Posts Tagged ‘VPC’

Violence Policy Center’s “research?” Stuck on Stupid!

October 14, 2011

Violence Policy Center Continues to Misfire on Concealed Carry Holders

This year, Wisconsin became the 49th state to recognize the right of its citizens to carry firearms.1  Now, only one state remains in the Dark Ages — that being the state of Illinois.

But as can be imagined, the anti-gun media is predicting that letting citizens carry firearms will result in carnage in the streets, shootouts in bars, and angry parents settling scores on the ball field with their firearms.

And to supposedly prove their point, they cite a bogus report of the Violence Policy Center (VPC), entitled “Concealed Carry Killers.”  The faux report says that “since May 2007 at least 300 people — including 11 law enforcement officers — have been killed by private citizens legally allowed to carry handguns in killings not ruled self-defense ….”2

An article at has done a good analysis of the VPC “report,” showing that the anti-gun group:

  • Double counts victims to inflate their statistics;
  • Counts people who are still alive today, as though they had been murdered by concealed carry permit holders;
  • Includes deaths that were caused by rifles, beatings or strangulation — in other words, tabulating deaths that were clearly NOT caused by concealed handguns; and
  • In some cases, even counts “murderers” who were later cleared in court as having acted in self-defense.3

According to the Pajamas Media analysis, less than half of the deaths which were attributed to concealed carry holders by the VPC were actually “committed by a permit holder drawing and firing his or her concealed weapon.”4

Less than half?

Yes, less than half of the killings were actually committed by a handgun that was in the possession of a concealed carry permit holder.  That was the analysis as of December 21, 2009.  Sadly, VPC’s reporting has not gotten any better in the following two years.

VPC still embellishing its figures to demonize gun owners

With the Wisconsin law set to go into effect on November 1, 2011, VPC is excoriating the Badger State for ignoring the “bloody record of police deaths, mass shootings, and attempted political assassination” which have supposedly been perpetrated by concealed carry holders.

There are some in the media who are peddling this hype and using VPC’s bogus statistics to scare the public.5  But what goes unnoticed by a gullible media is that VPC is still inflating the number of “concealed killers,” even while they ignore the fact that the average citizen — yes, even the average cop — is much more likely to commit a crime with a gun than is a gun owner with a concealed carry permit.  (More on this below.)

As for inflating the statistics, the VPC:

  • Counts non-permit holders who, in some cases, were even prohibited by law from carrying a firearm;
  • Uses non gun deaths to inflate “concealed carry” killings; and
  • Adds accidental killings to its totals — even including a case where an errant shot was fired at a robber.

Okay, let’s take these up one-by-one.

Non-permit holders prohibited by law from carrying a firearm.  Over the past couple of years, the VPC has counted several non-permit holders in their “concealed carry killers” tally.  But a notable case that is still currently on their website is Jared Loughner, who shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — injuring her and killing six people.

The VPC claims that because of Arizona’s new law which allows law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns without a permit, “Loughner was able to legally carry his pistol to the Giffords event in his assassination attempt.”

But what VPC misses is that this right applies ONLY to law-abiding citizens.  Arizona law clearly states that,

A person commits misconduct involving weapons by knowingly:  (1) Carrying a deadly weapon … concealed on his person or within his immediate control in or on a means of transportation in the furtherance of a serious offense … [or] (8) Using or possessing a deadly weapon during the commission of any felony offense.”6 (Emphasis Added.)

Thus, Arizona’s law specifically PROHIBITS and DISALLOWS the concealed carry of a handgun with the intent to commit a crime!  Jared Loughner was most certainly NOT able to legally carry his pistol to commit the crimes he perpetrated in January, 2011, as the VPC claims.

But this sloppy “scholarship” (if you can call it that) is just the tip of the iceberg.  Take this next category.

Non gun deaths used to inflate “concealed carry” killings.  VPC has the audacity to inflate its statistics by using murders that were not committed by handguns — and, in some cases, were not even committed by any type of firearm at all.

