tell an adult, the kids who found planted guns in the classroom played with them, pulled the triggers, didn’t tell the teacher, etc.
    Read this:

  29. Hmmm…

    Cherry picking data to conform to your agenda, Check.

    Making graphs showing minor statistical variations as huge differences, Check.

    Making graphs without a description on both axis, Check.

    Not knowing how to do statistics, Check.

    CDC data shows that the gun related deaths per year keeps more or less the same average which means that no correlation should be taken from this. Also, the data spans from 1999 to 2013. Hardly a sizeable sample so putting those graphs up shows absolutely nothing!

    The only one that could be meaningful is the one from 1885 to 2010 and that one is not even sourced or labelled properly so I have no idea where you got the data from.

    Plus, that Virginia news article doesn’t have a source (as in, the actual scientific paper that was published in a peer reviewed journal) because it doesn’t have one. When I looked into this professor’s publications no study on the crime rate compared to gun ownership exists. Go figure. He is a criminologist and yet he chose not to publish this data which contradicts a lot of other studies conducted by experts on a world wide scale with a wide timespan. Not about 6 years (2005 to 2011) and minor variations that can be statistical anomalies and normal deviations instead they look at trends over many years. And the results are all, ALL, unanimous.

    More firearms availability increases the number of murders.

    It is not rocket science and I should know since I am working on it.

    I am sorry to spoil this “guns are armless” circle jerk but you need to wake up and smell the bloody coffee.
    This article even cites wikipedia as a source which is ridiculous if you want to be taken seriously.


    PS, Sources for my comment:

    Hepburn, Lisa; Hemenway, David. Firearm availability and homicide: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal. 2004; 9:417-40.

    Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew. Firearm availability and homicide rates across 26 high income countries. Journal of Trauma. 2000; 49:985-88.

    Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. Household firearm ownership levels and homicide rates across U.S. regions and states, 1988-1997. American Journal of Public Health. 2002: 92:1988-1993.

    Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. State-level homicide victimization rates in the U.S. in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001-2003. Social Science and Medicine. 2007; 64:656-64.

    Reassessing the Association between Gun Availability and Homicide at the Cross-National Level, Irshad Altheimer , Matthew Boswell, American Journal of Criminal Justice December 2012, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 682-704

    To name a few. This by the way is how you should make your articles with SOURCES at the end. Otherwise I have to waste a couple of hours of my time going through the malarkey and searching for the results myself which is usually indicative of a false biased article btw.

    Please, if you really want to support guns as being beneficial, do some proper research yourselves and publish it in peer review journals!

    • The Altheimer and Boswell article you cite explicitly contradicts your thesis. The authors did not find that firearm availability increases homicide. They looked at a sample of 41 countries and found mixed effects, which they attributed to cultural differences. Firearm availability in Eastern European countries, for example, decreased overall homicide rates, while firearm availability in Latin American countries increased overall homicide rates. Firearm availability had different effects in these countries because of socio-cultural factors, meaning that firearm availability is not ipso facto associated with an increase in homicide rates.

      If you even bothered to read the abstract, you would have noticed the following: “The results lend little support to the notion that gun availability operates uniformly across nations to influence levels of violence. Rather, these results suggest that the nature of the relationship between gun availability and violence is shaped by the socio-historical and cultural processes occurring across nations.”

  30. These graphs are garbage. A sharp decline in gun related deaths between 2000-2013??
    It drops .5/100,000. So only a half a person in that time stopped dying as a result of gun violence?? Haha whoaaaaaa

    • That would be a rate change not actual numbers.
      If we assume a population of ~300,000,000 that would come out to ~1500 deaths

      • The graph says gun related homicide rate is declining, but only since 1999. Has there really been a significant increase in the number of guns since 1999?

  31. 1 chart says gun related homicide rate is declining, but only since 1999. Has there really been a significant increase in the number of guns since 1999? Stop spreading bullcrap.

