Everytown's Homicide Statistics Nothing but Misdirection

AP Photo/Don Thompson

Everytown for Gun Safety isn't really about gun safety. They're about gun control and everyone, if they're being honest, knows that. They just figure it's safety if no one can have a firearm.


They typically weigh in on every gun-related debate anywhere in the country, and the current debate in Florida is no exception.

However, their efforts to illustrate the importance of the Florida law barring long gun sales to adults under the age of 21 is indicative of their overall efforts.

You see, they use "facts" to try and misdirect people.

We wondered: Does data show the age cohort having that high of a propensity to fatally use firearms against others? And if so, why?

Data shows younger Americans are likelier to commit fatal shootings

Crime data in the United States is notoriously incomplete, but experts agreed that general trends from state and FBI data show people ages 18 to 20 — and in many datasets people in their early-to-mid 20s — are likelier to commit deadly shootings than other age groups. 

Gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety said in a June fact sheet that "data show that 18-to-20-year-olds commit gun homicides at triple the rate of adults 21 and older." 

The group’s media office said researchers arrived at that calculation using the FBI’s supplementary homicide report and the U.S. Census American Community Survey from 2016 to 2020. Everytown’s researchers said they considered variables in the FBI data, including crime type, weapon and offender’s age. Researchers then used census population data to estimate each age group’s rates of committing a fatal shooting. (In most datasets, "firearms" includes both long guns and handguns.)


And that last part is the fatal flaw in Everytown's effort.

Well, one of them.

First, let's understand that the law in question deals specifically with long guns. The vast majority of homicides in this nation are committed with handguns, including those committed by 18-to-20-year-olds.

Yet handguns are restricted to those 21 and over. 

In other words, adults under 21 account for three times the firearm homicides as all other age groups with a firearm they can't obtain lawfully in the first place. That makes it pretty clear that gun control doesn't work, now doesn't it?

Even then, though, that's not the only issue here since this also compares 18-year-olds to 90-year-olds.

We know that as people age, they're less likely to commit a violent crime for the most part. That's because of brain development, a fact which many use to justify laws like what's currently in place in Florida and that lawmakers are considering removing.

Of course, they never want to restrict any other rights based on brain development. It's OK to be irrational while voting, apparently.

Anyway, people get older and they're less likely to be violent. So very old people are going to skew the numbers, making it look like those younger people are even more violent than they might really be.


Had they compared 18-to-20-year-olds to those aged 21-to-24, then we might get some useful comparisons.

But Everytown isn't interested in the truth. They're interested in making it look like this law is absolutely vital to public safety and they're not afraid to use data to misdirect people.

The truth is that very few people of any age use a long gun of any kind to commit a homicide. The vast majority of those homicides are committed with illegally acquired handguns by people who have to acquire them illegally because the age limit that's supposedly so vital for long guns already applies to handguns.

If people actually understood how little that age limit has accomplished, they'd be far less concerned about removing one for long guns in Florida, which is why Everytown is trying to use a tactic best suited for stage magicians.

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