WASHINGTON, June 26, 2014 — Freshman Representative Robin Kelly (D-Illinois-2) released her comprehensive report on gun violence to the world yesterday. The study, entitled “Congressional Report on Gun Violence,” includes contributions from a number of very well-known gun control advocates and politicians. Contributors include Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel, VP of the Newtown Action Alliance Po Murray, and Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign.
Following are some of the claims from the report:
“Every year, more than 100,000 people are shot in America—more than 30,000 of them fatally.”
As far as 100,000 people being shot in America, that number is for the most part on target according to the University of Pennsylvania Firearm & Injury Center. That number of course includes gang related shooting, accidental discharges, and incidents of self-defense.
“Since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been more than 50 school shootings across the country—almost three a month.”
This is a statistic similar to one put out by Everytown For Gun Safety, carried by the Huffington Post, which alleged that there have been seventy five school shootings since Sandy Hook. However, CNN came out not too long after with a map of their own cutting down that number to roughly fifteen incidents in which a minor or a student was responsible for an active shooter incident. According to CNN, this comes out to roughly one every five weeks since Newtown, not “almost three a month.”
“Gun violence is a uniquely American Phenomenon.”
This is a grossly inaccurate and misleading statement. Gun violence is prevalent throughout the World, and to insist that the US is the only place it occurs is irresponsible and false. The homicide rate in Russia is almost twice that of the United States, as corruption and gang violence has a terrible grip on the country. In fact, the worst mass shooting on record was perpetrated in Norway which has very strict gun laws. Gun violence is not unique to the United States, Asia and Oceana/Maritime Island exceed the United States in terms of incidents of mass shootings in the 20th century.
“To avoid background checks in today’s world, convicted felons and other prohibited purchasers now buy weapons from unlicensed sellers at gun shows and through Internet websites, like Armslist.com.”
It is very rare to find a seller at a gun show who will not run a background check. In fact most gun show retailers are FFL holders, and are required to run background checks on sellers in order to transfer the firearm. It is interesting that gun control advocates make this argument, because FFL holders have much to lose if they sell to a criminal without a check, it protects them in terms of liability to run background checks on potential buyers.
In fact, many gun shows require purchasers to pass background checks. For the Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly, VA, one of the largest in the country, Virginia residents and out of state purchasers are required to pass background checks.
There is little data to suggest that criminals get a significant amount of their firearms from online sales, most individuals selling online will prefer to send the weapon to an FFL dealer rather than risk selling a weapon to a felon. Either way, the problem of criminals obtaining firearms is rooted in corrupt government employees and FFL dealers, home invasions, and straw purchases.
“Our goal is to ensure that every person—in every community—feels the same sense of safety and has access to a quality education…And our approach is working.”
–Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago
Chicago is one of the most violent cities in America with, up until recently, some of the most restrictive gun laws on the books. The city is often held up by gun rights advocates as a municipal government that has failed to protect their people at the expense of their constitutional rights to bear arms. Chicago, a city plagued by gang violence, for so long sought to address their problems by restricting the rights of their law abiding citizens. Violent crime is going down in Chicago, but it is going down everywhere.
The fact remains that with some of the most onerous and restrictive gun laws in the nation, Chicago experiences an overwhelming amount of violent crime. Chicago is number thirteen on US cities in terms of homicides, yet the state of Illinois scored a B on the Brady Campaign state scorecard in terms of preventing gun violence. Rahm Emanuel has little room to speak when it comes to preventing gun violence in American cities.
“Gun violence has become an epidemic in far too many cities across America.”
-Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore
This is a very interesting statement for the mayor of Baltimore to make, let alone a gun control supporter. Maryland received an A- rating by the Brady Campaign for their gun laws in 2013, yet Baltimore consistently ranks in the top five most dangerous cities in the country. And like Chicago, Baltimore has incredibly restrictive gun rights. Maryland is a “may issue” state, meaning the top law enforcement officer in each county has the final say over who gets a CCW permit. In addition, Maryland has never been friendly towards individuals who take matters into their own hands in terms of self-defense, the case of Air Force Sergeant Matthew Pinkerton is one such case. These states and cities are not just crime ridden, they are aggressive and obstructive when it comes to individuals exercising their right to bear arms.
“…as many as 40 percent of all guns are sold to individuals without the benefit of a background check due to a loophole in the law.”
–Hilary O. Shelton, Senior Vice President, NAACP
This is a statistic many gun control advocates have cited when trying to raise support for “universal background checks.” President Obama himself touted this number in a speech campaigning for tougher gun laws. However the number, which so many gun control advocates have quoted, is from a Department of Justice survey using a 1994 phone study on gun ownership and acquisition as its source. When asked by the surveyors how they got their firearms over 60% reported as identifying their source as an FFL dealer, while the remaining percentage did not record an answer on the particular subject. In addition, according to the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) when contacted by the Washington Post concerning the study the researchers admitted that the real number was most likely “14-22” including a 6% margin of error.
“That’s why NRA members overwhelmingly support expanded background checks (74 percent) while stiffly opposing limits on hardware.”
–Peter Ambler, Director Americans for Responsible Solutions
No actual poll conducted by the NRA using their membership as a data pool can be found. According to Politifact, which cited this claim as true despite actually citing a poll conducted by the NRA, this number was based off of several Everytown for Gun Safety and Mayors Against Illegal Guns polls which claim to have surveyed current and former NRA members concerning the call for expanded/universal background checks. No actual NRA poll exists, and claiming that “self reported,” or “former” members of the NRA made up a poll is baseless if the information did not from the NRA.
“There is no widely agreed-upon definition of a mass shooting.”
Below is the FBI’s definition of “serial murder.”
“Generally, mass murder was described as a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders. These events typically involved a single location, where the killer murdered a number of victims in an ongoing incident (e.g. the 1984 San Ysidro McDonalds incident in San Diego, California; the 1991 Luby’s Restaurant massacre in Killeen, Texas; and the 2007 Virginia Tech murders in Blacksburg, Virginia).”
“Are there common elements in mass shootings?”
Yes, in fact there are. With the exception of the Virginia Tech shooting, every “mass shooting” in recent history has been conducted in a gun free zone. But that is not mentioned in the report. In fact the term “gun-free” does not even make an appearance.
“Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws. State legislatures should impose a duty to retreat on individuals before they are deemed justified in using deadly force. Requiring the duty to retreat significantly reduces homicide rates and allows for accountability in our criminal justice system.”
This is the heart of the matter, Democrats and gun control supporters are not only going after an individuals right to bear arms by increasing the power of federal government over the firearms industry, they seek to restrict the rights of the people to provide for their own defense. They want the people to rely on the police and the justice system. Well, what if the police send you right to voice mail.
This report is nothing more than a political feel good, pat on the back, attempt by the Democrats to “stand up” to gun violence in the United States by stepping on the feet of the American gun owner. However in an election year, where Democrats are going to have to hold on for dear life to have a chance at maintaining the Senate, gun control legislation, especially to the degree this report suggests, will not find its way to the floor of the House or Senate.
The report relies on faulty information, unsubstantiated conjecture, and false claims in order to shock and scare Americans into believing that gun control and violent crime are on the rise. However, it will be hailed as a brave attempt by a freshman congresswoman to stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby and fight the good fight to reduce violent crime in America, despite there not being a violent crime epidemic in the first place.
You can read the report here (http://robinkelly.house.gov/sites/robinkelly.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/KellyReport_1.pdf).
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