How to Twist Statistics to Support Gun Control

OK everyone, we’re being played. Yes, we’re all trading lots of articles that support our particular world view, whether that be FOR gun control or AGAINST gun control. I wanted to write an article that addressed some of the worst logical fallacies and put them forward for everyone to see.

Here are the ones I’ve been seeing on a consistent basis:

  1. Include suicides in gun violence numbers.
  2. Comparing over large periods of time without comparing against similar countries.
  3. Claim reduction in “gun violence” and then fail to show the relative increase in knife, blunt object, and other homicides.
  4. Make it seem that gun violence has women as the victims.
  5. Guns are dangerous

1. Including Suicide Numbers as “Gun Violence”

Suicide is more prevalent in some societies than it is in others. In the US, it’s 12.5/100,000 (we’ll be using this type of rate a lot in this article because it shows a clear comparison of rate and accounts for population differences). In South Korea, it’s 28.9, Japan is 18.5, 9.2 in Germany, 15.3 in Australia, 11.1 in Sweden, in Canada it’s 9.8, and it’s reported to be the lowest in the Middle East: from 0.5 in Saudi Arabia to 2 in Jordan. Guyuna has a big suicide problem at the moment, they’re at 44.2 suicides per 100k people and they mostly (40%) kill themselves by drinking pesticides.

Clearly, we need to ensure that vulnerable young people don’t have easy access to firearms so that they won’t kill themselves for something that seems important to them at the time, but is just a blip in their potential lifetime, but what about older people who are terminally ill or just tired of living? Personally, I think we should have better access to doctor-assisted suicide so that those people can exit life on their own terms, and because much of end of life healthcare seems costly and just delays the inevitable for a very short period of time. That’s just my opinion, because I’m generally pragmatic and believe that people should have more control over their own lives.

Canada gun homicides vs suicides


Why is including suicide numbers in “gun violence” statistics misleading? Most of the time, people calling for control are calling for it to prevent homicides or mass killings. Suicides make up for the vast majority of gun deaths, so it’s very misleading to include them and use them in combination with statements about violence.

2. Comparing over large periods of time without comparing against similar countries

I found this one more recently with stats used on Australia. After the Port Arthur shooting in 1996, Australia enacted tough new gun laws. Homicide rates dropped 31.25% in the years since. Great success, right? Nope. The 80’s and 90’s were violent times for many “civilized” countries.

Homicide rates per 100,000 people.

1996 Current Reduction
US 7.4 4.7 36.49%
Canada 2.14 1.6 25.23%
Australia 1.6 1.1 31.25%
UK 1.1 1 9.09%

If I believed gun control worked, I’d have expected the biggest drops in the UK, where handguns were completely banned in 1996, and in Australia, which implemented a very restrictive gun ranking system and costly gun buyback. Canada implemented some gun control in 1995 as well, but you wouldn’t know just by looking at the numbers above.

Other variables are so much more important that they mask any impact of gun control laws when you perform simplistic statistical comparisons like this. This type of analysis is outside of most people’s abilities and can’t be done with a simplistic country X vs country Y comparison.

3. Claim Reduction in Gun Violence, Then Ignore Relative Increase in Other Types of Homicides

Trick question: which of these bars looks too good to be true?

Australia vs US vs Canadian homicide reduction

If you said “Australia Gun Homicide Reduction”, you win!

The goal of gun control laws is frequently claimed to reduce homicides, but then measured in reduced “gun homicides”. Seems to make sense, until you ask the obvious, “did criminals start murdering people with other means?”. OF COURSE. After Australia enacted gun control laws, gun control advocates claimed that “gun homicides” in Australia dropped from 2.5 to 1.1/100k. That’s a big reduction, around 75%, but what about our 31.25% number from above? Well, that’s true too. So how do we reconcile 75% with 31%? Murderers started using other tools to the point where the law and its effects look minimal at best. Gun homicide goes down, knives and others go up.

What’d Australia do about that? Well. . . .they’re still working on it.

