Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

State of “Gun Violence” in the United States

Friday, May 10, 2019

State of “Gun Violence” in the United States

Politicians treat so-called "gun violence" as a lever issue, hoping to energize their base and guilt law-abiding Americans into supporting policies that would have no effect on crime or help the mentally ill. Part of this effort entails presenting as large a number of fatalities as possible, and so researchers, the media, and anti-gun politicians combine suicide, homicide, accidents, legal interventions, and incidents in which the intent is unknown.

They’ve chosen to sensationalize tragedies time and again to advance an anti-freedom agenda. The media misrepresents old data by using current-tense headlines. Anti-gun organizations the Brady Campaign and Moms Demand Action politicized memorial services held the day after a shooting when the community wanted a chance to mourn properly. Anti-gun politicians ignore pre-existing trend data if it means they can claim gun control works – no matter how many caveats are included in the underlying analysis.

What does “gun violence” really look like? CDC non-fatal injury data is not reliable, but fatality statistics are accurate. The most recent data available is for 2017; there were 39,772 total firearms-related fatalities. Sixty percent were suicides. Thirty-seven percent were homicides, which is a rate of 4.5 fatalities per 100,000 people. The rate held steady between 2016 and 2017, but it has increased slightly since the start of the decade. However, the 2017 rate is 34% lower than it was in 1980 and 36% lower than in 1993. In other words, the firearms-related homicide rate dropped by 36% in the last 25 years for which we have data. Rates don’t tell the whole story; the total population grew by more than 99 million people from 1980 to 2017 and the number of firearms-related homicides decreased by 958.

Let’s look at the specific wording used in a recent article supporting gun control. “In 2017, the United States had the highest rate of firearm fatalities since 1996.” This statement is specifically crafted to make a dramatic point. The rate of all firearms-related fatalities in 1996 was lower than it was in the previous 15 years, and the rate was lower every year from 1997 through 2016. The data tell a clear story, even in the presence of a recent and moderate increase. Perhaps more importantly, the data shows that suicide is increasing as a percentage of all firearms-related fatalities.

Not all charts are as clear. Some seem designed to support a certain perspective rather than to present data without bias. Doctor Eric Fleegler, affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, recently published the above-referenced article titled, “Mass Shootings and the Numbing of America” in JAMA Internal Medicine. He presented firearms-related fatalities by age group and intent. The bars represent the percentage of all fatalities within that age group that involve firearms.

This representation is technically correct, but it suggests at first look that there are more firearms-related fatalities among younger people, specifically those within the 15-19-year-old and 20-24-year-old age groups. The chart really indicates what is not shown: that younger people face fewer potentially fatal injuries and health complications than older generations. In other words, younger age cohorts are generally healthier than older people, some of whom unfortunately pass away due to falls, to heart disease, cancer, or any number of other issues that are not common among teenagers and young adults.

This commentary is not designed to trivialize any deaths, but efforts to address firearms-related fatalities should be targeted and the data needs to be considered sincerely. Unfortunately, we too often see the presentation of data sensationalized to make a point. But, that’s the shell game that anti-gun activists and politicians want to play.

 

 

TRENDING NOW
NRA Scores Legal Victory Against ATF; “Pistol Brace Rule” Enjoined From Going Into Effect Against NRA Members

Monday, April 1, 2024

NRA Scores Legal Victory Against ATF; “Pistol Brace Rule” Enjoined From Going Into Effect Against NRA Members

NRA Members Among the Largest Class Protected from Draconian Rule

U.S. Supreme Court invalidates ATF Rule Classifying Bump Stocks as Machineguns

Friday, June 14, 2024

U.S. Supreme Court invalidates ATF Rule Classifying Bump Stocks as Machineguns

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unlawfully exceeded its authority by classifying bump stocks as machineguns.

Fallout from Trudeau’s Gun Grab: Crime is Up, Number of Gun Ranges Drops

News  

Monday, June 17, 2024

Fallout from Trudeau’s Gun Grab: Crime is Up, Number of Gun Ranges Drops

In Canada, a ban on over 1,500 firearm makes, models and variants, together with a mandatory government confiscation (“buyback”) requirement, was imposed by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over four years ago. 

NRA Files Amicus Brief with Ninth Circuit in Challenge to California’s Billy Club Ban

Friday, June 14, 2024

NRA Files Amicus Brief with Ninth Circuit in Challenge to California’s Billy Club Ban

Today, NRA filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a challenge to California’s prohibition on the possession of billy clubs.

Still no Trace of the Truth

News  

Monday, June 17, 2024

Still no Trace of the Truth

In our first installment of a critical analysis of an anti-gun propaganda podcast series from The Trace, we covered the lies, misinformation, and deceptive emotional arguments made in the first four episodes. 

Biden Was Right on Veterans Before He was Wrong; Now Congress Tightens the Reins

Monday, June 10, 2024

Biden Was Right on Veterans Before He was Wrong; Now Congress Tightens the Reins

In March, we reported on an appropriations rider that corrected a longstanding and shameful practice by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of reporting beneficiaries to NICS as “mental defectives” prohibited from having guns, merely ...

California: Mandatory Storage Legislation Passed in Committee

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

California: Mandatory Storage Legislation Passed in Committee

Yesterday, Senate Bill 53 passed in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a 6-2 vote and has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

New York: Legislature Wraps Up 2024 Regular Session

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

New York: Legislature Wraps Up 2024 Regular Session

Gun owners have reason to celebrate when lawmakers drop the final gavel in Albany. Late Friday night, legislators finished their work and mercifully called it quits. It was a mixed bag for gun owners as the Legislature ...

Michigan: Governor’s New Budget Includes $2.6 Million for Red-Flag Laws

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Michigan: Governor’s New Budget Includes $2.6 Million for Red-Flag Laws

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced her recommendations for the upcoming budget, which included the use of taxpayer funds for Michigan’s new red-flag law and other gun-control measures. The governor recommended $2.6 million for the implementation of ...

NRA Secures Landmark Legal Victory; Supreme Court Unanimously Rules for NRA in First Amendment Case Against Former New York Regulator

News  

Thursday, May 30, 2024

NRA Secures Landmark Legal Victory; Supreme Court Unanimously Rules for NRA in First Amendment Case Against Former New York Regulator

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) scored a historic legal victory today in one of the most closely followed First Amendment cases in the nation. In a stinging rebuke of New York’s “blacklisting campaign” against ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.