  32. There has been, in fact, a dramatic rise in gun ownership from 1999. This trend continues to this day. I wonder why that is? Oh, yes. More people want themselves and their children to be killed by accidental shooting? Perhaps it has to do with the rise of an anti-constitutional Obama and his puppeteers. A revolution may take place if Hillary goes after our Second Amendment rights. The anti-gunners want the government to have complete control over every aspect of our lives. Perhaps these statistics have little to do with crime, and more to do with self-defence against tyrany, like the Constitution says.

  33. In thinking about these very important issues, I think it’s critical to draw a distinction between the total number of guns in society, which, as you’ve noted, has increased materially over time, and the percentage of the population owning guns, which has decreased materially over time.

    The percentage of households owning guns has declined dramatically from almost 50% in the early 70s to around 30% currently. The reason the number of guns has increased is that those who choose to own guns own lots more of them than they used to. Households with guns used to have 2 guns on average, and now households with guns have 8 guns on average. In other words, there are fewer and fewer people owning more and more guns.

    In looking a the correlation of crime statistics and gun related deaths to gun ownership, it’s much more relevant to compare the rate of gun ownership to the rate of crime, and here there’s a clear and direct positive correlation. A lower percentage of households own guns, and this is highly positively correlated with a decrease in gun crimes and gun deaths.

    To use an extreme example to make the point, there could be only 10 households in the US that each owned 100 million guns, and this would represent a dramatic increase in the number of guns in this country. However, its clear that if only 10 households owned guns, there would be virtually no gun crime, no gun suicides, etc.

    I don’t expect that you’ll publish my post because it undermines your entire argument, but I thought you should at least know that gun ownership has actually declined by a lot over time…just as violent crime has declined. I wouldn’t say fewer guns equals fewer gun deaths, but I would say that fewer people owning guns equals fewer gun deaths, and this is clearly supported by the data.

    Note that I’m not anti-gun. I’ve owned guns in the past and support the right to do so. However, if we’re going to have a reasonable and balanced dialogue as a society on the tradeoffs associated with gun ownership, I think it is important not to distort the truth.

    • You are so wrong. First you should see how other nations who are void of firearms but have higher murder rates kill their victims. Next see what percent of murder victims in the U.S. are stabbed or beat to death with a bat. Then come back and show me the ‘logic’ in anything you said. A nation of over 300 million firearms yet on a list of all nations we are at the half way position when it comes to murder. If we take the top ten cities murder rates of between 55 per 100,000 and 35 per 100,000 away from the nation’s average it would put us second from the bottom. That alone makes everything you said worthless with nothing to back your claims. Those 10 cities have more in common than murder. They also have high poverty, restrictive gun laws, and long histories of being ran by Democrats. I welcome your response.

    • Your comment is overly general, and ignores at least two things.
      1) The decreasing “number” of gun owners does not take into account the evolving political (pro-gun-control) atmosphere, and the possibility that people may become less likely to reveal to some surveyor that they own firearms.
      2) The areas where the most guns are owned are not the same area as where the most violent crime happens.

  34. I live in WI…I work in IL (Rockford to top it off).
    Every single day I put up with the fact that though I can carry and have no criminal record my best shot at defending my self for the majority of my day 5 days a week is a pocket knife or throwing something heavy-ish…I hate this state. Yet no one in charge seems to notice that the worst state/city (Chicago) for gun crimes is the harshest on us law abiding individuals.

    when I read this all I see is “you have no rights, you have no say.”

    Here’s to hoping D. Trump and the REP government forces National Reciprocity.
    *Side note, any So-WI employers looking for experienced IT employee?
    reach me at [email protected]

  35. There’s a book called “How to lie with statistics”, and many of these graphs would be great examples for such a book.

