Previous Post
Next Post


Two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different. One person can look at one thing and see two totally different things. We’re talking the NRA convention and the works of M. C. Esher [not shown]. Of the two, the NRA convention is the more germane. Which why the TTAG team attended the Nashville get-together of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. We saw proud manufacturers and peaceful gun owners celebrating their gun rights. Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center probably didn’t attend the Convention. But that didn’t stop him from portraying NRAAM as a gathering of unregulated death merchants and their willing enablers. Check out his email blast below. Here’s hoping Josh’s vision becomes less Hieronymus Bosch and more Jean-Honoré Fragonard. If you know what I mean . . .

The NRA’s Big Weekend

Dear VPC Supporter,

The NRA was in Nashville last weekend for its annual meeting, where one of the main orders of business was to help the organization’s top corporate donors sell more guns. The NRA website called it a “weekend of fellowship and fun.” Here’s the kind of “fun” they’re talking about . . .

The annual meeting is home to the nation’s largest public gun show of new weaponry, featuring assault rifles with high-capacity ammunition magazines–military-bred weapons designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time available. One exhibitor hit a new low in “rebranding” double-speak, calling its AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle a “Defensive Sporting Rifle.”

At the same time, the NRA leadership was busy reinforcing its opposition to any and all proposed federal regulations to prevent gun violence and save lives.

But there’s one inconvenient and striking fact that didn’t come up during the weekend celebration. In Tennessee, where the annual meeting took place, the number of gun deaths now exceeds the number of deaths from motor vehicles. In fact, a new VPC report found that gun deaths now outpace motor vehicle deaths in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

Do gun deaths surpass motor vehicle deaths in your state? Read and share our new report comparing deaths from gun violence to deaths from motor vehicles.

Motor vehicle deaths are on a long-term decline nationwide, and there’s a simple reason for that. Decades of public-health based injury prevention strategies have helped make our vehicles and highways safer. Just a few examples include air bags, seat belts, and a crackdown on driving under the influence of alcohol.

For guns, it’s a very different story. Guns are the only consumer products the federal government does not regulate for health and safety. And the NRA lobbyists who gathered in Nashville last weekend are determined to keep it that way.

More than 90 percent of American households have a car while fewer than a third have a gun. Americans’ exposure to motor vehicles vastly outweighs their exposure to firearms.

Yet nationwide, there were 33,636 gun deaths and 35,612 motor vehicle deaths in 2013 (the most recent year for which comprehensive state-level data is available). That’s unacceptable. And that’s why we need new laws and regulations to reduce the toll of gun violence and protect public safety.

Read our report on gun deaths and motor vehicle deaths, and learn the facts about gun violence in America. And please join us to call on our leaders to regulate firearms for health and safety just like all other consumer products.

Josh Sugarmann
Executive Director

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Gee, I am such a bad person for wanting to defend my family against criminal attack. Bad, bad me.

    BYW, when all the bad guys turn in all their guns and begin to follow all the gun laws I will still keep my guns because they are also fun to shoot.

  2. “…In Tennessee, where the annual meeting took place, the number of gun deaths now exceeds the number of deaths from motor vehicles.”


    In Tennessee the number of deaths from motor vehicles has fallen below the number you chose to represent ‘gun deaths.’

    Both measures are declining, one is simply declining faster than the other.

    A subtle, but very important, difference.

    • No kidding. Sugarmann’s choice of language is clearly carefully designed to mislead uninformed readers into concluding that “gun violence” is an out-of-control epidemic.

      While I’m at it, I’m really tired of hearing over and over again that we need commonsense or sensible new laws to “prevent gun violence” or “limit the slaughter” or other provocative but unsupportable claims. What laws? Banning non-neutered magazines? That’s supposed to cut down on suicide — the single-largest segment of firearms-related fatalities — exactly how? Registries? Rosters of “Handguns determined not to be unsafe”?


  3. Just this week, a disturbed individual drove his car onto Interstate 70 in Dayton. Under full control of his vehicle, he drove across the median, and then drove head-on into a tractor trailer, thereby committing suicide-by-assault-vehicle.

    Why do I bring this story up? Three reasons:

    1. VPC intentionally conflates suicide with “gun violence”, in order to inflate statistics. Suicide accounts for approximately 2/3 of all firearms-related deaths. Suicide is not “gun violence.” It is suicide.

    2. Even successfully keeping firearms out of the hands of such disturbed people will not prevent them from finding other ways to commit suicide.

    3. The law has not yet been written or enacted that will keep a firearm out of the hands of a criminal who wishes to obtain one.

