Traces of a Con

Gun Stores and Eating Establishments in the United States - 2017

“There are more gun stores in America than Starbucks and McDonalds combined.” This was a headline from a propaganda organization within the gun control movement. As with any wild-sounding claim from either camp, the Gun Facts project took interest. A bit of data chasing and number crunching shows that the claim is marginally accurate yet totally misleading. But what else would one expect from The Trace. Major Take-aways There are even wilder and less accurate store-vs-store claims floating about than this one. There are approximately 236 more gun stores than the combined total of Starbucks and McDonald’s outlets (28,382 vs 28,146); but that’s if we count pawn shops as “gun stores.” Subtract those (8,002) and the claim gets reversed. In addition, an unknown number of the above “gun stores” are just gunsmiths and not actual retailers. The ratio of gun stores to these two food franchises varies wildly from state … Continue reading

Magazine Capacity Muckraking

Deaths in Mass Public Shootings by Magazine Capacity - 1998-2018

The capacity of a firearm magazine should not make anyone high. But given the hyperbole over “high capacity” magazines, I fear some politicians are positively stoned. Whenever there is a mad rush to legislation, accompanied by exaggerated sound bites, we at the Gun Facts project just have to take a closer look. Research is our drug of choice. Main Take-aways Magazine capacity is only applicable to mass shootings Mass shootings are rare events Magazine capacity is not the underlying factor in high death rates The number of people killed at mass shootings is a tiny fraction of homicides Legislative Limberness Exactly what is a “high” capacity magazine? It depends on who you ask. Ardent firearm enthusiasts consider a 30 round magazine commonplace and can cite meaningful usefulness for 100 round mags. Some gun control supporters believe anything over six is excessive. As with “assault weapons”, “high” capacity is in the … Continue reading

Impractically Useless

Crime Gun Acquisition by Source

Legislation that does nothing is almost as bad as legislation that overtly harms. It gives people the false notion that the government is doing something for their benefit, a common enough delusion. This is the basis for the recently proposed ‘‘Background Check Expansion Act,’’ which is the name for the Senate version of the “universal” or “comprehensive” background checks for firearm purchases and transfers. SIDE NOTE: At this writing the House version has not been filed. The Senate version is the least objectionable variation of such bills. A common legislative technique is to get one body to float a bill to which fewer people would object, let the public believe that is the stated plan, then introduce something more draconian in the other chamber after the public has generally consented to the lesser bill. At the Gun Facts project, we won’t take ideological sides, but we will see if the … Continue reading

High Gun Death Perspectives

Firearm Homicides and Suicides - United States - 1981 thru 2016

Whenever you see breathless reporting of the same core story across multiple media outlets, odds are there is more to the tale. In this case, the recently recirculating headlines noting that “Gun deaths at highest level in 40 years, CDC says” and “More than 100 people killed every day in the US as gun deaths spiral to highest level in 40 years.” Naturally, we at the Gun Facts project had to dig below the headlines to see what the heck was going on. The big take-aways Firearm suicides are up, but in the key group, the rate of suffocation suicides is growing fastest Homicides are up, but astoundingly so for young blacks The upward trends started at different times and for different reasons First, let’s take the long view As is well known – because this has been rehashed more often than the corned beef at the local diner – … Continue reading

Tracing Suicides

Total suicide and firearm suicide rates from 2000 through 2016

The Lie of Fear: Creating a false sense of fear in order to motivate people to action while easing them past critical thinking. This entry, from the book Shooting The Bull, was the very first items in the “Catalog of Canards”, a list of most common propaganda techniques of the modern era. That organizations favoring gun control too often employ the Lie of Fear is regrettably understandable. Which brings us to The Trace and their artless attempt to scare people about suicides: Take-aways Firearm suicides growing much more slowly than overall suicides. Trace chose to start trend analysis during a low-point in firearm suicides. The interesting angle Depending on the year you examine, firearm suicides constitute about 60-66% of firearm deaths in the United States. For decades gun control advocacy groups (which, charitably stated, The Trace is one, given the legendary activist donors on their disclosure page and that Michael … Continue reading