    Ok, where to start:

    1) “Accidental Death Rate High, but Guns are Not the Problem”

    The exact same argument/chart could be used to claim that Ricin, nuclear weapons, and anthrax should be legal: not many accidental deaths there! The better chart is to look at whether accidental deaths with guns are correlated to the number of guns in a state (or better yet, the rate of gun ownership). Are they? Would make for a great scatterplot.

    2) “Concealed Carry: Safer and More Law Abiding than the Police”

    First off, it would be great to see this correlation against police in other countries (e.g., in the UK where police killed a total of 5 people, which for a population of 65,000,000 equates of a rate of about 0.008 (v.s. 1.8 in the US, or about 225 *times* more). Secondly, police officers are more likely to be put in positions where they might have occasion to use their gun. So for this statistic to make any sense at all, it would need to be compared to OFF DUTY police officer killings. Might you have this rate handy?

    3) “Firearms and Children: Declining Murders and Accidents”

    Yes, it’s declining. So what? It was utterly horrible to begin with. What’s the ratio to other countries? What’s the state by state correlation with gun prevalence or ownership rate?

    Indeed, for you to be at all honest with any of your charts, every statistic you present should be accompanied by a chart that shows a scatterplot of this statistic against the prevalence of guns on a state by state basis. If there is no correlation, i.e., if the number of guns in a state is not correlated to gun-related accidents, homicides, or suicides, then great, you win. If there is a correlation then sorry, the position that guns aren’t a huge part of the problem is hogwash.

    • I’m of the same opinion. Many of the graphs cited above are not compared with a control to remove the possibility of confounding or lurking variables. Our police may have gotten better at preventing firearm violence, maybe?

      I ask that you take the time and energy to read the following:

      It makes me angry that the reputation of the United States as the land of free is being undermined by the numbing drumbeat of mass shootings (even though they aren’t the biggest cause of death by firearm, as Kristof mentions in the above article). I wish we could prevent mass shootings without gun safety, since it’s so difficult to curtail firearm usage in any way without drawing the ire of gun advocates, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Makes me feel like whenever I argue about this.

      If you have a dissenting opinion, please please share it. If you would like to dismiss my arguments as grasping at straws without evidence, please share it too. Thanks!

  36. Interesting article … and i used to think the same. However, as i look at the European firearm homicide death, in US it is around 30 per million people, vs less than 7 per million people in any of the European countries, even with all the terrorist attacks they went through!
    I can’t wrap my head around it, and i’m starting to think that maybe guns are actually the problem?? It depresses me to think that. What do you guys think?

  37. What is the source of the homicide rate chart from 1800s – 2010? I need to know, someone is asking me and I want the source data. Regards. T.

  38. These charts need to be updated. I’m reading them in January of 2019, but many of the statistics upon which they are based are years old.

  39. I found this to be very informative. The only comment I would have is it would be easier to use in an arguement if the charts and numbers were a little more current. Statistics from 1994 through 2010 are impressive but this is 2019 meaning these statistics are 9 years old.
    Odd or not, being a CCW I will be using them when ever I get a chance!

  40. The truth about guns is the fact that not enough people bother to educate themselves about guns and safety. They just buy them and say all I got to do is just pull this trigger.They are a tool and like any tool if you don’t know what your doing there are problems.Its that simple.

    • I would like to see an update to this article. I agree with Larry above. New gun owners and existing have a burden to educate themselves. Too often I see some yahoo spouting off on Facebook about their guns. That does nothing to help the cause and fight the hard left liberals that think guns are evil and think all gun owners are backwards red necks. There are many responsible gun owners. Anyone that is against gun rights should take some time and go take a day at a shooting range with an open mind. You might be surprised at just how responsible most gun owners really are. Anyone that is for gun rights and hasn’t taken some formal training.., I ask you why? Our military trains with firearms.. are you more skilled than them and you believe you couldn’t benefit from some training? Less talking like a yahoo with a gun would go a long way to educating a scared liberal. The rhetoric on both sides is far less helpful and just spurs more useless rhetoric that stokes the fire.

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