11 Misleading Facts About Gun Violence

Brought to you by the good people over at VOX.  Check them out here 11 Facts About Gun Violence

I like VOX, they provide a never ending supply of laughable material.  Always trying to push some sort of leftist social warrior agenda.  This time, guns are the focus.  Not the first time they have done this, and since their video was thoroughly debunked last time, they have changed some of their language, but not their tactics.  They use factually correct data, but frame it in a way that fits their argument and then move the goal posts and use terms interchangeably.  So, lets take it from the top shall we?

Misleading Fact #1:  There’s roughly one gun for every person in America.  While, this statement by itself is factually true, VOX is using it to frame the argument that more guns means more homicides.  Why is this important?  Because they have to show that us trigger happy gun nuts just need to let go of the second amendment.  Not going to happen.

Misleading Fact #2:  Gun crime is more prevalent in the US than in other rich countries.  I call bullshit!  Mainly because they switch between the assertion that gun crime is more prevalent, and use statistics to prove that gun homicide is more prevalent here than in other developed nations.  Number of problems here, All murders are homicide, not all homicides are murders.  All murders (with guns) are gun crimes, not all gun crimes are murders.  Somebody didn’t do well on this portion of the SAT.  The harder part is to actually find the rate of “gun crime” within the developed nations.  This would include robbery, assault, felony menacing and a whole host of other crimes.

What VOX is trying to do is show that the US is an outlier in the world.  They do admit to other “underdeveloped nations” being far worse than we are, but also fail to mention that those nations have far stricter gun laws than we do, like Honduras for example, where it is illegal for a private citizen to own a gun.  They also fail to mention that if you take the homicide rate in just four US cities (Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore and New Orleans) and remove them from the equation, we are right on par with the rest of the world.  Oddly enough, those cities have some of the toughest gun laws in the country.

Misleading Fact #3: Gun homicides (like all homicides) are declining.  I am not entirely sure why they felt this was important to include.  I think they are trying to come across as reasonable and maybe disarm those who would disagree with the.  Doesn’t work with me.  I am also not sure, why it is no surprise that gun homicides are declining.  They don’t really provide any information.  The Brady Bill (assault weapons ban) took effect in 1994 and manufacturers still made the same firearms, just cosmetically compliant.  Because there is no such thing as an assault weapon.  The ban was purely cosmetic and did not affect overall functionality of any of the weapons.  Also, a vast majority of gun crimes, especially murder, are committed using pistols, so the Brady Bill would have had little to no effect on this statistic anyways.

Misleading Fact #4: Places with more guns have more homicides.  Again, I am not sure how their evidence supports this thesis.  The chart accounts for robberies, which is all well and fine, but the markings are relatively scattered.  With only 4 states reaching the 6 per 100,000 homicide rate.  If I had to guess, I would say that those states are Michigan, Illinois, Maryland and Louisiana.  The majority of the rest of the states hover between 1.5 and 4 per 100,000.  It also shows that the 5 states with less than 20% gun ownership have the same homicide rate as 9 other states ranging from 30% ownership to a high of 50% ownership.

As for the 4 outlying states with the highest rate of homicide it is also easily explained.  The lowest rate of gun ownership at 30% would be Maryland.  Hunting is prevalent, but not nearly as much as in (respective to where I think their place on the chart is) Illinois-42%, Michigan-48% and Louisiana-52%.  So take away the cities with the highest homicide rates in the country and they fall right back down around the norm, in Illinois’ case probably below the norm.

Misleading Fact #5: There are more gun suicides than gun homicides in America.  I don’t dispute this fact, but the way VOX is using it again is to try and frame themselves as reasonable.  They know that pro-gun people will talk about how 67% or so of gun deaths are a result of suicide.  So they try to cut it off at the pass, this is important for a few reasons which we will get to next.

Misleading Fact #6:  Suicide is more common in places with more guns.  WRONG!  Suicide is more successful in places with more guns.  The attempts would still happen no matter what, but the survival rate does increase without the presence of a firearm.  Most suicides are also a progression of instances where a few different attempts or “cries for help” were made.  Be it cutting, or pills, typically the attempt was already made and intervention was not helpful.  Very few people turn to guns for their first attempt at suicide.

They then point to Australia and Israel as proof of not having firearms reducing suicide rates.  Again, it is a progression, if somebody is truly intent on killing themselves, they will find a way.  The United States actually falls 50th in suicide rates in the world, with one of the countries listed as evidence to support VOX’s claim not far behind.  The US has a suciide rate of 12.1 per 100,00 with Australia coming in at 10.9.  I don’t think the gun confiscation mandatory buyback helped much.

