170 Comments on “How many Americans have died from handgun violence since Newtown?”

  1. The Original Larry says:

    “jdm has turned someone’s estimate of the number of people who believe (believe!) they’re saved by their guns into an ironclad fact.”

    Why not? Brian turned gun deaths into “handgun violence” with about the same amount of evidence.

  2. Peter Hahn says:

    Mervel what is your point? You probably need to control for population size and number (and type) of gangs. There is also a lot of noise in low numbers.

  3. Peter Hahn says:

    people who own guns are in much more danger simply by owning guns, yet many of them think they own guns for safety. That is a delusional thinking that is a big part of the problem.

  4. Peter Hahn says:

    other activities, like skiing or hang gliding or riding motorcycles are dangerous, but those people dont delude themselves into thinking that they are actually safer by engaging in those activities.

  5. Kathy says:

    The secular progressives are trying to sanitize our country the way they accuse Christians of doing.

    Christians look to God for guidance. Secularists make their own rules, even if it means taking away our unalienable rights given by the Creator.

  6. JDM says:

    hermit thrush: “jdm has turned someone’s estimate of the number of people who believe (believe!) they’re saved by their guns into an ironclad fact.”

    Kind of reminds me of Obama’s “jobs saved or created”. People who “believed” they would have lost their jobs had Obama not acted.

    Oh, yeah. That was taken as fact.

  7. Peter Hahn says:

    kathy – are you saying that gun rights are unalienable rights given by the Creator?

  8. JDM says:

    “The CBO estimated that in the fourth quarter of 2010 there were somewhere between 1.3 million and 3.5 million people who were then employed who would not have been had the stimulus not been enacted. ”

    Holy Batman, Marth!

    That’s somewhere between 92,602 and 249,315 jobs saved or created since Newtown!

  9. The Original Larry says:

    “people who own guns are in much more danger simply by owning guns”

    Proof? That’s another item of BS that has been repeated so many times people think it’s true.

  10. JDM says:

    Peter Hahn: “kathy – are you saying that gun rights are unalienable rights given by the Creator?”

    Inalienable means not given by a legal system. They are naturally acquired, universal, God-given, or otherwise.

    What they are not is they are not given to us by the Federal Government.

    What the Federal Government did not give, the Federal Government cannot take away.

    Likewise, State, Village, County, etc. governments.

  11. Walker says:

    So lessee here… how is the right to abortion less natural? Oh, and where in the Bible are gun-rights mentioned?

  12. JDM says:

    Walker: we don’t have a guaranteed right to abortion.

    The Supreme Court laid that egg. What the Supreme Court gaveth, the Supreme Court, or Constitutional amendment can taketh away.

    I don’t believe the Bible mentions gun-rights. They are inalienable. Natural, universal, God-given, or otherwise.

    Must be “otherwise”.

  13. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Chicago, New York and DC have strict gun laws, and most of the guns used in crimes there aren’t bought there. Something like 90 percent of the guns used in crimes in NYC, and 70 percent upstate, trace to other states. You can’t point to a place like DC as an example of the failure of gun control when you can go to Virginia and buy a pistol about as easily as a bottle of Robitussin.

  14. Paul says:

    “people who own guns are in much more danger simply by owning guns, yet many of them think they own guns for safety. That is a delusional thinking that is a big part of the problem.”

    Peter is this true? It could be. Do you have a link to some evidence? Do you mean criminals that are using guns as part of their “profession”. Most of those kids are not “delusional” as you say, in fact I have read that most of them know they will be killed by a gun at some point.

  15. Paul says:

    Peter I am not sure you know what you are talking about. Skiing is very very safe and most of us who do it know that. Don’t know about hang gliding but I can’t imagine it has a very high death rate just like skiing. You are much much much more likely to break your leg walking down the sidewalk than when you are skiing.

  16. Walker says:

    “Guns save 400,000 lives per year.”

    JDM, that 400,000 figure has been widely debunked. Time Magazine ran an analysis of such claims in “Do Guns Save Lives?” and concluded that the evidence was weak to non-existent.

    Even Paul Blackman, research coordinator for the N.R.A., concedes that the advertisement [based on the statistic] “stretches the data.” He adds, “I don’t know of any criminological study that has tried to quantify the number of lives saved based on the number of guns that were successfully used for protection.”

    Kleck says his study did not consider the question of lives saved. Nor did he conclude, as the N.R.A. claims, that a crime or an assault had been “thwarted” in each of his estimated 645,000 (the ad upped it to 650,000) annual instances of a protective use of a gun. Kleck notes that his study may have included incidents in which a homeowner merely heard noisy youths outside his house, then shouted, “Hey, I’ve got a gun!” and never saw any possible attacker.

