Anti-gunners tend to be emotionally-driven. They scream about how gun control is needed to save lives and they invoke emotional arguments like screaming about Parkland or Las Vegas, all in an effort to guilt-trip people into supporting their positions. They don’t even really try to hide this fact. After all, if you disagree with them, they call you a heartless monster and claim you don’t care.

Yet we all know that’s not likely to win arguments. If people aren’t emotional on a topic, you can’t really make them emotional.

At some point, you need facts.

The problem is, anti-gunners rarely have these. So, when they can’t find facts, they use people’s lies and pretend they’re facts, like this op-ed from the Dallas Morning News.

According to Gun Violence Archive, there were 418 mass shootings in 2019. That means that on average there was more than one shooting every day for the whole year. The U.S. government should enact more gun control laws that prevent unfit or unqualified people to own guns, because guns increase the risk of homicide and guns are very rarely, if ever, used in self-defense during violent crimes.

We’ll get to that las claim in a minute, but let’s start with the assertion that there 418 mass shootings last year.

That number comes from the Gun Violence Archive. That’s a favorite source for anti-gunners to go to, particularly for media purposes. The problem is, the Gun Violence Archive is a prime example of how you have lies, damn lies, and statistics.

The Gun Violence Archive manipulates what data it collects in a blatant attempt to inflate the total number of mass shootings.

When most people hear that term, they’re thinking of dead bodies strewn everywhere. They’re thinking of Parkland, Columbine, or Las Vegas. After all, the official definition of mass murder is three or more killed in a single incident. It’s generally held that mass shootings are the same thing, only with a firearm being used.

But Gun Violence Archive doesn’t just count those incidents. It counts any incident where three or more people are shot in a single incident. That includes a whole lot of gang violence where two groups are shooting at each other but no one is killed.

This is an effort to create the illusion that mass shootings are just so common that we no longer hear about them, but that’s not true. Gun Violence Archive doesn’t want people to look too deeply, though, because then they’d see how the numbers are being manipulated.

Then again, that’s not the only example of the writer using statistics to outright lie.

On top of that, guns are rarely used in self-defense. Some people who are pro-Second Amendment claim they need guns in order to defend themselves in case they are in danger, however this rarely, if ever, happens. For example, according to the website ProCon.org, out of the 29,618,300 violent crimes committed between 2007 and 2011 only .79% of the victims actually used a gun to defend themselves. This disproves an argument often used by those who do not want the government to make stricter gun laws.

The problem here is that the writer–admittedly, a high school student, but if they’re old enough to pontificate about taking away our rights, they’re old enough to get slapped down for it–didn’t do more than a cursory web search for evidence to back up their position.

ProCon.org’s numbers are flat out wrong. Sure, they’re quoting a study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, but it’s a flawed study.

First, let’s remember that many of those nearly 30 million violent crimes happened in places where people can’t really carry a gun for self-defense. Highly gun controlled states make it difficult for many to carry a firearm for whatever reason. May Issue states that require a reason to carry a gun often make it impossible to carry a firearm for defense purposes.

Second, the study looks at cases where a firearm was used for self-defense and then law enforcement became involved. That’s not the case of what happens in many instances. Many times, once a firearm is presented and the threat is over, people move on with their lives without reporting it to police.

Further, of those almost 30 million violent crimes, how many would have justified using a firearm in self-defense anyway? Remember, a bar fight isn’t worth killing someone over, but it’s most definitely a violent crime.

The study claims that a mere 235,700 protected themselves with firearms between 2007-2011, but that’s a low-ball estimate compared to some other sources. For example, even the CDC found a number almost 10 times greater. Those numbers are similar to those found by criminologist Gary Kleck of FSU of 2.5 million defensive gun uses each year.

So, again, lies.

The thing is, that’s all anti-gunners really have in the long run. There’s no mention that of those almost 30 million violent crimes, only 478,400 each year are with a firearm. That might present the “problem” as not as much of a problem as they like. There’s no mention of alternative tabulations of defensive gun uses. There’s nothing at all to present a balanced picture or even an accurate one.

But that’s all they have, really, other than the emotional arguments. The problem is, when this is all you have, there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to listen to you.