We’ve been seeing this headline off and on all year. It is alarming and not necessarily false. Recently it’s been making the rounds again in mainstream media—CNN, Fox News, Time magazine—stating that a CDC report finds that gun deaths in the U.S. are the highest they’ve been in 40 years.
GunLove can’t find the original posting date of the WONDER (the CDC’s public online database) report CNN refers to but a quick Google search finds stories with similar headlines since early last year.
It is our nature here at GunLove to be skeptical of the mainstream media. We question a lot when reading the news. Motive needs special consideration.
As they say, ‘timing is everything,’ and we’re about to see a Democratic takeover of the House. A House already vocal about introducing new gun control legislation.
Our research finds that this most recent headline is probably true—gun-related deaths increased last year—yet the news outlets aren’t telling the entire story and in fact, skew the statistics to scare you.
Most news agencies are reporting that 40,000 deaths in 2017 were due to a gunshot. GunLove found the exact number on the CDC’s website to be 38,658. To compare, 38,748 died in a vehicle accident and 68,995 died from poisoning (which includes drug overdoses.)
What most of the stories fail to mention, or at least leave till the end of the article, is that 60% (23,854) of these gun deaths were suicide. It is also not obvious in most of the reported stories that the total gun-related deaths in 2017 included situations related to war, legal interventions (people shot by police—956 in 2018 to be exact) and unintentional actions.
So, what is the agenda here for bringing back this headline? Universal background checks, “assault weapons” and 3D gun bans, magazine restrictions…? It might be all the above. Any support anti-gun politicians can get helps them push their plan further. They’ve already said priority number one is banning the private sale of firearms.
Words mean things and of all people, journalists (writers) know this. Anti-gun media, groups, organizations and politicians obviously use them to their advantage. For example, Forbes writes, “A 2016 study found that school shootings are half as likely to occur in states with background checks—yet only 14 states had such a law in 2013.”
This statement as written is deceiving. All states require background checks for firearms purchases from a licensed dealer no matter where you purchase it…including online or at a gun show. It is a federal law. If you purchase a firearm from a licensed firearm’s dealer, you have to submit to a background check. If you purchase from an individual seller, who does not regularly sell firearms, you don’t have to perform a background check.
What Forbes is really trying to say is that some states have enacted “universal background checks” in order to combat what the media has incorrectly deemed “the gun show loophole” so that no matter who transfers a firearm from one person to another, a background check must be performed.
Yet, John R. Lott from the Crime Prevention Research Center think tanks writes, “Examining all the mass public shootings in the US from 2000 through 2015, we find that states adopting additional background checks on private transfers see a statistically significant increase in rates of killings (80% higher) and injuries (101%) from mass public shootings. There is not one mass public shooting that occurred over that period where these checks would have prevented it from occurring.”
Most facts and truths about guns, shootings and gun ownership are never widely disseminated because they don’t fit the narrative. Stephen Paddock, the shooter who murdered 58 people on October 1, 2017, at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada (the worst mass shooting in U.S. history,) was a businessman from Nevada who only ever had traffic tickets. In fact, from 2009, 19 mass shooters passed a background check and obtained their firearms legally.
Now, that doesn’t mean all of them were technically (by federal law) allowed to own a firearm. Some mental health and criminal history had not been reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which would have barred them from a purchase.
Devin Kelly, who murdered 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 5, 2017, had been convicted of domestic violence. The Air Force, where Kelly was enlisted at the time of the conviction, did not submit the information to the NICS system, which would have stopped Kelly from being able to purchase his firearms.
Dylann Roof fatally shot 9 people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015. He had been charged with drug possession. He was able to purchase his firearms legally because the F.B.I. examiner performing the background check failed to get Roof’s police report.
Jaylen Ray Fryberg killed four of his fellow classmates at Marysville Pilchuck high school on October 24, 2014, in Marysville, Washington using his father’s illegally-purchased firearms. Jaylen’s father, Raymond Lee Fryberg had a permanent domestic violence protection order against him and should have been denied the purchase of five firearms he bought from a Cabela’s.
The Democrats proposed “universal background check” law would have done nothing to prevent any of these shooters from buying a firearm. How would have expanding our already in-place law stopped any of these people from committing their crimes?
It wouldn’t have.
Anyone who thinks a law stops people from doing what they want lives in La La Land.
To put this into perspective:
- In 2017, 10,874 people were killed by drunk drivers.
- In 2016, 42,249 people died from overdosing on opioids. 72,000 in 2017.
- There were 2,205,300 people in prison for doing something illegal in 2016.
None of the anti-gun people’s “solutions” solve the issue.
Here’s the thing—no gun control law has ever proven to prevent crimes committed with guns. A background check doesn’t uncover any undiagnosed mental issue or magically reveal if one day maybe you might use your firearm in a crime. There is LITERALLY no way of knowing the answers to these questions. Further, Illegal guns—those purchased by criminals from criminals—will remain illegal.
For those of you who are skeptical, I understand. You think that pro-gun folks just say no to any gun legislation and for the most part, that’s true. Even ones you consider “common sense.” Why? Because we have yet to see one gun control law that makes sense and proven to actually work.
You’ve heard us say, and you’ll continue to hear us say “enforce the laws already on the books.” As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018, signed into law by President Trump on March 23, 2018, the Fix NICS Act of 2017 became law, which penalizes government agencies that do not report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Senator John Cornyn from Texas who introduced the original Fix NICS bill and the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act before that, says, “For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence. Just one record that’s not properly reported can lead to tragedy…”
So far, all gun control laws have done—except for Fix NICS—is punish the law-abiding. Really. It’s not the gun. It’s the person. And GunLove hasn’t once seen a bill come through trying to ban people.
That actually just might solve the problem.
Tell us what you think. Would universal background checks do anything to curb “gun violence?” What do you think the solution is to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section.