    • Just like any good “Climate Scientist” they all follow the same rule:

      If the data does not support the hypothesis, manipulate the data until it does.

  4. Traffic deaths are down because more and more cities and states are passing inspection and registration schemes that make it increasingly difficult to legally drive an otherwise perfectly fine older car, meanwhile newer cars are so dumbed down with nanny electronics and overbuilt to the point where you could drive the thing into a wall and probably walk away from it. Hand in hand with this, cars have become so expensive from all of this “technology” that more people can’t afford them, and take the bus/bike/walk etc.

    Which is exactly what the clowns who passed these laws and regulations wanted (and exactly what they want by excessively regulating firearms)… for the children and all.

    • Also, the vast majority of traffic fatalities are accidental, caused by negligence or otherwise unintentional. Only a tiny minority of shooting deaths are accidental, caused by negligence or otherwise unintentional. There simply is no valid comparison between the two.

      • I don’t know about that – every week I read of yet another tragic shooting that occurred because of texting-while-shooting.

  5. “One exhibitor hit a new low in “rebranding” double-speak, calling its AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle a “Defensive Sporting Rifle.”

    Mr. Sugarman knows damned well that there’s no such thing as a “semiautomatic assault rifle.” Various POTG have explained to him the definition of an assault rifle many times. But he continues to lie about it.

    That’s all we really need to know about Mr. Sugarman.

    • Josh Sugar-pants complaining about someone “rebranding” what he is pleased to call a “semi-automatic assault rifle”–how rich is that? It’ll no doubt work, though, for the target audience, and succeed in separating them from more of their money. Does Sugar-pants actually have any influence beyond his own circle of supporters, or is he seriously just a con-artist living off their irrational fears?

    • There’s one more thing we need to know about Mr. Sugarmann: Stoking fear about so-called assault weapons is specifically and literally in the VPC playbook:

      “Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.”

      That’s an excerpt from VPC’s strategy document, found here:

      Read if you have a strong stomach. The strategy also includes tactics like “[Assault weapons] increasingly being equated with America’s drug trade may play a major role in motivating the public to call for their restriction.” It also reveals the antis’ plans to wave the bloody shirt as they’ve done in the past: “Yet, recognizing the country’s fascination for exotic weaponry and the popular images and myths associated with guns, it may require a crisis of a far greater proportion before any action is taken.”

      Come to think of it, there’s actually quite a bit more about Mr. Sugarmann that’s worth knowing.

  6. Yup, violence and accidents with firearms are at a half century low as well. We continue to make progress on all fronts. Didn’t care to share that tidbit of information, did ya?

    and you can count “suicide” in gun violence if you wish, but those who want to die by their own hand will find a way, with or without a gun.

  7. I’d like to see the crimes committed last weekend compared to other similar weekends. Per VPC’s thinking the crimes should have been off the charts, but I suspect that, like last year’s convention in Indy, I believe, crimes sank like a rock and were a very apparent dip from surrounding weekends. More law abiding gun carriers = less willing crime commiters = less crime being committed. Basic math, simple logic, and completely above VPC’s head.

    • Is it any firearm that some Statist, control freak nutjob thinks we plebes should not own for ANY reason whatsoever? Then it’s a “semiautomatic assault rifle.” What it is today will change tomorrow if it suits him. Moving rhetorical targets, while logically fallacious, are harder to dispute.

      Continuing the thought:

      Does it hold any live ammunition? Then it’s a “high capacity magazine clip.”

      Does it fire a projectile? Why that makes it “high power” or maybe “military grade.”

      Was there a gun within 63 miles of anyone getting hurt by any mechanism whatsoever? Then it was “gun violence.”

      Ambiguity and obfuscation are the anti’s only true friends in the debate.

    • It’s a chimera that haunts the psychosexual dreams of Hoplophobies and torments their days with dark masturbatory fantasies.

  8. I vote we send this guy to someplace like Yemen, revoke his passport, and forbid him from coming back. I think he will fit in better there.

  9. From that very CDC report, page 22:

    deaths by accidental discharge – 505
    deaths by homicide – 11,208
    deaths by suicide – 21,175

    And note:
    alcohol deaths – 29,001

    So how do we spread the data to the same people that read the antis lies?

    • I usually post something factual on Facebook. Downside is that my friends and relatives get pretty tired of hearing my rants. And, of course, the government may be watching.

      • If the government is watching, that’s okay — maybe if they see it enough, they’ll eventually learn something.

