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Anti-Violence Project Based on Misinformation

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Gun rights and safety aren’t incompatible, no matter what people say. 

What is a problem, though, is irresponsible and illegal gun possession by people who have bad intentions. They generally skirt laws regarding gun purchases by either stealing guns, getting someone else to buy them, or buying them via the black market.

Unfortunately, the narrative that guns make us less safe is all too common. In fact, there are entire anti-violence projects predicated on that faulty information, such as this one.

Project Unloaded utilizes social media to help teens understand neighborhoods are safer without guns.

Taylor Maxwell, the initiative’s director of marketing and communications, says teens are more likely to hear their message than older adults who already have their own firm set of beliefs.

“We started a little over two years ago,” Maxwell said, “and we started because of a simple myth that is that most people believe that having a gun makes them safer, when in reality places with guns are less safe and neighborhoods with guns tend to have more gun violence. We know that adults are not likely to change their views on things, but teenagers are different. They are used to getting facts and often changing their minds as a result.”

According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police data, juvenile suspects were responsible for 21 shootings in the first quarter of 2024, including 17 shootings into occupied property which is up 42% with 74 victims impacted. The report revealed a 1% decrease in violent crime year-to-date, including a 4% increase in property crime and 3% increase in overall crime.

Since starting in 2022, Project Unloaded has launched a pilot campaign called SNUG, which means “Safer Not Using Guns.” In 2024, the campaign reached nearly 60,000 Charlotte area teens and 15% moved away from interest of getting a gun after seeing the posts and content, Maxwell reported.

Now, I get what they’re trying to do, and targeting juveniles with their message is probably the right place to go.

But their message goes beyond the illicit possession and use of guns and instead instills a faulty idea that guns, in and of themselves, are bad.

I find that troubling.

The right to keep and bear arms is, in part, important because it gives us the means to defend our homes, our families, and our lives. Arguing that their mere presence makes people less safe gives the message that this is completely wrong.

Yet the truth is that there’s really no evidence backing that assertion up. What studies there are have terrible flaws so significant that even the left-leaning RAND won’t consider them trustworthy. That’s just one of the many problems with gun research.

Yet what we do know is that from the late 1990s up until 2020, the number of guns in private hands soared year after year while the homicide rate dropped. In 2020, a lot of strange factors came together to create a spike, yet despite continued high gun sales, homicide rates have started dropping once again.

More guns, yet fewer homicides.

Moreover, seven of the 10 states with the lowest homicide mortality rate, according to the CDC, are also states that have historically been pro-gun.

“But a lot of the states with the highest homicide rates also have a lot of guns.”

Yes, they do. They also have a lot of economic factors at play.

See, the truth of the matter–a truth Project Unloaded is missing–is that violent crime is complex and has many causes, but even if you remove the guns completely, you still have the underlying issues that lead some to become violent.

They’ve bought a narrative, pretend their going against the grain by doing so, and sending the wrong signals.

What worries me is that someone will buy what they’re selling and ultimately be left vulnerable to those that are really the problem.

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