The term “gun death” is popular among gun control advocates and their politicians who push that same agenda. It’s a simple enough term, too. It’s simply the total number of people killed with a firearm, regardless of who pulled the trigger or why.
It might even be a useful statistic in some cases.
However, when talking about guns and gun control, it’s misdirection at best and a case of lying with facts at its worst.
It’s an effort to lump all such fatalities together to make the issue seem bigger than it is. And it seems folks at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel got an eye-opener on the topic recently.
Gun deaths are rising in Wisconsin, but the people affected by it might surprise you. The narrative around gun violence is often limited to urban homicides, but the vast majority of deaths by guns are suicides. In fact, a new report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finds that suicides make up more than two-thirds of all deaths by guns in Wisconsin.
“Of 100 gun deaths that [occur] in Wisconsin, roughly 25 of those are homicides. And then there’s another one to 2% that are accidents or police involved shootings,” [Investigative reporter John] Diedrich explains. “The idea that 71 out of 100 gun deaths in Wisconsin are suicides was an eye-opener to me and to our readers.”
Diedrich acknowledges that suicides are, in fact, a mental health issue, but he’s paraphrased as saying that when those issues arise, gun owners have a very deadly means to take their own life.
I don’t dispute that fact.
However, starting with that last point, if they already have the means to take their own life, what good would new gun control laws do?
Moving back to the deeper point, that Diedrich was shocked by this, I can’t say that I am.
We’ve long known that most of the “gun deaths” cited by anti-gun activists were, in fact, suicides. We know why they do it, too. The truth is that when you look at the total number of homicides year over year and consider them against the total population of the United States, it doesn’t look nearly scary enough.
So, they lump in suicides and accidents and call them gun deaths, all in hopes that no one will dig too deeply.
When they do, they get a bit of a wakeup call.
It’s also why I really think we in the gun community need to step up and deal with mental health. We need to be champions of improvement in mental health efforts and be advocates for those in our lives who suffer from mental illness.
If we can reduce the number of suicides, we reduce the number of gun deaths. We take away the gun control crowd’s ammunition, even if that ammunition is based on what amounts to a lie.
In Milwaukee, at least one journalist has woken up to at least part of that lie. The question is whether he’ll realize the rest of it and do his part to combat the constant flow of misinformation from here on out.