Crunching Numbers – Death And Firearms

Or as I’d prefer to call it; Firearms Save Lives! :P (yea yea I know.. that’s not necessarily true):

The hypothesis of “more guns = more deaths” is demonstrably false over the past 28 years of documented American history. The number of firearms in civilian circulation have been steadily increasing over that time period, and the number of firearm-related fatalities has not been equivalently increasing.

Linoge over at Walls Of The City turns the numbers into visuals.  He put the spreadsheet up with the data so you can look it over if you have any doubts.

Check out the full article – HERE

A lot of good analysis always going on over at Walls Of The City, add the site to your feed and don’t miss out.



That one guy September 16, 2011 at 02:33 am

Awesome. Now i can show all those antibastards what’s what. Go go gadget butthurt papers.


Phil September 16, 2011 at 11:11 am



Frank September 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I can just hear them anti-gunners already chanting, “I’ll get you next time!”


Vhyrus September 16, 2011 at 02:42 am

Theyre gonna point at the green line at the top and scream “LOOK WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE BRADY BILL AND AWB PASSED! IT WENT DOWN!”


mmasse September 16, 2011 at 02:10 pm

I have a feeling the Brady Bill was not the cause of the drop. More likely national gun safety came into focus about that time and more safety courses were offered.


Baldr Odinson September 16, 2011 at 03:15 pm

That’s exactly what happened, Vhyrus. When the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act went into law, gun-related deaths significantly increased over time. When the Brady Bill went into law, gun-related deaths drastically decreased. When the waiting period requirement lapsed, shootings once again were on the rise. These trends aren’t coincidence. They are graphic evidence that gun control legislation works to preserve life, and legislation that reduces gun control fails to preserve life.

Linoge conveniently ignores these trends, and instead claims that deaths go down over time by drawing a trendline through the entire period from 1981 – 2008. The only reason it goes down is because of the effects of the Brady Bill.


gomi September 16, 2011 at 04:08 pm

And you’re assuming that all the data impacting the number of firearm deaths is depicted in the graph.

Also, when the FOPA was passed, gun deaths were already on the rise, so causality isn’t really shown.

Finally, after when the waiting period lapsed, the number of firearm deaths aren’t really on the rise. They increase, yes, but in proportion to the population. In other words, when there are more people, there are more murders (and accidents, suicides, etc), but mainly because there are more people to do the murdering and be murdered.


Vhyrus September 16, 2011 at 04:15 pm

Wow… that didn’t take long…


1911A1 September 16, 2011 at 08:30 pm

There’s lies, damn lies, and then there’s statistics. Filter out bad guys killin’ bad guys, good guys killin’ bad guys, cops killin’ ANYBODY, and you’ll be left with a very different looking chart.

The problem with people like you is that you blame the tool instead of the person using it. If person A wants person B dead and there’s no gun around they have a veritable cornucopia of tools and chemicals with which to accomplish the dastardly deed. You don’t REALLY want to reduce crime and violence, you want control which an armed populace will never submit to. Good luck with that.


DeadlyGrim September 17, 2011 at 07:56 pm

Except that man is a tool-using creature. Some animals are strong, some animals are fast, and humans create tools.

Let me put it this way: I want to kill everybody in a city. My two choices of tools are either (a) a slightly sharpened fork or (b) a nuclear briefcase bomb. I’d be an idiot to go “Well, they’re both tools, so they should both be equally effective…”. Likewise, as a concerned citizen, I don’t want a nutcase to have a sharped fork _or_ a nuclear briefcase bomb. At the same time, I’m forced to acknowledge that such things might have legitimate uses and a blanket ban on anything that could possibly be dangerous is idiotic.

_That_ is the heart of the matter. I don’t think that there’s anybody out there advocating that we should hand out nukes to tykes. The potential danger far exceeds the potential use. Similarly, there’s about as many people advocating a blanket ban on butter knifes. The potential use outweighs any potential danger. In effect, everybody is for some level of weapon control (just as everybody is for some level of weapon freedom). The disagreement is just on where you draw the line.


Alexander Robinson July 13, 2016 at 07:07 pm

Well cars kill just as many so we should ban that right? No this is dumb America. Cigarettes kill people alcoholic beverages what we don’t severely restrict this stuff. You made a valid point. These losers banning stuffs are just trying to make themselves feel better and think it makes them worth more.


