VPC: The Most Irrelevant Anti-Gun Group?

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
2007 24.19%
2008 22.01%
2009 17.82%
2010 16.93%


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.

11 thoughts on “VPC: The Most Irrelevant Anti-Gun Group?”

  1. of course, if someone sent a letter to the IRS questioning why their donor information is not public and copied certain US Reps and Senators . . . . . .

  2. Is there an opportunity here? If someone were to grant them enough money to push the public donations under 10% …. hhmmmmmm :-)

  3. “Gun deaths” is classic Josh Sugarmann disinformation, from the man who brought us “assault weapons” (whatever those are.) In addition to counting suicides as “gun deaths” indistinguishable from homicides, VPC also counts justifiable self-defense cases and even police shootings in the total in their lame attempt to jack up their stats. They imply that all the gun deaths are murders when in fact something like 2/5 are; the majority are suicides, as Volokh points out.

    What is sadder is that news organizations repeat the claims as fact without asking for a verifiable source or taking 10 seconds to cross check the numbers on any of several government websites (FBI, CDC, etc.), let alone reviewing their own stories.

  4. actually, looking at their 990, it appears they are starting to hoard cash. Wonder why? Did Joyce tell them they were getting moved off of the grant tit?

  5. I don’t know if they’re becoming irrelevant or not. What I do know is that they’re on the right side of the argument. You can pick apart what they say and denigrate them as irrelevant, but their points about gun violence and its relationship to gun availability is right on.

    I can understand why you hate them for speaking the truth, and I’m sure you’d celebrate their demise, if it came to that, but what they’ve said and what they’ve produced is not going away. When the pendulum of gun-rights vs. common sense gun control swings back the other way, you’ll all have to retreat into your grandiose victim role.

    1. “Speaking the truth”? Lumping in the 3/5 of “gun deaths” that are suicides with the murders and portraying them are being equal is “speaking the truth”? Murders and suicides are driven by entirely different factors and require entirely different policy solutions. Lumping them together to score political points may get you press from outlets too lazy or understaffed to fact check, but it does nothing to address the problems you claim are so out of control; it actually makes the situation worse by confusing the issues. It also entirely dissolves your credibility once people learn the details.

      1. Nobody says murders and suicides that are done with guns are equal. What we do say is, remove the guns and both numbers would decrease.

  6. LOL Cmon Mike, I know your emotionally invested in the Anti movement, but using the words “truth” and “gun control ” anywhere in the same vicinity of each other is laughable. It never ceases to amaze me how much Anti’s are apparently oblivious to the fact they are far and away their own worst enemy by virtue of continuing to insist that they are the sole purveyors of the “truth” with regard to this issue, when there is such a voluminous, well documented and verifiable amount of evidence to prove beyond a doubt that the Anti’s “truth” is known by by anyone over the age of 10 and with an IQ higher then room temperature as a LIE! I really can’t thank you and others like you enough for making it so easy to discredit you whilst simultaneously providing such a rich and seemingly endless source of entertainment

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