Mass shootings, more than anything else these days, seem to fuel anti-gun hysteria.

Are the figures on that exaggerated?

National Review, archived here, publishes indications that they are.

Your thoughts?


  1. The firearms-prohibitionists are desperate to disarm American Citizens. They will tell any lie, push any bit of propaganda, use every indoctrination tactic, and maintain a constant stream of disinformation in pursuit of that goal. Will they exaggerate the figures on mass-murder events? Is water wet? Is the sun bright? The answer is the same for all three questions! 🙂

    Let me give you an example of the lies that the gun-grabber push. A while back, a “researcher” published a paper claiming that firearms ownership was rare in Colonial America. He dummied up a bunch of historical records to reach this preferred narrative. See this link:

    Why push this lie? Because it can be used to undercut and neutralize our 2nd Amendment Rights, that’s why. If Colonial America did not own very many guns, then this bolsters the argument that the 2A exists only for regulated militia (read National Guard) purposes. The 2nd Amendment conveys no individual Right.

    One “quick and dirty” way to show that this is a lie is to look at ammunition usage. Clearly, if gun ownership is rare then ammunition usage should be very low. So, ask yourself, how much does the average American gun-owner shoot? After all, in Today’s America, the “Gun Culture” is crazy and are all “trigger-happy” according to the firearms-prohibitionists.
    According to on-line sources, America currently produces about 9 billion rounds of ammo per year. See this link:

    This is likely not a total figure. It may not include imported ammunition. In addition, some ammo goes to police and military usage, and some gets stockpiled. Still, for our purposes, lets assume this is about the figure Americans consume per year.

    Now, according to the 2020 Census, there are about 332 million people in the USA. According to Pew Research (See link below), about 40% live in a household that owns guns and about 30% of the adult population actually owns one or more guns.

    As a rough figure, I am going to assume that 1/3 of the population shoots a gun in any given year. Say, 111 million shooters in the USA. So, dividing the rounds produced by number of shooters gives:

    Average shots per shooter = 9 billion rounds / 111 million shooters = 81 rounds per shooter per year.

    Now, how much shooting went on during colonial times? We don’t have a cartridge count since cartridges have not been invented yet. However, the US Government did a survey of gunpower production in 1810. They found that powder mills in the USA produced about 1.5 million lbs. of gunpowder (total) that year. Maryland was the leading State with 9 powder mills producing 323,447 lbs. Pennsylvania was in second place with 20 smaller powder mills producing a total of 312,500 lbs. in 1810. (Per Complete Guide to Handloading by Philip Sharp (Page 134).

    Now, some of this gunpowder may have been used for construction, mining, and military purposes. However, it is certainly not a total figure since the USA was still importing gunpowder from Europe in those days. (Due to the Napoleonic Wars, Europe was producing vast quantities of gunpowder and exporting part of it Worldwide).

    Let’s assume that the unknowns cancel each other out and that the amount of gunpowder imported was, roughly, equal to the amount of gunpowder used for construction, mining, and military purposes. In other words, assume that the 1.5 million lbs. of gunpowder of domestic production was about what was used for civilian purposes each year.

    The powder charge used varied depending upon the type of firearm. Pistols and small-bore rifles (peashooters) might use a charge of 1 dram or less. A large bore “fowling piece” might use a charge of 4 drams or more. Let’s assume an average charge of 2 drams (which makes the math easy). This gives 128 charges per lb. of gunpowder (there are 256 drams in a lb. of gunpowder).

    So, average 1810 round count would be: 1.5 million lbs. X 128 shots per lb. = 192 million shots per year (assumed civilian usage).

    According to the U.S. 1810 Census, the population was 7.24 million. Over 1 million (about 16%) were slaves who would be unlikely to own and use firearms. In those days, females were also, generally, not shooters although I am sure there were some exceptions. The very young and the old or infirm would also not be doing much shooting. So, let’s assume the 1/3 figure (again) as the number of active shooters. This gives about 2.4 million shooters in the U.S. in 1810. (7.24 million / 3 = about 2.4 million)

    So, what was the average round count, per shooter, in 1810?

    Average shots per shooter = 192 million / 2.4 million = 80 rounds per shooter per year.

