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Gun Myths and Truths

See also the NRA-ILA web page

Accidental deaths | Banning guns | Guns, guns, guns | Gun Show loophole | Numbers

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Accidental Deaths Due to Firearms*

Accidental firearm deaths are at an all-time low among the entire U.S. population and among children in particular. In 1998, there were 866 accidental firearm-related deaths, including 121 among children. (National Center for Health Statistics) 

This figures out to about one child every three days not the double digit deaths per day sometimes claimed by the fear mongering anti-gun activists.

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Banning Guns Improves Public Safety*

Gun control activists pretend that there are such things as "illegitimate" and "legitimate" guns, then claim to be "reasonable" in wanting to outlaw only the former group--those that they, the national media and cynical politicians demonize as "assault weapons," "Saturday Night Specials" or "junk guns."

The pretense has an obvious flaw: Any firearm, regardless of type, size, caliber, cost or appearance, can be, and is most often by far, used for legitimate purposes. Despite the powerful images cast by nightly news broadcasts and violence-oriented TV programs, guns of all sorts are put to good use far more often by the tens of millions of upstanding gun owners than they are misused by evil or irresponsible people. And despite protestations to the contrary by anti-gun groups, there is no gun or type of gun that criminals generally prefer.

Aside from other objections to prohibiting certain kinds of guns, there is also the issue of the futility of such a policy. As a study for the National Institute of Justice concluded, "There is no evidence anywhere to show that reducing the availability of firearms in general likewise reduces their availability to persons with criminal intent, or that persons with criminal intent would not be able to arm themselves under any set of general restrictions on firearms."

In a December 2004 report The National Research Council concluded that despite millions of dollars in research on the effects of firearms laws there is no convincing evidence any of the laws reduced violent crime.

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Everywhere there are Guns, Guns, and More Guns 

Many people associate guns with criminals and violence. The myth is that more guns = more violence. But the Boomershoot demonstrates this is a fallacy. There will be about 100 shooters at the Boomershoot. Most of those shooters will bring at least two firearms.  Many will bring three or more.  Many of the shooters will bring handguns for self-defense on their trip as well as the rifles they will shoot at the event.  About 10,000 rounds will be fired this year and as in all the years previous to this it is almost for certain there will be no violence, and no crimes committed. 

With all these guns, all these people, over all these years, if guns were the cause of crime then one would expect a high number of crimes to occur.  It doesn't happen.  Guns aren't the reason crime or violence occurs.

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There is a Gun Show "Loophole" in Our Firearms Laws*

There is no gun show "loophole." Since 1938, any person "engaged in the business of selling firearms" must register with the federal government. In 1968 all such persons were required to obtain a federal firearms license. Since 1998, dealers have been required to submit all prospective gun buyers to a National Instant criminal background Check System (NICS) background check conducted by the FBI or a state agency. This requirement applies at gun shows and all other locations, all of the time.

A person who is not engaged in the business of selling firearms, but who occasionally sells firearms under limited circumstances including "for the enhancement of a personal collection," is not required to obtain the federal license required of gun dealers, or to complete a background check. In 2001, legislation was introduced in Congress to extend the NICS requirement to non-dealer sales of firearms at gun shows. That legislation was defeated, however, because Members of Congress who support the anti-gun lobby's agenda would only accept a much more restrictive bill.

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by Richard Ripley

While there were 28,163 gun deaths in 2000, only 776 were accidental. 16,586 were suicides, and 10,801 were murders. Deplorable as those numbers are, the one thing that you can say about suicides and homicides is that they are deliberate, not accidental. You can also guess that most of the homicides were related to criminal activity (drug dealing, etc), and not ordinary, everyday people 'losing their temper'. Suicides are usually caused by a profound despair that life isn't worth living. People get to that point and then decide how to do it, rather than seeing a gun and saying "Oh, a gun! I think I'll kill myself..."

In 2000, death by firearms weren't even in the Top 10 causes of death (in order: heart disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory disease, accident, diabetes, flu and pneumonia, Alzheimer's, Nephritis, and Septicemia). (source, CDC,

So where do the big numbers come from? Simple, add in suicides and homicides -- including the justifiable homicides (violent aggressors killed by police and private citizens defending innocent life). And to show how deadly guns are to children, count everyone under 19 years of age (sometimes even 24!) as a "child". The majority of the deaths in the "child" category then become 14-18 year olds in the drug business killing each other over money, merchandise, power, and turf.  

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*Some or all of this item was obtained from the NRA ILA web site.

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Email: Joe Huffman
Last updated: January 22, 2009