They believe that the more people with guns, the safer we all are. Their motivation is apparently that they are in the gun business, or are flacks for the arms manufacturers, and so make more money if we believe the hooey that they are selling.
I obtained a data set that shows the number of gun related deaths per 100,000 population by state. I also found a data set that lists the percentage of households that own a gun, again by state.
Here are the sources.
Gun death data (the data I used is the 2009 data)
Gun ownership data:
If you graph the two data sets against each other, with deaths on the vertical axis and percentage of households that own at least one gun on the horizontal axis, you get the graph shown above.
I also added one other feature, based on my personal curiosity. The states that voted Democratic in the 2012 Presidential election are indicated by BLUE squares and the states that voted Republican in the 2012 Presidential election as indicated by RED diamonds.
The trend line for each data set is also shown, as are the equations of the lines. The RED line is systematically approximately two units higher (e.g., representing approximately two additional gun deaths per 100,000 population as a function of gun ownership).
The proof that the NRA is wrong is demonstrated by the slope of the curves. Because the number of gun-related deaths increases with gun ownership, the slope is positive, and the lines trend from the lower left corner to the upper right corner of the graph.
If the NRA thesis was correct, the lines should trend from the upper left corner to the lower right corner (e.g., FEWER gun-related deaths as the percentage of gun owneership goes up). But there is no such indication in the data.
A few more comments after the orange squiggle.
Let's look at some of the historical data. In particular, I will mention Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Saint Ronnie.
At Columbine High School, there was a police officer who was on duty every day. On April 20, 1999 this offices was eating lunch in his police cruiser parked in front of the school. When the shooting started, he was summoned to go to the rear of the school. Apparently, he fired his service revolver at the perps four times, hitting nobody, and was then pinned down by the perps who had greater fire power than he did.
At Virginia Tech there was (and is) a university police force of uniformed, trained and armed officers. Even though they were present and "ready to go" one nut job managed to kill over 30 people before the killing stopped.
Many of us remember, and likely we have all seen, the video coverage of Hinckley shooting Saint Ronnie and James Brady. In case you don't recall, Saint Ronnie had just finished a speech and was walking to his limo when Hinckley opened up with a handgun. Hinckley was almost immediately tackled by several Secret Service agents. But even that did not prevent both Saint Ronnie and Jim Brady from being shot.
Wayne LaPierre never even dealt with those facts in his rambling, foolish presentation on December 21, 2012.
What LaPierre deliberately missed (I wonder if he is as lousy a shot as he is a logician) is that gun violence is the LAST event in a series of events that include obtaining a gun, obtaining ammo, deciding to commit a violent act, preparing for that act, and finally committing the act.
One can prevent the final violent act by eliminating any one of the required prior steps. Cutting off the ability to obtain a gun or cutting off the ability to obtain the ammo would do the trick.
i have no idea (except for the obvious FINANCIAL interest of the NRA) why the gun nuts can't see beyond the ends of their noses.
It would be interesting to do this analysis an the basis of each Congressional District, but I didn't find such data. Maybe somebody like Nate Silver can run that analysis.
I would welcome your comments and discussion.
Update - December 23 - 8:20 PM Eastern: It has been pointed out that Hinckley used a handgun, so I corrected that. I guess I remembered incorrectly. But the point is, even with a Secret Service detail, the President of the US is not immune from violence. That is one more example that would suggest that the NRA "solution" of posting armed guards at schools is not likely to be effective.