A classic case is that of Tony Villegas, a Florida man who strangled a woman in her own garage. Did you get that?  She was strangled by Villegas’ hands (presumably) and not his gun.

Commenting on this twisted logic by the VPC, Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman asks, “How can strangulation be blamed on a concealed weapon permit?  If a fisherman kills someone, do we ban fishing rods?”7

Using non gun deaths is not the only way that VPC inflates its statistics.  Consider how the organization slips non permit holders into its “concealed carry killers” totals.

Accidental killings — by non-permit holders.  Accidental shootings have been the long-time shibboleth of anti-gun legislators and media.  They like to demonize all gun owners because of the tragic accidents that occur with firearms.

But if we’re going to follow VPC’s logic, then we should also ban those items which accidentally kill far more people than guns do — things like cars, doctors, trans fats (which lead to heart disease), etc.  It’s strange that the anti-gunners never seem to much care about these other deadly killers, or about the fact that food and water kill more children than guns do.8

Nevertheless, anti-gunners focus on the gun — and the gun only.  To wit, VPC on several occasions lists examples where children have accidentally fired a gun, killing themselves or others.  While these cases are very tragic, one has to ask:  Why are these unintentional shootings being added to the list of “concealed carry killers”?

Well, the answer is probably obvious.  The VPC is desperately trying to inflate its statistics.  And that is why they have included examples where children grabbed a parent’s gun and unintentionally inflicted harm.

Again, these cases are very tragic, but let’s be clear.  One can peruse the newspapers and find examples where the children of POLICE OFFICERS have experienced the same type of tragedy.  So, to follow VPC’s logic, should police officers be disarmed?

Accidental killings — including errant shots fired at criminals.  Now, as mentioned above, some of the accidental killings listed in the VPC report don’t even directly involve the concealed carry holder.  But setting that aside, VPC includes the case of Edward Bell, who accidentally shot an innocent bystander while he was being robbed.

Mr. Bell is a 65-year old man who lives in a very dangerous area of Detroit.  He was working in his yard one day when a gunman held him up and stole his Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle.9

Bell’s mistake, while understandable, is that he fired at the crook after he drove off.  It has long been established in the Common Law that self-defense ends when the attack is over.  While that’s the law, it’s understandable that Mr. Bell — with his adrenaline pumping and being upset that his vehicle was just stolen at gunpoint — wanted to get it back.  Bell fired at the thief, and one of the bullets entered a home and killed Geraldine Jackson, who was cooking dinner at the time.

Certainly, this does not excuse Mr. Bell’s miscalculation.10  But for VPC to include this story as evidence that concealed carry holders are perpetrating crimes is simply disingenuous.  And it ignores the fact that this same problem happens with police officers, as well.

Just last month, police injured two innocent bystanders in San Francisco by firing at a suspect who was running away from them.11  Of course, this sounds similar to Mr. Bell’s case.  Which makes one wonder:  had the bystanders in the Bay area died, would the VPC have included these two police shootings in their “concealed carry killers” totals?

Permit holders more law-abiding than average population — even more so than cops!

The VPC wants to focus on the few bad apples in the concealed carry community and suggest that citizens can’t be trusted to carry firearms.  But using their own logic, they should be arguing for cop disarmament, because they break the law far more often.

As compared to concealed carry permit holders, the average American is almost 8 times more likely to be convicted of crimes and over 40 times more likely to be convicted of burglary — and police officers are almost 800 times more likely to violate the law.12

There are an estimated six million citizens who possess a concealed carry permit.13  The number of legal concealed carriers is probably higher, considering the growing number of states that recognize the right of their citizens to carry without a permit.

Press reports indicate that concealed carry is at an ALL TIME HIGH, even while crime rates have been dropping in the U.S. over the past few years.  Yet, we’ve been hearing the Chicken Little cries of doom and gloom as far back as the mid-1980s, when Florida kicked off the modern concealed carry movement with the enactment of its “shall issue” law.

