Outdated Josh Sugarmann cites domestic violence ‘facts’ in recent fundraising email

Outdated Josh Sugarmann cites domestic violence ‘facts’ in recent fundraising email
AP Photo/Jim Mone, File

The group Violence Policy Center may have been a group to contend with many years ago, and change is something they have enacted…But that was over thirty years ago. The group, in an attempt to stay relevant has popped out a new fundraising email to act as a “look at me” and all they’re doing, just regurgitated a bunch of outright lies and faulty studies. Actually, to be fair, the group may not have regurgitated anything, because they only cite themselves as a document source when it comes to the empirical data they’re using to shill money out of unsuspecting people that just want to do good. None of us want violence, so Sugarmann’s assertions and posturing makes it easy to act as a pitfall for the ill-informed.


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and – thanks to supporters like you – since 1988 we’ve published our annual report When Men Murder Women.

This is more than just original research. It’s a powerful tool that’s been used by organizations, policymakers, and advocates on the local, state, and federal levels to rebut fake pro-gun narratives and help stop gun violence against women.

You’ve probably come across the false pro-gun scenario promoted by the firearms industry and NRA: the vulnerable woman in a dark alley, with only a gun between her and a dangerous male stranger. Our research, made possible by your generosity, tells a very different story.

Sugarmann’s PR and fundraising people take some large strides where they completely diminish the efficacy of the use of firearms for self-defense or in defense of others. It’s hard to actually aggregate all of this data when many defensive gun uses that don’t result in shots fired don’t actually get reported. Even when authorities are called in, there’s close to nothing to report because a crime would have been thwarted in many of those cases.

Then there’s also governmental involvement.

For example, we did deal with the CDC scrubbing defensive gun use data from their rolls and records. My colleague Stephen Gutowsk from The Reload did obtain emails through a freedom of information act request between an anti-gun advocate and the CDC:


“[T]hat 2.5 Million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again,” Mark Bryant, executive director of the Gun Violence Archive, wrote to the CDC in one of the emails. “It is highly misleading, is used out of context and I honestly believe it has zero value — even as an outlier point in honest DGU discussions.”

We also have recently had to contend with the FBI potentially purposefully burying important data about defensive gun uses.

In fact, in keeping with the FBI’s definition of an active shooter, Lott’s organization excluded 27 cases where the legal carry individual stopped the bad guy before he got off a shot.

One incident the FBI misreported occurred in 2015 when an official with the FBI admitted that “the FBI did not come across this incident during its research in 2015, but it does meet the FBI’s active shooter definition.”

The official also admitted they will miss some active shooter cases because the reports “are limited in scope.” Despite the admission, the FBI never added the incident, Lott said.

Lott also said there exists a double standard where reporting is concerned. When his organization reached out to Texas State University, they responded to two of the cases identified by his group.

A researcher said one of the cases involved a shooting at a dentist’s office, which was excluded because it involved a domestic dispute. The other was at a strip bar and was not reported because it was a “retaliation murder.”

However, the CPRC noted at least 14 examples where the FBI’s list included shootings involving domestic disputes, while three others occurred where someone was refused admittance to a lounge or bar. Lott said, “Domestic disputes and ‘retaliation murders’ are only included when they don’t involve permit holders stopping the attacks.”


It’s convenient for the Violence Policy Center to state to their potential donors that defensive gun uses are not all that common when we have governmental agencies not reporting factually, it seems some are purposely withholding information, and we have a mainstream media executing marching orders to put extreme bias against any of the virtues of firearm ownership and use.

In reality, guns are rarely used by women or men in justifiable homicides or non-lethal self-defense, whether in the home or on the street. In fact, independent research shows that women who bring guns into the home actually have a greater risk of being a victim of intimate partner homicide following the purchase of the weapon.

The bottom line is that firearms don’t increase a woman’s safety, but actually heighten the risk of homicide – especially in the context of domestic violence.

Sugarmann and his cronies can spout these false rhetorics all they want, but they cannot change the facts. I’d like Sugarmann to go up to one of the many women who have self-defended with a firearm, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they are a statistical anomaly who should not be allowed to exist if he had things his way. The “if it only saves one life” line need not apply here.

The real cherry on top of this sundae is that Sugarmann et.al. don’t have to look very far to get information on defensive gun uses. Yes, they can look up all the studies that Dr. Lott does over at the Crime Prevention Research Center, but there’s a much more accessible and easy way to get a near daily dose of defensive firearm use. All someone needs to do is tune into Cam and Company here on Bearing Arms. Every episode – as far as I know, and with little exceptions – will have a defensive gun use story for Sugarmann to put in his pipe and smoke. Cam can weigh in here if I’m mistaken. [Editor’s note: John’s correct, and generally my trouble is deciding which DGU to highlight on any given day – Cam] 


We all know that these anti-civil liberty groups have to raise funds. They’re going to do every slimy thing they can to do so. The rhetoric they spew in order to gain political clout, etc. is the same garbage data they use to hook in policymakers. Unfortunately, people not as well informed are being treated rubes, while these groups grift in the name of a cause. But take Sugarmann’s word on it. It’s not like he has a track record of being dishonest.

…coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons… 

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