This is in response to this article on Mother Jones.

I love some of the lack of reasoning in the article:

The states with the highest gun ownership rates have a gun murder rate 114% higher than those with the lowest gun ownership rates. Also, gun death rates tend to be higher in states with higher rates of gun ownership.

Well, duh. It makes complete sense that higher gun rates tends to correlate with higher gun murder rates. The total violent crime rate is far more important. Take the different between US and UK on those two rates.

Among Texans convicted of serious crimes, those with concealed-handgun licenses were sentenced for threatening someone with a firearm 4.8 times more than those without.

Umm, yeah. Turns out that those with drivers licenses were also probably far more likely to be ticketed for speeding than those without them.

Mass shootings stopped by armed civilians in the past 30 years: 0

If it was stopped by a civilian at the scene who had a gun, it probably didn’t turn into a mass shooting. This site has some possible examples.

For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a home.

Not a bad point, but there are probably also more injuries or deaths caused by driving under the influence of alcohol. If we want to eliminate the possibility of people who do not control themselves hurting others, we need to also reconsider prohibition. More DUI deaths than gun deaths.

In one experiment, one third of 8-to-12-year-old boys who found a handgun pulled the trigger.

Great point. Gun owners should be responsible. In other news, almost 100% of toddlers would drink bleach if they found a bottle of it.

In 2011, nearly 10 times more people were shot and killed in arguments than by civilians trying to stop a crime.

Because if they didn’t have a gun, they also wouldn’t have a knife.

In 2010, nearly 6 times more women were shot by husbands, boyfriends, and ex-partners than murdered by male strangers.

This is misleading. Comparison of # of women shot by one group vs number murdered by another group. I bet that the number raped by a husband, boyfriend, or ex-partner was also far higher than number raped by a stranger (and that’s comparing the same thing for the two groups).

One study found that women in states with higher gun ownership rates were 4.9 times more likely to be murdered by a gun that women in states with lower gun ownership rates.

Again, see my first point above.

Myth #8: “Vicious, violent video games” deserve more blame than guns.
Fact-check: So said NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre after Newtown. So what’s up with Japan?
[Graph depicting the fact that Japan spends more per capita on video games vs USA, has lower gun ownership rates, and also has lower gun homicide rates.]

First, let’s consider that the cost of living in the USA is less than Japan. That can make a difference in the per capita spending on video games. Second, let’s consider that spending on video games doesn’t account for a potential difference between ratio of purchases of violent games vs. purchases of non-violent games. I don’t know if there’s a difference, but this is the country that brought us Paper Mario and digital pets, after all. Also, Japan simply has a lower overall crime rate, too.

While they have several other interesting and perhaps valid statistics, it’s always important to remember that statistics can be very misleading. Always use a critical mind when someone’s trying to persuade you to see their point of view. Accept valid points, reject weak or invalid ones. Sometimes things aren’t as simple as a statistic makes it seem.