Arizona had More "Gun Deaths" Than Vehicle Deaths in 2009, Says Anti-Gun Group; Omits Fact That 71 % Were Suicides

Categories: Guns

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The Violence Policy Center in Washington DC, which advocates a ban on all handguns, overlooks the fact that 71 percent of "gun deaths" in Arizona were suicides.

Slate, an online magazine, and the Tucson Weekly recently published articles that claim Arizona's "gun death" rate now exceeds the rate of vehicle deaths.

The articles, spurred by the Newtown shooting, were based on a May report by the anti-gun Violence Policy Center in Washington D.C., which lists Arizona as the No. 2 state in this gruesome comparison.

Neither the VPC nor the two publications mention the word "suicide," (okay, except for a brief mention of "murder-suicide" in the Slate article). Yet suicides are a major factor in the VPC's research, even if no one wants to talk about it.

Using statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the VPC notes that Arizona had 856 "gun deaths" in 2009. Looking at the rate per 100,000 people, "gun deaths" exceeded motor vehicle deaths that year.

But the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control statistics also show that in 2009, Arizona had 605 suicides by firearm.

That's a whopping 71 percent of the total of so-called "gun deaths."

Our humble opinion is that lumping suicides into "gun deaths" as a way of promoting gun control is just crap. Still, we were exceedingly courteous and made no insults when we called the VPC this morning to discuss the matter. But our line of questioning nearly caused a VPC spokesperson to burst a blood vessel.

Our first question, which admittedly contained a touch of smart-assedness, was whether the VPC -- which advocates the banning of handguns -- had included suicides by motor vehicle for the vehicle deaths, since it had included suicides in the gun deaths. After all, if a suicidal person can't get his or hands on a gun, a car running in a garage will do the trick.

The woman, who later refused to reveal her name, said she had no idea whether motor-vehicle suicides were included in the statistics. She said we were "nit-picking," so we asked our main question, which was whether or not it was fair to include the suicides in the total of "gun deaths."

She grew somewhat hysterical, announcing that we should do our own analysis and that she didn't have time to argue. We pressed on, asking if the VPC's analysis assumes that without a gun, the "gun-death" victim would not have committed suicide. "Yes! That is my assertion!" the woman yelled.

She proceeded to talk over our responses and raved that the main point of the analysis should be "shocking" to people in Arizona.


"You are just kind of ridiculous," she spewed before hanging up.

Maybe. But no more ridiculous than comparing Arizona suicides to motor-vehicle deaths.

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DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Are Gun Suicides not "deaths" ?

American Gun MADNESS never ends.

ExpertShot topcommenter

The VPC is NOT an organization decidated to "Anti-Gun" principles.  From their website:

The VPC believes that the answer to reducing gun violence
lies in applying the decades-long lessons of consumer product safety
regulation and injury prevention to the gun industry and its products.

Did Mr. Stern used to work at a NewsCorp subsidiary.

ExpertShot topcommenter

"Gun Deaths" would include those deaths where a gun was used in a suicide - "Gun Nuts"
would include those who think that if a person wanted to commit suicide
they would do so anyway with any instrument of destruction of human
life.  This still does not mitigate the fact that guns were IN FACT
involved in the deaths of the suicide victims.  In addition, the
Headline for this article is FALSE - the gun group you are referring to
is not "Anti-Gun" but pro gun control.  There is a difference - however
it is forever lost on the author and the Gun Nuts referred to

Ray Stern is a proven TOOL of the military industrial complex!


"Our humble opinion is that lumping suicides into "gun deaths" as a way of promoting gun control is just crap." THANK YOU! My sentiments exactly.


@ExpertShot Also from the VPC's web site: "A clear-cut plan to ban handguns should be developed and implemented soon."

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