Assault Weapon Deadliness

Mass Public Shooting Deaths and Woundings by Weapon Type - 1982 thru 2020-06-26.png

“Assault weapons must be banned because they are vastly more deadly!” (It is equally believable that this was said by Everytown, MSNBC, or the crazy homeless person on the corner… it is getting hard to tell the difference.) Are “assault weapons” inherently more dangerous that any other type of gun? I know ardent gunnies will go into deep discourse about the relative energy transfer potentials of sundry ammo types and rifle configurations. But thanks to the Gun Facts Mass Public Shooting database, we can make a quicker review. The High-Level Numbers NOTE #1: “Assault weapon” is a legislative term, not a technical one. There are a plethora of “assault weapons” laws that cover everything from handguns to hunting rifles to Lord Knows What. So we use the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons bill definition since it is the only one that covered all of the United States. NOTE #2: It is … Continue reading

Cali Suicide Calumny

California Suicides by Age and Means, 2004-2016

“Bury the lede” is an old newspaper trade term for not disclosing the interesting part of the story until so late in the article that few people read it. Paragraph #1, Senator Bedfellow gave money to a shelter for battered women; paragraph 48, Senator Bedfellow was charged with wife beating in 2006. It is a propaganda tactic, and it is used too often in gun policy research. In this case concerning suicides in California, the stunt was aided and abetted by the California government. Woe, thy name is Wintemute Long ago, a doctor with zero criminology credentials started publishing on gun control topics. His early research was, in a word, hilarious. One chunk of his intellectual effluvium used “observational evidence” about people at gun shows in two states. Generalized, the assumption the doctor made was that if Bill asked his friend Ted about a firearm for sale at the gun … Continue reading

Gun Ownership RANDomness

Self-Reported Household Gun Ownership and Citizen Status - Gallup, ABC, GSS, Pew, BRFSS

The Rand Corporation does a lot of interesting stuff. So, when they studied household gun ownership rates, we at the Gun Facts project took note. And we sadly note that this is not Rand’s finest work. It really isn’t even presentable. Normally we try not to go too deep into minutiae on the Gun Facts blog, mainly reserving it for more groundbreaking observations (such as when we untangled the “cattle pen scenario” element of mass public shootings or dove deep into what, if any, impact “high capacity magazines” had). But today, we will have to guide you through some perspective on gun ownership rates and show how Rand seems to have muddied the political waters. Why we need to know state-level gun ownership rates The lack of perfect knowledge about household gun ownership rates by state has annoyed criminologists and social scientist for decades. Since most American states do not … Continue reading

Fame, Media and Mass Shootings

Why people shoot herds of innocent bystanders in bars, concerts, movie theaters and schools is an area of earnest interest to the Gun Facts project, and to other researchers. So acute  is this interest that the academic journal Criminology & Public Policy devoted their entire February issue to 16 new papers on the topic. The Gun Facts project hopes to read all of them, but we start with a tantalizing and slightly flawed item, Why have public mass shootings become more deadly? Assessing how perpetrators’ motives and methods have changed over time. Not criminology malpractice This certainly is not a John Hopkins style selection of anti-intellectual tripe composed (allegedly) by doctors pretending to be number nuts. No, this paper is rightful criminology research and the type that the Gun Facts project prefers – namely being devoid of statistical hocus pocus and instead a solid tally of bad tidings. In short, … Continue reading

Schools, Guns and the Secret Service

The U.S. Secret Service released a report that exposed no real secrets but did amplify what we know or thought we knew about school shooters. Okay, that is not quite accurate. Their report titled “Analysis of Targeted School Violence” reviews all the documented cases of when someone specifically directed violence at people in K12 schools from 2008 through 2017, almost a full decade of data. This compilation, of course, included school shooters of every variety. What the report reveals is kinda what we thought about school shooters in general, but it is good to have some solid numbers to substantiate our understanding. Instead of boring you with all 58 pages provided by the Secret Service, I’ll run down and comment on some of the important highlights. A little fragile Before diving into the numbers, the entirety of the report covers 41 incidents. This is a smallish number, and thus some … Continue reading

Pediatric Agitprop

Firearm Homicides, Children and Teens per Brady Scorecard 2011-2015

After reading a recent study published in Pediatrics, I would caution parents about allowing a member pediatrician to treat their child. Looks risky. That may be an unfair jab, but once again we see doctors – too often funded by activist groups – doing criminology research and producing deformed analytical offspring. Worse yet, many in the media picked up on the inaccurate conclusions to pen woefully inaccurate headlines: ABC: Child gun deaths lower in states with stricter gun laws TIME: Fewer American Kids Die in States With Tougher Gun Laws U.S. News: Tough State Gun Laws Help Keep Kids Safe CNN: Children in states with strict gun laws are less likely to die None of which was (a) what the study said and (b) any reflection of reality outside the alleged minds of news editors. The study, such as it is I won’t waste too much time reviewing the layered … Continue reading

Suppressed Perspective

BATF Traced Weapons by Type - 2016

“He had a suppressor? That’s unique.” This was from a Gun Facts fan email during the breaking news cycle of the mass public shooting in Virginia Beach. The point being made was that by his reckoning, firearm suppressors were not often used in mass public shootings (MPSs). Fact is, they are not used in crimes much at all, which makes the desire of some politicos to ban suppressors an amusing example of uninformed policy pontification. Major Takeaways BATF traced 97 suppressors in all of 2016. This is 0.01% of those in circulation. Suppressors are ignored by criminals for the same reasons they rarely use derringers or machineguns. What the BATF Tracked We used 2016 for this review of suppressors for the reason that it is recent, we could get other crime data easily, and it skipped 2017 when there was a mass BATF trace of suppressors recovered in one state, … Continue reading

Kids, Guns and Guile

Child Firearm Deaths 1979-2016

A congressman I met in my teens told me, “If someone mentions kids when debating politics, they are hiding behind children.” It took time before the utter cynicism reality of his thinking manifested itself in my life. But at least nine times in ten when a politico says, “It’s for the children,” it is really for the operative’s ideology. So, when I saw the following blurb from the propaganda wing of a policy group, I had to document the realities. Intermixing terms and deviants “Gun deaths among school-age children have increased in the last decade. A study published Thursday in the American Journal of Medicine found that 38,942 kids aged 5 to 18 were fatally shot in the U.S. between 1999 and 2017. The authors noted a steep rise among black children beginning in 2013. The study’s lead researcher put the toll in perspective: ‘In 2017, there were 144 police … Continue reading

Red Flags

Suicide Rates Before and After Red Flag Laws - slope comparison

Are red flag laws effective, or should politicians be flagged for being offsides? Take-aways Too few data points for statistical robustness Largely irrelevant to homicides Barely effective on suicides For suicides, “studies” thus far count only “firearm deaths” instead of all forms of suicides, which is a grave methodology error Trade-off between a few lives saved and significant due process questions is out of balance Wave Your Flag “Red Flag Laws” (RFL herein) are all the rage these days, with many states enacting or considering them. However, the relative newness of RFLs makes analyzing their effectiveness a little tricky. Before 2016, only two states – Connecticut and Indiana – had RFLs. To see before-and-after effects of any law, you need a little runway (we at the Gun Facts project think ±5 years is sufficient). Most states with RFLs have less than three years of experience with these laws. So, with … Continue reading

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