Are these images claims valid?

enter image description here

Did rapes really drop by 90%? And was it due to women having firearms training (as the image implies)?

  • 6
    Remember: regardless of whether or not the claim is true, correlation does not imply causation. Causation would IMHO be very unlikely here, as most rapes occur between acquaintances or at parties and such, which hardly seems to be a situation where firearm training is relevant.
    – gerrit
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 23:53
  • 2
    Considering that it's unlikely that 90% of potential rape victims took part in the firearms training, or anywhere near that amount, it's hard to see how the gun training could have lead to such a drop...
    – dsollen
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 15:18
  • 1
    Do we know what kinds of rape that the statistics are for? Causation would seem a lot more plausible if we're talking only about mugger-style rapes where a woman's attacked by an unknown assailant while walking through a park. It'd be a lot more confusing if the claimant thinks that guns help to prevent date rapes, intoxicated women getting taken advantage of, etc..
    – Nat
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 1:44
  • @dsollen theoretically speaking, if the training was public knowledge, gun training might not only enable women to stop a rape attempt from being successful, but may deter rapists from attempting to rape. If only one in six women got training, then for would-be rapists it'd turn into a case of Russian roulette
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


The claim that guns were a causal factor in rapes going down in Orlando is from a paper from Gary Kleck, a legitimate criminologist from Florida State. I believe that it is this article, but it doesn't appear to be easily accessible online.

The raw data is supposedly available from github as linked at the bottom of here. (The analysis itself from The Sandy Hook Project might reasonably be considered biased).

Rapes per year in Orlando according to The Sandy Hook Project:

enter image description here

It appears that there were controversial aspects to the analysis from the beginning. See one quick discussion here.

Since Orlando was small at the time (less than 100,000 persons), the rape rate was pretty variable from year to year. It can be hard to separate a random fluctuation from signal. Comparing a window of years from before and after the gun training shows that there were actually more rapes per year after the training (15.5 rapes per year to 19.1). But, this increase was smaller than the increase in the surrounding area.

There appears to be a debate about whether or not this difference can attributed to randomness - and Kleck used a very permissive 2 standard deviations threshold to rule out randomness. Kleck also appears to have been comparing Orlando to much larger cities - he states that the percentage decrease was larger than in any other US city with a population of over 100,000, but Orlando had a population smaller than 100,000 at the time.

In conclusion, the statistics are hardly definitive, and the analysis is unlikely to change anybody's mind on either side of the debate.

  • 1
    I'd suggest embedding the graph from the Sandy Hook analysis. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 22:09
  • 1
    Done. Although I really don't like the plot - I find the red/green lines to be really misleading. They should be moving averages.
    – KAI
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 22:13
  • 2
    I also think something seems weird about the 1964-1966 datapoints as compared to the 1958-1963 and 1967-1972. I would question if the data reporting was accurate in those years. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 23:21
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    The STD abbreviation in the graph confused me for a second ;-)
    – user22865
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 7:51

It appears that the numbers are cherry picked to match the agenda. It's also very dubious that guns training was the cause for the drop - in the next few years the number of rapes increased steadily, if guns lead to a drop it would be logical to assume that the effect remains fairly steady in the following years.


  • 5
    This is pretty much a link only answer. You need pertinent quotes and maybe some data tables. If the claim is based on cherry picked data, then you need to show it, not just claim it.
    – user11643
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 22:00
  • 2
    You need to do more to show your answer has merit. And other sources would help too (I'm sure the SHP has its own biases just as the maker of the image does).
    – Andy
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 22:02

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