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The Gun Control Debate: A Closer Look at the Data

The Gun Control Debate: A Closer Look at the Data
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Posted on October 3, 2023

The Gun Control Debate

In recent years, the gun control debate or discussions around gun control have become increasingly polarized, with passionate arguments on both sides of the aisle. It’s essential to engage in a thoughtful and evidence-based dialogue on this issue, rather than relying on sensationalized statistics and emotional rhetoric. Let’s take a closer look at some key insights and inconvenient truths that often go overlooked.

Understanding the Data

Back in 2016, Thomas Austin conducted a comprehensive analysis of gun deaths, utilizing data from the FBI and CDC. His objective was to provide a nuanced perspective, particularly from the standpoint of a legal gun owner. While statistics can vary slightly between sources, Austin’s findings are illuminating.

Suicides Account for the Majority of Gun Deaths

Approximately 65% of all gun-related deaths are attributed to suicides. It’s crucial to recognize that gun laws alone cannot prevent these tragedies. People facing despair may turn to other methods, such as overdosing on medications or leaping from buildings. International examples also demonstrate that countries with minimal firearm ownership still grapple with significant suicide rates.

Law Enforcement-Related Deaths

About 15% of gun deaths result from law enforcement officers acting within the line of duty, and according to available data, these incidents are considered justified. The intricacies surrounding these cases warrant separate discussions.

Accidental Discharge Deaths

Tragically, 3% of gun deaths result from accidental discharges. Responsibility for these incidents rests with the firearm owner or parents, similar to how one would be held accountable for directly pulling the trigger. While this is a critical issue, for now, let’s focus on gun control concerning criminal activities.

The Geographical Distribution

When we delve into these statistics, we discover that the headline-grabbing “30,000 gun deaths annually” requires a more nuanced perspective. In reality, “gun violence” numbers drop to around 5,100, equating to approximately 102 deaths per state per year. While any loss of life is tragic, it’s essential to acknowledge that crime, by its nature, involves violence. Criminals, by definition, do not adhere to laws, making the assumption that stricter gun laws alone will deter them somewhat unrealistic.


In conclusion, when discussing gun control, it’s essential to base arguments on comprehensive and balanced data. The issue is complex and requires a nuanced approach that considers not only reducing gun violence but also preserving the rights and safety of law-abiding citizens. _______________________________________________ Joe Shahoud is the owner and lead instructor at Safe Family Defense LLC, a firearms training academy that serves the greater Columbia, SC area specializing in pistol, concealed weapons permits, personal defense, and general education in personal safety. Visit their classes page to see what is available and enroll. Joe is also the owner of Safe Family Safes, an online retailer that specializes in fast-access smart gun safes and other gear essential to the concealed carry lifestyle. Copyright 2023 – All Rights Reserved, Safe Family Defense LLC
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