4. Gun Control as a Weapon Against Women

I’ve seen this argument used in politics. That gun control is a way of reducing homicides when women are the target. A vote for gun control is a vote for women. At least, that’s what Mulcair claims:

Just to keep it short: everything in this statement is wrong. Here’s a brutal, point by point takedown if you care. In case you think I’m picking on the NDP, the Liberal’s recently released platform on gun control makes just about as much sense: none. Most of the points they have in their platform involve no change from the current laws, and it shows either a marked lack of awareness on how the current laws work, or it’s deliberately pandering to a supporter base that is ignorant about how current laws work. I’m guessing the latter. Here’s the corresponding beatdown on that platform.

By the numbers, men kill and are killed a LOT more than women. Men make up for 74% of gun homicide victims. If anything, men are the real victims of homicides.

There is still a problem in western societies with men killing their spouses or exes. Within Canada, you can call the RCMP with a spousal safety concern and I have no doubt in my mind that they treat those calls seriously and act quickly. And just a quick FYI: Bill C-42, the very bill that Mulcair claimed to harm women’s safety rights, made it more difficult for anyone with domestic violence in their record to get a PAL and acquire firearms.

5. Guns Are Dangerous

We surveyed scientists and they said, “Having a gun in your house increases the chances that you’ll die by a gun.” Statements like this are absolutely, 100% true. This seems like a dangerous point, but it really isn’t when you consider the risk factors. You know what’s really dangerous? Swimming pools. Those fuckers are 100 times more likely to kill your kids than having a gun in the house. If we cared about fact-based policy, we ought to ban swimming pools. You know, for the children. We should also look into cheerleading, it’s dangerous as well.

Just to be clear, this isn’t the researchers fault, asking if something increases a risk is a dumb question. “Owning a bicycle increases the odds of bicycle-related injuries and death.” Dumb statement, right? True, but still  dumb because it doesn’t factor much for relative risk.

Runners up:

“A good person with a gun has never stopped a mass shooter with a gun.” Never say never. Option 1, option 2, option 3, option 4, option 5, option 6, the list goes on.

“We don’t have AR-15’s and handguns in Canada.” Cough.

Interested in reading more, mostly unbiased Canadian Gun Stats? Check out this article I wrote on the subject last year.


  • Alex

    Very well said!

  • George

    Good to find a site that is about shooting from a Canadian point of view! Anyway, it’s not just gun control, but also where you can shoot.(eg. Mission firearm ban in 2014) What’s your opinion on that?

  • Reverend Veritas

    There’s a reason gunmen don’t go on shooting sprees with six-shot revolvers, so do you REALLY need a 50 round barrel mag for your glock? Honestly now.

  • True North

    I believe people shot by cops are also included in these gun homicide stats.

  • Mark Miles

    You’re eight Reverend Veritis, no one needs a 50 round magazine but do we want it, hell ya. Actually, at least for me, I want the freedom to be able to buy one if I choose to. Look at it this way, does anyone really need a car with 500 hp, no, but it’s legal even though in the wrong hands it can cause death to the driver or other people. My point is our government isn’t limiting how much gas can go in a vehicle or telling auto makers to limit sports cars horsepower so why shouldn’t law abiding citizens involved in shooting sports be allowed to buy the firearms we want.
    There are many other examples of things that are dangerous if a person is intent on doing harm to themself or others but it’s the person that commits the act. Motor vehicles, alcohol even water cause more deaths than guns in this country so should we make those things illegal too? It’s not the law abiding firearm owner people should fear, it’s the criminals and they do not worry about magazine limits or if their pistols are registered anyway. With the safety courses, paperwork and mandatory waiting period & classification we have in place now we have enough firearm laws. Stop interfering with a sport/hobby I and many Canadians love.

  • Will

    Not to shit on your crusade as I enjoy your content but check your facts regarding Australian gun control statistics.

  • Bilal Sher

    I guess the question then isn’t about criminals, it’s about legal gun owners that can have bad intentions or who develop bad intentions. And whether all gun owners should accept that we should give up a few of our wants to keep the rest of the country safe and/or have more moral high ground when it comes to negotiating and compromising when people don’t understand our perspective on guns and gun laws.

  • Mark Miles

    I don’t see how further restricting law abiding Canadian firearm owners will keep the rest of the country safe. Nor do I see how just accepting whatever restrictions the liberal government comes up with would give us moral high ground. And even if it did what good would that do us? Sadly though most law abiding gun owners will do just that, then complain about it later. Must be a Canadian thang.

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