Prior to its passage in 1987, there was a vigorous debate in the Florida legislature.  Opponents of the law claimed that a carry law would turn the Sunshine State into the “Gunshine State.”  It was a cute jingle, but their dire predictions never materialized.  Murder rates started dropping immediately after the passage of the law, prompting one of the chief opponents, Rep. Ron Silver, to admit that he had been wrong about concealed carry.

Such was the case in Texas, as well.  One of the chief opponents in the Lone Star State was Senior Cpl. Glenn White, who is president of the Dallas Police Association.  White lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because he thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict.

Senior Cpl. White admits, though, “All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn’t happen.  No bogeyman. I think it’s worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I’m a convert.”

It takes guts to look at the evidence and admit you were mistaken.  Kudos to Rep. Silver and Senior Cpl. White for being “man enough” to admit they were wrong.

Who knows, maybe the VPC will own up and admit they were also wrong about all the fear and paranoia they’ve peddled in their faux report.  But then again, don’t hold your breath.


1 – While there are 49 states which allow for concealed carry in some shape or form, there are various levels of restrictions in those states.  Wisconsin’s carry law goes into effect on November 1.  At that point, 40 states will have relatively liberal policies regarding concealed carry.  Most of them are known as “shall issue” states, where the officials must issue permits to those who apply — as long as the law does not disqualify the applicants from possessing firearms in some way.  Of these states, four (Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming and 98% of Montana) also provide an option for citizens to peacefully carry their firearms without getting a permit or permission from the government.  This is similar to the law in Vermont, which does not require or issue permits at all.  Nine states are “may issue” states which means just that — officials “may” issue a permit to applicants (but they don’t have to do so) — even if the applicant is not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.  Only Illinois completely bans concealed carry. 

2 – The “Concealed Carry Killers” report can be found at:

4 – Ibid.

5 – Steven Elbow, “Open or concealed? Gun owners in Wisconsin will soon be able to choose mode of carry,” The Capital Times, June 22, 2011, at:

6 – Arizona Statutes, Section 13-3102 at:

7 – Steve Chapman, “False fears about concealed guns — Illinois should give licensed citizens the right to carry around weapons,” Chicago Tribune (March 31, 2011) at:

8 – See the Gun Owners of America Fact Sheet at:

9 – At the moment the robbery was occurring, Mr. Bell had no way to know that the thief was actually using a fake gun.

10 – In July 2010, Mr. Bell received one year of probation for the events that occurred on May 12, 2010.  See “Edward Bell to get probation deal in shooting death of grandmother,” The Michigan Standard (July 9, 2010) at:

11 – “Two bystanders wounded in S.F. police shooting,” San Francisco Chronicle (Sept. 17, 2011) at:

12 – Crime statistics related to concealed carry permit holders are difficult to come by, as every state does not publish detailed figures relating to their permit holders.  Some (like Texas) do provide these statistics.  Interestingly, a study of concealed carry in Texas over a four year period (2002-2005), found that non concealed carry permit holders are 7.89 times more likely to be convicted of crimes than permit holders — and 40.58 times as likely to be convicted of burglary.  [See Tables 1 and 3 in Howard Nemerov, “Concealed Handguns: Danger or Asset to Texas?” at  Moreover, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 4.72% of all officers (state and local) were found to have committed police abuse in 2002.  [Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Citizen Complaints about Police Use of Force [in 2002]” (published 2006) at  Comparing the BJS figures to the Texas data — showing that just over six-thousandths of one percent (.0062%) of permit holders were convicted of crimes in 2002 — one can make some interesting correlations.  While somewhat different, it is interesting to note that police reviewing authorities found that officers had committed crimes at 761 times the rate that the Texas study found for convictions of concealed carry holders for the same criminal acts.  [Compare BJS, “Citizen Complaints” to Nemerov, “Concealed Handguns.”]