    Isn’t this interesting? It appears that Americans, in 1810, were just as “trigger happy” as Americans today! Ah, the more things change; the more they stay the same!

    It also highlights that this “research” by this anti-gun author, about firearms being “rare” in colonial American, is yet another baldfaced lie by the gun-grabbers.

    Everything these people say is a lie. The truth is not in them. It is a rhetorical question to ask if they are lying or exaggerating when they make claims. The old joke is, literally, true when it comes to the gun-grabbers.

    Question: How can you tell when a gun-grabber is lying?
    Answer: Their lips are moving!

    • Tennessee Man, this is GREAT research. Thanks SO MUCH. Blows the doors off their lies (this is my surprised face………. )

      Cant remember the source just now but I did soe studying of colonial era militia procurement and personnel records. One thing of interest was the record of ball ordered for procurement of some random militia groups. Remembe,r each town/village had its iwn militia, thelocals, working together. Most militia members ad their own firearm, and simply brought it to muster each week. Those pieces needed “fodder”. Tje powder was bought by pooled money and all stored in the town’s “powder magazine”, typically a beehive shaped structure of large rocks dry-stacked. Cheap, could be dismantled and relocated, the main advantage being if the powder “went off” the rocks would be rounded up and herded back into the apropriate shape for a “new” powderhouse. But what was fascinaaing about these records was each militia company’s orders for ball. Most were of one size, or two very close caliber (.69 and .71 were very common) But there were ALWAYS a random assortment of “mutt” calibers to accomodate the needs of the not-so-common militiia rifles. It is these orders that are fascinating. One company could have as many as ten variations on ball caliber. Clear indication that the milita companies were formed up from civilians bringing their own weapons, whatever they happened to own. The number of the “rogue” bores was always signficant. Proof that gns were VERY popular in colonial times.

      Makes perfect sense, too, as no one could nip round to the neighbourhood greengrocer and lay in a stock of canned beef or mutton. Nope. Most meat consumed in the Colonies was wild-harvested.. with a long gun. Maybe the farrier or the wheelwright could trade for his red meat, but most would likely also just go out and shoot it themselves. A man who did not ave and use a firearm was either VERY wealthy (in which case he almost certainly would carry a brace of pistols tucked in his waistband for “personal security” (just like many of us do today) or very poor, in which case he’d trade his menial labour for food or work as an indentured servant, his hire including “all found”. Even many of these were part of the local militia, and thus had access to arms. A good number of women were also skilled at arms. Remember, indian raids were still common even in “well settled” New England during the run-up to the war.

      The myth that “few colonists had or used guns” is a baldfaced lie brought to you by those who would have that fantasy become reality today amongst us.

      Not a gonna happen.

      • During the Colonial period, Congress passed various Militia Acts. The following is a quote taken directly from the text of the Militia Act of 1792 which was described as “An act more effectually to provide for the National Defense, by establishing an uniform Militia throughout the United States”.

        “That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years, (except as hereinafter excepted) shall severally, and respectively, be enrolled in the Militia by the Captain or commanding officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this act….That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, withn six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear, so armed, accoutered, and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack”.

        Several points related to the above:

        1) The Government did not supply these arms. Rather, the militiaman was required to “provide himself” with arms, ammo, and basic equipment.
        2) The cartridges mentioned would have been paper-cartridges. These contained a pre-measured powder charge with lead ball. The use of paper cartridges could significantly speed up the loading of a typical musket.
        3) There were some exceptions to service. As I understand it, a person who had religious beliefs that forbid military service could get a religious exception to militia duty. However, he was usually required to pay a fee (of about £5 annually) to help fund the militia program.
        4) The rifleman was required to have 20 balls, suitable to the bore of his rifle, plus a quarter pound of gunpowder. A quarter pound is 64 drams of gunpowder. If we assume that this is enough to shoot the 20 balls of ammo (also required), then the average charge is 64 drams / 20 balls = 3.2 drams per shot. A three-dram charge is a typical amount for a musket. Some additional powder would be required to prime the piece. However, most rifles in the .40 to .45 caliber range (typical for a Pennsylvania / Kentucky long-rifle) would use a lighter charge of about 2 drams as assumed in my previous calculations. Muskets were typically large bore guns (usually .69 to .72 caliber) and required the larger average powder charge of about 3 drams.

