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Our old friends at CNN are at it again (still). This time they’re breathlessly yet loudly pronouncing the results of a study posted in JAMA Pediatrics. The report title is innocuous enough; State Gun Law Environment and Youth Gun Carrying in the United StatesCNN takes the idea and runs with it. They headline their take Stricter state gun laws keep firearms out of hands of youth complete with a two-minute video featuring “The Loneliest Club” [click on the link to watch]. That would be a group of 40 people who have lost loved ones to CGUs (Criminal Gun Uses). As far as I can tell the video has nothing to do with either the study or the story, but hey, you gotta tug those heartstrings somehow! Anyway, the article opens up thusly . . .

Teens who live in states with less restrictive gun laws may be more likely to carry guns, according to a study. They’re able to access them because more adults in those states own guns, researchers said.

Okay, I can buy that; responsible gun owners teach their kids about responsible gun use. Ipso facto when you have more responsible gun owners in a state, more kids are being taught gun safety, more kids are being introduced to various kinds of sport shooting, and therefore more kids have carried a gun in the past month (the criterion the study uses). This being CNN, however, more guns can’t be good. Guns are bad! Therefore more of them is more bad; right? Maybe not. According to the (eighth paragraph of the) article:

Although the study did not address whether fewer teenagers carrying guns could lead to less youth gun violence and death, it is a “reasonable conclusion,” Xuan said.

Wait, aren’t you supposed to have, I dunno, facts and evidence and maybe even correlation and causation before you reach conclusions? (You know it’s bad when even the intellectually-dishonest Everytown/Bloomberg bought-and-paid-for pseudo-scientists can’t bring themselves to make their claims without weasel-wordery.) So what facts and evidence does the “study” offer Unsurprisingly to those of us who are familiar with what the antis’ consider “scientific rigor” the answer is lots of facts and not much evidence.

Actual Teen Deaths vs. Average

I can hear someone in the back of the room saying “Umm what?!? Facts are evidence, aren’t they?” Au contraire! Facts and information supporting or opposing the validity of a proposition are evidence; unrelated facts spewed out across a page are obfuscation, not evidence. For example, the introductory paragraph of the study starts out:

From 1999 to 2013, an average of some 15 000 teenagers 12 to 19 years old died annually in the United States. The 3 leading causes of death among teenagers were unintentional injuries (45%), homicide (14%), and suicide (13%).

Okay, these are facts (but you should be really careful whenever someone starts talking about averages: remember the statistician who drowned crossing a river because it only averaged three feet deep). Here’s some more . . .

Among these fatal youth injuries, most homicides were gun-related (83%), and about half of suicides involved a gun (45%).

Factual yes, but completely irrelevant to the question the study raises. This is how facts can be used to obscure instead of illuminate. And the final line is a beautiful example of a tautology, or circular reasoning:

When adolescents resolve their interpersonal conflicts with guns, serious or fatal injuries are likely consequences.

If people shoot each other, people get hurt, q.e.d. Which again is completely irrelevant to whether “loose” gun laws lead to more teen carry; the authors have not shown that more teen carry leads to teens resolving their differences with guns. Drs. Xuan and Hemenway want us to conclude that fewer teenagers carrying guns could lead to less youth gun violence and death. But they don’t offer any evidence to support this “reasonable conclusion.”

Getting back to the study’s first line and averages …

I went to the CDC to double-check X&H’s numbers and discovered that from 1999 – 2013 the average annual death rate of “teens” 12 – 19 was actually only 10,806. (I’ll let that slide, because I want to show what happens when you “average” your results.) Those are the real numbers of teen deaths versus X&H’s “average.” Here is how permit-to-carry laws changed from 1999 to 2013 (images courtesy of

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 7.39.03 AM

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 7.40.11 AM

So let’s say it all together, shall we? Correlation does not equal causation, especially when there isn’t even any bloody correlation! ‘Nuff said?

Returning to the video; most of the statements were pure schmaltz with cries to “do something.” One member of the Club was calling for ye olde universal background checks. So I did a little research on the individuals named in the video, and where their loved ones’ were shot:

– Erica Lafferty: Mother killed at Sandy Hook – the killer murdered his mother to obtain the weapons he used
– Lucy McBath: Son killed by idiot with a CCW at a Florida gas station for playing his music too loud – the killer passed (or would have) background check
– Richard Martinez: Son killed in Isla Vista (stabbing and shooting) murder spree – the killer passed multiple background checks
– Pamela Bosley: Son killed outside Chicago church – the killer was never caught, but IL had UBCs at the time
– Rev. Sharon Risher: Mother and cousins killed at Emanuel AME – the killer passed a background check
– Anne Haynes: Husband shot – the man recently indicted for that killing and two others purportedly had his girlfriend buy the guns
– Colin Goddard: Professional victim who parlayed being a VA Tech bullet receptacle into a paying gig at the Brady Bunch, later jumping ship to Everytown, and as we all know – VA Tech killer passed two background checks
– Andy Parker: Father of reporter murdered on live TV – according to this New York Times story the killer passed a background check

So not a single one of the killings we are supposed to get all weepy over would have been prevented, nor the killer even inconvenienced even if we had so-called Universal Background Checks. Go figure. Someone should.

