The truth about gun deaths: numbers and actual solutions

posted at 9:31 am on October 4, 2015 by Jazz Shaw

When the President went on television after the Oregon college mass shooting he issued a challenge to the media. He asked them to show America the number of gun deaths as compared to the number of terrorism related deaths since the 9/11 attacks. The media dutifully complied and soon every network, newspaper and magazine was putting up startling graphics, such as this one tweeted by CNN.

GunDeaths1

These graphics and figures were almost uniformly followed by comments about the mass shooting and the “pressing need” for background checks and other gun control laws. Unfortunately, all of these numbers flashing around were dishonestly offered up with no context or details. As it turns out, however, the real numbers are available from a variety of sources including the FBI and the CDC, among others, so let’s take a look at them. It takes federal agencies a long time to compile and publish their statistics, so the last full set of data we have is from 2011 and the figures can shed a lot of light on exactly how mendacious gun control advocates are being with these studies.

First of all, look at the number of gun deaths on that chart from 2011. It’s 32,351. That’s a lot of gun deaths to be sure. So that’s the total number of murders by gun owners, right? The answer is not only Hell No, but it’s not even remotely close. It’s true that this figure is close to the total number of human lives ended in incidents involving a gun, but that’s all incidents. So how did those deaths happen?

Straight from the CDC where most of the media is drawing their numbers (while not as good of a source as the FBI or the Justice Department) we can find out that of those 32,352 gun deaths, 21,175 of them were suicides. That leaves us with 11,177 deaths to account for. But as it turns out, the FBI records that 8,583 deaths were murders of various sorts involving guns of all types. The remaining roughly 2,500 were accounted for by accidents and unintentional injuries. These include hunting accidents, toddlers getting hold of unsecured weapons and shooting somebody or just plain idiots who proved Darwin right.

Before we move on, those FBI numbers deserve a closer look for a moment since we’re on the subject. What sorts of guns are used in actual crimes? I bring this up because each mass shooting elicits renewed calls for an “assault weapons” ban on guns like the AR-15 style rifle. Are those popular in crimes? Check out the figures from the FBI report.

GunDeaths2

Take a good look at those numbers. Of the actual 8,583 gun murders committed in 2011, 323 were committed with “rifles.” And that’s all rifles, including bolt action, deer hunting rifles and all the rest. The number committed with so called “assault rifles” were a fraction of that. When you ask how dangerous those rifles are, compare that to nearly 1,700 who were stabbed as well as nearly 500 murdered with blunt objects and and more than 700 beaten to death by somebody with their bare hands. Enough said on that topic.

So we’re down to 8,583 intentional killings using guns. That’s still one heck of a lot of bodies, and surely enough to justify new background checks and other restrictions on legal gun purchases, right? Again… not even close. The Justice Department has been studying the question of legal vs. illegal sources of guns used in crimes for decades, going back to this study issued in the early nineties. They admit that the numbers are simply too hard to track for us to pin down exact figures, but the trends are steady over the years. The vast majority of guns used in crimes were gotten through illegal means outside the legal purchase regimen followed by law abiding gun owners. Roughly one quarter of inmates convicted of gun crimes admitted to having stolen a gun in that study. For the ones that weren’t stolen directly, another 2004 study showed that 40% of convicts bought their guns on the black market and another 37% got them through the “gray market” in various illegal methods.

In fact, one study after another has shown that legally purchased weapons which followed all the normal firearms transfer rules accounted for somewhere between six and eight percent of all murders. And the majority of those were domestic violence incidents, violence between family members, crimes of passion and, yes… murders committed by the insane. But let’s give the gun grabbers the benefit of the doubt, round it up and say that ten percent were committed with legally purchases guns. That works out to around 850.

850 is too many people, but it’s a far cry from more than 32,000 per year.

So what do you want to do about it?

