GUNS:
   Facts &
      Fallacies

Doctors for Integrity in
Research & Public Policy

Edgar A. Suter, MD, Chair
5201 Norris Canyon Road
Suite 140
San Ramon, CA 94583

 

"Guns are used defensively by good people 1. to 2.4 million times every
year -- lives saved, injuries prevented, medical costs saved, and property protected"

 

Revised 10/27/93

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POLITICS OR RESEARCH? . . . THE TAXPAYERS PAY

On the issue of guns and violence, our group has uncovered shocking incompetence, distortions and outright lies in many major medical journals. We have discovered it is quite common for TAXPAYER-FUNDED gun control researchers to fabricate and sculpt their data to bolster their biased and foregone conclusions.

The "peer review" process is supposed to prevent the publication of research that is flawed in method or conclusions.  Editorial bias has caused a breakdown of that review process, allowing publication of much shoddy work simply because it supported the "politically correct" view.  Unusual showmanship accompanies the announcements of gun prohibition advocates.  Why?

Our group is also concerned that the 1990 Harvard Medical Practice Study -- a sample from New York state -- suggests that Americans are five times as likely to die from a doctor as from a gun.  An estimated 150,000 Americans die every year from medical negligence -- over five times as many deaths from doctors as from guns! A "public health emergency" about which the American Medical Association is suspiciously silent.  Politics, lies or incompetence?

THE NUMBERS

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and the Editor in Chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Dr. George Lundberg, in a June 10, 1992 JAMA editorial, claimed "one million US inhabitants die prematurely each year as the result of intentional homicide or suicide."  Since an average of 30,000 Americans die from gunshots each year, JAMA's claim is a 35-FOLD EXAGGERATION.  Yet congressmen listen with respect to their testimony on guns.

THE "INNOCENT CHILDREN" EXAGGERATION

Powerful images of children are used to mislead us.  Prohibitionists foster the image of gun deaths of "thousands of innocent children."   In order to make this claim, they have had to include young adults (to age 24) involved in gang and drug crime - hardly "innocent children."  10 TO 20 TIMES MORE CHILDREN DIE FROM CAR AND OTHER LEADING CAUSES OF ACCIDENTAL DEATHS AS DIE FROM GUNS - for example, in 1988, compared with 2,608 car, 1,014 drowning, and 10,094 burn deaths, 123 children (ages 0-10) died from gun accidents.

THE "43 TIMES" FALLACY

We have all heard that "a gunowner is 43 times more likely to kill a family member than intruder." How did this fallacy start?  In a 1985 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Drs. Kellerman and Reay described the proper way to calculate how many people are saved by guns compared to how many are hurt by guns.  The benefits should include, in the authors' own words, "cased in which burglars or intruders are wounded or frightened away by the use or display of a firearm [and] cases in which would-be intruders may have purposely avoided a house known to be armed..."

However, when Kellerman and Reay calculated their comparison, they did NOT include those cases, they only counted the times a homeowner KILLED the criminal.  Because only 0.1% (1 in a 1,000) of defensive gun usage involves the death of the criminal, KELLERMAN AND REAY UNDERSTATED THE PROTECTIVE BENEFITS OF FIREARMS BY A FACTOR OF 1,000! They turned the truth on its head!  Why?  Kellerman emotionally confessed his anti-gun prejudice at the 1993 HELP Conference.

Honest analysis, even by Kellerman and Reay's own standards, shows the "43 times" comparison to be superficially appealing, but actually a deceitful contrivance -- unfortunately, a lie that is parroted by the well-funded gun-prohibition lobby and by gullible and biased journalists.

THE "POLICE CHIEF'S" FALLACY

The victim disarmament lobby wants us to believe that it is dangerous to resist crimes like rape and assault using a gun -- but USING A GUN IS ACTUALLY SAFER THAN NOT RESISTING OR RESISTING WITH LESS POWERFUL MEANS.  Defense with a gun results in fewer injuries (17%) than resisting with less powerful means (knives, 40%; other weapon, 22%; physical force, 51%; evasion, 35%; etc.) and in fewer injuries than not resisting at all (25%).

When a victim is successful in repelling a crime, the victim is unlikely to report the crime, leaving police to deal only with the unsuccessful attempts to defend oneself.  Since police are exposed to a skewed sample of failure, they can honestly, though incorrectly, conclude that it is dangerous to attempt to defend oneself with a gun, the so-called "Police Chief's Fallacy" named after the former San Jose, CA Police Chief Joseph McNamara, a vocal gun prohibitionist.

LICENSING, REGISTRATION, & BANS

In a 1991 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr.  Colin Loftin attempted to show that Washington, DC's 1976 ban on new gun sales decreased murder.  Loftin and his co-authors, funded by YOUR tax money from the anti-gun Centers for Disease Control (CDC), produced a piece of "research" with several major flaws.  Despite these flaws, the editorial board of the New England Journal of Medicine, known for its anti-gun bias, published the article anyway.

Most shocking amongst the dozen flaws:

If "guns cause murder," why doesn't Virginia, the alleged "easy purchase" source of DC's guns, have DC's murder rate?  The black teenage male homicide rate in DC is 227 per 100,000, yet less than 7 for rural, middle-aged white men, the US group for whom gun ownership is highest -- there is an inverse relationship between homicide and gun density.  Homicide rates have been falling for decades for every group EXCEPT inner-city teenage males, the group for whom gun ownership is ALREADY illegal throughout the entire US.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO RESEARCH THAT SHOWS LICENSING, REGISTRATION, WAITING PERIODS, OR GUN BANS DECREASE CRIME IN THE LEAST -- obviously criminals that murder, rape and deal drugs won't comply with any gun law.  It is only good citizens that will be disarmed, defenseless, dialing 911, and dependent upon the dubious resources and questionable will of a capricious, rapacious, incompetent, and uncaring government.

