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Debunking Gun Myths at the Dinner Table

Every day, more than 100 Americans are killed with guns and more than 200 are shot and wounded. There are a lot of widespread myths and conflicting information about guns, gun violence, and gun safety laws in America. To set the record straight, we’ve developed a series of graphics to help you “fork over the facts” and dispel some of the most prominent myths about gun violence.

Help educate the people in your life about these important issues by sharing this information with your friends and family. Download and share these graphics on social media.


Myth

Criminals will always find a way to get their hands on a gun.

Fact

Laws like background checks stop gun sales to criminals every day. Since 1994, these laws have blocked more than 4 million gun sales to people who could not legally own guns.

Source: Connor Brooks, “Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2016-2017,” (US Bureau of Justice Statistics, February 2021); FBI: 2018-2020.

Myth

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Fact

People with guns kill people, and more efficiently than people without guns. The U.S. gun homicide rate is 25x higher than that of other high-income countries.

Source: Grinshteyn, Hemenway, “Violent Death Rates,” 2019.

Myth

Federal law prohibits ALL domestic abusers from having guns.

Fact

Federal law generally does not cover abusive dating partners or convicted stalkers.

Source: Everytown, “Gun Violence Against Women,” 2019.

Myth

Strong gun laws don’t work. Look at Chicago.

Fact

Chicago proves why we must push for strong federal gun laws. Many of the guns used in crime in Chicago can be traced back to nearby states with weaker gun laws.

Source: “Gun Trace Report, 2017,” Chicago Police Department.

Myth

A small child cannot pull a trigger.

Fact

Every year, hundreds of children age 17 and under gain access to a gun and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else—sometimes fatally.

Source: Everytown, #NotAnAccident Index, 2021.

Myth

The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Fact

If more guns everywhere made us safer, America would be the safest country on earth. Instead, we have a gun homicide rate 25x that of other high-income countries.

Source: Grinshteyn, Hemenway, “Violent Death Rates,” 2019.

Myth

Arming teachers will keep our kids safer in schools.

Fact

Arming teachers ignores research that shows the presence of a gun increases the risks posed to children and teachers.  School safety experts and law enforcement oppose arming teachers.

Source: Everytown, “How Can We Prevent Gun Violence in American Schools?,” 2021.

Myth

We don’t own guns, so I don’t need to worry about my kids getting hold of one.

Fact

Nearly 5.4 million U.S. children live in a household with at least one loaded, unsecured gun. Children and teens access guns in homes other than their own.

Source: Personal communication from Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller to Everytown based on 2021 National Firearms Survey, August 11, 2021.

Myth

Everyone already has to get a background check when buying a gun.

Fact

Federal law only requires licensed dealers to perform background checks. That means that millions of guns are exchanged each year without one – often online or at gun shows.

Source: Miller, Hepburn, Azrael, “Firearm Acquisition,” 2017; Everytown, “Unchecked,” 2019.

Myth

Red flag laws take guns from people without due process.

Fact

A judge can only issue a final red flag order following a hearing of which the person is given notice and during which they have an opportunity to be heard. Red flag laws also allow an individual to petition to terminate an existing order.

Source: Everytown, “Extreme Risk Laws Save Lives,” 2020.

Myth

Stand Your Ground laws provide everyone an equal right to self-defense.

Fact

Stand Your Ground laws have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Across the country, research shows that when white shooters kill Black victims, the resulting homicides are considered justifiable far more frequently than when the shooter is Black and the victim is white.

Source: Roman J. Race, justifiable homicide, and Stand Your Ground Laws: Analysis of FBI Supplementary Homicide Report data. Urban Institute. 2013.

Myth

Stay-at-home orders and social distancing due to COVID-19 have decreased gun violence.

Fact

Unprecedented increases in gun sales, combined with economic distress and social isolation due to COVID-19, are intensifying the country’s long-standing gun violence crisis.

Source: Everytown, “Gun Violence and COVID-19,” 2020.

Myth

Gun violence affects Black and white people in the U.S. equally.

Fact

Black people in the U.S. are disproportionately impacted by various forms of gun violence. They experience nearly 10 times the gun homicides, 18 times the gun assault injuries, and 3 times the fatal police shootings of white people in the U.S.

Source: Everytown, “Impact of Gun Violence on Black Americans,” 2020.

Myth

Active shooter drills make students and school staff more safe in the case of an active shooter.

Fact

There is no evidence to show student participation in active shooter drills saves lives and data shows they do cause trauma and anxiety. The best way to protect schools from school shootings are proven threat assessment programs and gun safety laws.

Source: Everytown, “The Impact of Active Shooter Drills in Schools,” 2020.

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