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

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