Gun Control Myths

Gun control myths mislead many people into thinking that more gun control is a good idea. However, a close examination of the facts show how the gun control myths are just that, myths.

Myth: 30,000 people are killed with guns every year.

Fact: 54% of these deaths are suicides. Numerous studies have shown that the presence or absence of a firearm does not change the overall suicide rate.

Myth: Assault weapons are a serious problem in the U.S.

Fact: Even weapons misclassified as "assault weapons" (common in the former Federal and California "assault weapons" confiscations) are used in less than 1% of all homicides. Police reports show that “assault weapons” are a non-problem.

Myth: You are more likely to be injured or killed using a gun for self-defense.

Fact: You are far more likely to survive a violent assault if you defend yourself with a gun. In episodes where a robbery victim was injured, the injury/defense rates are:

  • Resisting with a gun 6%
  • Did nothing at all 25%
  • Resisted with a knife 40%
  • Non-violent resistance 45%

Myth: High capacity guns lead to more deadly shootings.

Fact: The number of shots fired by criminals has not changed significantly even with the increased capacity of handguns and other firearms. Indeed, the number of shots from revolvers (all within 6-8 round capacity) and semi-automatics are about the same – 2.04 vs. 2.53. In a crime or gun battle, there is seldom time or need to shoot more.

Myth: The "powerful gun industry" stops all gun control legislation.

Fact: Total political contributions from firearm industry members, PACs and employees was under $4.4 million in the 2002 election cycle, which made the industry the 64th ranked contributor. Compare that to $33 million from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees. Perhaps the "gun industry" being referenced is the 65-100+ million adults (depending on which survey you believe) who peacefully own firearms and do not want their civil rights restricted.

Myth: Access to guns increases the risk of suicide.

Fact: The rate of suicide is not affected by the presence of a firearm. This is true in either a time-series analysis or through cross-national analysis. For example, Japan has no private handgun ownership (aside from an extremely limited number of licensed Olympic sport shooters), and yet had a suicide rate more than twice that of the United States in 2002.

For more gun control myths and the truth that debunks them, download Gun Facts.

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