Putting Firearm Owners in Perspective (Graphical Representation)

Earlier this year, Mike Pearl from Vice Media contacted me about a piece he was writing on the topic, “How scared should I be of my own gun?” I don’t respond to every media request, but I had some things to say on the topic. We spoke for 45 minutes and to his credit Pearl used quite a bit of what I said — and pretty accurately, too.

Screen cap of https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/how-scared-should-i-be-of-my-own-gun

One of the first things I wanted to establish from the outset when I spoke to Pearl is that there are probably at least 60 million Americans who personally own (at least) 300 million guns in the United States (and many more Americans who live in households with those guns). And the vast majority of these American gun owners will never use their guns in a harmful way or experience any harmful outcomes from them.

How to represent this graphically? Although it doesn’t capture my point perfectly, the following image from the Graphical Representation blog, gets at alot of what I was trying to say.

Source: Graphical Representation blog (https://graphicalrepresentation.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/putting-firearm-owners-in-perspective/)

Which raises a question at the heart of the great gun debates: How to address the red in the image while not infringing on the rights of the blue?


  1. And that’s total crimes.

    Another interesting graphic would be actual physical harm. Last I counted from CDC numbers a couple years back, the total death -and- injury involving firearms: accident, suicide, and homicide, was about 120,000/yr. With, of course, 20K or so of that being suicides, and the majority of homicides and injuries being criminal (usually intra-criminal), not accidental.

    Percents of a percent whether using total population, “gun owners,” “guns,” or any other measure.


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