The Violence Policy Center is busy bowling us over with the might of their research, once again. This time telling us that cars are becoming so safe that people killing themselves with guns is becoming a higher cause of death in some states than auto accidents. Eugene Volokh takes apart some of the flawed logic on display here.
I would make a wager that the Violence Policy Center has become the most irrelevant anti-gun group out there. If they disappeared tomorrow, I don’t think the anti-gun movement would notice. VPC is, in fact, in trouble as an organization. One can see from their Form 990 for 2010, that pretty much their sole purpose as an organization is to serve as a jobs program for Josh Sugarmann and Kristen Rand, who compromise approximately 55% of their salary expenses. Also worth noting that public support, a measure the IRS uses to determine whether a non-profit organized under 501(c)(3) is a “public charity” or a “private foundation,” has been in precipitous decline at the VPC. The IRS generally requires an organization to receive one third of its support from public sources in order to be considered a public charity. There are mitigating factors that the IRS considers, but it you look at the total return for 2010, it follows with a letter which essentially begs the IRS not to classify them as a private foundation, which would eliminate certain deductions, and make donor information public. VPC’s 17% of public support in 2010 should be very worrying for them, since below 10%, regardless of mitigating factors, you cannot claim public charity status. Here’s how VPC’s public support has been trending:
|Year||% Donations to VPC
From General Public
One can see that as VPC has become increasingly dependent on grants from a small number of foundational donors, they are increasingly less and less qualifying to be considered a public charity. In contrast, EFSGV’s public support percentage is 87.5%, and Brady Center’s is 97.41%. Given these facts, it’s amazing that VPC isn’t trying to do more to be relevant. I can’t imagine the good graces of the IRS will last forever, and they are dropping precipitously close to the 10% floor beyond which no one can claim to be publicly supported.
I think it just desserts that the organization behind the assault weapons strategy is now, probably, the most irrelevant gun control group out there, and quickly on its way to even greater irrelevancy as a private foundation no one pays attention or donates to. You have to wonder how long before even their Joyce backers realize their grants to VPC are just good money chasing bad.