Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaires d’armes sans permis

A Cancer of the Soul

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740,000 New Lies


by Paul Gallant, Alan Chwick, & Joanne D. Eisen

It is often difficult to identify how the firearm-prohibitionists lie,
because sometimes the lies are subtle, and are often camouflaged to appear
to benefit the public welfare. But sometimes, their lies are easily
spotted. In an attempt to frighten the world’s States into signing onto
an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a report entitled The Global Burden of Armed
Violence (or GBAV*) was published in 2008. The anti-gun media latched onto
the figure the GBAV authors conjured up—740,000 global deaths per year
from “armed violence”—and ran with it. The report was intended to
exaggerate the deaths associated with weapons, and create public hysteria.
The scam was easy to see—if only one would actually read the report.

GBAV gave the world a new factoid: 740,000 people die, each year, from
“armed violence.” Almost without exception, the media publicized this
figure, juxtaposed with photos of firearms. The inclusion of the photos of
firearms, rather than tanks and/or artillery, helped ensure that the blame
for those 740,000 deaths would be placed on civilian gun owners.

Early on in the GBAV report, one can see a gross distortion of the facts,
simply through the inclusion of a category called “Indirect Conflict
Deaths.” It is the title of Chapter 2. The number of indirect conflict
deaths claimed by GBAV was 200,000. Its authors admit that none of these
deaths meet the definition of armed violence, stating “These indirect
victims of war do not die violently” (emphasis ours). Yes, 200,000 fake
numbers were added into the total of 740,000 violent deaths—27
percent!—and uncritically accepted as gospel by the media and anti-gun

We’re not making this up: we lack both the imagination and dishonesty to
create such an outrageous lie. We believe that the GBAV authors knew they
were lying, and that they didn’t expect anyone to read or criticize
their report. A prime example of indirect conflict deaths occurred in Sri
Lanka, formerly Ceylon. In 2009, the Tamil Tigers were soundly defeated by
the army of Sri Lanka, after a 30-year-long rebellion.

The Government of Sri Lanka then trapped non-combatant civilians in
“containment camps,” and denied them life-sustaining necessities. The
British media reported that thousands were dying from lack of food, water
and medicine, but the Government of Sri Lanka denied mistreating the
civilians. The UN finally admitted knowledge of these 40,000 non-violent

Chapter 4 of GBAV describes 490,000 deaths from “non-conflict armed
violence”—that is, intentional homicide. When we repeatedly asked GBAV
and UN personnel for the data they used so we could check the math, they
refused our requests. This non-scientific and evasive behavior raised a
lot of red flags.

But you don’t need sophisticated data analysis to recognize the use of
smoke-and-mirrors. The GBAV authors barely mentioned the significant
number of violent deaths perpetrated by government against civilians. For
example, in Kenya, it has been reported that up to 90 percent of homicides
are committed by Kenyan police.

The GBAV authors also glossed over the vast number of murders due to a
nearly global drug war, yet included them as part of the 740,000 total.
While technically accurate, this category of violence will never be
controlled by the Arms Trade Treaty, and should be treated separately as a
public policy issue. Its inclusion here is used only to intensify fear of
civilian owners of firearms.

We know that the stronger the “war on drugs,” the greater the
violence. Anti-gun criminologist Alfred Blumstein scientifically described
“excess murders” as the increase in the number of homicides resulting
from the increasingly vigorous enforcement of drug laws. Examples abound.
In Mexico, when President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006, he “made
combating the drug cartels a top priority.” CNN.Com reported that “An
unprecedented wave of violence has washed over Mexico since Calderon
declared war on drug cartels shortly after coming into office in December

In Colombia, in Medellín alone, there were 2,899 murders in the year
2009, “directly attributable to” the drug war, according to law
enforcement authorities. The war on drugs stimulates the growth and
violence of the black market on drugs. The danger exists that the
effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty could act similarly as a
“war on weapons,” strengthening the black market in weapons, and
increasing global violence. Although the reduction of violence is the
promise of the ATT’s proponents, they should know that it is a false
promise. Their true goal is weapons reduction, regardless of the cost.
They lie in order to achieve this, and we should consider those lies as an

Whatever protections our Second Amendment might provide us, we still need
to know our enemies. A good place to start is by visiting some of the
prominent anti-gun websites, such as www.SmallArmsSurvey.Org,
www.ControlArms.Org, www.GenevaDeclaration.Org, and www.IANSA.Org
(International Action Network on Small Arms).

It may be difficult to identify their lies, so a good rule of thumb to
keep in mind is that the weapons-prohibitionists always exaggerate the
costs, and minimize the benefits to society of civilian-held arms.


Paul Gallant & Joanne D. Eisen, “How Many Global Deaths from Arms?
Reasons to Question the 740,000 Factoid being used to Promote the Arms
Trade Treaty,” 5 NYU J. Law & Liberty 672 (Number 3), AVAILABLE AT:


The authors wish to thank Dillon Precision Products, The Blue Press, for
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Reference: Dillon Precision Products, 800-762-3845,
The Blue Press, November 2011, Issue 233, Pg 48-49; Reprint: "740,000 New
Available at:[BP112011].pdf