Now that we’ve discovered who is being killed by guns and how it’s happening, let’s put some actual solutions on the table. First of all, as we saw above, the vast majority of gun deaths are suicides. That’s not a gun control issue. Suicides largely fall into two groups: the depressed, hopeless and mentally ill or those suffering from terminal illness looking for a fast way out. For the former we definitely need to be providing more help and counseling to the hopeless and the depressed, allowing them to find a better way to deal with their problems than a terminal exit. And the mentally ill remain a major – but not gun control related – challenge for our legislators to deal with. For the terminally ill, as toxic of a subject as it may be, assisted suicide laws such as are already in place in a couple of states might at least offer those on their way out of this world a more peaceful and medically sound path than putting a barrel in their mouth.

Accidents account for too many deaths and that’s a place where responsible gun owners must always strive to improve in terms of educating the public. The NRA does some great work in this area, but there are still too many people making careless, stupid mistakes which wind up costing somebody their life. Also, the number of stolen guns can be cut down if more owners take the necessary precautions to make it harder for thieves to steal their weapons from their homes and automobiles.

As to the big ticket media item of real criminals committing murders and other crimes with guns, we’ve identified the lion’s share of those above. They are buying guns illegally because they can get away with it. That’s already illegal. The answer here isn’t new laws to restrict the law abiding who aren’t going to be committing crimes in the first place. We need to be enforcing the laws we already have. Get more resources on the job to find and confiscate illegal weapons from criminals. Stop hampering the police with politically correct restrictions and let them get back to the broken windows, stop and frisk, see something say something approach which finds guns in the hands of common criminals before they are used in a murder. We have laws on the books against all these things. We’re just not enforcing them.

There you have it. Problem explained and solutions offered. My liberal friends are now invited to tell me exactly what else you’d like us to do if you’re not willing to take these vary basic steps toward correcting the actual problem which you seem so concerned over. Unless, of course, you don’t actually care about the problem and are only looking for an excuse to flush the Second Amendment down the social justice drain.


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Comments

And anytime you want to have an adult conversation we’ll be here.

itsspideyman on October 4, 2015 at 6:14 PM

Says the guy with the spider man screen name! Are you in your He-man pajamas thinking of a witty retort?

Oliver Saint John-Mollusc on October 4, 2015 at 7:34 PM

Says the guy with the Monty Python screen name! When do you go back to working at the Ministry of Silly Walks?

Oliver Saint John-Mollusc, this year’s Upperclass Twit of the Year

“He’s dead, but he’s not necessarily out of it…”

Del Dolemonte on October 4, 2015 at 7:50 PM

How ironic that the same people who advocate gun-grabbing also maintain that other animals and insects have the right to defend themselves by whatever means necessary. So apparently, humans can’t defend themselves by whatever means necessary because…

Oh, yeah, that’s right: they want a totalitarian state, as I and other Hotairians have maintained before in a post way back.

The only way [that the illegal gun supply could possibly dry up] is if everyone is subject to random search and seizures at any time. But of course, it would create a vast, highly corrupt police state that would do all sorts of bad things like taking bribes from those who want to keep their guns/weaponry. It doesn’t take much to realize how huge of a problem this is and would be.

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/09/05/shocking-study-criminals-generally-dont-buy-guns-legally-at-gun-shops/comment-page-1/#comment-9806519

DevilishSoda on October 4, 2015 at 8:22 PM

I’m like Cicero debating a bunch of primary school kids.

OliverB on October 4, 2015 at 1:58 PM

I’d say you’re more like a primary school kid debating in Cicero. If you’re gonna do this you need to refine your technique a lot. You’re not very good at it. Go back and review Franklib’s past posts he’s much better at it than you. About all you generate is ridicule, much like nonpartisan…but then he’s serious.

Oldnuke on October 4, 2015 at 8:33 PM

And anytime you want to have an adult conversation we’ll be here.

itsspideyman on October 4, 2015 at 6:14 PM

Says the guy with the spider man screen name! Are you in your He-man pajamas thinking of a witty retort?

OliverB on October 4, 2015 at 7:34 PM

My, my, I seem to struck a nerve.

