Thanks to you, accidental gun deaths are rare

Canadian accidental firearms deaths 1971 to 2022Accidental firearm deaths have dropped from over 100 per year in the 1970s to just 11 in 2022

Take a bow. You deserve it. We deserve it.
Thanks to a strong culture of safety in the firearms community, gun accidents are rare.

Deaths due to gun accidents are low and have been decreasing for decades. In 2022, the latest year statistics are available, there were just 11 accidental firearms deaths in all of Canada. Too many, certainly, but strikingly low given that an estimated 4 million people own firearms in Canada. That’s just 0.28 per 100,000 firearms owners and compares quite well with accidental deaths from other activities.

We can always do better.

Of course, there’s still room for improvement to reduce accidents even further. Accidental deaths of any kind are particularly tragic because it’s easy to imagine they could have been avoided. Each death is a grievous loss, but these low statistics say firearms owners are responsible and conscientious citizens.

This is less than half the number of accidental deaths in the early 2000s when 26 people lost their lives through firearms accidents. The most likely explanation for the continued drop is the strong culture of safety that hunting and shooting organizations inculcate in gun owners. Some suggest that the recent drop is due to a decline in the number of firearms owners. This does not appear to be the case. PALS have increased 18% since 2007. This year was picked in order to capture the natural growth rate. There was a rapid increase in PAL holders during first few years of the PAL program (which began in 2001) because the first few years the statistics were inflated by the millions of Canadians who were required to get a licence for the first time.

Anti-gun activists exaggerate the risks of firearm ownership in order to evoke public support for additional restrictions on civilian firearms. Such efforts look misplaced compared with casualty rates for other popular activities.

An active life involves risk

We drive cars and trucks, ride bicycles and motorcycles, ride ATVs and snowmobiles, as well as living in a dangerous world. Comparatively, the risks of owning firearms are well managed.

Consider pedal cycling. In 2022, 74 pedal cyclists were fatally injured in accidents out of an estimated 6 million cyclists who ride each week; in other words 1.23 cyclists had fatally accidents per 100,000 active cyclists.

Riding a bicycle is much more dangerous than owning a firearm. And accidental falls and poisonings are far too common. Motorcyclists are often called “organ donors “

Number of accidental deaths in 2022Rate per 100,000Target Population
Motor vehicles1,7524.739 million
Falls7,70319.539 million
Poisonings5,88215.139 million
Motorcycles20024800,000 registered cyclists
Pedal cycles741.236 million pedal cyclists
Firearms110.284 million firearms owners

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 13-10-0156-01 Deaths, by cause, Chapter XX: External causes of morbidity and mortality (V01 to Y89)

A culture of safety

Thanks to a variety of voluntary organizations, a culture of safety has become widespread in many activities, but shooting and hunting organizations deserve particular credit. The numbers of firearms accidents have been falling for decades. Back in the 1950s, before hunting organizations could convince provincial governments to introduce mandatory hunting safety courses, on average, 166 people lost their lives due to accidental firearms deaths each year in Canada.

During the 1960s, Canadian hunter organizations ramped up efforts to teach firearms safety, introducing voluntary courses and pressuring provincial governments to mandate safety courses as part of hunting licences. Almost all provincial governments began requiring hunters to take firearms safety courses in the 1970s as part of hunter safety training. Alberta acted early, requiring firearm safety classes in 1964. Canada’s territorial governments quickly followed the provinces. The results are readily seen in plummeting frequencies of accidental deaths in the graph.

Gun grabbers lie

Gun grabbers lie in order to evoke public support for additional restrictions on civilian firearms. Statistics on children’s accidental deaths are often exaggerated by including young men – even up to age 24 — along with young children.

Newspaper stats deliberately include ‘shootings’ among accidents [in which a gun is fired but no injuries occurred]. Many articles might include ‘shootings’ with BB guns or paintball guns, where the risk of injury is minor. Often conflating suicides and homicides along with unintentional deaths.

Pseudo-scientific studies are pumped out conducted by activists with quasi-medical sounding titles. “You’ll shoot your eye out,” is a repeated mantra. Implying that keeping a gun at home is an accident waiting to happen. The implication is that citizens can’t be trusted with firearms. But that is not supported by the evidence.

Responsible gun owners must act responsibly

There is no doubt that firearm ownership imposes serious safety challenges for gun owners so that owners must act responsibly to ensure their own safety as well as the safety of their family, neighbors, and community.

To sum up: the evidence shows that both American and Canadian firearms owners are responsible and safety conscious. Since early in the 20th Century, firearms organizations have worked diligently to educate their members and the public about how to safely handle firearms. Mandatory hunter safety courses in both Canada and the United States came into existence thanks to the lobbying efforts of a number of firearms organizations, primarily the National Rifle Association in the United States, and fish and game organizations in every Province and Territory in Canada.

2 Comments on "Thanks to you, accidental gun deaths are rare"

  1. So, statistically, you’re safer with a gun in your possession, than a bicycle, motorcycle, stairway/bathtub, or car, or pickup truck. Ladders, power tools, and things that can trip you might be included in that general list of causes, although maybe they were. I would also add doctors to the stats about accidental deaths due to medical “accidents”, which are rarely included in the discussion about personal safety and accidental causes of death. Of the 11 recorded firearms related accidental deaths, how many weren’t really accidents, I wonder? In spite of the best efforts of law enforcement to determine what actually happened at the outset, some firearms accidents were later proven to be intentional, for one reason or another.

  2. We await Pierre; to bring back FACTS when you make firearms rules and laws. No more lies from the woke, or firearms haters. I know 2 people who give the firearms courses. They say, there work load has doubled. I wonder way? Wouldn`t be that all the corrupt, WEF, Beijing elected, lying Liberal illegal unaccounted for immigrants, aren`t vetted like us firearms owners. Hell they don`t even know where they are, let alone who they are, or where they came from? Bring lots in, never mind there isn`t any houses for them? Don`t get me wrong, I have no problem with immigration. As long as it is done legal and numbers we can handle.

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