  10. Couple of CDC links that give a bit of insight as to how he is “cooking the books”:
    Deaths from all injuries:
    Homicides using firearms:
    Suicides using a firearm:
    You may have to scroll down a bit to see the stats. Appears that 2013 is the last year, so far, that they have compiled the data for. Notice that the homicides by firearms is way lower than he suggests in his article. You will also find the suicide data that someone else mentioned. And if you look around more on this site you will see deaths by poisoning and so on. Poison is tightly regulated and controlled, right? Child proof caps and so on. Yet we still have far too many people that die from ingesting poison. More regulation needed or maybe some PR that stresses keeping poison away from your children? Odd that he does not mention deaths by poison in his article though. But, of course that would not support his thesis.

  11. “Here’s hoping Josh’s vision becomes less Hieronymus Bosch and more Jean-Honoré Fragonard.”

    I’d choose Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” myself.

    I’m very glad I wasn’t sipping my coffee when I got to Sugarman’s snipes re branding … What a pot-kettle statement.

  12. Typical we-gotta-do-something-now-or-we’re-all-gonna-dia nanny statism agitprop. The “gun deaths” meme plays to the gun-control movement’s core belief that gun ownership should be prohibited. It does this by conflating persistent social problems like street crime, suicide, police shootings, etc.with an imagined causal link, i.e., guns. Guns of course don’t “cause” street crime any more than they “cause” suicide or police shootings. Similarly, strong drink didn’t “cause” the social problems the Temperance and Prohibition Movement sought to cure in an earlier time. Both movements confused symptoms with causes. Guns do not “cause” suicide any more than diving boards “cause” pool deaths. Not surprisingly, both movements’ proposed “cures”, being based on largely symbolic imagery, were/are failures. Simply put: symptoms are not causes.

    • Exactly correct.

      And both movements shared an “its not the fault of the people involved” meme.

      Much of the nanny state’s appeal is an appeal for a lack of responsibility for one’s actions.

  13. So, as he astutely yet unintentionally pointed out, cars are still more dangerous than guns to the average american.

    • Yep. The Automobile Safety Movement in the 70’s operated in the exact same way. And Its proposed “solutions” were the same ignominious failures as the Gun Control Movement’s. Remember seat-belt interlocks that stranded car-owners from one end of the country to the other? And the vaunted 55mph speed limit actually caused more congestion and accident deaths. Traffic fatalities went down when speed limits were raised. Think the “smart gun” advocates will admit their error when people get killed because their smart guns didn’t activate in a crisis situation? The silliness just goes on and on . . .

  14. Josh Sugarmann and his supporter/enablers are traitors. Period. We need to start using the term all the time. They are traitors pure and simple. The ultimate goal is to overturn the 2nd and with it, the rest of the Bill of Rights, enslaving us.

  15. I know I’ll be accused of being Fienstein’s best friend or whatever, but I’m not ashamed to own “military” or “battle rifles.” I don’t call my semi-auto only A4 a “defensive sporting rifle” or whatever, because once again, we are giving the antis the advantage when we try to say that our rifles are suitable for “sporting purposes.” the Constitution has nothing to do with sporting, and everything to do with national and public defense. I shouldn’t have to justify my military rifles as “sporting.” I’m really frightened of the day when people have to start justifying their 28 inch barrel 20 gauge shotguns as being “Sporting” and you know thats coming.

    • good point
      We should never let them define the debate, the terms of the debate or ….. Where the heck am I going with this? We should be taking the stance that our rights are not up for debate. The only thing debatable is whether they are traitors for their attempts to trample the rights of the people.

  16. “One exhibitor hit a new low in “rebranding” double-speak, calling its AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle a “Defensive Sporting Rifle.””
    To the man’s credit, that does sound really double-speaky

  17. Looks like VPC is doubling down on Bloomberg stupid.
    Shooting the messenger rapidly goes stale, if thats all you got.
    Its just meat for the dogs, as marketers say.

    Independent thinkers see through it, especially Millenials already hip to being marketed to on the innertubz, now badly burned and twice shy, from the broken promises and hype of HopeyChange…

    All the increasingly hysterical ad hominem attacks do is make those “I can think for myself” reader wonder,
    “Just what are they (progressives) so afraid of?

    Then they go read the facts, think for themselves, and a growing sea change of pro-freedom rights believers grows….

    TTAG is one place, maybe the best place if we dont fall into the trap of groupthink anxd hype, and stick to the facts. NRA can distinguish itself from NAGR, and atract more new customers, if they keep toning it down, and appealing to diverse customer, via role models like Noir, Cheng, Women of the gun, and outreach to safety conscious parents via the up-dated Eddie Eagle. Keep spreading the word…

    Keep up the good work.