  17. The Original Larry says:

    So, Obama plans to take “executive action” on gun control. God help us if he gets away with it. I may have to reconsider the nascent modifier in my recent dictator comment.

  18. Kathy says:

    kathy – are you saying that gun rights are unalienable rights given by the Creator?

    Do I really need to explain this further Mr. Hahn?

    The unalienable rights given by the Creator are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. True?

    And then, we have the Constitution which is not a fluid document to be formed to us – but us forming to it – and the 2nd amendment protects an individual right to protect and carry firearms.

  19. Peter Hahn says:

    paul – gun ownership is dangerous. There are lots of accidents. (My brother-in-law shot himself accidentally). My other brother in laws neighbor is a survivalist who carries a gun with him at all times and teaches gun safety. He sheepishly admitted that he was recovering from accidentally shooting himself. Most gun deaths are variants on accidents. Skiing is less dangerous. but… Every year somebody gets killed at Whiteface – they hit a tree at high speed for example. Walking down the street is safer than skiing (although crossing the street is dangerous).

    My point is that if someone is seriously concerned about their personal safety, they shouldnt own guns.

  20. Peter Hahn says:

    If people want to do dangerous things, thats frequently their business, but I bet those 7 children who were killed by guns that Brian mentioned above werent stupidly cleaning guns they forgot to unload.

  21. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Yes, the Constitution gives you a right to own guns, but it doesn’t mean that the government can’t impose some restrictions. The current Supreme Court, which leans conservative, said this in the Heller decision a few years ago.

    As for the Constitution, our interpretation changes every generation. It’s a lot more fluid than people think. The Heller decision was the first one ever where the Supreme Court said the Second Amendment is an individual right.

    Take school segregation — for decades, it was constitutional. Suddenly, in 1954, it wasn’t. The wording of the relevant parts of the Constitution didn’t change during that time, just the justices’ interpretation of what it meant. Or the principle of a right to privacy, which so many subsequent decisions were based on — didn’t exist until Griswold v. Connecticut in the 1960s. Or the McCain-Feingold bill — the Supreme Court said it was constitutional in 2003, unconstitutional in 2009. The constitution’s like any other law, written by humans reacting to the needs of the time, and interpreted subsequently to fit the needs of the people and the times that come after them.

  22. oa says:

    The constitution says any of us have an absolute right to a nucular weapon. And fk anyone who thinks differently. They should be shot.

  23. Kathy says:

    The constitution’s like any other law, written by humans reacting to the needs of the time, and interpreted subsequently to fit the needs of the people and the times that come after them.

    Freedom is not negotiable.

    The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are bedrock documents which deserve our utmost respect. Laws can be interpreted with each generation – not the Constitution.

  24. Marlo Stanfield says:

    If the Constitution didn’t need to be interpreted sometimes, we wouldn’t have a Supreme Court.

  25. Pete Klein says:

    Number of people killed by gun violence in Indian Lake, NY, since Newtown: 0.
    And the point is what?

  26. Marlo Stanfield says:

    I think the point was a lot of people get killed by gun violence in this country.

  27. mervel says:

    El Paso TX, 19th largest city in US number killed since Newtown 0.

  28. mervel says:

    We just need to present the data to facilitate the discussion.

  29. mervel says:

    So Marlo are you saying that if we pass more gun control laws criminals might actually ignore the legislation, like they do in DC?

    As Brian says we need to look at the data where are the gun crimes happening and importantly where they are not happening.

  30. Paul says:

    Peter my question is -are gun owners more likely to be killed or injured by guns? What is the data? What happened to your brother-in-law is unfortunate (sorry to hear about it) but it is not data that should affect a decision by itself. I have a number of guns in my house, and two children. The guns are locked in a safe with trigger locks. The ammunition is locked in a separate locker. If they are handled properly they are safer than the knifes I assume you have in your kitchen.

  31. Paul says:

    Pete the entire town of Long Lake, NY was killed since that shooting in Connecticut. Are you paying attention to the rhetoric?

  32. Paul says:

    Kathy, the founders specifically meant for the constitution to be modified if necessary in the future. They are the ones that came up with the whole “amendment” thing.

  33. Paul says:

    The rate of skier deaths is about 0.88 per million ski or snowboarder visits. I would not call it delusional to think that this is a safe and fun thing to do. Not to mention that doing it is actually GOOD for your health.

