Free Markets, Free People

Perspective: Are firearm murders a significant statistic?

We’ve been told for some time that violent crime in America is actually at its lowest point since the 1970s.

But we’re also being told by a certain element that gun deaths are out of hand and we need to reconsider tightening our gun laws.

So lets take one of those “perspective” looks shall we? 

First a chart that takes us through 2004 showing murders by firearms:




As an aside, the Assault Weapons ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004.  Assault weapons would be found under “other guns”.   You’ll note that “other methods” and knives, for the most part, were involved in more murders than “assault weapons” (further note that not all “other guns” were “Assault Weapons”, but may have been hunting rifles or shotguns).  Rifles of any sort just aren’t the usual weapon of choice for murders.

Also note that murders of all types have been trending down over the  years.  If you hit the link in the first sentence, it will show you that in 2004 the number of violent crimes per 100,000 was 463.2 and in 2010 it had fallen to 403.6.

If you add handguns and “other guns” from the chart in 2004, you see approximately 10,500 to 11,000 murders by firearms.

The latest stat available?

The most recent FBI figures show just 358 of the 8,775 murders by firearm in 2010 involved rifles of any type.

By the way, the article that was pulled from noted that in 2010, more people were beaten to death by fists (758) than were killed by “other guns”, aka rifles of any sort.

Michael Wade does the math:

So, based on these two sites ( there were approximately 115 million households in 2010, and between 41% and 49% (depending on how you do the numbers) had firearms in them.

That’s a minimum of 57.5 million arms (if we assume one firearm per household, which we know isn’t even close to the right number).

If we then assume that each of the 8,775 murders was committed by a separate firearm from a different household each time (again, an assumption we know is wrong but increases the number of households involved), then approximately 0.015% of American households who owned guns were involved with murder by firearm in 2010.

Again, these assumptions make that percentage much higher than it actually is since (a) undoubtedly more households have firearms but don’t report them, (b) households with firearms will typically have more than just one, and may have several, (c) one firearm likely accounted for more than one of the 8,775 murders, and (d) the vast majority of the murders were likely committed with firearms that were illegally possessed!

Even so, slightly more than one one-thousandth of one percent of gun owners is the highest amount you are going to be able to implicate in murder by firearm, despite all the generous assumptions made in favor of the gun control side.

That does not speak to a winning argument IMHO.

No it sure doesn’t, not that they won’t try anyway.  Additionally, when you do the math about chances of being a victim of firearm murder, the figure 312.8 million is what you need to divide into the 8,775 yielding a terrifying 0.000028% chance of being a victim of a firearm murder in 2010 (if you’re a gambler, though, move to Chicago and you can quickly reduce the odds). 

In fact, you’re much more likely to die from one of these causes than a gunshot murder:

Chance of dying from any kind of injury during the next year: 1 in 1,820
Chance of dying from intentional self-harm: 1 in 9,380
Chance of dying from an assault: 1 in 16,421
Chance of dying from a car accident: 1 in 18,585
Chance of dying from any kind of fall: 1 in 20,666
Chance of dying from accidental drowning: 1 in 79,065
Chance of dying from exposure to smoke, fire, and flames: 1 in 81,524
Chance of dying in an explosion: 1 in 107,787

Life is perilous, but for the most part, not because of guns.

As someone recently said, we don’t need gun control, we need idiot control.  Not sure how we control the idiots, but I’m sympathetic to the idea.  Statistically though, the number of firearm murders per year simply doesn’t justify any renewed call for banning or restricting the sale or possession of firearms.


Twitter: @McQandO

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23 Responses to Perspective: Are firearm murders a significant statistic?

  • The first thing that popped into my mind after reading this was that the argument against Voter Photo ID was that the number of possible crimes is so small why try to legislate against it.  Now, we find that gun crimes are so small that we must legislate against it.

  • Saw an interesting stat the other day.  Seems more people are killed by bare hands than are killed by long-barreled firearms…including scary “assault weapon-looking” guns…in the U.S.

  • “Now, we find that gun crimes are so small that we must legislate against it.”

    I agree with your logic, but in one case (guns), there will be some talk, but no new laws, and in the other (voter ID), there are 30 new state laws. And although statistically guns are not a real threat, there ARE dead bodies from a theatre shooting a few miles from my house, and there are fewer cases of people walking into a poll and voting under a fake name than there were bodies in that ONE shooting.

