Study Claims Gun Sales Increase Accidental Gun Deaths, Doesn’t Mention Record Low Accidental Gun Deaths

BREMEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 25: Air guns lie on display in the shop window of a hunting and weapons store on February 25, 2016 in Bremen, Germany. Retailers across Germany have reported a surge in sales of self-defense means, including alarm pistols and pepper spray, since the New Year's Eve …
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A Wellesley College study on the post-Sandy Hook surge in gun sales suggests a correlation between such surges and higher accidental gun deaths but ignores the fact that accidental gun deaths hit a record low in 2014.

The researchers seek to bolster their claim by limiting the window for accidental gun deaths to between time December 2012 and April 2013. This covers the time-frame immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack; a time when gun control was being pushed and gun sales were rising.

According to Daily Mail, researchers noted that approximately “3 million more guns were sold in that time period than average” and there was a sharp increase in Google searches for phrases like “clean gun” and “buy gun.” Lead study author Phillip Levine indicated that such searches makes it seem that people were getting their guns out, checking them to be sure they were in working order. He intimates that this contributed to a rise in accidental shootings that saw “60 more people than average” killed with a gun between December 2012 and April 2013.

The problem with this claim is that the five months covered by the study were followed by numerous other surges in gun sales. In fact, records for background checks for gun sales began to be set in May 2015 and continued to be set through November 2016, a period of 16 months.

Moreover, even if no more records had been set, it is common sense that gun sales on a normal pace would lead to more guns in America in 2014 than there were in 2013, especially more than there were in the time frame between December 2012 and April 2013. Yet 2014 set a record low for accidental gun deaths.

Fox News reports John Lott’s figure of 486 accidental gun deaths for 2014, which was “the lowest number [of accidental gun deaths] on record despite the explosion in gun sales and concealed carry permits.”

AWR Hawkins is an award winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News.  He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.