How many mass murders would occur without guns?

Never-ending gun rights fiction drives gun fanatics’ friction

Even supporters of gun rights can’t make the math of gun-related mass murders work to their benefit.

A 2019 article in the National Review, a conservative magazine strongly supportive of gun rights, shows the incredible weakness of their own arguments. Notes the article: “We’re focusing on the wrong thing. There is much focus this week on the role of guns in mass murders. But the history of such atrocities teaches us that other methods can be just as effective…Even today, there are a lot of non-firearm mass murders in America: In USA Today’s collection of mass murders for the period 2006 to 2017, nearly a quarter were done without guns. And most of them you have probably not heard about because they do not advance the Left’s cause of disarming the peasants.”

One-quarter without guns? And that’s supposed to help make the gun advocates’ case? By their own admission, 75%+ of mass murders involve guns. That’s a strong case for, not against, gun controls.

A Washington Post article updated in 2024 breaks down the math further: “Weapons other than guns are used less frequently in mass killings…There have been 120 mass killings in the U.S. since 2006 that didn’t primarily use a gun, including arsons and vehicular attacks…Guns are by far the most commonly used weapons in mass killings, accounting for 79 percent of the 574 events in which four or more people died since 2006, not including the perpetrators…Firearms can be uniquely efficient…Shooters killed 10 or more people at one time in 22 of those shootings, according to a database maintained by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University. That includes 60 people at a Las Vegas concert, 49 in an Orlando night club and 32 on the Virginia Tech campus…Only once in that time span was a vehicle, fire or other type of weapon used to kill more than 10: In 2006, a woman intentionally set a fire in a Reno, Nev., hotel, and 12 died.”

A 2022 Johns Hopkins-generated article further erodes the arguments of gun right advocates for free-wheeling gun policies: “Debunking Myths About Gun Violence…‘The common trope is that places like Baltimore or Detroit or Chicago are the reason we have so many gun deaths in this country,’ Cass Crifasi, PhD ’14, MPH, the Center’s director of research and policy,  told the Chicago Tribune. ‘And yes, those places…have unacceptable rates of gun homicides. But the places with the highest rates of death are not Maryland, Michigan, and Illinois. They are Mississippi, Louisiana, Wyoming, Missouri, and Alabama. The places with weaker gun laws have higher rates of death.’”

Given that more than three-quarters of mass murders involve guns, our work to help gun survivors recover near-term and rehabilitate their lives long-term is, unfortunately, a full-time challenge—and then some.

There is so much room for collaborative, common-sense gun control policy that current polarization between gun rights and gun control activists is absurd. We’ve always advocated for sensible, effective controls that decrease the number of mass murders, suicides by gun, and needless domestic violence deaths.

If the country’s founders had faced the gun issues we do today, does anyone really believe they would have enshrined the constitutional right to bear arms the way they did?

Despite the incontrovertible case for sensible gun control, inflamed pro-gun advocates and their lobbies continue to push an agenda that is patently absurd in today’s out-of-control gun environment. As former gun owners and onetime members of the NRA, prior to our daughter’s senseless death at the hands of an insane theater shooter, we’ve lived and breathed sensible gun control and meaty measures to help put appropriate policies in place.

The polarization must stop. The needless killings by gun must be reined in. Politicians need to quit pontificating and focus on doing something positive. Advocates on both sides of the issue must find common ground. Very few people argue the merit of responsible gun ownership. It’s the angry, frustrated perpetrators using automatic weapons to inflict as much carnage and death as possible who need to be marginalized.

If not now, when will we finally find ways to come together and start solving, instead of exacerbating, the number of gun-related deaths and injuries in this country?

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