Linoge September 19, 2011 at 06:03 am

Superficially, the chart does seem to support the “gun control” extremists’ points… except for that dip before the Brady Bill actually took effect. However, if anyone tries to make that claim, I would suggest to them that they take a look at this series of four posts looking into the crime increase and reduction of the 90s… Suffice to say, there was a lot going on then, and guns are just a small part.

Of course, Baldr, being the anti-rights cultist he is, did not really read my article, or any of the supporting links within it, but only saw the pretty chart, the line, and the drop…. and conveniently ignored that the drop occurred before the line.

This, however:

The only reason it goes down is because of the effects of the Brady Bill.

… Is a bald-faced lie, born out of religious fervor over “gun control”, as Reputo demonstrated.


retro_joe September 16, 2011 at 08:05 am

Chart fail: To many metrics and the chart seems to focus on the green “Total Deaths” metric because its shifts are dramatic (and it’s at the top). The better story is the red “Deaths per 100,000 People” because incidence rate is the more valid measure and the metric that a stats analyst would focus on.

How do I know? I’m a stats analyst. :)


Linoge September 19, 2011 at 06:08 am

… Which could be why, if you click through to the article, you will see that I examined the r-value of the rate of firearm-related fatalities versus the rate of firearm ownership. This graphic was merely to put all of the data in one place, which, granted, is a lot of information, but even it alone demonstrates the flaws in the “more guns = more deaths” argument.

In order to get all of the lines on the same graph, and not use non-10 multiples, the total number of fatalities will invariably end up at the top… or at the bottom with its slopes minimized into uselessness. However, if you think you can do better, the information is out there, and I even provide the XLSX spreadsheet with all of that information to work from in the post, and I would be more than happy to post whatever you create.


gomi September 16, 2011 at 08:57 am

The chart does kind of highlight the reduction in overall gun deaths, and proportional gun deaths, with the introduction of the Brady Bill and AWB. After the Brady waiting period expires, the gun deaths level off, staying proportional to the increase in population. And, while those measures were apparently responsible for a reduction in gun deaths, the rate of gun ownership stayed basically unchanged. This would seem to imply that gun control measures do decrease gun deaths while not impacting regular gun ownership, which is exactly what gun control advocates want to argue.

That’s just looking at the chart. And I know from my own research for previous gun rights discussions, that there’s a lot more in play here than just gun control laws. For example, the early/mid 90s also saw a dramatic increase and improvement in policing nationwide, in response to rampant gang violence from drug trade in the late 80s and early 90s. So, while the chart specifically highlights Brady and the AWB, that drop in gun deaths is likely more attributable to police and community response to gang violence. Which would then seem to run counter to the arguments of gun control advocates.

It’s a great chart, but without digging through Linoge’s full analysis, it actually looks to support gun control arguments.


Nick September 16, 2011 at 10:31 am

They should project the DOW Jones on there too.


Nick September 16, 2011 at 03:30 pm

Also, they should include a line for number of cheating spouses and the estimated revenue of the illicit drug market.


Frank September 16, 2011 at 03:46 pm

That’s a bad idea because it would make sense.


DeadlyGrim September 17, 2011 at 07:19 pm

The number of violent video games have also gone up during the same time period. Global average temperature has also increased over that timeframe.

That being said, I love graphs and this graph does a great job of dispelling oversimplified myths.


AZDan September 19, 2011 at 06:14 pm

The most interesting thing about this chart is the year in which firearm-related crime starts to dramatically decrease, 1993. 20 years prior, in 1973, Roe V. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court. Adult Males 20-25 from low-income, single-parent families are responsible for most of the crime in this country, statistically speaking. No politician has ever made the connection in public, but 20-25 years after abortions are made legal, crime falls off in almost all categories. Coincidence?


Gomi September 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Something argued compellingly by Freakonomics.


Ilikeshooting September 30, 2011 at 11:49 am

More guns = less deaths doesn’t mean less people were shot.

What is the reduction in the death rate is the product of something else like better emergency room care?

The rate of DERP has skyrocketed since 2000. Could we get a chart showing DERP-related gunshot wounds? ;)



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