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When Grabbers Murder Logic II
How Recycled VPC Propaganda Stinks Like the Garbage It Is

by Sean Oberle

November 13, 2001

Every year, Violence Policy Center recycles a “study” called When Men Murder Women. This year is no different. As you probably can guess from the title, it is propaganda ploy to scare women about firearms:

In short, VPC claims that “the gun lobby” somehow fools women into thinking that they are more likely to be attacked by strangers than by those they know; therefore, guns pose more threat than benefit. Of course, (assuming you accept the bogus charge that “the gun lobby” points to the wrong danger), a thinking person understands that whether a woman knows the attacker has little to do with whether a firearm can be useful in fending off the attacker. The supposed distinction between attacks from strangers and from acquaintances is nothing but a moot strawman argument

Last year, I dissected the fallacies in the 2000 version of this propaganda in my article, When Grabbers Murder Logic. To fully understand VPC’s specious reasoning, read that article. Not much has changed:

Actually, all that has changed is that, this year, VPC provides less to support its allegation while actually making statements to undermine it. Last year, the only thing VPC provided that remotely resembled evidence that gun manufacturers mislead women into fearing attacks from strangers over attacks from acquaintances was a set of three photographs presumably from gun ads -– but presented without credit, context or explanation, making the photos meaningless. 

But this year, VPC doesn’t make any attempt at evidence -– it simply asserts its allegation as if it were axiomatic. However -– I repeat – debate over that allegation is moot. So what if the firearm industry gets the threat wrong? That does not prove that firearms pose more danger than benefit.

To get a flavor of the lack of logic in this, ahem, “study,” consider the following two statements from the conclusion portion of the new version of the VPC propaganda

“Many women—those in abusive relationships, those who have left such relationships, those who fear, in general, for their safety—have considered bringing a gun into their homes as a measure of protection.”

…and a few lines later…

“The picture that emerges from When Men Murder Women is that women face the greatest threat of homicide from someone they know, most often a spouse or intimate acquaintance, who is armed with a gun.”

Note that while VPC falsely claims that “the gun lobby” promotes gun ownership as a defense against attacks from strangers, the gun control group undermines this claim by admitting that, in fact, women often purchase them for protections against abusive intimate acquaintances. 

But more importantly, I am not sure what VPC is implying by comparing women who purchase guns to men who murder women with guns. Is VPC claiming that husbands and boyfriends use the WOMEN’S guns to murder the women? If so, VPC provides no evidence of that. Is VPC claiming that because a man uses HIS gun to murder a woman, that fact makes the WOMAN’S gun – a different gun – dangerous to her? That conclusion would be illogical on its face.

I am left wondering: Does VPC hold the intelligence of American women is such low regard that it thinks it can fool them with this claptrap?

Sean Oberle is a Featured Writer and gun control analyst for He can be reached at View other articles from him at


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The power of the state is measured by the power that men surrender to it. — Felix Morley

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