Misleading Fact #7:  Living in a house with a gun increases your odds of death.  WRONG!  Death is inevitable, the leading cause of death is life.  All joking aside, suicide is the number one killer again here.  Keep in mind, the whole point of all of their fun facts are about gun violence.  Yes, suicide is violent, but when people talk about gun violence, suicide is not what they are talking about.  Crimes are the issue, and more specifically gun crimes.  Suicide is not a crime, if the attempt is successful…can’t charge a dead person.

They point to one meta analysis for accidental deaths and state that children 5-11 are 11 times more likely to be killed with a gun than anywhere else.  And the closing argument is from the American Academy of Pediatrics stating that “the absence of guns from children’s homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents.”  This argument could be applied to so many different things it is ridiculous.  Let’s give it a try kind of like mad-libs:

“The absence of drugs from children’s homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent drug related injuries in children and adolescents.”

The abstinence from sexual intercourse is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent STDs/STIs in children and adolescents.

I rest my case.

Misleading Fact #8:  Guns contribute to domestic violence.  Yes, as do belts, knives, baseball bats or other dimensional lumber.  But guns do play a problem in this area.  When the abuser has access to a gun it is more likely that the woman will die than if the abuser does not have access to a gun.  Why is this misleading, very rarely does a person immediately go to gun in cases of domestic abuse.  Again it is a progression.  The gun can also save a life, if the abused has access to the gun.  Being that it is a progression of violence and control, it is always best for the abused to contact the police early in the cycle.  This may be difficult for some, and no I am not blaming the abused, so it is incumbent upon friends, family coworkers also to educate themselves on the signs of domestic violence.  Often times the abused do reach out for help in a way so as not to let the abuser know.  A good place to go to get educated on this is here.  Preventing the abuse in the first place, will do far more for the homicide rate in domestic abuse cases than any gun law.

Misleading Fact #9:  Mass shootings represent a tiny share of all shooting deaths.  Again very true and this is where VOX goes really off the rails, trying to defeat any argument before it is presented.  On one chart it shows mass killings (5 or more killed) and on the other it is mass shootings.  VOX defines mass shooting as 4 or more people shot, not necessarily killed.  They are trying to show that instances of mass shootings are on the rise and more frequent.  Every 64 days they claim is a mass shooting since 2011.  Comparing the 2 charts is apples and oranges, one deals strictly in numbers of people killed while the other deals with wounded, or even just present at the time of the shooting.

What VOX does here is very typical of the anti-gun movement.  When the data doesn’t support your claim, move the goalpost until it does.  I will give them as much ground as possible here though, so we will use the every 64 days chart.  If 4 or more people are involved in a single instance of a shooting every 64 days, that still makes up a very small number of instances of gun violence.  Of the roughly 12,000 dead because of homicide (either justifiable or murder) the mass shooting numbers still only account for maybe 100 of them.  Are mass shootings a problem, yes, but not as big a problem as one is led to believe.  Also, they almost always happen in gun free zones.

Misleading Fact #10:  A tiny fraction of gun violence is committed by the mentally ill.  Agreed, but earlier they argue that “Firearm suicides are less common in US states that check if potential gun purchasers are mentally ill or criminal fugitives.”  This begs the question of what are they even arguing at this point.  I know the rallying cry from some on the right is we have a mental illness problem, but on the left is a moving goal post problem and an interchangeable term problem.  In this fun fact section they talk about homicides, but the title is about violence, which earlier in their slide show included suicide.  They are trying to evolve the terms here.

What they also do here is take the outliers of gun violence (mass shooting) to prove their point that mental illness is not the problem.  They even move from gun violence to just violence in general and point to alcohol and drug abuse.  I don’t disagree with them, but the way they are framing the argument would lead one to believe that guns violence is what it is because of these things.

Misleading Fact #11:  Gun control is popular, but less so than in the 1990s.  This one is a no brainer.  The more people who have to go through the process of legally purchasing a firearm, then the more people can call bullshit an all of the liberal talking points for gun control.  There are more guns owned by private citizens than ever, so it is only natural that gun control would be less popular.

Okay, so what have we learned?  That VOX will try and disarm the opposing arguments, move the goal post and change the terms around in order to try and persuade the uninformed person that we need gun control.  They present many data sets and facts, but use them in a very misleading way.  The next time some gun control nut starts asking why anybody needs a gun the response is simple:

I do not need a gun

I have never needed a gun (if this applies)

But should I need a gun, I will be glad that I have one (or more)

Furthermore, the onus is not on the gun owner to prove why he/she needs a gun.  The anti-gun people need to give a compelling reason as to why I, you or anybody else doesn’t need one.  Good luck with that.

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