Some Actual FACTS on Gun Violence


Gary Horton seems to have gone on a rampage recently against private gun ownership, as exemplified by his most recent column on the subject, which ran on 28 August and was entitled “Did America Want to Go This Far Out on Guns?” (Link)

Here’s a sample of his histrionics: “Over a decade, American has lost 360,000 people to gun deaths. By comparison, we’ve lost some 3,100 to terror attacks. Gun deaths are 116 times greater than terror-related deaths. That’s 11,600%!”

Well, it’s undeniable that so many deaths are tragic, but why don’t we take a look at another number, since we’re comparing different manners of people dying?

During that same period of time, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 355,429 traffic accident fatalities (NHTSA Report), making them every bit as dangerous as those e-e-e-e-vil guns, again 116 times greater than terror-related deaths.

Well, what’s to be done about all this mayhem? In this particular column Horton doesn’t say, as it’s pretty much an orgy of hand-wringing. But judging from the totality of his columns on the topic I suppose he’d like to wave a magic wand and make all the privately-owned guns in the country vanish. The only thing standing in his way – other than the lack of that wand – is that pesky and “grossly contorted interpretation of a Second Amendment”.

But there is no Second Amendment equivalent when it comes to cars. Thus they can be regulated to any degree. So, if we want to save a boatload of lives, why don’t we mandate breathalyzer/ignition interlock devices on all cars, as well as speed governors that prevent them from going any faster than, say, 20 MPH? That would probably eliminate at least 90% of traffic fatalities since drunk driving is one major factor, and it’s pretty hard for an accident to be fatal at such low speeds. Maybe even eliminate private car ownership altogether, and mandate that everyone use public transportation! How about that? Everyone has to ride the bus!

We don’t do that because as a society we accept the fact that liberty – freedom of choice and action – sometimes has a cost in human life, a sad and harsh reality.

Horton also tries to peddle the clichéd trope that the Second Amendment only applies to “well-organized state militias”. I will very kindly label that statement as “misguided”. In fact US Code Title 10 § 246 defines the militia as having two components: the “organized militia”, which is the National Guard (Horton’s organized state militias); and the “unorganized militia”, which is all other law-abiding adults in the country who are, or who have applied to be, citizens. (US Code)

Of course, Horton indulges himself in the demonization of the semi-auto AR-15, the most popular rifle in this country, calling them “mass killing machines”. Interestingly enough, in Switzerland, members of their militia – which is all males of military age, as they have universal conscription – are allowed to keep their issued weapons at home, including full-auto guns. You’d think their streets should be awash in blood, wouldn’t you? But no…

I think there’s one more issue to address, and I think it’s pretty important. As I quoted him, Horton claims 360,000 gun deaths over a ten year period, so about 36,000 per year on average. However, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for 2017, the last year for which data are available (FBI UCR), there were 10,982 homicides in which firearms were used, and only 403 of those were with rifles of any kind. If you average out the number of gun homicides covered by the five years of that report you get 9,733 per year. Multiply that by 10 and you get 97,333 for ten years, a far cry from that 360,000 Horton so freely bandies about.

In 2017, rifles – of which the AR-15 type is a variant – were used 403 times, and averaged 316 times per year over the five years covered by the UCR, for a ten year averaged total of 3,160. That means that rifles of all kinds, NOT just AR-15s, were used in only three percent of gun-related homicides. Not exactly an epidemic, is it?

I have no idea where Horton got his 360,000 number, and frankly don’t care. No matter how you slice it, that number doesn’t represent gun use in homicides in this country, as the real data clearly show.

Horton’s column is a very clear illustration of the hyperbolic scare tactics used by those who’d deprive law-abiding people of their gun rights, full of blatant misrepresentations and over-the-top rhetoric and demagoguery.

Don’t fall for it.



©Brian Baker 2019

(Published 4 Sep 2019 on my blog and in The Signal)



4 comments on “Some Actual FACTS on Gun Violence

  1. Grey Neely says:

    Brian, let’s face it. The Left could care less about the numbers killed or wounded. The Left wants our guns. Period. It is nothing but a power play.

    The Left’s minions (those who know the truth and those brainless mind-washed idiots, all of whom are the Left’s willing allies) do nothing more than “parrot” the talking points of the day from the Left. I am not sure which category Gary Horton falls into, but he is one of those minions.

    I am rightfully fearful of what I see coming (i.e., a very bloody Civil War); but unless God intervenes directly I see no other possibility but a Civil War. Honest elections are becoming all but impossible. And after the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign fiasco, the Left will triple its efforts to steal the 2020 election. Trump is doing everything possible to shut down the “Deep State”. But it might be too late. And if another gun-grabbing Democrat is elected, the Left will try to disarm the US citizens. And if a gun confiscation program is started, the US will quickly dissolve into a Civil War. The casualties from such a Civil War will make Mr. Horton’s numbers look tame by comparison.

    The Left believes they can win such a Civil War otherwise why would they try so badly to start one. (That is the main reason I stated in my first paragraph that the Left could care less about the numbers killed or wounded.) The Left wants to control the US much like the communists control China.

    Personally I will live free or die (hard).

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks, Grey.

      You’re right, and we’ve even seen the leftists become quite blatant about it. Beto promised the other day that he’d impose “mandatory gun buy-backs”, which is de facto gun confiscation. Even if put in place, I imagine it will work about as well as the War on Drugs. In other words, pretty much not at all.

      I don’t see a whole bunch of law-abiding gun owners lining up to turn their guns in to the government. I DO see a big increase in the sales of PVC pipe.

      What caused the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” at Lexington and Concord? The Brits’ attempt to confiscate the colonists’ guns.

  2. Kathy says:

    Ya gotta love how the lefties compare apples (gun deaths) to oranges (terror attacks) and their supporters lap it up. That’s not even a logical comparison, yet people will fall for it and go around repeating it.

    We go through this same argument every time there’s a shooting, which is entirely too often. This last one was really scary and way too close to home, but we’re now at a point where more of the Republicans support red flag laws, so here we go again chipping away at our rights.

    Thinking that the guy in the car next to me at the traffic light could shoot me is scary as hell, but the idea that my guns could be taken from me based on someone else’s say-so is far worse.

    • BrianR says:

      Great comment, Kathy, and I couldn’t agree more.

      A couple of thoughts. If that guy next to you at the light thinks you might be able to shoot back, I’d guess he’s a lot less likely to start any trouble in the first place. A simple concept that still seems beyond the limited intellectual capacity of leftists.

      Red flag laws, interestingly enough the major plot point of the Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report”, which was based on a novella by Philip K. Dick (who seems to have been almost as prescient as Orwell). Good movie, BTW. They didn’t work in the flick, and won’t work any better in real life, IMO.

      They haven’t yet been challenged in court, but I have absolutely no doubt they will be, and frankly I doubt if they withstand judicial scrutiny.

      One has to have actually committed a crime to be deprived of any of your rights. You can’t be deprived of those rights because of something you MIGHT do. Hell, anybody MIGHT commit murder. Literally ANYBODY.

      Worse yet, once we start down the path of prosecuting people for something they MIGHT do, there’s no end to that road. Nobody’s right to do anything is safe anymore.

      Had too much to drink at the party last night? Well then, you MIGHT drive drunk some day, so no more drivers license for you. Sorry!

      Bad, bad idea…

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