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    • Thanks for taking one for the team.
      I can’t bring myself to watch.
      As I type this, I paused to watch an NRA commercial that talked about reporters being actors that spew the lines their bosses tell them to.
      Good timing

  1. Ol’ Dick Martinez up there dipped a shirt in his son’s blood & started slinging it in front of the cameras for Doomberg almost faster than Allison Parker’s pops had done.

  2. When I first saw this “study” the other day, the first thing I did was look at its authors. To no surprise it’s co-authored by David Hemenway, whose firearm related work has been debunked and discredited numerous times.

    Note use of the words Gun, Carry, Youth. Getting into the minutiae of this “study”, no differentiation is made between an 18 year old carrying his lawfully purchased rifle or shotgun while hunting in the woods of Pennsylvania, and a 15 year old gangbanger packing a straw purchased High-Point on the streets of Baltimore, and using it as part of his initiation rites.

    That’s deliberate. To make the casual observer think that every 14-19 year old who picked up a gun even once in the past 30 days did so illegally. All of these studies have to be parsed word by word to find out what the data really says, as opposed to what they want you to believe it says.

  3. What type of people and country advocate the powerlessness of the people at the level Uganda had as a problem and why?
    “Oliver Cromwells head”.
    It’s quite simple, as a government or authority, they “remember what they did upon the people” and know there is nothing they can do to excuse themselves in facing the people except keep people too powerless and frightened to tell others!
    Is there a similarity to Britain and it’s Commonwealths?
    As some method, if Uganda had been given a second amendment with rights to firearms and features of ability to discern a situation occurring or occurred by rightful boundary, none of the contestive problems would ever have been such a size.
    But too it requires a quantity of socio-political and economics education for people to understand tax and when they become ripped off.

    Today, near the end of September 2015 the newspaper headline of the Sunday Telegraph in Australia read, a woman that is an ice addict chewed off her own toes!
    These idiots think that only happens in America such as the man that started to bite some homeless mans face in the USA.

    Too Britain’s people are probably a quite worse than the USA’s without firearms.
    Britain’s prisons and a portable gallows kit(move over H.Ford) often had an engraved brass plaque for OHS safety loading WLL/SWL quoting things to the effect “this gallows top bar takes no more than 6 adults or 10 children” , such as in Tyburn prison.
    It’s not that the USA hasn’t hung children but it is rare and more comes down to being 14 or 15 years and more someone having the power to sentence that, The British , on the other hand did that as per standard sentence and quantities acquired no matter the age until “doli incapax” and another law were suggested in the late 18th century but really only protected until aged 10.

    When the Explorers from various kingdoms around the world acquired lands and people, Britain in creating and gaining colonies seem to have the most violent to note e.g.
    Papua New Guinea an the Pygmy cannibal head hunters
    The Canadian Indians whom skin people alive and also cannibalize.
    The same again in Africa Zulu’s , SWAPO e.t.c. though more referring to the AKA natural disposition of how to kill or maim and its excuses e.g. the Nigerians have their way of it.
    India and Pakistan and the Middle East have their own gore systems
    And to top it off like a good cup of tea their are the Jamaicans and their habit of zombifying with curses and voodoo.

    The British colonies are are really all full of trade marks at it, anything else such as Spaniards and Portuguese or Netherlands or France(ironically) really do not cut it as having such a collection, they more “simply” tend to have uprisings or civil wars that are aimed very specific, just not for the love of gruesome and violent!

    If the people of the United States of America comprehended how their political system operated by the terms of their constitution , they would be obliged to at least understand(basic training of operation and maintenance and safety) and keep an AR-15 or Ruger Mini14 or valmet hunter…(sort of thing .223 tactical level ballistics power or heavier) in their house one to one each able bodied person, Particularly those whom only allowed open carry. A pistol is simply an assistant if there is time for evaluation of the target and environment, but irresponsibility of not having enough firepower on some types of criminal because pistol insufficiency is not acceptable excuse(it simply can require at least two to three .223 hits to stop some people enough).
    — To simplify, it means it is a responsibility to others to have the capability and alike an offence to not possess and have ready such equipment.

    Short of the mentioned firepower or system is showing countries and people are at massive risk, and worse, computer management gives modern countries that are monarchic fascist to commit exactly the same attrition-ally, and may never be properly accounted the same level of crimes as Uganda and Amin or Rwanda e.t.c.

  4. Robert: Please answer this one if you know. I’m genuinely curious.

    What happened in 2007 that caused a 30% drop in teen suicides? Nothing has that big of an effect so it can only logically be a change in reporting. Do you have any ideas? Does anyone have any ideas? A change in reporting should be carried backward into the data so there’s a consistent sample and we should see, due to the large scale of the reporting, a pretty consistent pattern over the years. Huge drops and rises mean something changed.