Mass Shooting Cattle Pens

U.S. Mass Public Shootings Per Capita 1982 through 2016

“The rate of mass shootings per 100,000 population has gone DOWN by an extraordinary degree.” Though not a recurring pro-gun meme, this one was sent to the Gun Facts Project by someone from the pro-gun camp. It was an interesting claim, but incorrect. Investigating the claim then led us to dig and try to find underlying realities. Seriously, the Gun Facts researchers need to get a life. Mass Shootings Increase Mass shooting incidents and fatalities are on the increase (and highly covariant with reported adverse reactions to prescription psychotropic medications). When we adjust for the increasing U.S. population, we still see per capita increases in the number of instances as well as the number of fatalities and woundings. One thing jumped out at us from the initial charts, namely several outliers. Certain years showed dramatically large spikes. The most prominent of the spikes were the years of the Virginia Tech, … Continue reading

School Shooting Database and Propaganda

On-campus shooting grades 9-12 1970-2018

What you name something is very important. One might look upon their congressman and say “politician”. Someone else might look upon the same representative and say “insufferable, deranged, syphilitic git”. Both might be accurate. Important then is the “School Shooting Database” hosted by the Federal Government as part of the Department of Homeland Defense. The phrase “school shooting” creates in the mind of the reader some very specific notions. For the average American, it means mass homicide events like Parkland, Sandy Hook and Columbine. It does not mean a stray bullet from a inter-gang confrontation two blocks away at two in the morning. Honest Disclosure, Noble Purpose, Clumsy Word Use Per the project’s web site, “The K-12 School Shooting Database research project is a widely inclusive database that documents each and every instance a gun is brandished, is fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason, regardless of … Continue reading

Meds and Mass Murder

GUNS AND CRIME - Psychotropic medications covariance with mass public shootings - 1999 through 2017

Is national consumption of brain candy contributory to mass public shootings? Looks like it might well be. Takeaways There exists covariant rise in the per capita number of adverse psychological reactions to prescription psychotropic medications and mass public shootings. The rate of adverse medication reactions may be low by an order of magnitude. Mental health and mass shootings The Gun Facts project previously reported on the association between mental health and mass public shootings. However, the review omitted one interesting issue – the contribution of pharmaceutical psychotropic medications. psychotropic: affecting mental activity, behavior, or perception We first became concerned with this topic after the Columbine Massacre. It was reported that one of the two assassins did a cold turkey withdraw from Luvox (an antidepressant) because a known side effect was rage. In other words, he wanted to be as amped-up as possible to commit mass murder. When we started looking … Continue reading

AR-15s: Mostly Harmless

AR-15 and Violence - infographic

The AR-15, allegedly the most popular consumer rifle in the United States, has become the poster child of the gun control industry. But from a homicide statistics standpoint, they are mostly harmless. Main Take-aways AR-15s constitute maybe 4% of all American firearms. AR-15s are used in 0.4% of firearm homicides, maximum. Just How Many AR-15s Are We Talking About? There is no doubt the AR-15 is a popular rifle. The firearm industry notes this. Users note this. Even the gun control industry notes this. Knowing how many are out there is crucial for understanding if they are a problem or not. The AR-15 has been around since 1959, but the last eight years has seen a significant increase in its popularity. And no wonder. The rifle is lightweight, meaning anyone can shoot it (YouTube has a bunch of videos of tiny young girls firing them). They don’t recoil much due … Continue reading

Good Guy with a Gun?

Much has been made in public discussion about a slogan popularized (though I doubt originally penned by) the National Rifle Association, namely: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Ignoring that no such absolute statement is true (e.g., “all politicians are criminals”), it is a good slogan to ponder. What is the efficacy of armed response to an attacker? We at the Gun Facts project have covered this question quite a bit on the Guns and Crime Prevention page, and there is no use going through all that again. But in terms of mass public shootings (MPSs), and we’ll include active shooter events (ASEs) in this tally as well, the situation has better clarity due to the fact there is an indisputable violent event happening. Many defensive gun uses (DGUs) may be against unarmed attackers or have a lower … Continue reading