Go away kid till you grow up.

itsspideyman on October 4, 2015 at 9:12 PM

Not worth debating this with liberals, since they don’t have any ideas that work. I also don’t recommend engaging a liberal on the Constitution or religion since they don’t understand either.

What might have saved these people was a bit more security and access to armed deterrents. They had one unarmed guard. Not enough.

As for the killer’s motivation, some kind of mental illness, but not severe enough for his incarceration. I’m guessing episodic insanity brought on by drug abuse (prescription or other).

It’s important to find out the exact cause, if possible, else we are left with useless generalizations we cannot take action on.

virgo on October 4, 2015 at 11:21 PM

I’ve watched the gun-grabbers at work since the 1960s or so,(CBS white papers etc.)and they have but one goal. It has nothing to do with safety, preventing suicides (they love it if an MD can assist in it) or protecting society (Look at what’s tolerated in Chicago every day), but is fully aimed directly at confiscation of all guns owned by the good guys, those who might resist a totalitarian government who choses to impose its will upon people.
As I see it, that totalitarianism would have happened long ago, were it not for the risk imposed upon such by the good guys owning guns.
Our forefathers well understood the real dangers didn’t come from inanimate objects, but from men seeking power over others.

Don L on October 5, 2015 at 5:46 AM

. . . . . As I see it, that totalitarianism would have happened long ago, were it not for the risk imposed upon such by the good guys owning guns . . . . .
.
Don L on October 5, 2015 at 5:46 AM

.
This … is what Totalitarianism looks like.

listens2glenn on October 5, 2015 at 7:03 AM

Bottom line: They use the word “conversation.” But they are lying. I had several discussions over the weekend. They boiled down to either: 1) Conversation = Gun owners agreeing that confiscation is the only solution, all other solutions are unreasonable, and shut up; and 2) Conversation = Calling your congressman and agitating for confiscation while vilifying the NRA who also need to shut up. This is what fascists call tolerance in 2015.

Darth Chipmunk on October 5, 2015 at 9:05 AM

It’s always a hoot to see the liberals tormented by the truth. In the words of Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth”. Liberalism is what is killing this country. It ate away and finally killed the Roman empire and it is doing the exact same thing to us. The parallels are amazing.

ultracon on October 5, 2015 at 9:15 AM

The truth is very simple, and unarguable – more guns means more death.

No amount of disgusting parsing and “contextualizing” will allow you to avoid this very simple truth.
.
everdiso on October 4, 2015 at 10:56 AM

False. The number of guns in circulation in the US has increased by 62% since 1994, while the number of homicides committed with a gun is down 46% in the same time frame.

Serious Drivel on October 5, 2015 at 9:19 AM

Listen, I have another solution. Cause I’m all about getting things done for the greater good. It’s easy to see the solution that will help the greatest amount of people. 1.Ban all NATO caliber ammo. Only a small amount of Gun Addicts use this type. Only, the most hardcore addict even uses this poison. 2. Ban all M-1 M-4’s AR’s and Kalashnikovs. Again only hardcore addicts use these. 3. Ban all sawed off shotguns. I know, I know you’re going to say, but Oliver sawed offs are illegal. Yes, but you can go to a gun merchant and buy something called a “Coach Shotgun” which is 1 inch longer making it legal. Yet, still causing massive scatter damage. 4. Anyone with more than (4) guns should be placed on a watch list and the name should be flagged as a potential threat. 5. Suspend the driver license of any person who brings guns over state lines. This would help with Del’s problem of gang members from New York going to gun crazy New Hampshire to buy guns. Easy enough folks. We call this a start.

OliverB on October 4, 2015 at 2:15 PM

OK, this one is so stupid, I feel like there must be cameras pointed at me to record my reaction as I read it. Am I on Candid HotGas?

Serious Drivel on October 5, 2015 at 9:29 AM

I’m like Cicero debating a bunch of primary school kids.

