An open letter to Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America:
As a parent, husband and son, I care deeply about about our Second Amendment rights and preventing gun violence.
I frequently read your Twitter posts, until you blocked me last week, as well as tweets from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Everytown for Gun Safety, which, for those unaware, is your organization's chief financial backer.
It's alarming how you manipulate data to craft a narrative that America is held hostage to pervasive gun violence. Regurgitating the usual debunked Democrat and DMIC (Democrat Media Industrial Complex) myths, lies, half-truths and conspiracy theories erodes your credibility. (I'll address several points in this letter).
This past Monday, as President Trump visited Mississippi, you posted the following that night:
"Mississippi has the second-highest rate of gun deaths in the nation – nearly 18 deaths per 100,000 residents."
Anti-gun propaganda is powerful; many of the tactics employed are persuasive. Your LinkedIn profile shows that you held director and vice president positions with global reach at a prominent public relations firm, Monsanto and General Electric Healthcare; undoubtedly, you are astute at presenting what appears to be airtight cases.
I'm not certain where you got your information, since my research shows that Mississippi has the fourth-highest rate, not second. That's not my concern; my concern is that you always withhold the specifics. Based on the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, Mississippi had a total of 587 firearm deaths in 2016: 268 were suicides, and 282 were homicides.
This is clever anti-gun methodology; Two out of three of the annual total of 37,353 gun deaths, nationwide, are from suicide, totaling 22,938. Per the CDC, firearm suicide rates are 7.1 per 100,000; suffocation and poisoning rates, combined, are 5.7 per 100,000.
Imagine a world in which there are no guns at all. If those who are suicidal couldn't access firearms, the law of probability, in my opinion, proves beyond a reasonable doubt that some – perhaps the majority – would suffocate or poison themselves. Suicide rates have been rising the last two decades across the country, and this is unquestionably a public health crisis. A gun, however, is still an inanimate object in a suicidal American's hands, just as nooses and poisons are. Increasing suicide rates are wholly irrelevant to legal and responsible gun ownership.
There is a mechanism already in place in our National Instant Criminal Background Check System for mentally ill potential buyers of firearms. Is this background check system "perfect"? Of course not, just as no alleged "solution" your organization pitches is "perfect." The "adjudicated" part is, I'm certain, constitutionally inconvenient to you. My pro-Second Amendment side is already suspicious of your attempts to infringe on our 2A, but I have an increasingly growing anxiety about your desire to infringe on our Fifth and 14th Amendment rights of due process and equal protection. I am aware that many municipalities across the U.S. are lax in reporting data to the CDC, but a failure of government, at any level, affirms the God-given right to keep and bear arms; those municipalities are a more worthy target for you than law-abiding gun owners – none of whom infringe upon your constitutional rights.
Here's more CDC suicide data; 45,000 total annual suicides:
No known mental health conditions:
Other, 8 percent
Poisoning, 10 percent
Suffocation, 27 percent
Firearm, 55 percent
Other, 8 percent
Poisoning, 20 percent
Suffocation, 31 percent
Firearm, 41 percent
We know that 2 million firearm purchases were denied since 1993 due to background checks, although data are unclear as to how many adjudicated mentally ill Americans attempted to buy a firearm to commit suicide. Fact is, being barred from purchasing a gun due to mental illness DID NOT decrease suicide; it actually INCREASED rates in other methods. When you talk about "deaths," please be forthcoming and transparent – expectations you demand of gun owners. Perhaps it's unfair on my part, but lumping suicides into total gun death data is exploiting the dead.
America doesn't have a gun violence epidemic – Democrat cities do
Another effective play out of the Everytown playbook is the use of eye-catching color graphs that show America's alleged gun apocalypse:
Accidental gun deaths have DECREASED over the last decade, fortunately: (824 total accidental gun deaths in 1999; 489 in 2015 – the most recent CDC data).
The other approximately 15,000 annual gun deaths are homicides. Would you like to guess what cities have (and have had, for years) the highest rates of gun homicides?
The Trace, a nonprofit established in 2015 with seed money from the same Michael Bloomberg who financially backs you, does some very fine data mining. Here are two graphics – one from 2010-2015, and one from 2016-2017:
I'm not sure The Trace, which is clearly Democrat-leaning, realizes the irony in its activism.
In the 2010-2015 graph, every city, except Tulsa, has been run by Democratic mayors and super-majority city councils or boards of aldermen, ranging from 15,000 consecutive days (St. Louis) to 53,000 consecutive days (New Orleans).
Most of the same Democratic cities are present in the 2016-2017 graph; several of their homicide rates increased. I have written extensively about crime and gun violence epidemics; you can read more here.
How about non-fatal shootings?
Notice the overlap of several cities; all are Democrat-run, except Jacksonville.
When gun crime data in Democratic cities and suicide data are removed from national figures, gun crime rates are astoundingly low, considering the approximately 350 million legally owned firearms and nearly 2 trillion pieces of legally owned ammunition.
But you knew all this, right, Shannon? Just like you know that "assault weapon" has no actual mechanical or technical meaning, irrespective of how much your DMIC and politician sycophants parrot the lie – am I right?
I can't really fault you for being so out of touch with what's happening in long-time Democratic cities. Unless my research is mistaken, the home you live in, according to property records, is worth more than $1.2 million, with a nearly $1 million mortgage open on the property.
It's not coincidental that affluent, privileged, white Democrats are some of the most ardent anti-gun Americans.
As a P.S., the National Rifle Association wields far less influence than you proclaim. Yes, they have some influence, and yes, they are politically active. But what the NRA has spent in the last two decades on all political activity is a pittance compared to what other organizations in unrelated industries spent in 2016 alone. Around 20 percent of the NRA's total spending has occurred just in the last three years, although anti-gun groups spent $37 million on this year's state and federal midterms, compared to the NRA's $20 million. You always say the NRA has blood on its hands, but I've always thought anti-gun groups had considerably more blood on their hands.
If you want to be taken seriously by the "gun nuts," tell the truth – the whole truth. Thank you.