  34. JDM says:

    Paul: the process for amending the Constitution is purposely difficult and requires a large part of the population to weigh in.

    It’s not like Obama can amend the Constitution by Executive Order.

    Thank goodness.

  35. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Mervel, obviously I don’t expect criminals to follow the law just because it’s the law. But people break laws more often if they’re easier to break. And when traffickers can stock up on guns in states where it’s easy and resell them in states where it’s harder to buy guns, that’s going to happen, and does happen, a lot. You make that a bit harder to do, it’s not going to happen as often.

  36. Marlo Stanfield says:

    As for the data on crime rates and a state’s gun control laws, there’s no clear-cut relationship. Wyoming has lax gun laws and few gun crimes. Louisiana has lax gun laws too, and New Orleans and Baton Rogue are among the most dangerous cities in the country. New York has strict gun laws, and Saranac Lake is a perfectly safe place to live, but Newburgh’s one of the top-ten most violent cities in the U.S.

  37. scratchy says:

    I do think that Original Larry has a valid point. Why use the word “handgun” in the title of this post but in the post link to an article that records all gun violence? And why hasn’t Brian Mann acknowledged, apologized, and then corrected the mistake by revising the title to say “gun violence” instead of “handgun violence?” I am a bit baffled by that oversight.

  38. scratchy says:

    Comparing the number of deaths by jurisdiction is not very informative if you don’t control for population. The population of NYC, for example, is many times that of North Dakota.

  39. Peter Hahn says:

    Paul – my brother in law recovered (his arm doesnt work as well as it used to). There are lots of statistics – Brian mentioned some. Im glad you keep your guns locked and the ammo in a separate, locked, storage. Thats what everyone is supposed to do. and – if everyone did that, there wouldnt be so many children killed.

  40. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    When we look at the prevalence and location of gun crimes let’s not forget to look at the crimes of illegal gun sales. A gun sold or stolen or “stolen” in an area with low murder rates may end up in an area with much higher murder rates.

  41. The Original Larry says:

    Brian’s lack of acknowledgement was not an oversight. He replied twice (yesterday at 12:29 & 1:20) to my criticism of his “data”. Go back and read his posts and you’ll see what he thought of that criticism.

  42. Brian Mann says:

    Guys –

    This is angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin-semantics stuff. And I’m just no interested in playing that game.

    I linked to data that is easily searchable, easily understandable.

    I used the phrase “handgun violence.”

    So what?

    The big issue here is that 695 people have died from gun violence since Newtown, up by another 52 since Slate posted their last, best estimate from available data.


    I suspect that in the end common sense people will dig through this data and look for reasonable solutions, wherever they might be available.

    In some cases, the solution may be creating safety features on guns that make them less dangerous for young children.

    In other cases, it may be limiting the efficiency of weapons, so that they’re not as capable of killing large numbers of people in short periods of time.

    Any such solution that is proposed will first face the test of our democratic system, and a review by the courts.

    – Brian, NCPR

  43. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Marlo, while illegal gun trafficking is an issue in some places, we should not that it is, in fact, already illegal. I would be far more willing to abide by a new law restricting firearm purchases to with in the the residents state than I would be for blanket ineffective solutions like banning a gun based on magazine capacity.

    I’ve just counted and I own about 30 long guns and 15-18 handguns. I’ve never been hurt by any of them, other than than sinking the front sight of an ’03 Springfield into my arm while learning to do rifle drill from a member of the USMC Silent Drill Team, and I’ve never hurt anyone else with any of them, nor has anyone else hurt themselves with any of them. OTOH, I’ve been hurt numerous times by knives, chainsaws, hammers, screwdrivers, drills, axes, pulp hooks, lawn mowers, snowblowers, broken both legs skiing, broke a hand wrestling , destroyed both ankles playing soccer, pretty much destroyed both knees running, dislocated a shoulder boxing, drove a hunk of metal through my knee scuba diving, have been dog bit several times, kicked in the face by a horse, got frost bite on several occasions, have been burn innumerable times welding, have a number of job related injuries and have experienced the heartbreak of male pattern baldness, gotten fat eating too much good food and PO’d a whole lot of people back when I was drinking which often resulted in black eyes and loose teeth. Judging by my experience, I’d be a lot safer hanging out at the sandpit shooting rocks than doing almost anything else!

