While Promoting Red Flag Bill, Denver Post Gets Their Suicide By Firearm Facts Grossly Wrong

On Monday Feb 25th, journalist Anna Staver over at the Denver Post released an articled titled “What Colorado can learn from “red flag” gun laws in other states as lawmakers debate passing their own version”.  This article discusses how the opposition and support for Colorado’s proposed “Red Flag” Emergency Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) bill varies, as well as goes into some detail about the effects of this law on other states.

The bill being considered in Colorado, HB19-1177, passed the State House Judiciary Committee last Thursday after nearly ten hours of testimony for and against it.  The opposing sides continued to testify well into the night, with dozens of gun rights activists being called well after they had left.  Had they all stayed, testimony undoubtedly would have continued into the early morning hours.  The bill will be heard in the House Appropriations Committee this week where no public testimony will be taken, and it is expected to pass.  It could see a vote of the full House Chamber as early as next week.

Proponents of this bill are arguing it as a “suicide prevention measure”, as threat to harm self is one of the reasons for firearms confiscation allowed in the bill.  Never mind the chilling unintended consequences this law would have on those who are feeling suicidal – such as fear of reaching out for help, and escalating an already distressing situation.  But the suicide facts Ms. Staver used in her article are wrong on their face.  Here’s what her article says about suicide:

Suicide prevention

Suicide is the leading type of gun death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And supporters of Colorado’s extreme risk protection order bill claim it would prevent some of those deaths from happening in the Centennial State.

“What we are doing with this bill is giving law enforcement a tool that they need to save lives,” said Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial. “The majority of the time it’s going to be someone who is going to do harm to themselves.”

The data supports Sullivan’s assertion that if Colorado allows extreme risk protection orders, the majority of cases will involve suicidal ideation. About 80 percent of the gun seizures in Indiana and 60 percent in Connecticut arose from concerns about suicide.

But did removing those guns prevent violent self-harm?

Aaron Kivisto, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Indianapolis who studied suicide rates in both states, said the answer is yes in Indiana and no in Connecticut.

Kivisto found a 7.5 percent reduction in suicides via gun in the decade following the enactment of Indiana’s law and a 13.7 percent reduction in Connecticut in the “post-Virginia Tech period, when enforcement of the law substantially increased.”

But he found something else in Connecticut: An uptick in non-firearm suicides meant the overall suicide rate was essentially unchanged.

He said he doesn’t know why the two states got two different results, but one possible explanation is the cultural differences between them.

“Taking the gun isn’t the end of the situation. It doesn’t reduce the crisis,” Kivisto said. “It leaves someone in a crisis without a gun.”

Rally for our Rights supporter and gun rights activist, Mario Acevedo of Denver, thought the Indiana numbers didn’t seem accurate.  So he did his own research.  He found that not only were Ms. Staver’s numbers inaccurate, but they were wrong on the white paper she referenced.

Suicide Rates Red Flag ERPO Colorado Rally for our Rights

Here’s the letter Mario sent to Ms. Staver and the Denver Post.  I repeated the same research Mario had done on the CDC’s website and came up with exactly the same numbers he did.  Indiana has one of the fastest increasing rates of suicide in the nation.

Anna Staver
[email protected]

February 25, 2018

Anna,

In your article “Colorado can learn “red flag” lessons from red states,” you mentioned that professor Aaron Kivisto found that Indiana saw a 7.5 percent reduction in gun suicides following the 2005 adoption of their “red lag” gun confiscation law. That sounded off to me since Indiana is a state hit hard by the opioid epidemic and suicides are an unfortunate consequence of such drug abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control:

In 2005, Indiana had 416 gun suicides, 745 total suicides, and 11.82 suicides per 100K population Age Adjusted Rate.

In 2017, Indiana had 604 gun suicides, 1092 total suicides, and 16.36 suicides per 100K population Age Adjusted Rate.

