We’ve been seeing this headline off and on all year. It is alarming and not necessarily false. Recently it’s been making the rounds again in mainstream media—CNN, Fox News, Time magazine—stating that a CDC report finds that gun deaths in the U.S. are the highest they’ve been in 40 years.

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GunLove can’t find the original posting date of the WONDER (the CDC’s public online database) report CNN refers to but a quick Google search finds stories with similar headlines since early last year.

It is our nature here at GunLove to be skeptical of the mainstream media. We question a lot when reading the news. Motive needs special consideration.

As they say, ‘timing is everything,’ and we’re about to see a Democratic takeover of the House. A House already vocal about introducing new gun control legislation.

Our research finds that this most recent headline is probably true—gun-related deaths increased last year—yet the news outlets aren’t telling the entire story and in fact, skew the statistics to scare you.

Most news agencies are reporting that 40,000 deaths in 2017 were due to a gunshot. GunLove found the exact number on the CDC’s website to be 38,658. To compare, 38,748 died in a vehicle accident and 68,995 died from poisoning (which includes drug overdoses.)

What most of the stories fail to mention, or at least leave till the end of the article, is that 60% (23,854) of these gun deaths were suicide. It is also not obvious in most of the reported stories that the total gun-related deaths in 2017 included situations related to war, legal interventions (people shot by police—956 in 2018 to be exact) and unintentional actions.

So, what is the agenda here for bringing back this headline? Universal background checks, “assault weapons” and 3D gun bans, magazine restrictions…? It might be all the above. Any support anti-gun politicians can get helps them push their plan further. They’ve already said priority number one is banning the private sale of firearms.

Will we see the in-coming House Democrats protest again like their sit-in protest when they couldn't get gun control passed?
Will we see this behavior again soon?

Words mean things and of all people, journalists (writers) know this. Anti-gun media, groups, organizations and politicians obviously use them to their advantage. For example, Forbes writes, “A 2016 study found that school shootings are half as likely to occur in states with background checks—yet only 14 states had such a law in 2013.”

This statement as written is deceiving. All states require background checks for firearms purchases from a licensed dealer no matter where you purchase it…including online or at a gun show. It is a federal law. If you purchase a firearm from a licensed firearm’s dealer, you have to submit to a background check. If you purchase from an individual seller, who does not regularly sell firearms, you don’t have to perform a background check.

What Forbes is really trying to say is that some states have enacted “universal background checks” in order to combat what the media has incorrectly deemed “the gun show loophole” so that no matter who transfers a firearm from one person to another, a background check must be performed.

Yet, John R. Lott from the Crime Prevention Research Center think tanks writes, “Examining all the mass public shootings in the US from 2000 through 2015, we find that states adopting additional background checks on private transfers see a statistically significant increase in rates of killings (80% higher) and injuries (101%) from mass public shootings. There is not one mass public shooting that occurred over that period where these checks would have prevented it from occurring.”

Most facts and truths about guns, shootings and gun ownership are never widely disseminated because they don’t fit the narrative. Stephen Paddock, the shooter who murdered 58 people on October 1, 2017, at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada (the worst mass shooting in U.S. history,) was a businessman from Nevada who only ever had traffic tickets. In fact, from 2009, 19 mass shooters passed a background check and obtained their firearms legally.

Image from Louder With Crowder
Image from Louder With Crowder

Now, that doesn’t mean all of them were technically (by federal law) allowed to own a firearm. Some mental health and criminal history had not been reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which would have barred them from a purchase.

Devin Kelly, who murdered 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 5, 2017, had been convicted of domestic violence. The Air Force, where Kelly was enlisted at the time of the conviction, did not submit the information to the NICS system, which would have stopped Kelly from being able to purchase his firearms.

Dylann Roof fatally shot 9 people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015. He had been charged with drug possession. He was able to purchase his firearms legally because the F.B.I. examiner performing the background check failed to get Roof’s police report.

Jaylen Ray Fryberg killed four of his fellow classmates at Marysville Pilchuck high school on October 24, 2014, in Marysville, Washington using his father’s illegally-purchased firearms. Jaylen’s father, Raymond Lee Fryberg had a permanent domestic violence protection order against him and should have been denied the purchase of five firearms he bought from a Cabela’s.

The Democrats proposed “universal background check” law would have done nothing to prevent any of these shooters from buying a firearm. How would have expanding our already in-place law stopped any of these people from committing their crimes?

It wouldn’t have.

Anyone who thinks a law stops people from doing what they want lives in La La Land.

To put this into perspective:

Bottom Line

None of the anti-gun people’s “solutions” solve the issue.

Here’s the thing—no gun control law has ever proven to prevent crimes committed with guns. A background check doesn’t uncover any undiagnosed mental issue or magically reveal if one day maybe you might use your firearm in a crime. There is LITERALLY no way of knowing the answers to these questions. Further, Illegal guns—those purchased by criminals from criminals—will remain illegal.

For those of you who are skeptical, I understand. You think that pro-gun folks just say no to any gun legislation and for the most part, that’s true. Even ones you consider “common sense.” Why? Because we have yet to see one gun control law that makes sense and proven to actually work.

You’ve heard us say, and you’ll continue to hear us say “enforce the laws already on the books.” As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018, signed into law by President Trump on March 23, 2018, the Fix NICS Act of 2017 became law, which penalizes government agencies that do not report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Senator John Cornyn from Texas who introduced the original Fix NICS bill and the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act before that, says, “For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence. Just one record that’s not properly reported can lead to tragedy…”

So far, all gun control laws have done—except for Fix NICS—is punish the law-abiding. Really. It’s not the gun. It’s the person. And GunLove hasn’t once seen a bill come through trying to ban people.