13 – Mike Stuckey, “Record numbers licensed to pack heat — Millions obtain permits to carry concealed guns,” (June 24, 2010) at

14 – Clayton E. Cramer and David B. Kopel, “‘Shall Issue:’ The New Wave of Concealed Handgun Permit Laws” (1994), p. 14.

15 – Scott Parks, “Charges Against Texans with Gun Permits Rise; Law’s supporters, foes disagree on figures’ meaning,” Dallas Morning News (December 23, 1997).


U.S. Firearm Production Soars

August 22, 2010

Anti-Gun Group Shows Why The American
Way Is Better, As U.S. Firearm Production Soars

Anyone who traveled behind the Iron Curtain back in those days probably didn’t have to look very hard to find groups of “workers” sitting around doing pretty much nothing, except collecting a taxpayer-funded government paycheck.

The American way is better. Anti-gun group employees can still sit around doing pretty much nothing and collect a paycheck, but the money—lots of it—comes from donations, from foundations and individuals who share their ideals. While the rest of us have to contend with anything tangible they might produce, at least we don’t have to pay for it, most of the time.

Take the latest from the so-called Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV), a handful of gun-hater lawyers operating out of an office in San Francisco, California. Mimicking the Brady Campaign—probably not a good business plan, given that Brady Campaign is not exactly a thriving enterprise these days—LCAV is now ranking the states according to how “strong” their gun laws are.

If by any chance you are unfamiliar with the word “ludicrous,” now would be a good time to look it up in your dictionary. On the other hand, never mind, because once you go over LCAV’s pseudo-scientific poppycock, you’ll be able to write a good definition yourself.

Some examples serve to make the point. LCAV ranks California best in the nation, though its firearm-related death rate is higher than those of 16 other states, including Vermont, the gun owner-friendly laws of which LCAV ranks third worst in the nation. LCAV ranks Maryland 7th-best, just ahead of New York and Rhode Island, the firearm-related deaths rates of which are only 42 percent and 29 percent that of Maryland. Joining the declaration of ideological war by some in California against neighboring Arizona, LCAV ranks the Grand Canyon State worst in the nation.

And it goes on from there, with no correlation between LCAV’s ranking and the states’ widely divergent firearm-related death rates, no recognition of the fact that most firearm-related deaths are suicides, the frequency of which cannot be restrained by any gun control law, and no recognition of the fact that the world is still waiting for any evidence that any gun control law on the planet has ever prevented individuals or regimes from committing crime.

LCAV’s point structure for the various gun laws doesn’t even make sense. LCAV gives states four points (the maximum for any gun law) for requiring registration of all guns. We get that, since we know that gun control supporters consider registration indispensable, for purposes of enforcing a subsequent gun confiscation law. But LCAV gives almost as many points (three) for banning .50 caliber rifles (which are probably the type of gun least frequently involved in firearm deaths, or darned close), three points for requiring a dealer to be licensed (even though federal law requires that in every state anyway), and . . . well, you get the idea.

Similar to Violence to Policy Center, LCAV is especially apoplectic about “assault weapons” (three points for a ban), standard self-defense magazines that hold more than 10 rounds (three points for a ban), and anything at all to do with carrying a firearm for protection. Relative to the latter, a state gets a minus-1 point for a “shall issue” carry permit law, minus-1 for open carry without a permit, and minus-two points for concealed carry without a permit. All this malarky, with the number of carry states at an all-time high and the nation’s violent crime rate at a 35-year low.

We’re not sure how often LCAV will have the opportunity to repeat its state ranking exercise, though. One bad gun law at a time, NRA, its members, and their friends elected to state office have been eliminating gun control laws left and right for the last two decades in most states. And, Americans have responded by exercising their right to acquire arms in record numbers.