I don’t know what numbers or methodology Kivisto was using but his findings appear to be completely bogus. You are more than welcome to confirm my numbers at the CDC WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports.

My issue with red flag laws is that there’s a lot of hand waving over the results that cause me to question the purpose of such law. Effective policy, in this case to reduce fatal self-harm, must be based on reality and facts, not simply good intentions or wishes.

Sincerely,

Mario Acevedo
Denver, Colorado

Think they’ll bother to do the research themselves and correct this glaring inaccuracy?  We really shouldn’t have to fact check the fact checkers.  

Mario also contacted the author of the white paper, Aaron Kivisto.  Mr. Kivisto did respond!  But his response gave us a big WTF?  Basically they decided the rate of suicide has decreased because it’s lower than what the projected rates were had the bill not passed.  Do these people have a crystal ball?

Mr. Acevedo,

Thanks for your email. You’re absolutely right that in absolute terms suicides have increased. Our study approached the issue not in terms of absolute reductions, however, but in terms of reductions from the number of suicides that would have been expected in each state had the lot not been passed. In other words, our statistical approach utilized a technique known as the synthetic control methodology. It’s an approach developed by MIT economists to study the effects of policy changes and is currently considered among the most robust methods available to study the impact of policy change. In short, the approach provides a counterfactual – that is, an estimate of what the suicide rate would have been in Indiana had they not enacted the law, as well as in Connecticut had they not enacted the law. These estimates are compared to observed rates, and reductions represent the difference between these estimated and observed values.

The apparent contradiction you were noticing comes from the fact that suicide rates can indeed rise, but not rise at as rapid arete as would be expected. Similarly, there could be an absolute reduction in suicide rates, but a reduction not as fast as would be expected, which would be interpreted as a problematic impact.

I hope that this is helpful.

Aaron Kivisto, Ph.D., HSPP

We here at Rally for our Rights certainly don’t take suicide lightly.  In fact, many of us including myself and Mario have lost loved ones to suicide.  It’s an issue near and dear to our hearts.  Which likely makes this even more infuriating.  Suicide is a serious problem in society and manipulating stats to pass bad legislation is despicable.

Watch this testimony given by 19 year gun rights activist, Haley Marcantonio, during the Red Flag ERPO hearing last week.  What she doesn’t mention in her testimony is her family has been personally touched by suicide, as many of ours have.  The anti-gun community does not get a monopoly on suicide.  This issue has touched millions deeply.

 

Want To Help Fund Gun Rights Billboards in Colorado? Here’s How!

gun rights womens rights billboard colorado rally for our rights
Rally for our Rights is excited to announce our latest effort to get three different billboard designs out around Colorado!  We’ve just begun the fundraising effort to make this happen.  The more we raise, the more creative and strategic we can be with our placement.  There are options of digital billboards available that will rotate to different locations, as well as your traditional roadside billboards.  We want to use all to get the most bang for our buck!

gun rights save lives billboard colorado rally for our rights
With the recent elections turning Colorado bluer than blue, we are expecting to see gun control legislation worse than even 2013 when three Democrat state legislators were recalled over gun bills.  These billboards are an opportunity to grow our member base to allow us to better fight this legislation, as well as engage the average citizen who typically becomes apathetic between elections.  It’s time to pay attention!

You can support this effort by making a donation and sharing our GoFundMe here: www.gofundme.com/gun-rights-billboards

Mailing a contribution to:

Rally for our Rights
PO Box 721
Johnstown, CO 80534

Or donating directly to Rally for our Rights via credit/debit card or PayPal by clicking here. 

Please note: These are mock-ups only!  The final versions will be created by the billboard company graphics designer and will utilize all available space.  

gun rights medical malpractice AR15 billboard colorado rally for our rights

Gun control advocates have already placed billboards outside of Boulder, CO, and we expect them to continue.  These are what those looked like…

Gun control billboard boulder colorado rally for our rights Gun control billboard boulder colorado rally for our rights

 

No, Most AR-15 Owners Are Not Mass Murderers

In the world of Twitter, it’s easy to say ridiculous, unfactual things with no consequence – and people will readily validate you with a retweet or praise.  In the blink of an eye millions of people are exposed to yet another lie.