That actually just might solve the problem.

Tell us what you think. Would universal background checks do anything to curb “gun violence?” What do you think the solution is to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section.
To read more on this subject, click here. 


4 thoughts on “Gun-Related Deaths Reach Highest Peak…Or Have They?

  • jim smith

    Currently, there are only 2 ways to legally sell a gun in the US to a private citizen. One is a private sale between individuals (typically like between family and friends) or by a gun dealer licensed with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the federal BATF. Only individuals with an FFL can run a background check through the government NICS database of prohibited persons. Private citizens cannot. Note that a person can purchase a firearm online, but the physical transfer of the firearm still must go through an FFL at the seller or an FFL local to the buyer. So anyone wanting to improve the process should encourage the federal government to give anyone free, public, anonymous online access to the NICS database. The NICS database is really a go/no go process and no useful information has to be displayed to facilitate phishing expeditions for identity theft other than what was already known by the user making the query. It’s certainly no more revealing than the national $ex offender registry or the FAA’s pilot and mechanic license query system where the latter provides more detailed information on presumably law-abiding citizens. Once this system is implemented, you then tell private sellers if you sell or transfer a firearm to anyone and don’t retain evidence that says you did a favorable NICS check on the buyer or transferee, you could be held liable if they commit a gun-related crime. This would effectively close the so-called private sale loophole and still preserve the anonymity of the parties involved the same way the current background check system does now. If a private sale firearm shows up at a crime scene, the BATF follows their current procedure of using the serial number of the firearm to contact the manufacturer and ultimately the last FFL that sold the firearm to a private citizen to obtain that citizen’s contact information from the ATF form 4473 the FFL is required to keep on file. That citizen is then contacted and produces the evidence from the NICS background check that identifies the second private citizen who is then contacted, and so forth.

    The real benefit of this proposal is how it can help identify the illusive killer with questionable behavior patterns or mental health issues that is causing so many problems. As it stands now there is no easy, fast, non-bureaucratic method for someone to determine if a suspicious person (client, neighbor, employee, potential date, student, etc) is a potential threat to society. If someone thinks an individual could be a threat, a query to a public NICS database would at least tell him or her in a few seconds if the individual could obtain a firearm. Then, armed with that information the appropriate authorities could be notified and they could decide if it was erroneous information or whether to investigate further. As it stands now, if you tell authorities you know a suspicious person they will probably ignore you, but if you tell them you know such a person and – by the way – according to the NICS database he can buy a firearm, they may be more inclined to investigate rather than risk embarrassment later if the worst happens. The same would be true if you see a suspicious acquaintance with a firearm when the NICS query says he’s prohibited from having one. It would also help provide piece of mind and a method for victims of violent crimes to ensure their assailants either on parole or still at large have not been excluded from the database because of some bureaucratic foul-up.

    Other specific public safety issues where it would be useful are:

     >Allow potential victims to vet known stalkers or acquaintances under a restraining order
     >Allow gun clubs to vet potential members
     >Allow shooting ranges to vet suspicious customers
     >Allow proprietors of “build your own firearm” gun shops to vet customers
     >Help prevent straw purchases by allowing FFL’s to vet all individuals involved with the purchase of a firearm as a gift
     >Allow mental health workers to vet troubled individuals like the Aurora Colorado theater killer
     >Allow resource officers and school officials to vet suspicious students like the Arapahoe High School killer in Colorado
     >Allow the family of the mentally troubled Lafayette, LA killer to verify he couldn’t purchase a firearm
     >Allow police officers to vet anyone they contact – (note the routine background checks performed by police often do not include information about firearms eligibility because they don’t directly access the NICS database

  • Rich

    There are over 370 “mental disorders” listed in the latest version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) The list includes “Tobacco Addiction Disorder” among other equally mundane and ridiculous so-called “mental illnesses.”
    If the DSM is the standard by which politicians wishes to remove our rights to own guns, then I’d guess 90% of the American people could probably be classified with a mental disorder of one kind or another.

  • Rich

    Fix NICS Bill Would Help Block Gun Sales to Peaceful People.. (UNconstitutional)
    The broader problem with Fix NICS is that it aims to improve a system that blocks gun sales to people based on criteria that are unfairly and irrationally broad. Those people include millions of Americans who have never shown any violent tendencies.
    Fix NICS, which Donald Trump supports and the House approved in December as part of a bill that also would make each state’s concealed-carry permits valid throughout the country, has 76 cosponsors in the Senate, including 32 Republicans. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who has due-process objections to the bill, is not one of them.
    Lee argues that the Department of Veterans Affairs wrongly identifies veterans as “mental defectives,” which disqualifies them from gun ownership, when they need help managing their benefits. In a March 18 Townhall essay co-authored by Mark Geist, Lee says about 168,000 veterans have lost their Second Amendment rights as a result of that policy.
    “Our veterans should not have to worry that their civil rights will be violated if they seek help from the very federal agency that was designed to help them,” Lee and Geist write. Lee favors an amendment “requiring a judge to determine that a person is a danger to [himself] or others, or meets similar criteria, before being labeled a ‘mental defective.'”
    Any record of court-mandated psychiatric treatment, even if the involuntary patient never posed a threat to anyone else; unlawful use of controlled substances, including taking medication prescribed for a relative and smoking pot in states where it’s legal; and living in the United States without the government’s permission, which (contrary to what the president seems to think) is by no means an indicator of violent intent. To the extent that “better” background checks prevent peaceful people from buying firearms, they do not qualify as an improvement.

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