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Gun Control Facts

Facts and statistics about various gun control and Wisconsin gun rights topics for clear-thinking individuals.

1. “Gun Violence”

WGO received the following inquiry from a college student working on a paper about “gun violence.” WGO’s responses in blue.

Here is my data taken from the Gun Violence Archive:

Year Defensive Gun Uses (DGU) Killed Injured % Increase from Year Prior – Killed % Increase from Year Prior – Injured
2022 1,178 676 2698 -4.2 -4.6
2021 1,295 706 2827 37.6 11.3
2020 1,513 513 2540 10.3 48.4
2019 1,619 465 1712 25.0 28.7
2018 1,889 372 1330 -16.0 -26.5
2017 2,118 443 1809 -2.2 17.5
2016 1,993 453 1539 22.8 15.1
2015 1,395 369 1337 34.2 23.1
2014 1,459 275 1086 N/A N/A

Increase in injuries total (2014-2022): 148% | Increase in fatalities total (2014-2022): 146%


How do you feel about the numbers in the data spreadsheet?

  1. Applying one’s “feelings” to data interpretation is inappropriate. That said, it’s not inconceivable that gun owners would feel frustrated at the constant refusal we encounter to deal honestly with the data and the realities on the ground.

How to [sic] you personally interpret the numbers shown?

  1. It took me a while to track down your data source and realize that you’re pulling GVA’s “Mass Shooting” data specifically – and that “Mass Shooting” is the context here. Context is critical in data interpretation. You should clarify that in your inquiry.

To understand this issue objectively, I’ve appended GVA’s Defensive Gun Use (DGU) data to your table above. A DGU measure is appropriate against mass shootings because both are self-defense contexts (as opposed to suicides or accidental shootings, for example).

[Note. In addition, we must assume that each DGU equals more than one life saved when you factor in stopping repeat offenders – so the DGU number must be conservative if extrapolated to total lives saved.]

In GVA’s data, for each year 2014-2022, the number of lives saved with guns in self-defense cases (DGUs) exceeded those lost in mass shootings by a factor of about 5x – or approx. 528%. This indicates a significant net positive in lives saved in the U.S. from DGUs. It follows that measures such as arming business employees and school staff to create an immediate deterrence deserve to be taken more seriously — and that gun control proponents’ efforts to dismiss or oppose them are irresponsible, even dangerous.

Do you believe the gun rights citizens currently have are adequate? Why or why not?

  1. Gun owners are the most regulated and scapegoated population in the U.S. There are hundreds of firearms laws in Wisconsin’s state statutes and thousands in the federal codes. There is no other group of people in this country who would tolerate being subjected to that level of criminalization and control. This is despite the clear language of the Second Amendment and Section 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution enumerating the right of the people to keep and bear arms — and despite gun control’s proven ineffectiveness.

What do you attribute the increase in gun violence to?

  1. See No. 2 above. We believe there is a correlation between gun controls that prevent teachers and employees from defending themselves and which create “Gun Free Zones” and mass shooting events – these two variables covary. One does not tend to see mass shootings at gun shows or police events, for example, where it is evident that attendees are armed. See Lott et al. The causal drivers of any increase in mass shootings can’t be discerned from the raw numbers in the data above and would require proper design research and multivariate analysis.

How do we as a nation help decrease deaths caused by gun violence (gun education, better background checks, etc.)?

  1. First, if you want to be serious, you must quit repeating linguistically nebulous terms such as “gun violence.” (Unless you’re willing to start tackling “vehicle violence,” “knife violence,” “alcohol violence,” or “fist violence,” – which are all intellectual dead ends.)

If you mean deaths measured quantitatively in “mass shootings,” we believe the solution is deterrence. See Nos. 2 and 4 above. We would like to see a null hypothesis t-test (normal distributive or ANOVA):

  1. Group 1: Train (educate) and arm some of the teachers and staff and post signs on-premises “STAFF IS ARMED” in 50% of the schools in the country.
  2. Group 2: The other 50% of schools in the country (control group) operate as they are (defenseless) and maintain the “GUN-FREE ZONES” signs. After 10 years, conduct an independent statistical analysis.

Pro-gun control individuals believe that a decrease in the amount of guns and an increase in gun control laws will assist in decreasing gun violence; Does that idea hold merit or is there a better way to address gun violence?

  1. No statistical or anecdotal evidence suggests gun control makes anyone safe. Even the congressional study conducted following the sunset of the 1994-2004 Clinton “Assault Weapons Ban” concluded it had no statistically significant impact on crime rates. The study’s authors stated, “… we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence,” and that future reductions in deaths as a result of the ban were likely “… to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

What can gun owners do in order to promote gun safety better in the community?

  1. I assume your question is in the context of mass shootings. If so, mass shootings are not a “gun safety” issue but a deterrence (or lack thereof) issue. See comments above.

(Regarding “gun safety,” gun owners are the only people teaching, promoting, or following it. Whether you’re talking gun safety training in hunter education, law enforcement or concealed carry training, the shooting disciplines are the only seedbed of gun safety. And because of what we’ve learned in the shooting disciplines, gun owners understand how to deter or stop mass shootings. The question is, why are non-gun owners and anti-gunners not willing to listen to our expertise?)  

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