Some evidence to that effect was put forward by the BATFE recently, in the form of its report on U.S. firearm manufacturing in the first half of 2009. In the first half of 2009, U.S. manufacturers produced more rifles, more pistols, more revolvers and more shotguns, than in all of 2008. Coupled with increases in NICS checks of 11 percent between 2006 and 2007, another 14 percent between 2007 and 2008, and another 10 percent between 2008 and 2009, the evidence is pretty clear that the gun control laws LCAV wants have been on the wane, while the ones it most despises have become the norm.


What’s “Collapsing” Here? AR 15 Ownership or VPC?

March 20, 2010

Oh, those evil black rifles…

The BATFE recently released U.S. firearm manufacturer production data showing that during 2008, AR-15s accounted for eight percent of all firearms and 22 percent of all rifles made in the U.S. and not exported. The number of AR-15s in 2008 — over 337,000 — is staggering, but may have been topped in 2009. And, at the current rate of production, the total number of AR-15s in the U.S. will exceed 2.5 million some time this year, and that doesn’t even count production before 1986, the figures for which are not available.

In other words, the AR-15 market has collapsed, because no one wants AR-15s. At least, that’s what Josh Sugarmann, of the Violence Policy Center, wrote last week on the Huffington Post blog, where the fringe gathers to commiserate about everything it thinks is wrong with America. Sugarmann’s evidence consists of the fact that KBI has discontinued its Charles Daly brand AR-15 line.

We’re not sure what’s happening on Sugarmann’s planet, but on the American portion of Earth the numbers of AR-15 manufacturers and the AR-15s they produce are at all-time highs. AR-15s have been popular for decades and that popularity is growing in leaps and bounds for a variety of reasons. Innovations relating to defensive rifle use now center on AR-15 carbines. Bar none, the AR-15 in its various configurations is the leading marksmanship training and competition rifle in the country, and there are more kinds of training and competition opportunities built around the AR-15 than ever before. And the advent of new cartridges that fit the AR-15 platform, and which are legal for hunting deer-sized game in most states, are rapidly making the AR-15 one of the most popular hunting rifles in the country.

What’s really losing popularity in America are the habitual rants and ruses of groups like VPC, as demonstrated by the fact that Sugarmann and his counterpart at the Brady Campaign, Paul Helmke, can’t get their names into newspapers unless they perform a publicity stunt, and sometimes even the stunts don’t work. Maybe if Josh, Paul, and a couple of their co-workers buy some National Match ARs, they could enter a team Service Rifle competition at this summer’s NRA National Rifle Championships.

We can hear it now. “Team Malcontent, take your positions on the firing line!”


“Team Malcontent?” Who says American Gun Owners don’t have a sense of humor?

No Surprise: NRA ILA

July 25, 2009
No Surprise: Anti-Gun Groups Wage Desperation Attack On Right-To-Carry Before Senate Reciprocity Vote
Friday, July 24, 2009
Let’s just say it didn’t exactly catch anyone at NRA off-guard, when earlier this week Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center (VPC) raised superficial, misleading arguments in an effort to derail the Thune-Vitter Right-to-Carry permit reciprocity amendment.

When Brady was called National Council to Control Handguns, it called for “a ban on the manufacture, sale, and importation of all handguns and handgun ammunition.” VPC, an off-shoot of the so-called National Coalition to Ban Handguns, openly advocates banning the private possession of handguns. And, naturally, both groups have always opposed people carrying concealed handguns for self-defense, Brady going so far as to say that self-defense is not a constitutionally-guaranteed right.

In attacking the amendment, both groups listed a small number of instances in which permit holders committed various crimes over the years, implying that such crimes would be the national norm if the amendment became law—basically the same old “the sky will fall” prediction heard every time a state adopts a Right-to-Carry law.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) complemented the allegation, by making the outrageous claim—and we are not making this up—that if the amendment became law, 16-year-old firearm traffickers would get permits in Vermont (an odd claim since Vermont has no licensing system), and then go to other states carrying large numbers of handguns in backpacks, to be illegally sold to criminals.