OliverB on October 4, 2015 at 1:58 PM

I’d say you’re more like a primary school kid debating in Cicero. If you’re gonna do this you need to refine your technique a lot. You’re not very good at it. Go back and review Franklib’s past posts he’s much better at it than you. About all you generate is ridicule, much like nonpartisan…but then he’s serious.

Oldnuke on October 4, 2015 at 8:33 PM

What a freaking hoot! OliverB is reduced to arguing that self-defense with a method of one’s own choosing is not a natural right because it’s not biblical (which it is anyway, but I digress). And that’s not even the argument I made in the first place.

Self-defense is a natural right because it is in our nature. If someone threatens me harm and the government (acting with my consent, by the by) can not or will not defend me, it is in keeping with natural law as surely as gravity makes things move towards the center of the earth that I am duty-bound to protect myself and my family by whatever means are necessary and available. That anyone in this day and age would even attempt to debate this matter is utterly risable.

gryphon202 on October 5, 2015 at 9:33 AM

I’m like Cicero debating a bunch of primary school kids.

OliverB on October 4, 2015 at 1:58 PM

Wait, I get it… you’re like a 2000 year old corpse trying to win a debate.

Yeah okay, I’ll concede that one. Although actually you more resemble an old bone trying to debate a terrier.

GrumpyOldFart on October 5, 2015 at 10:04 AM

The real funny part about the Cicero reference is that had Cicero been appropriately armed he might have avoided his death.

Kinda ironic, huh?

allmenroder on October 5, 2015 at 11:14 AM

Progressives: People who think the War on Drugs was a catastrophic failure, but the War on Private Legal Firearm Ownership will be a raging success.

Good Lt on October 5, 2015 at 1:47 PM

Couple of questions regarding the gun show “loophole”.

How many of the mass murders we’ve seen over the past number of years were committed using a weapon obtained at a gun show?

What percentage of the daily black on black killings are committed using a weapon obtained at a gun show? You can pick the time frame so long as you disclose it.

I don’t have any evidence but something tells me the answer to both of these questions is very near, if not equal to, ZERO.

nikophil on October 5, 2015 at 3:00 PM

And anytime you want to have an adult conversation we’ll be here.

itsspideyman on October 4, 2015 at 6:14 PM

NOPE, not a chance, zilch, zero, zip, nada. No national conversation, no debate, NOTHING. I could care less about changing your mind because your FEELINGS are your problem not mine, and you can stop wasting your time trying to change me. “Effectiveness” is a moot point simply because effectiveness is nothing more than a Leftist wet dream fantasy Barack Alinsky “never let a crisis go to waste” lie. I am not surrendering ANY of my guns, or ANY of my natural born rights as a Free Individual. The Aussies were brought up to believe that they were subjects (property) of a common wealth, while I on the other hand am property of NO ONE. You or your Leftist Mob will have to pry my hot smoldering gun from my cold dead hands, -just so your clear.

The reason gun owners are so reflexively against any new “common sense” restriction or regulation on guns is because the left has shown us it never sleeps and is never satisfied. Any ground we give will not be occupied in peace. It will be used to stage the next attack on us. In a way, it is the left’s fault they can’t get anything done.

Serious Drivel on October 2, 2015 at 3:27 PM

Pole-Cat on October 5, 2015 at 3:28 PM

Congratulations Jazz…
Mark Levin is talking about this thread right now, and has complimented you highly for writing it.

LegendHasIt on October 5, 2015 at 6:39 PM

I don’t think Oliver’ and everditzy are comin’ back…

listens2glenn on October 5, 2015 at 7:35 PM

Congratulations Jazz…
Mark Levin is talking about this thread right now, and has complimented you highly for writing it.

LegendHasIt on October 5, 2015 at 6:39 PM

I’m listening to that right now via his podcast.

Conservative4Ever on October 5, 2015 at 11:08 PM

Levin just about read the whole piece, called it brilliant.
Well done Jazz.

Pole-Cat on October 6, 2015 at 12:44 AM

This was an epic post to be sure.

