After every mass shooting tragedy, gun safety opponents turn to the same tired excuses and weak arguments. We have what you need to debunk their spin. Check out our list of the most powerful gun violence statistics and find rebuttals to common arguments against gun safety legislation. 




1. Gun violence is the #1 cause of death for American children and teens. More than 4,300 are killed with guns every year in the US.

2. Americans are 26 times more likely to be killed by guns than those from other high-income countries.

3. 40,620 Americans are killed by gun violence in an average year. That’s 110 people every day.

4. The rate of gun deaths in the US has increased by 33% since 2010. 

5. Black Americans are 10 times more likely than White Americans to be killed by guns.

6. Most mass shootings occur within private homes and have a domestic violence component.

7. Access to a gun makes it five times more likely that an abusive partner will kill his female victim. 

8. Access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide and doubles the risk of death by homicide.

9. 90% of suicide attempts with a gun are fatal. 90% of suicide attempts without a gun are NOT fatal.

10. Gun violence costs the US more than $280 billion each year.

Find more information about these stats and more at Everytown for Gun Safety, The Brady Campaign, and the CDC




Click on the image to learn more about Americans’ opinions on gun laws from Vox.




1. Gun reform laws violate the Second Amendment


  • The US Constitution carefully balances promoting the public good and protecting individual rights. While the Second Amendment does protect individuals’ rights to own weapons, those rights should not extend to scenarios that threaten public safety, in the same way that the First Amendment does not protect individuals who yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no fire.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that DC’s handgun ban violated the Second Amendment, but Justice Scalia made sure to clarify the ruling by writing, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” and “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
  • Assault-style weapon & large-capacity magazine bans: Federal appeals courts have concluded that such laws comply with the Constitution. In 1994 Congress established an assault weapons ban, which included high capacity magazines. The law expired in 2004.
  • Age restrictions: The Second Amendment sets no minimum age requirement. Most age restriction laws are focused only on the purchase of assault-style weapons and handguns, and those laws have been upheld in courts. 
  • Waiting periods: Although 3-day waiting periods are most common, the courts have upheld waiting periods of up to 10 days.
  • Universal background checks: These pose no Second Amendment challenge.


2. Gun laws don’t work


  • Assault-style weapons bans: Research shows that during the 10-year span that the federal Assault Weapons Ban was in place, the number of mass shootings fell by 37% and mass shooting deaths fell by 43%. After the ban lapsed in 2004, mass shootings increased by 183% and mass shooting deaths increased by and a 239%.
  • High capacity magazine bans: A 2020 study of state gun laws concluded that bans on high capacity magazines are associated with 38% fewer fatalities and 77% fewer nonfatal injuries when a mass shooting occurred.
  • Universal background checks: State laws requiring a permit to purchase a firearm, which includes a background check on all purchases, are associated with 60% lower odds of a mass public shooting occurring.
  • Red flag laws: Also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO), red flag laws allow police to temporarily remove weapons from a person in crisis. 19 states currently have one. A recent study showed that Connecticut saw a 14% reduction in its firearm suicide rate and Indiana saw a 7.5% reduction. Between 1999 and 2021, at least 16,857 extreme risk petitions were filed in the US.


3. Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun 


4. Hardening targets will stop mass shootings


  • Most mass shootings actually occur in private homes and have a domestic violence component.
  • Most school shooters attack their own schools. They already know all the emergency procedures and often have their own access card.
  • Unarmed civilians are more effective than armed civilians at stopping mass shooters. (FBI Report)
  • School shooting deaths are almost 3 times higher at schools with armed guards. (JAMA)
  • Adding armed civilians to an active shooter situation will make it harder for law enforcement to identify the criminal. Teachers and staff with weapons could be accidentally targeted by officers.

5. This is a mental health problem


  • Only about 4% of violent crime is caused by people with dangerous mental illnesses, and only 22% of mass shootings are caused by those with mental illness. (University of California Study)
  • The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and even the majority of those with severe mental illness are not violent. (NIH Study)
  • People with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence, including by police.
  • Mental illness and access to a gun both increase the risk of suicide. Since 88% gun deaths are suicides, better mental health treatment and gun control are both effective at combating that problem. Legislators should increase funding for school counselors, make mental health treatment and more affordable and accessible, and pass “red flag” laws to remove guns from people proven to pose an extreme risk to themselves or others.


6. Background checks are inconvenient 


  • The most common federal background check legislation would simply require that unlicensed sellers meet their buyers at a gun dealer. 99% of Mainers live within 10 miles of a licensed gun dealer (we have more licensed gun dealers than post offices).
  • Nearly 90% of background checks are completed immediately. (FBI report)
  • Background checks have stopped 4 million gun sales to people with a criminal record. (Everytown Research)
  • States that require universal background checks are associated with a 10% lower homicide rate. (Rockefeller Inst study)


7. Mainers rejected background checks in 2016


  • A lot has changed since 2016. In 2021, polling showed that 70% of Mainers and 63% of Maine gun owners support universal background checks. (Giffords Poll)
  • 64% of Mainers say they would never vote for a candidate who opposes background checks. (Giffords Poll)
  • Background checks are by far the least controversial aspect of gun legislation, according to a whole lot of surveys, and about the same percentage of Americans (80 – 90%) favor universal background checks as they do ice cream.


8. “Red flag” laws violate due process


  • The main due process concern is that Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) laws authorize “ex parte proceedings”, which means that the protection order is issued without the participation of the person it’s directed toward. While this is true, law enforcement bears a responsibility to protect the public from credible threats. ERPO laws make it easier for law enforcement to determine when and if a threat is credible, because judges determine if there is probable cause for the protection order.
  • Only family and household members and law enforcement officers can file a petition for this kind of protection order, not a neighbor, co-worker, or friend. Only judges can determine if the petition merits the issue of a protection order. 
  • The judge’s order to remove firearms from a person in crisis is temporary, and can be extended by the judge if the person continues to be considered a risk.
  • ERPO laws save lives, and are primarily used for suicide prevention. 90% of suicide attempts with a gun are fatal. Laws in Indiana and Connecticut may have prevented hundreds of firearm suicides, according to research published in the journal Psychiatric Services.


9. Gun reform laws violate Maine’s constitution


  • Just like the US Constitution, the Maine State Constitution balances individual rights with the common good. Article 1, Section 16 states: “Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.” This is the section legislators love to use as justification for opposing gun reform laws. But scroll back up and you’ll also find this in Article 1, Section 2: “All power is inherent in the people; all free governments are founded in their authority and instituted for their benefit; they have therefore an unalienable and indefensible right to institute government, and to alter, reform, or totally change the same, when their safety and happiness require it.”


10. Maine already has enough gun laws


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