    Brians sensationalized headline, based on incomplete fact and anecdotal evidence, fails to note the other side of the argument- lives saved by guns. In the past 2 weeks a young mother at home with her kids shot an ex-con burglar 5 times after he approached them as she and her kids hid in a attic crawl space. An Oklahoma woman home alone with her infant shot and killed a burglar in her home on New years Eve. A Columbus Oh man with his infant child was forced to shoot an armed robber after giving the man all his cash. The robber started to walk away but turned and pointed the gun at the father who was shielding his child with his body. Fortunately he was able to retrieve his licensed pistol and shot the criminal who was later found at a nearby hospital. I don’t have access to every story out there where a gun saved a life, but these caught my eye over the past few days. That young mother hiding in the attic and her kids could have been raped and murdered, same for the Ok, woman and that robber could have killed both the father and his baby if not for their ability to protect themselves. I realize some people will present the argument that those people might not have been killed. Maybe, but it seems likely they would have. People say they want an end to the gun deaths. We all do, we also want an end to protecting the criminal and making the legal gun owner into a criminal!

    There’s an old saying, “Gun control is the idea that a 5’2″ 120 lbs unarmed woman is morally superior to the 6’2″ 300lbs rapist.”

  44. Rancid Crabtree says:

    WOW! So Mr “Factually Inaccurate” doesn’t have to abide by the same rules he lays out for everyone else!

    You should be ashamed of yourself Brian Mann.

  45. The Original Larry says:

    Your post with the impressive list of links to “studies” does not include the information that virtually all of those studies concern suicide, at least one of them (on homicides) included a caveat about the inability to determine “causation” and one of them included this:

    “Recent gun owners were 7.8 times more likely than non-gun-owners to have threatened their partners with guns.” I’m not quite sure what the point is there.

    All the hysteria, misleading statistics, bad math, stupid comparisons and “common knowledge” about guns, violence and homicide makes me have doubts about the sincerity of anti-gun advocates. It seems they are willing to do and say anything to achieve their goals and I am not so sure about those goals either. It looks like they don’t care about anything but their own agenda.

  46. The Original Larry says:

    When you say “So what?” to using misleading data, inaccurate “facts” and inflammatory rhetoric you call into question the legitimacy of everything else you write. Do you think responsible journalism includes bending and shaping the truth to suit the advancement of a particular agenda? I don’t think most people do.

    You go on to reference the “democratic system” as some sort of balance to your brand of “journalism”. By “democratic system” do you mean our shrieking Governor, clownish Vice President and President who threatens to resolve issues by executive order? Court review? The same court that ruled the government can compel us to buy insurance by calling the premium a tax?

    Soon nobody will be laughing at the Second Amendment.

  47. Mervel says:


    I would totally agree with your statement that gun control laws have no relationship to gun violence either way. As you point out some states with strict gun control have very high gun violence other states with lose gun control also have high rates, some states with lose gun control have very low rates.

    The one statistic that is very interesting is the number of households that own guns, the prevalence of guns in a particular state, what we find from that is that states with very high household gun ownership rates do NOT have high gun violence deaths. Of course what type of guns are those? Most states with high household gun ownership rates are more rural and more into hunting and sport shooting.

    Whatever gun control happens it should likely be targeted at these murder hotspots and targeted toward particular types of weapons that have no real purpose outside of the military.

    The numbers posted are for all practical purposes don’t help us with this discussion. If all of the gun murders since Newtown happened in Chicago, we have a Chicago problem not a gun problem.

  48. Brian Mann says:

    Larry –

    Nonsense. I linked to the data, allowing all and sundry to dig into the numbers and see what’s there and to form opinions and views about them. There is no bending or shaping.

    And in the days that you’ve been throwing out theories about conspiracies and plots and agendas and semantics, dozens more people have died from firearms.

    You dismiss elected officials as “shrieking” and “clownish”. But they’re responding to a real and present danger, faced by thousands of Americans every year.

    They’re responding to the murder of firefighters in western New York and the slaying of children in Newtown — with military style assault rifles.

    And it’s not immaterial in a democracy to point out that, at least here in NY, these are elected leaders with high approval ratings – Obama with support from two thirds of those polled by Siena and Cuomo with backing from 72% of New Yorkers.

    We’ll see where this goes. But I suspect that as the gun deaths continue to mount, politicians and the public this time will be less swayed by distractions and rhetoric.

    There will be up-or-down votes on significant gun safety regulations. We may as a society decide not to go that route, but there will at least be a real debate and real votes.

    That’s healthy.

    –Brian, NCPR

  49. The Original Larry says:

    No real debate or democratic process begins with anecdotal evidence being presented as fact and gun deaths being mis-represented as “handgun violence”. Unfortunately, that is exactly how reactionary agitation begins. We will see where it goes. Truth is not rhetoric.

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