THE "ASSAULT WEAPONS" DECEPTION

It is not just the American Medical Association, Handgun Control Inc. (HCI) and the media that have hysterically and grossly exaggerated the criminal use of semiautomatic guns.  The California Attorney General's Office conducted two statewide studies of the use of "assault weapons" in crime.  Both the 1988 Helsley and the 1990 Johnson studies showed that such guns are almost never used in crime, EVEN IN THE MAJOR CENTERS OF DRUG VIOLENCE.  Criminals prefer concealable weapons, not big rifles and shotguns.  The Attorney General office ignored and denied the existence of the studies until the studies were leaked to the press.

Of over two dozen published studies on "assault weapons," only one FLAWED "study" done by two newspaper reporters, the Cox newspaper study, suggested that, EVEN IN THE HIGHEST CRIME AREAS, semiautomatic guns were used in more than 0 to 3% of crimes.  The Cox "study" is invalid because it was based on gun traces.  The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), and the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress have all explained why gun traces cannot be used for statistical purpose -- simply, because guns are CHOSEN for tracing, such traces do not represent a true SAMPLING of the kinds of guns used in crime.  THE COX "STUDY" EXAGGERATED THE USE OF "ASSAULT WEAPONS" IN CRIME FROM 3 TO OVER 100 TIMES, depending on the definition of "assault weapon" and the locale studied.

Almost all of these newly fearsome, expensive target rifles banned are functionally like guns designed 100 years ago! The Los Angeles riots and other disasters show us that these so-called "assault weapons" are often the most appropriate weapons for self-protection by good citizens against mob and gang violence.

THE "RELATIVES & FRIENDS" FALLACY

Gun prohibitionists would have us believe that most murders involve ordinary people driven to kill in a sudden fit of rage only because a gun was present.  This is based on HCI's distortion of the FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics.  To the FBI, a murderer or rapist that lives in the victim's apartment building, or dueling drug dealers, are "acquaintances."  These are the "friends and family" that HCI says kill each other -- DEFINITELY NOT LIKE THE FRIENDS AND FAMILY YOU AND I HAVE.

Almost all the "relatives" killed each year are the very same men, well-known to the police, that have been brutalizing their wives, girlfriends, and children for years -- those men are killed in self-defense.  Would it be more "politically correct" if those women or children were killed by their abusers?

Law professor Don Kates has written, "Far from being ordinary, otherwise law-abiding citizens, those who commit murders, as every study of homicide shows, are real criminals with long histories of violence against the people around them...Indicative of this are FBI statistics showing that 74.7% of persons arrested for murder had been arrested previously for a violent felony or burglary..."

CONCLUSIONS

As a dozen national studies show, including a study by the National Institute of Justice and two studies commissioned by gun-prohibition organization, GUNS DO PROTECT US!  GUNS ARE USED DEFENSIVELY BY GOOD PEOPLE 1 GO 2.4 MILLION TIMES PER YEAR, far exceeding all reliable estimates of criminal misuse.  Using a gun to resist a crime or assault is safer than not resisting at all or resisting with means other than firearms.  Guns not only repel crime, guns deter crime as is shown by numerous surveys of criminals.

The studies proving the ineffectiveness and the dangers of gun prohibition are met with "if it saves only one life..."   The most loving person, however, must admit that A GOOD PERSON'S LIFE LOST BECAUSE A GUN WAS ABSENT IS AT LEAST AS VALUABLE AS A LIFE LOST BECAUSE A GUN WAS PRESENT.  Since 50 to 75 lives are saved by a gun for every life lost to a gun, we must see deceitful images that pluck at our heartstrings for the lies they are -- not a basis for public policy -- even when a doctor, a policeman, or a medical journal is telling the lie!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

SPREAD THE TRUTH!  Make and distribute copies of this brochure, even to advocates of "gun control."

WRITE YOUR FEDERAL AND STATE LEGISLATORS.  Insist that public policy be formulated using honest data and that their be no taxpayer funding of biased or incompetent research by the CDC or any other tax-funded group.  Insist that taxpayer-funded studies, like the assault weapon studies by the California Attorney General's Office, be made public, not suppressed because the results were "politically incorrect."

WRITE newspapers, TV, and medical journals and tell them that you will not tolerate dishonest or imbalanced reporting on gun control and other issues.  Expose the fallacies and show them the honest data.

GET INVOLVED AND VOTE for legislators that are truthful and that support your freedoms to defend yourself, your family, and your community.

DONATE to our group and others that support your rights to protect yourself from criminals, crazies, and tyrants.

FOR FURTHER READING...

POINT BLANK by Gary Kleck Ph.D. is a comprehensive evaluation of the research on gun control and violence available from the publisher, Aldine de Gruyter, at: (914) 747-0110.

THE SAMURAI, THE MOUNTIE, AND THE COWBOY: SHOULD AMERICA ADOPT THE GUN CONTROLS OF OTHER DEMOCRACIES? By David Kopel JD is a comprehensive cross-cultural comparison of gun control and violence in other countries available from the publisher, Prometheus Press, at: (716) 691-0133.

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