Read this lead paragraph from a Violence Policy Center (VPC) press release and try, really try, not to lose it:
The latest research from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) confirms that state laws allowing concealed handguns in public are putting our safety at risk. Concealed handgun permit holders are responsible for at least 863 deaths not involving self-defense since 2007, including 29 mass shootings that killed 139 people, VPC research shows. Since there is no comprehensive recordkeeping of fatal incidents perpetrated by concealed carry permit holders, this tally most likely represents a small fraction of the actual total.
For proof, they link to their website concealedcarrykillers.org. Go there and you soon find that their numbers contain suicides, accidents, self-defense cases in which charges were dropped, cases still being adjudicated and more, yet the VPC counts all of these to come up with its “863 deaths” statistic that they attribute to concealed-carry permit holders since 2007.
What is clearly happening is the VPC is fudging statistics to make it seem like concealed-carry permit owners are a problem for society and that, therefore, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 should not be passed by Congress.
This conclusion might fit into a narrative some in the so-called “mainstream” media would like to push, but it is so provably false that for the most part the media has been too embarrassed to print this propaganda.
The problems with this anti-gun “study” isn’t just that it’s dishonest activism, but also that it is very shoddy research.
Dr. John R. Lott Jr., the founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, looked into the data behind the VPC’s claims and found all kinds of problems. Lott is an economist who is most known for his book More Guns, Less Crime. He is a statistician and a researcher with an expertise in the issues related to guns. He found that in the VPC’s numbers for Michigan, for example, that when they cite state-police reports on permit holders indicating that 185 died from suicide from 2007 through 2012 that “some alarm bells should have gone off” as “Michigan suicides supposedly making up 29 percent of all 636 deaths nationwide the VPC attributed to permitted concealed handguns.”
This conclusion might fit into a narrative some in the so-called “mainstream” media would like to push, but it is so provably false that for the most part the media has been too embarrassed to print this propaganda.Also, the Michigan State Police listing of suicides doesn’t list specific causes of death, so the VPC just assumed guns were used in all of these instances. “Interestingly,” says Lott, “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).”
Lott even says the VPC “can’t add simple numbers up correctly.” Though the VPC claims 20 pending cases and 14 convictions in Michigan, the Michigan State Police report a total of 14 and 11 cases respectively. Also, as it can take years for a murder case to go to trial, it is likely that some of the cases they cite actually occurred before 2007. And then the VPC “actually adds the ‘pending’ and ‘conviction’ numbers together,” says Lott.
And that’s just considering how the VPC used (or misused) the Michigan numbers to come up with their false national statistics.
Right now there are more than 15 million citizens with concealed-carry permits in the U.S. (that’s not counting the many who legally carry concealed in the states with “permitless” or “constitutional” carry). If “[c]oncealed handgun permit holders are responsible for at least 863 deaths not involving self defense since 2007,” including suicides and all the mistakes in the VTC’s dishonest math, then the death rate is still way below the national average. In 2015, according to the FBI, there were about 4.9 homicides per 100,000 people in the U.S. Whereas, with the VPC’s average of about 90 deaths (again including suicides and a lot of errors) per year out of, to pick a low number, 11 million concealed carry permit holders is .818 out of 100,000.
Lott took this even further by comparing the number of concealed-carry permit holders who have been arrested or convicted of firearms-related crimes to available statistics showing how many police officers committed such violations. He found that there are very few hard numbers to make this comparison, but that by comparing the number of people in Florida who had their concealed-carry permits revoked in a given year to studies on the few firearms violations police officers make, he determined that police officers commit many more violations than concealed-carry permit holders do—even though cops commit very few violations.
It can be frustrating to spend the time exposing a fraud like this VPC study. But when they claim: “Concealed carry permit holders are supposed to be the ‘good guys’ with guns. In reality, far too many permit holders are a direct threat to public safety,” then, like any liar, they have to be publicly confronted with the facts.Frank Miniter is the author of The New York Times bestseller The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide—Recovering the Lost Art of Manhood. He is also the author of This Will Make a Man of You and The Future of the Gun. He is a contributor to Forbes and writes for many publications. His website is FrankMiniter.com.