  18. The whole “gun ownership is down” is based on a phone survey. Let’s think about this. If someone you don’t know called you out of the blue, said they were conducting a survey for “research”, would you give this person any information about your possessions, be it if you own guns, how much jewelery in your home, how much cash you carry, etc (for research, though!)? Landlines usually have an address tied to them, it wouldn’t surprise me if a criminal used this method to find out any valuables a potential target has if the person they’re calling is a bit too trustworthy of strangers.
    So I doubt everyone was honest in that phone survey for their privacy. I definitely wouldn’t admit to a stranger calling that I own guns.

    • I actually received a phone call for a survey like that recently. I had a lot of fun with it.

      The pollster (who sounded like a young white woman – probably college aged) asked if I had any guns.

      I asked “Naval, on carriages or fixed? Operational or spiked?”

      Things rapidly went sideways from that inquiry. After I educated her on the terminology of “guns,” vs “small arms,” she then asked “do you have any of those!?”

      Annnnnnd… down the rabbit hole we went. Oh, I had fun. I especially liked tormenting her on the question of non-operational guns (since I am a gunsmith, after all). She wanted to count those as guns. Then I asked “What about pieces of guns that haven’t yet been assembled into guns?”

      “Well… could they be?”

      “Cerwtoinly!” I responded in my best Curly imitation. Then I asked about metal that could be machined into guns. Should we count blocks of steel that could be machined into guns?

      At this point, I could tell I was reaching the limits of either her IQ or patience.

      After tormenting her on the topic of things that go “bang,” I then asked my standard questions of female pollsters and busybodies trying to peddle me something on the phone: “What are you wearing? And how about underneath that?”

      She hung up! Can you imagine that?

      Gets rid of them every time. Also, it gets a dirty look from Mrs. Dyspeptic, and a roll of her eyes….

  19. “… assault rifles with high-capacity ammunition magazines–military-bred weapons assault rifles with high-capacity ammunition magazines–military-bred weapons designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time available..”

    So, is he talking about nuclear weapons? Biological agents? Nerve gas? Carpet bombing with FAEs? Artillery? I mean, an individual soldier’s rifle – even a fully automatic one – is way down on the scale of “military-bred weapons designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time available.”

    Typical ignorant hoplophobe.

  20. You know, one of the most pleasant things to happen as I’ve gotten older has been watching Josh Sugarman reduced to sounding like a Baptist tent preacher going on and on (and on and on and on) about the demon drink of alcohol…. to a congregation who decamps the sermon only to flock to the church picnic where light beer is served.

  21. “…with high-capacity ammunition magazines–military-bred weapons designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time available.”

    Dear JSug, if this is so, can you please tell me why the cops routinely carry these “instruments of death”?

    Seems you logic may have run afoul of reality. Again. Still. Choad.

  22. M.C. Escher? Hieronymus Bosch? Jean-Honoré Fragonard? We toothless gun-fondlers in the camo-cap camp cannot fathom such high-minded references, as they exceed the depths of our third-grade educations.

  23. At a certain point, statements by freedom-hating extremists like Sugermann are indistinguishable from satire. I think we’ve reached that point.

  24. First of Josh Sugarmann is a liar. Secondly, if I were an artist, I would paint a pic of him with his head up his ass even though I have never seen him.

  25. “But there’s one inconvenient and striking fact that didn’t come up during the weekend celebration. In Tennessee, where the annual meeting took place, the number of gun deaths now exceeds the number of deaths from motor vehicles. In fact, a new VPC report found that gun deaths now outpace motor vehicle deaths in 17 states and the District of Columbia”

    Annndddd thank you for making our point for us. DC which has issued *22* concealed carry permits, which is readily recognized as the most anti-gun, anti-self defense, anti-freedom spot in the country doesn’t change the fact that bad people do bad things and quite frankly you can’t stop them by making laws saying it’s illegal.

  26. Firearms not “regulated for health and safety?” Really? How about telling that to Remington, who was just ordered to recall what, 1.3 million rifles so the triggers could be replaced? What other industry has ever seen such a massive recall?

  27. A friend posted this VPC motor vehicle comparison on Facebook and I was genuinely curious about what the raw data showed. The data comes from cdc WISQARS data tallying the cause of death (intentional, accident, etc) and mechanism of death (drowning, vehicular, firearm, etc). The gun death numbers VPC is presenting match the firearm deaths in crude totals only if you include all causes – ND, suicide, homicide, etc. I assume they’re doing the same for all states. I had a hard time getting the motor vehicle deaths as low as VPC is reporting, but whatever. It’s bunk.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here