740,000 New Lies
740,000 PEOPLE DIE, EACH YEAR, FROM “ARMED VIOLENCE”
– THE 2008 GBAV REPORT
by Paul Gallant, Alan Chwick, & Joanne D. Eisen
It is often difficult to identify how the firearm-prohibitionists
because sometimes the lies are subtle, and are often camouflaged to
to benefit the public welfare. But sometimes, their lies are easily
spotted. In an attempt to frighten the world’s States into signing
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
the figure the GBAV authors conjured up—740,000 global deaths
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
figure, juxtaposed with photos of firearms. The inclusion of the photos
firearms, rather than tanks and/or artillery, helped ensure that the
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
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
numbers were added into the total of 740,000 violent deaths—27
percent!—and uncritically accepted as gospel by the media and
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
were lying, and that they didn’t expect anyone to read or criticize
their report. A prime example of indirect conflict deaths occurred in
Lanka, formerly Ceylon. In 2009, the Tamil Tigers were soundly defeated
the army of Sri Lanka, after a 30-year-long rebellion.
The Government of Sri Lanka then trapped non-combatant
“containment camps,” and denied them life-sustaining necessities.
British media reported that thousands were dying from lack of food,
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
violence”—that is, intentional homicide. When we repeatedly
and UN personnel for the data they used so we could check the math,
refused our requests. This non-scientific and evasive behavior raised
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.
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
public policy issue. Its inclusion here is used only to intensify fear
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
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
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
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
“war on weapons,” strengthening the black market in weapons,
increasing global violence. Although the reduction of violence is the
promise of the ATT’s proponents, they should know that it is a
promise. Their true goal is weapons reduction, regardless of the cost.
They lie in order to achieve this, and we should consider those lies
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.
* FULL GBAV REPORT AVAILABLE AT:
FOR A MORE DETAILED DISCUSSION OF THE GBAV REPORT SEE:
David B. Kopel,
Paul Gallant & Joanne D. Eisen, “How Many Global Deaths from
Reasons to Question the 740,000 Factoid being used to Promote the Arms
Trade Treaty,” 5 NYU J. Law & Liberty 672 (Number 3), AVAILABLE
The authors wish to thank Dillon Precision Products, The
Blue Press, for
permission to reprint & distribute the following article. Please
redistribute this article, far and wide, and to friends & family,
please credit The Blue Press with its publication. Your help is greatly
Reference: Dillon Precision Products, 800-762-3845, www.DillonPrecision.com/
The Blue Press, November 2011, Issue 233, Pg 48-49; Reprint: "740,000
Available at: http://gallanteisen.incnf.org/740_000%20New_Lies-[BP112011].pdf