        So, if nearly every free white male between the ages of 18 and 45 was armed, by Federal Law, how could firearms be “rare” during the Colonial Period?

        Just another piece of evidence that the entire narrative about firearms being scarce during the Colonial Period is a baldfaced lie cooked up by the firearms-prohibitionists.

    • TN_MAN,

      WOW! That’s some mighty impressive figurin’. You made a rough calculation of how much ammo Americans were firing in 1810. I wouldn’t think such a thing was possible. Math sure is useful, and clever.

      • @ Roger Willco – ” I wouldn’t think such a thing was possible.”

        It is all a matter of having some data with which to work. During the Revolutionary War, the Patriot Forces were scrambling to come up with enough gunpowder to fight the British. They were able to scrape up enough from the following sources:

        a. From private stores or seizures (from the British) = about 80,000 lbs.
        b. From domestic production here in the Colonies = about 115,000 lbs.
        c. Domestic production using imported saltpeter = 698,245 lbs.
        d. Imported gunpowder from Europe (mainly France) = 1,454,210 lbs.
        Approximate amount of gunpowder used in war = 2,347,455 lbs.

        These figures are also from Philip Sharpe’s book (Page 134).

        Notice how heavily dependent we were upon imported gunpowder and saltpeter to fight the Revolutionary War? If the British could have thrown up a blockade and cut off our supply of imported gunpowder, they could have strangled our rebellion in the cradle.

        So, is it any wonder that gunpowder was considered to be a “Strategic Resource” in colonial America? Do you now see why the early U.S. Government was so interested in tracking production?

        It was their concern that gives us data on gunpowder production during the colonial period. The Constitution requires a census every 10 years. Eureka! We have data.

      • TN_MAN,

        You wrote, “If the British could have thrown up a blockade and cut off our supply of imported gunpowder, they could have strangled our rebellion in the cradle.”

        Bevin Alexander wrote that the British could have won the Revolutionary War if they blockaded every American port. If I remember correctly, Boston, NYC and Philadelphia got blockaded, but the southern ports were not blockaded. I assume enough aid came through the southern ports for the rebels, or there were successful smugglers elsewhere. I don’t know for sure, and I am going by memory. I also remember reading that the reason the British did not blockade every American port is because they had other things for their navy to do. The colonies were just one theatre of their interests.

      • @ Roger Willco – “I also remember reading that the reason the British did not blockade every American port is because they had other things for their navy to do. The colonies were just one theatre of their interests.”

        Correct! As I noted above, this was the time of the Napoleonic Wars which were being fought on several continents and over various oceans. Almost a “World War”. The British were neck deep in these wars. To them, the American Revolution was just a “side show” of the main fight. Even though the British Navy was, at the time, the largest and most powerful navy in the World, their resources were stretched. To blockade the entire North American eastern and gulf coastlines was, clearly, beyond available resources. They had to settle for only a partial blockade.

        As a result, we were able to smuggle (mainly from France) over 349 tons of saltpeter and 727 tons of actual gunpowder. Saltpeter was the main ingredient in gunpowder, and it was the hardest to produce domestically at the time. We could come up with charcoal and sulfur, but saltpeter was hard. So, smuggling saltpeter was very useful for domestic production. It was also safer to smuggle plain saltpeter since it is not as explosive as actual gunpowder.

        According to Phillip Sharpe, much of this material was smuggled from France, into the Colonies, by way of a route through the West Indies. So, your observation about the use of the Southern ports is also spot-on.

        If America had tried to hold their revolution during a time of relative peace, for Great Britian, then the British would have crushed it easily because they could focus all their resources, including naval resources, upon doing so. The fact that it occurred during a time of near global war (with France becoming our strong supporter) is what allowed it to succeed.

      • @ Roger Willco – “…but the southern ports were not blockaded.”

        You can add Charleston, SC to the list of ports that the British blockaded and controlled. At least, after 1780. See this link:

        Still, there were plenty of other (unguarded) ports where a small sloop could make landfall and off-load its cargo of smuggled gunpowder or saltpeter. Blockading the major ports, only, just did not get it done for the British! We, Americans, were just too slippery and slick when it came to smuggling in the goods needed to keep the Revolution going!

