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The Orwellian named Violence Policy Center is back at it. They are trying to push into circulation a collection of numbers that simply to not mean what the VPC says they mean.
In a web feature called “Concealed Carry Killers,” they blame concealed carry permits for 636 deaths, nationwide, between May 2007 and March 2014. This, for the statistically minded, is about 90 fatalities per year some number of which will be criminals killed in self-defense. Not to make light of anyone’s death but several times that number die each year while shoveling snow.
John Lott, writing in National Review, parses the numbers further:
The VPC collects cases of permit holders’ abusing their permitted concealed handguns for each state. For Michigan, for example, it cites state-police reports on permit holders indicating that 185 died from suicide during the period 2007 through 2012. Surely some alarm bells should have gone off, with Michigan suicides supposedly making up 29 percent of all 636 deaths nationwide the VPC attributed to permitted concealed handguns.
But more importantly, the suicides are not in any meaningful way linked to the issue of carrying a permitted concealed handgun outside of one’s home. If you look at page 2 in the latest report from the Michigan State Police, you will see that in the listing of suicides, there is no indication of specific cause of death. The report merely notes that 56 permit holders committed suicide, without saying whether any or all of them used a gun. Interestingly, the suicide rate among permit holders in Michigan in 2010 (13.3 per 100,000 permit holders) is lower than the rate in the general adult population (16.30). But typically suicides — with or without guns — take place at home. So, again, what would these numbers have to do with the concealed-carry debate?
Shills are gonna shill and there is nothing we can do about it other than highlight the sophomoric incompetence that produces “data” like that in this report. By any standard, citizens with concealed carry permits are much less likely to use their weapons for illegal purposes than any other group and even when taken in the worst possible light, as VPC does, they do not present a great a problem to society as bee stings.
At some point the gun control movement needs to wake up and realize that the VPC makes them look ridiculous. Sloppy analytical work like this makes anyone arguing in favor of gun control look ridiculous if they use it. What should concern the anti-Second Amendment forces is that the VPC looks to be operated as a piggybank to provide jobs for its staff. According to its IRS Form 990 for 2012, the Violence Policy Center raised $822,000. They spent $432,000 on salaries, $80,000 on employee benefits, $137,000 on rent, and $20,000 on fundraising. They attended no conferences. Small wonder that their research is this shoddy.