One of my observations in nearly 20 years of the Great American Gun Debate is how the gun control side seems to value feelz over facts.

Given the fact that humanity is hard-wired to protect and nurture children (even those that aren’t our own), that emotional button is an easy one for advertisers and politicians alike to push, regardless if their product, service, or policy really serves children. Similarly, gun control types have their own impulses to molest that same button for their own purposes, hoping feelings will distract from how thin their arguments are.

That can be the only explanation for why they were so enthusiastically waving around two “studies” they think prove how mandating prohibitionism are the only way to save children’s lives. Apparently, their emotional fervor for the studies eclipsed any need to have read the studies for themselves.

For example, the one published in a Pediatric Journal actually had relatively little to do with actual children. The study included adults aged 18-21, which made up the bulk–over two-thirds–of the victims.

But, when you looked at the dataset the study used, and restricted it to minors, as would befit a pediatric study, you find out something else that explains why they chose to inflate their numbers in this manner. About 18 states reported rates of pediatric “gun deaths” too low to give reliable stats for, and half of those states featured none of the laws the study assumed must be life-saving measures. That throws a major wrench in the narrative the study was trying to promote.

That also happens to prove that the study wasn’t intended to be an endeavor of neutral scientific curiosity, but advocacy. And people wonder why the Dickey Amendment was written.

The second study, touted by the Trace in one of its daily bulletins breathlessly exclaims how my native state of Tennessee is #2 in the country in child-related gun deaths thanks to “unsecured firearms.”

That sounds serious. How many? Hundreds? Thousands?


You read that right. Not eighteen hundred, not eighteen thousand. Eighteen.

I don’t know where the Trace got that number, nor Fox17 Nashville, since the linked “study” mentions Tennessee leading the nation, and not with 18, but 15 (I guess neither the Fox reporter nor the Trace could be bothered to actually look at their source material).

Not fifteen hundred, not fifteen thousand, but fifteen.

Fifteen out of 130 recorded incidents nationwide.

Not 130 thousand. 130.

The Trace is faithful to remind us every so often that 4.6 million children live in households with “unsecured” firearms,  but have been very reticent until recently to show us anything pertaining to how many deaths these households actually yield. Because, apparently, ignorance is a better tool for stoking fear than accurate data.

130 so far. Which, if we double that to project 260 kids lost this year, still means that the overwhelming number of children in these gun-owning houses with “unsecured” firearms (99.994%) will somehow manage to not die.

Thing of it is, the Trace won’t bother to ask the question, “What is it about these households that makes them so safe, despite our assumptions?” They will continue to agitate for mandated measures based on willful ignorance, and push aside the obvious successes gun owning parents have with raising their kids around firearms.

And they will not give gun owners the credit they deserve for being as responsible as they typically are.



Jeremy Hatfield

Jeremy T. Hatfield has been observing the Great American Gun Debate ever since he got his first handgun and concealed carry permit in 1999. He currently produces weekly Pro-2A videos for his Facebook...

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