      • “I also remember reading that the reason the British did not blockade every American port is because they had other things for their navy to do. The colonies were just one theatre of their interests.”

        On a group trip to Britain my wife and I took the time to look up and tour one of the Regimental museums in London. One display featured a 1700s “Redcoat” uniform and accoutrements. The explanation about “The Troubles in the Colonies” said the U.S. successfully became independent because the English military was simultaneously fighting several actions in other parts of the Empire. It ended with something along the lines of, “We have resolved not to repeat that error.”

        Luckily we were the only ones there, and only the attendant was disturbed by our laughter.

  2. Not surprising. Last year while trying to craft a commentary on firearms control, the helpful editor of the local paper steered me to a site (got the site in my email somewhere) that promised “just the facts, no political slant” on firearms related deaths.

    I’d spent 5 years researching homicide back in the 1980’s and found their figures jaw dropping. IIRC, they did, at least, separate out the suicides. So, as I was trained, I went to their methodology section (rare that they had one) to see where they got their figures. They claimed 75,000 sources for data but didn’t identify any nor explain how they might eliminate duplications. In short, there wasn’t anything that amounted to a legitimate explanation of whatever their methodology might be.

    Inventing stats-or other “facts”- isn’t a new event. I have to wonder if the recent practitioners of the art realize their debt to Joseph Gobbles or if they’re so goal focused they don’t care?

  3. The anti-gun Left lies about how many “mass shootings” there are?

    That should be no surprise — they’ve been rolling suicides and accidents into “gun deaths” for decades, to make America look like the “gun homicide” capital of the world.

    And they pointedly ignore that homicides with “hands, fists, feet” outnumber homicides with ANY AND ALL RIFLES (let alone the much-maligned AR-15) pretty much every year, and that’s not getting into homicides with hammers, knives, and a host of other non-firearm objects, which also outnumber rifle homicides.

    We call them out on it all the time, but as the saying goes, a lie makes it half way around the world before the truth gets its pants on. (And there’s also Terry Goodkind’s “Wizards’ First Rule”: People will believe any lie because they either want it to be true or are afraid it might be true. For those on the Left who want to ban guns, high numbers of “mass shootings” hits both.)

    TL;DR: They cherry-pick numbers to minimize or remove inconvenient truths, and conflate and inflate numbers to drive outrage and panic where there should be very little. They’ve been doing it for a long time in many contexts. That they do it for “gun deaths” or “mass shootings” is less of a surprise than that people still believe them.

  4. It all depends on what defines a mass shooting. A lone gunman killing 20 people in a movie theatre and 3 idiot gang bangers shooting each other are counted as mass shootings. The Left knows that they must legislate, lie, sue, cheat and steal in order to disarm Americans. They know that the plans they have for us are so vile that we will fight to prevent their implementation.

  5. How many Americans bought the covid lies from the git-go and swallowed that camel whole? Sadly about that same number are also calable of swallowing the lies being spread about “gun violence” even wilst ignoring the many other types of violance against persons using other tools.

    Anyone ever wonder why the biblical account of the first murder fails to identify the tool Cain used? Because his choice of means was utterly irrelevant. That’s why. And if God didn’t care a hoot about the tool Cain used, why should WE? And why should we care today?
    As always it ain’t the tool its the mechanic holding it. Its never the arrow its always the Indian.
    This leads inexhorably to the conclusion that they are NOT about safety or protecting lives. Nope. It is about neutralising our most sure means of maintaining our liberty and autonomy.
    But this is no news to anyone reading here, is it?

    • Tionico,

      Good post as always. I want to make a confession concerning COVID lies, and then show my repentance. (I prefer to call it the “Fauci” or the “Chinese” virus. I can’t prove it, but I suspect Doctor Anthony Faustus invented COVID-19 himself).

      I believed the medical community. As someone who knows very little about medicine, I felt that I had to trust them to tell me the truth. I also made allowance for the fact that, at the time, I thought they were confronting the unknown. I did wonder why the standard protocol for epidemics was not being followed. That protocol is to quarantine the sick and vulnerable, not to quarantine everyone. But, I thought the medical community was just playing it safe.

