Putting Everytown's Latest Hysterics Into Perspective

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

The one thing you can trust gun control groups to do is to try and scare people into accepting their position on guns. They do that by refusing to provide context or at least acknowledge the reality of what they're talking about.


This is far too common with gun control in general. Think about how all the hysteria about "ghost guns" turned out to be meaningless when we started getting some actual numbers. They weren't nearly as big of an issue as they were a political point that people felt they had to attack.

But Everytown exists to attack gun ownership and to push for restrictions. It's going to use every tool in its arsenal to make that happen.

So let's take a look at their latest bit of hysteria.

At least 157 people were killed and 270 were injured last year in unintentional shootings by children, according to Everytown, an advocacy group for firearm safety.

The children who pulled the trigger were most often teenagers ages 14 to 17 or children ages 5 and under, according to Everytown’s data, which is compiled from media reports. Roughly half of the incidents involved children who shot themselves. In the other half, someone else was injured or killed — usually another child.

“The victim is often a sibling, a cousin or a friend,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, senior director of research at Everytown. “It leaves multiple families facing grief and regret.”

Everytown said federal and state authorities should do more to track and provide public data about such incidents to help identify the best ways to stop them.

“Nearly once every day, a child gets their hand on a loaded gun and shoots themselves or someone else,” Burd-Sharps said. “It’s so preventable.”

Those who died include a 2-year-old girl in Indiana who shot herself with a gun she found in her home and an 8-year-old boy in Alabama who was shot with a firearm that had been removed from his mother’s car. In Florida, a 12-year-old boy died and a 15-year-old was injured by a 14-year-old who was playing with a gun that he thought was unloaded, according to police.


Now, let's understand first and foremost that I actually agree that these are tragic and that at least the vast majority of them were preventable. I'm actually a big believer in prevention, so in that regard, these numbers bother me.

But there's also some perspective we need to keep in mind.

157 unintentional shooting deaths boils down to three per state.

270 unintended shooting injuries is just under five and a half per state.

This is in a nation of 330 million people with an estimated 400 million firearms at the least. That's an unintentional shooting death incidence rate of 0.048 per 100,000 people. For injuries, it's 0.081 per 100,000 people.

In other words, the unlike the more nebulous term Everytown loves to use of "gun deaths," the chances of most people knowing someone injured or hurt in these incidents.

And if 2023 was a particular bad year for these kinds of incidents, then I think we're probably doing pretty good, all in all.

Sure, more can be done, but let's also acknowledge that with nearly millions of defensive gun uses each year, the chances of you needing your gun far exceed the odds of someone accidentally shooting someone else.

That's why I favor things like tax credits for gun safes. They encourage people to take the right steps but they don't dictate what people have to do with regard to their personal safety.

Every life lost to something like this is terrible. I'm pretty sure every life lost in this way was preventable. I want us to do better.


I'm just not going to put my family at risk because of a number that amounts to statistical noise.

Especially since, as Lee Williams notes over at The Gun Writer, there are significant problems with the underlying data. In fact, the actual number of unintended shootings is probably much, much lower than claimed, meaning it's even rarer than I note.

So yeah, there's no reason to get worked up over this except to potentially look at what you're doing and maybe step up your safety game if you haven't already.

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