30,000 lies
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I hear it all the time. The blood dancers scream "30,000 people die each year from violent firearm deaths!!!!!" It is repeated so often that most people probably take it for a fact.

I'm here to kill that rumor once and for all. And I'm going to do it using the CDC's data itself.

Go here to start. It's the WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999 - 2004.

For question 1

1. What was the intent or manner of the injury? (Select one)

Choose

  • All Intents

For question 2

2. What was the cause or mechanism of the injury? (Select one)

Select

  • Firearms

Leave everything else alone. This will get every death caused by firearms for every age, race, etc. Hit Submit.

Number of
Deaths
Population Crude
Rate
Age-Adjusted
Rate**
29,569 293,638,158 10.07 9.94

There's the mythical 30,000 number we hear about. That would seem damning if it weren't for the other options available to narrow this down.

Go back to the other screen. Let's look at the choices available for question 1.

  • All Intents
  • Unintentional
  • Violence-related
    • Homicide and Legal intervention
    • Homicide
    • Legal Intervention
    • Suicide
  • Undetermined intent

Now. unintentional deaths are interesting. This would mean "accidents". How many people die accidentally with firearms?

Number of
Deaths
Population Crude
Rate
Age-Adjusted
Rate**
649 293,638,158 0.22 0.22

Aren't we always told how dangerous guns are? How they'll kill everyone within a 20' radius. Interesting that 18,807 people died from falling yet there aren't any calls to repeal the law of gravity.

Anyway, back to the meat of the issue. Notice how the CDC groups suicide in with "violence". How many people committed suicide with a firearm in 2004? (Select Suicide for question 1)

Number of
Deaths
Population Crude
Rate
Age-Adjusted
Rate**
16,750 293,638,158 5.70 5.62

Now, that might lead one to believe that most people commit suicide because of the gun, but consider that 32,439 people committed suicide in 2004. Half of them didn't use a gun.

So now, let's do a little math shall we? If 29,569 people died via gunshots in 2004, but 16,750 of those were suicides, then the true number of homicides was 12,819. Not quite the 30,000 tune the blood dancers sway to. Now, we can't break it down any further except via "Legal Intervention" which means police shootings (311). Justifiable homicide is lumped in with murder

From the CDC's definitions

Homicide - injuries inflicted by another person with intent to injure or kill, by any means. Excludes injuries due to legal intervention and operations of war. Justifiable homicide is not identified in WISQARS.

Emphasis mine.

So, the next time you hear someone shout about 30,000 deaths, send them here. While 12,819 is 12,819 too many, it's nowhere near the 30,000 we're told about. Scare mongers need bad statistics to help them lie. A little research will show they have nothing but lies to stand on.

posted by by Robb Allen @
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