      Now I believe the leaders of the medical community caved in to political and monetary pressures to lie to us, and to follow the fake, made-up-to-fool-us, narrative. They cannot be trusted in the future.

      Before the pandemic, I trusted the government 50% and the medical community 95%. Now, I trust the government 10% and the medical community 60%.

      I am on guard for the next scam they try to force feed us. Hopefully it will involve an area in which I am not so ignorant as I am about medicine. We are in a tough, very deceptive fight. The Left wants to win through deception, not traditional open conflict. So far, they are very successful. I believe nothing will change until the lifestyles of the average Mr. and Mrs. America are negatively impacted. Maybe they will give in to the Left even then, to avoid conflict. Will Mr. and Mrs. America fight when the Left phases out their gas stoves? Will Mr. and Mrs. America fight when cash is replaced with digital currency?

      • @ Roger Willco – “We are in a tough, very deceptive fight. The Left wants to win through deception, not traditional open conflict. So far, they are very successful. I believe nothing will change until the lifestyles of the average Mr. and Mrs. America are negatively impacted.”

        Sun Tzu noted that all warfare is based on deception. The Left has taken Sun Tzu to heart. So much so that they are trying to win their war largely by means of deception. They have invaded our schools. Their indoctrination programs fill the heads of our children with their lies while, simultaneously, they fail to teach “critical thinking” skills. They don’t want the children to be able to critically evaluate the indoctrination and lies that they are being fed.

        They control the media which feeds the public a constant stream of lies, deception, and disinformation. Everything is engineered to support the left’s narratives-du-jour.

        About half of the American Public is still asleep. These sleepers are like the proverbial frog in the pot. They a placidly waiting until the heat is turned up enough to boil them to death. This is what the Left wants. So much of their propaganda is “sweet poison” designed to distract and amuse and to keep the people asleep until it is too late to escape from the pot.

        Many of the American People are like drug addicts. Addicted to the sweet lies and the “Free Money” handed out by the Left. We need a “12 Step” Program to break this addiction. The first step will be to stand up, admit that we are an addict, and to confess that we have a problem. We can never break the Left’s addictive hold until we wake up and face this problem squarely.

        America is at war and we are currently under attack by both domestic and global enemies. It is not merely a “Cold War”. It is the “Great Deception War”. However, only a minority of the American Public really understands that we are in a war. The rest still slumber in the sweet, narcotic dreams woven by the Left’s lies, indoctrination, and propaganda.

        What will it take to wake up the majority of the American Public? I don’t know. Perhaps Roger Willco is correct. Perhaps it will take prolonged and very real suffering by the American People. Perhaps it will take another “Great Depression” or having the Left go to a “Hot War” by sending their Brown Shirts out to confiscate our firearms. We will have to “turn the page”, in the History Book, to find out what happens next.

        Whatever happens, it is likely be very costly, painful, and bloody. I cannot read the future, but I know how these things typically turn out. It always turns out badly whenever the Left gets control of a nation. There are dozens of examples, from Cuba to the USSR to North Korea to Venezuela to illustrate the above truth. Looks like it is our turn.

  6. Democrats lie because many of their voters will believe them. Their voters who don’t believe the lies, will still vote for them, because they would be ashamed to vote for a Republican. They consider Republicans to be wrong, misguided, greedy, racist, mis-educated and evil.

    How long can America withstand the impact of bad policies, followed by more bad policies? Cloward & Piven taught that a system can be destroyed by overwhelming it.

  7. I don’t remember who stated it first, but the comment keeps coming back to me.
    “We’ve been armed for 240+ years, what are they planning to do to us now, that they are so sure we would shoot them for it, that requires that they disarm us now”.

  8. Liars are gonna lie; contrivers are gonna contrive. Anyone seriously concerned about this issue should demand that laws already on the books be enforced. If they had
    been, it would have stopped many if not most of these “mass shooting hysteria” events. Of course if that happened the media might not have anything to go on about.

  9. I like your comment about Cain and the first murder in history. I thought about that a lot before. He may or may not have used a tool at all. Cain was the reason Abel died.
    I fully agree with your points later in the post as well.


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