This happened just a few days ago when political writer for Newsweek, Nina Burleigh tweeted, and I quote: “Almost every single person I’ve ever heard of with an AR-15 has been a mass murderer.”

This tweet was in response to California Congressman Eric Swalwell letting gun owners know if they were to refuse to comply with a hypothetical gun confiscation, they just might be nuked. 

Well, Ms. Burleigh clearly lives in a very small, very shallow bubble.

There are well over 6 million AR-15’s in the United States, and that is undoutedly on the low end.  These numbers are extrapolated from manufacturer production and the ATF.  AR-15’s are commonly used for sport, hunting, and self-defense.  They are preferred by many, including women and those with disabilities, because they are lightweight, easy to modify to best fit the user, and highly accurate.  As I’ve said many times, if God forbid someone were to enter my home with the intent to harm myself or my daughters, I want the firearm that will stop them the fastest and with the best accuracy – and for myself that is going to be a rifle.

Out of these over 6 million AR-15’s, only 13 have been used in mass murders since 2004.  

So, in honor of Ms. Burleigh, I thought it would be fitting to highlight some AR-15 owners.  They’re your neighbors and your friends.  They’re your co-workers and your classmates.  They’re your average, everyday people who give back to their communities and care about society.

Emily Baker Rally for our Rights AR15 Colorado

Name: Emily Baker
Age: 21
Occupation: Software Developer
Pets: Mookie, American Bulldog
# of Mass Murders Committed: ZERO
# of Community Acts of Service: SIX
  • Adopt-A-Highway Cleanups 
  • Humane Society Donation Drive
  • OUR Center Coat Drive
  • Volunteers with Special Needs Kids
  • Helped organize donation drive after Hurricane Harvey 
  • Volunteered after Joplin, MO tornado

About Emily:  As a baby I was abandoned and left to die on the streets of China.  By the Grace of God, I was rescued and adopted to a couple from the United States where I grew up.  Learning about the communist land I came from has given me a great respect and appreciation for our Constitutional rights, especially the right to keep and bear arms. You can follow Emily on Instagram at @patriot_panda  www.instagram.com/patriot_panda

Name: Jason Boros
Age: 37
Occupation: Mechanic/Service Writer
Pets: 2 dogs, 1 cat and a Guinea pig
# of Mass Murders Committed: ZERO
# of Community Acts of Service: SIX
  • Volunteers with terminally ill
  • Adopt-A-Highway Cleanups 
  • Humane Society Donation Drive
  • OUR Center Coat Drive
  • Donation drive for Mountain States Legal Foundation
  • Organizes free community events to help better educate gun enthusiasts

About Jason:  Animals love me. All of our pets are rescued. I’m a loving family guy. The only thing on my criminal record is a misdemeanor dog off leash ticket.  Mass murderer?  That’s insulting. 

Name: Haley Marcantonio
Age: 19
Occupation: Server at retirement home & full time college student
Pets: Bonnie & Clyde, Chihuahuas
# of Mass Murders Committed: ZERO
# of Community Acts of Service: SIX
  • Domestic violence shelter support
  • Volunteers with adoption agency
  • Christmas gift drives for needy 
  • Volunteers with puppy mill awareness campaigns and efforts
  • Adopt-A-Highway cleanups
  • OUR Center Coat Drive

About Haley:  I’m your typical Basic White Girl – I love my Starbucks, shopping, make up, getting my nails done, and hanging out with my friends. I also have seven younger siblings who I love more than the stars in the sky. Follow Haley on Instagram @misshaleyroseee www.instagram.com/misshaleyroseee