  5. Can we possibly, often, repeatedly, include in the conversation that background checks themselves are not only unworkable, but an ABSOLUTE violation of our natural, civil and CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED (emphasis mine) right to keep and bear arms? OMG and WTF – why is it so hard for people to understand those four simple English words “…shall not be infringed.”?

    • Which is exactly why I say felons should not be debarred the use of arms. If everyone is armed, everyone is equal. Felons are no different, they deserve the right to self defense. If they transgress they’re likely to receive a pre-trial ballistic conviction. Crazies admittedly have to be treated differently but that’s because thought disorders don’t track well in a society which takes rational thought for granted. What we need to do about crazies is very carefully define the limits of and types of mental disorders that qualify for a prohibition on possession of arms and what kind of arms they can or cannot possess. To not infringe upon human rights is not something that you stop doing because they’re crooks or crazies.

  6. I wouldn’t walk across the street to pi$$ on a CNN reporter if they were on fire.
    Sorry, they are not reporters- they are traitors.

  7. My father had guns before I was born and I never shot anyone, That is more than Dick Cheney can say, and none of the shot gunS, rifleS OR hand gunS were ever locked and the ammo was within reach and it was not locked. The deaths are the blame of the parents. If Richard Martinez was a GOOD parent his child might still be alive but the apple does not fall to far from the tree and you can’t fix stupid.
    No double standards put the DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.

  8. The current push toward gun control is being presented in a particularly dangerous and dishonest manner. It is being framed in terms of mental health and packaged in a way that almost guarantees victory for the advocates of control. The debating point proffered is, “How do we keep guns away from the mentally ill?”

    Obama is attempting to lift a longstanding ban on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) taking a position on gun control. In 1996, Congress made the appropriation of funds to the CDC conditional on the stipulation that “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.”
    Raising the question of keeping guns from the mentally ill is not meant to promote discussion. It is intended to discredit and to silence anyone who answers it incorrectly.
    The tactic is particularly dangerous because those who should be defending the fundamental right of self-defense are falling over themselves to agree with the focus on mental health. On January 24, the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) reminded readers that it has urged “the federal government to address the problem of mental illness and violence” for over four decades. The NRA reiterated, “the time is at hand to seek means by which society can identify, treat and temporarily isolate such individuals [the mentally ill].”
    Before exploring the problems that attend the rhetorical coupling of gun ownership with mental health, however, it is important to note that the demand to keep guns away from the mentally ill does not refer to the sensible step of refusing to sell a weapon to someone high on PCP who screams, “I need it to kill my mother!” It refers to accepting the government’s definition of mental illness. It means agreeing to a government screening process that undoubtedly involves a federal database on people’s mental health.

    The NRA’s chief executive Wayne LaPierre fully embraces this violation of privacy. He told FOX News that the mental-health lobby and federal law had blocked his organization’s proposal to place the names of people “with potentially dangerous mental health problems” into a federal database. (Emphasis added.) In reality, of course, everyone screened would be entered into whatever database existed.

    First, the question makes several unwarranted assumptions. It assumes everyone has a common definition of mental health — the government one. It assumes that politicians who are zealously anti–gun ownership will use their additional authority to make gun ownership safer rather than obsolete. (On one day alone, Obama recently signed 23 executive orders bearing on gun ownership.) It assumes that government approval of mental “wellness” ought to be required to exercise a fundamental right. Most importantly, the question leaves all discussion of actual rights to choke in the dust while expediency is explored. Respecting the Second Amendment is no longer on the table. How to revise it is.

    Who is mentally ill?

    In an article entitled “Obama Taking Over Psychiatry,” Dr. Lee Hieb argues that government should not be the one to decide. She writes,

    The use of psychiatry against dissidents in the Soviet Union was one of the major human rights scandals of the 1970s and 1980s.… [E]stablishing a dictatorship that pretends to be a republic requires a stealthy way of silencing opponents.… What better way than to be labeled mentally ill?”

    Allowing the federal government to define mental illness, screen for it, and maintain a database does not necessarily lead to the psychiatric internment of dissidents. That is the most extreme possible consequence.

    More likely outcomes include

    gun control via a circuitous route;
    a federal database of highly personal information on people who have committed no crime;
    a further erosion of medical privacy;
    the loss of constitutionally guaranteed rights by anyone who seeks help for a mental problem;
    a cementing of the criminal and medical systems;
    a de facto ban on gun ownership for those whom the government deems hostile.
    Lawful gun ownership is not a disease. It is a constitutionally protected, individual right.… The president said that we suffer from an — quote, “epidemic of violence,” end of quote. Although there is too much violence in America, violent crime rates are at the lowest level in 50 years.

    State-controlled psychiatry is a terrifying weapon, especially when it is used to determine who has rights.

    Every individual should be able to be eccentric, different, and even self-destructive. As long as the behavior harms no one else, it is no business of authority. To screen people for potentially dangerous behavior is a form of pre-crime diligence that gives government an almost unlimited power over anyone it targets. It is a tool of social control, not safety.


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