Friday, December 21, 2012

Fw: New FactCheck Article: Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts

Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts

We offer facts and context as a national gun-control debate intensifies.

December 20, 2012



The mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., has reignited a national debate on gun control. As elected leaders begin the dialogue, some facts are clear -- there has been a massive increase in gun sales. Some things are not so clear -- such as whether there is causation between more guns and more violent crimes. And some are contrary to the general impression -- for example, the rate of gun murders is down, not up.

We have decided to look at some of the rhetoric and how it squares with the facts, while offering some broader context to inform the debate.

*Rep. Louie Gohmert said that "every time ... conceal-carry [gun laws] have been allowed the crime rate has gone down." But that is far from a settled issue in academia.

*Dan Gross, head of the Brady Campaign used the number of daily gun murders as proof that "gun violence rates are not" going down. But the rate of gun murder is at its lowest point since at least 1981: 3.6 per 100,000 people in 2010. The high point was 7 in 1993. However, non-fatal gun injuries from assaults increased last year for the third straight year, and that rate is the highest since 2008.

*Federal data also show violent crimes committed with guns -- including murders, aggravated assaults and robberies -- have declined for three straight years.

*Rep. Donna Edwards said that "since Columbine, there have been 181 of these school shootings." That's an inflated figure. She used a list of "major school shootings" supplied by the Brady Campaign that included incidents that were neither shootings nor at schools. By our count, the list shows 130 school shootings since Columbine that resulted in at least one student or school official being killed -- still unacceptably high, but a quarter fewer than claimed.

Here are some other facts. The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world -- by far. And it has the highest rate of homicides among advanced countries. And yet, gun crime has been declining in the U.S. Firearm murders are down, as is overall gun violence -- even as gun ownership increases. Read our Analysis for more insight on what these statistics mean.


Note: This is a summary only. The full article with analysis, images and citations may be viewed on our website:

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