Brady and VPC hoped their panic-stricken predictions would frighten senators into overwhelmingly rejecting the amendment. But we were able to show that even if you take the group’s lists at face value, they show that permit-holders are much more law-abiding than the rest of the public.

Based upon VPC’s list, permit holders are 15 times less likely to commit murder, plain and simple. Try as it might, VPC could come up with only a very small number of criminal homicides committed by permit holders, in situations in which a permit was required to possess a concealed handgun. Of course, VPC did not mention instances in which murders did not occur, because people were able to defend themselves.

Brady’s claim is a little more difficult to sort out, only because their list included situations in which no crime was committed, including false reports of illegal carrying, and accidents (some not even resulting in an injury); crimes not involving the misuse of a firearm, such as having a gun in a vehicle operated under the influence, or illegally possessing a firearm or having a firearm in a vehicle in a school zone or other restricted area; crimes not involving a handgun; and crimes that took place in locations where a permit was not required to possess a concealed handgun. Sifting down to violent crimes, with concealed handguns, in locations where a permit was required, permit holders again came out far better than the rest of the public.

In the end, Brady’s and VPC’s efforts had virtually no effect on how the Senate voted. But, like the 10-round (or lower) magazine-capacity limit they support within “assault weapon ban” legislation, and their support for handgun ammunition microstamping and encoding, and “smart” gun requirements, they reminded us that Brady and VPC are handgun-ban groups at their core.


2nd Amendment: Crime is down, some call for more gun control

February 14, 2009

The FBI has recently released 2008 statistics showing that violent crime in the United States has dropped to a 35-year low, with the murder rate at its lowest in 43 years. In fact, since peaking in 1991, the rates of murder and violent crime as a whole have fallen 41 percent and 46 percent respectively. But despite this positive news, the anti-gun Brady Campaign is continuing to wage war on our Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The Campaign is claiming, “Most states have weak or non-existent gun laws that help feed the illegal gun market, allow the sale of guns without Brady background checks and put families and children at risk.” This statement flies in the face of the cold, hard fact that violent crime stats have fallen during a time when laws restricting the purchase of firearms have become less stringent.

Manipulating data is nothing new to the Brady Campaign. Each year the group issues a scorecard for each state, on which the state scores anywhere from zero to 100. The more gun control laws it has on the books, the higher the score. The problem is, they don’t bother to check whether the laws are having any effect on crime. In truth, it’s more guns, less crime.


Gun control or people control?

February 7, 2009

Those that preach the panacea of a society without violence often use legitimate people as whipping boys for their targets. Legal gun owners for example. Their twisted logic states that guns are evil, and that it is the gun that makes the person do evil things.

Those very same people expose the rest of us to extreme violence, and make it tough, if nor outright illegal to effectively defend ourselves. They make laws that create free fire zones for criminals and social misfits. Like schools, parks and so on. People that inhabit such places are turned into cannon fodder by other people that care little for anything other than their agenda. Such measures may have started out as well intentioned but the evidence is more than clear after so many mass shootings that the law of unintended consequences beats intentions every time.

So then, just who is it that commits most gun crime? A tiny minority are sociopaths that shoot up schools, malls and other public places. By far though, the vast majority are gang related. It is a sad fact of life that in America gangs are just about everywhere. Money is the driving force behind most of the violence, and innocent people get caught in these cross fires as groups vie for territory or “street cred.”

Drugs, and the lucrative profits from dealing that the ongoing drug war bolsters are most often tied to gun violence. At least according the the alphabet soup agencies. A recent CNN article pointed out that nearly all gun violence is gang related. So why then are so many different people, and organizations hell bent on disarming the rest of the population?

It could be blamed on mental illness, and many of the anti rights types are clearly hopolophobics. I think though, that is simply that old game of control. They want control of your life, and through that, your death.

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