Almost perfect. The flaw:

there are still too many people making careless, stupid mistakes which wind up costing somebody their life. Also, the number of stolen guns can be cut down if more owners take the necessary precautions to make it harder for thieves

It all sounds good, but everyone knows these are tried and true lamentations gun control camels use to get their nose under the tent.

Younggod on October 6, 2015 at 9:07 AM

I guess it depend on how you define terrorism. For those who have been the victims of a crime, having a gun pointed at you during the commission of a felon feels as much like terrorism as having a gun pointed at you by an “enemy combatant.”

Fear doesn’t discriminate between causes.

So if you more accurately describe what is going on, you shift the numbers.

EdmundBurke247 on October 6, 2015 at 10:29 AM

OMG, after reading that, I think I have a tingle up my leg…I’m headed over to SMH errr FB to post this link so that the three different folks clambering on about 33K deaths/year (which I was calling BS on but didn’t know where they were getting the info) can get right with themselves.

(although they’re libs so I know I’m just dreaming…)

Biffstir on October 6, 2015 at 6:42 PM

I guess it depend on how you define terrorism. For those who have been the victims of a crime, having a gun pointed at you during the commission of a felon feels as much like terrorism as having a gun pointed at you by an “enemy combatant.”

Fear doesn’t discriminate between causes.

So if you more accurately describe what is going on, you shift the numbers.
.
EdmundBurke247 on October 6, 2015 at 10:29 AM

.
What ? . . . . . Context MATTERS ? !

listens2glenn on October 6, 2015 at 6:46 PM

Oldnuke on October 4, 2015 at 10:08 AM

You forgot Stupid Idiots.

Hammie on October 11, 2015 at 7:21 PM

So I guess these don’t count.

LibraryGryffon on October 4, 2015 at 10:25 AM

Well, since none of those incidents of “a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun” even made it onto either NBC, CBS, ABC or CNN, he will claim it didn’t happen. (The stories of the shootings were on those media outlets, but not the way that an ordinary person with a personal firearm stopped them in their tracks.)

Hammie on October 11, 2015 at 7:36 PM

Everditzy, you are wrong so often, are you even a functional adult?

WryTrvllr on October 4, 2015 at 11:21 AM

I think he/she/it is actually a dysfunctional dolt.

Hammie on October 11, 2015 at 8:05 PM

You should only be allowed to buy 100 rounds each hunting season. Makes sense? You get to keep your guns and we get common sense regulations.

OliverB on October 4, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Nowhere in the 2nd amendment is there any statement that says The right of the people to keep and bear arms for hunting.

You are Dummy #3

Hammie on October 11, 2015 at 8:11 PM

You need a license to drive, you need a license to fish, you need a license to hunt but you don’t need a license to own a gun?!

Gun ownership is a RIGHT.
Driving is a privilege.
Fishing is a privilege outside of your own property.
Hunting is a privilege outside of your own property.

LEARN THE DIFFERENCE!

Hammie on October 11, 2015 at 8:14 PM

Last month a poor peaceful 13 year old Amish boy was killed tilling his field. The perpetrator was a drunken Gun Addict firing his gun into the air.

OliverB on October 4, 2015 at 12:13 PM

How many more lies are you going to spout?

Posted Tuesday, September 22nd 2015 @ 5pm
(Wayne County, OH) — A man has come forward saying he may have shot an Amish teen. The 17-year-old was plowing a field in Wayne County when he was hit in the head with a bullet. The teen underwent surgery and has since been released. Sheriff’s officials tell WEWS-TV a man told them he was shooting at pigeons in the area, and thinks the bullet may have come from his gun.

The only solutions that Gun Addicts have is to fight violence with even more violence creating a circle of death. How is that rational?

How is exercising our right to self defense considered gun addiction? How is it rational to lay down and just let the criminals kill us? If someone comes toward me with intent to do bodily harm, I will shoot first, then dial 911. I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

CHUMP!

Hammie on October 11, 2015 at 11:07 PM