Senator Dean twists statistics

Senator Dean twisted statistics on the Senate floor. He incorrectly said that shooting was the most common way to commit suicide in Canada. It is not.

According to Cause of Death statistics reported by Statistics Canada, hanging has been the most common suicide method for decades, accounting for an average 47% of all suicides since 2010. Although Senator Dean was correct when he said suicide represented 75% of gun deaths.


Suicide Methods (2010-2016)

Hanging               1,921               47%

Poisoning                946               23

Shooting                 572               14

Jumping                  298                 7

Other                       276                 7

Total                    4,063             100%

Senator Dean also incorrectly implied that firearms ownership was inordinately dangerous, causing 240 hospitalizations and 13 accidental deaths annually. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the shooting sports are one of the least dangerous sporting activities in Canada 2018.


Sports injury hospitalizations (2016-2017)

All-terrain vehicle         2,834

Hockey                             711

Skateboard                       637

Ski/snowboard              1,717

Soccer                              267

Shooting                           240

In terms of accidental deaths, the Senator is correct in saying that 13 Canadians are accidently shot to death. Thanks to the untiring work by hunting organizations and sport shooting groups, accidental firearms deaths have plummeted over the past 50 years.

Accidental shooting deaths are rare when compared with other accidental dangers.

Statistics Canada reported the following accidental deaths in 2016:

Falls                                        4,681

Motor vehicles                        2,282

Drowning                                  253

Medical “misadventures”          130

Pedal cycling                               59

Firearms                                      10

Senator Dean claimed that, according to StatsCan, nearly 600 women were victims of spousal abuse involving firearms in 2016. The Honorable Senator forgot to mention that knives are more often used to injure or murder women than are firearms.

(Note added later: Senator Dean has partially apologized for incorrectly stating that “shooting was the most common way to commit suicide in Canada.” ] Unfortunately, he continues to consider firearms as uniquely dangerous. They are not. The statistics presented in this blog clearly show they are not.

Tightening Gun Laws Have an Impact on Women’s Health and Safety?” We concluded that, “There was little evidence to suggest that increased firearms legislation in Canada had a significant impact on pre-existing trends in lethal firearm violence against women.”