Fake News: “Unsecured Guns” kill Kids

If people are sincerely interested in reducing the number of children that are killed with guns in the United States, it ill serves them to lie about the numbers. It creates distrust in everything that they say. It creates suspicion about their real motives.  In a story out of Flint, Michigan, the reporters claim that “the agencies” say that more than 7,000 children are killed every year in the United States “from” unsecured guns. From abc12.com (WJRT):

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Flint Police Department are passing out 300 gun locks to keep children safe.

The agencies say more than 7,000 children are killed every year from unsecured guns in the United States.

That number is false. The total number of people under the are of 18, who were killed with firearms, unsecured or not, was 1458, about 20% of the claimed figure.  It is unknown how many of those were with “unsecured” firearms. The term “unsecured” is undefined in the story.

A quick check with WISQARS, the database maintained by the CDC, shows the real numbers for the last year available, 2015.

From the  Center for Disease Control (CDC) for 2015, the latest year available, 77 people under the age of 18 were killed in fatal firearm accidents that year. It is unknown how many of those firearms were unsecured. Clearly, many were secured, as many of those fatal accidents occurred at the hands of an adult.

566 people under the age of 18  killed themselves in a suicide with a firearm, according to the CDC. How many were in legal possession of the firearm when they committed suicide is unknown.

765 people under the age of 18 were killed in homicides committed with a firearm. Again, we do not know how many of those were committed with a firearm that was under the control of an adult, or of a person under the age of 18 who had legal control of the firearm.

The total for all the deaths of people under the age of 18 from someone using a firearm, according to the CDC, was 1458, so 50 deaths occurred where the intent was unknown.

1458 is a little more than one fifth of the the 7000 claimed in the article. But that is all deaths, whether the firearm was secured or not. We do not know in how many cases the firearm was secured, how many cases the person who used the firearm had legal access, or how many cases the person who used the firearm breached the security on the firearm in order to use it.

John Lott, in research designed to see if laws requiring firearms to be locked up reduced deaths where a firearm was used, found no effect on juvenile deaths. However, violent crime and property crime increased. From econpapers.repec.org:

Abstract: It is frequently assumed that safe-storage gun laws reduce accidental gun deaths and total suicides, while the possible impact on crime rates is ignored. We find no support that safe-storage laws reduce either juvenile accidental gun deaths or suicides. Instead, these storage requirements appear to impair people’s ability to use guns defensively. Because accidental shooters also tend to be the ones most likely to violate the new law, safestorage laws increase violent and property crimes against law-abiding citizens with no observable offsetting benefit in terms of reduced accidents or suicides.

The research does not show the effect of private efforts to handle firearms safely. Safe storage can be part of that effort. Private efforts to increase gun safety, overall, seem to have been effective. The rate of fatal firearm accidents in the United States has been reduced by 94% in the last 85 years.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

Editor’s Note: While I do not want dismiss any tragedy, I think it is important to put these numbers into perspective.  1458 deaths by “children” under the age of 17 seems like a lot.  And I put quotation marks around children because I wouldn’t consider a 17 year old gang banger who gets shot in the commission of a crime as a “child” but I digress.

According to the 2010 census there are approximately 75 million US citizens under the age of 18.

Meaning that the chance of someone under the age of 18 getting killed by a gun, whether by accident, suicide or during a commission of a crime is .00002%  That breaks down to a 1 in 50,000 chance that a kid will be killed (or kill themselves) with a firearm.

To compare it to something the chances of them dying in some type of accident is roughly 1 in 2,000.


Gun Controllers have long tried to skew the numbers to make gun violence seem like some epidemic in this country when the truth is simply that it is not.  Gun Controllers pile ALL gun deaths in one package which is inflated by the fact that suicide with a firearm far outnumbers homicide and accidental death by firearm.  Now while suicide is unfortunate, there are literally MILLIONS of ways to kill yourself so blaming a gun for a persons choice is disingenuous at best and just ghoulish at worst. Furthermore, gun controllers love to pad their numbers by including those who are killed in the commission of a crime.  Ie, a serial rapist and murderer invades a home of a mother and her 2 young children but shoots the murdering rapist, gun control groups like the Brady Campaign will add his death to the “tragic loss of life due to gun violence.”  It truly is disgusting.

Be wary of blanket statistics.  I’m not saying discount them out of hand because I’m pretty sure I just through some at you above, but rather look into what the numbers are telling you and decide for yourself.


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