    My only wish as far as guns are concerned, and this is not something I would like to see legislated, is that everyone participated in a gun safety class. I wish it were in the public schools. I think gun owners are generally well educated, but there are so many people who have access to guns that are not. Both of my children have attended gun safety classes, and I finally got my wife (who hates guns) to agree. I also think that some education would alleviate some of the visceral and irrational fear that many people have of guns. I have a thousand things in my house that could kill someone, only one of them raises eyebrows… well, there’s a few swords that might get some attention too.

    I disagree with gun control advocates mostly because they attempt to tap into this irrational fear with misleading or false information, but I disagree with the NRA for the same reason, as they attempt to tap into the irrational fear of jackbooted thugs going door to door collecting guns with misleading and false information. The only gun law Obama has signed is a law that expands the right to carry to national parks (stuck inside the credit card bill).

    Obama, has been the best thing to happen to the gun industry in decades, because of misleading statements by gun advocates. The NRA loves him so much they are probably funneling secret money to Obama’s re-election campaign. The Democrats know that if they get control of the legislature, the quickest way to lose it would be to pass gun control laws, even if they would like to.

    • Obama, has been the best thing to happen to the gun industry in decades, because of misleading statements by gun advocates.

      Why don’t you put up some of that awful, bad, and horrible “misleading” stuff?
      My perception is that NOBODY has needed to say anything to spur gun sales.  People know who your Collective is, and what Obama would do given the “flexibility”.  They also know that we might be seeing a break-down of law and order here before long.

      • Seems Janet Napolitano isn’t about to disspell her image as a sadistic butch prison matron from a 1955 B-movie.

      • Why don’t you put up some of that awful, bad, and horrible “misleading” stuff?

        Sure, for the misleading stuff, just go here, it’s all misleading , but here’s a few that were found to be flat our false by  Politifact:

        NRA Claims Obama plans to Ban use of Firearms for Home Self-Defense.
        NRA Claims Obama plans to Ban Rifle Ammunition Commonly Used for Hunting and Sport Shooting
        NRA Claims Obama plans to Ban the Manufacture, Sale and Possession of Handguns.
        NRA Claims Obama plans to Mandate a Government-Issued License to Purchase a Firearm
        In fact, as an organization the NRA has published numerous statement, and Politifact has checked 10 statements.
        Here’s the results:

        2 Panatlones del fuego
        4 False or Mostly False
        1 Half true
        2 Mostly true
        and only 1 out 10 that was just TRUE.

        Like I said, they are doing the same thing gun control advocates are doing, they are just doing it better.

          • “Yeah.  More of your lies.”

            No, just more of your obfuscating (or ignorance),

            I said Politifact fact checked 10 statements from the NRA, here they are, as I shared. Count ’em, count the results, and you’ll see I was 100% accurate.


            Apology accepted

          • No apology, just your continuing fantasy.  PoliLIES is not an authority.  Indeed, reading the site, it is clear that they are the opposite.
            So, we are back to the question; who do you think (besides yourself) you will fool with this bullshit?

          • “PoliLIES is not an authority. ”

            LMAO, this is priceless, first you use Politifact as your source in an ill conceived attempt to debunk my statement, then when you discover that I was right, you attack the credibility of the source.

            I’d ask if you have any shame at all, but clearly, you don’t.

            If I looked in an encyclopedia under “logical fallacies” they would have your picture!

          • You moron.  You pointed VAGUELY to PoliLIES as an authority.  I put up a link to a typical one of their BS write-ups, so that people could get their own eye-full of how stupid and gulled you are.
            This has been fun.

          • Like they know squat about projectiles!
            I’m surprised they know which end the BULLET comes out…or that one is “Out of ammunition”, not “Out of bullets”.
            Under previous attempts, mere copper jackets bullets would have been banned and the retards couldn’t grasp the differences between lead cast  and copper jacketed.
            And our CS has evidently taking instruction from Jacques Derrida.

    • … everyone participated in a gun safety class

      Took the family out, on the wife’s suggestion, to go to a local Rod & Gun Club for a intro via the “First Shots” program.

  • I agree 100%—we need idiot control.  How do we do that?

  • Come on, we know they include a free knife with every assault weapon sale.  The chart makes perfect sense.
    ^not serious.

  • While I agree with your overall point, the arithmetic near the end needs a little help.  First, 8775 / 312.8 million is .000028, which equals .0028 %.  Second, 312.8 million / 8775 is 35647, so the odds of dying from gunshot murder are 1 in 35647, which is greater than the last three causes of death in your list.