Is Politifact really the organization that should be fact checking Facebook on gun related facts?

If gun control advocates were more confident with their arguments, presumably they wouldn't have to so grossly exaggerate their numbers.  On December 27th, 2016 Politifact evaluated this claim that there are 7 children a day who die from guns, and Politifact's Chris Nichols concluded that this claim by Congresswoman Jackie Speier that "more than seven children PER DAY have died from gun violence" was "mostly true."

Politifact relies on a quote from the Brady Campaign’s website: "Every day, 7 children and teens die from gun violence." The website notes that it crunched CDC data for children and young people through age 19.

Are 18 and 19 year olds "children"?

For 2013 through 2015 for ages 0 through 19 there were 7,838 firearm deaths.  If you exclude 18 and 19 year olds, the number firearm deaths for 2013 through 2015 is reduced by almost half to 4,047 firearm deaths.  Including people who are clearly adults drives the total number of deaths.

Even the Brady Campaign differentiates children from teenagers.  If you just look at those who aren't teenagers, the number of firearm deaths declines to 692, which comes to 0.63 deaths per day.

Even just excluding 18 and 19 year olds reduces the number of firearm deaths by almost half to 4,047 firearm deaths, 3.7 per day.  Defining children as those under 15 reduces the number to 1,312, about 1.2 per day.  It isn't that 18 and 19 year olds aren't important, but Speier was obviously focusing on "children" for a reason.

Homicides are not Murders

Most people, apparently including the Brady Campaign, just assume that homicides and murders are the same, but the difference between them is that homicides include justifiable homicides.  Do you really want to lump in murders with cases where someone uses a gun to stop a murder or other crime from occurring?  For murders for those under 18 for 2013 to 2015, the total for those three years is 573 fewer deaths than homicides (1,551 firearm murders (2013 479, 2014 519, and 2015 553) versus 2,124 firearm homicides).
So for those under 18, if you add up murders 1,551, accidents 245, and suicides 1,589, you get a total of 3,385, not 4,047.

So for those under 13, if you add up firearm murders 338 (=92+124+122) , accidents 145, and suicides 77, you get a total of 560, not 4,047.  That comes to 0.51 deaths per day.
The CDC numbers that Politifact relies on is making comparisons include mistakes that the CDC still has not corrected.

Mixing in gang murders and other deaths.

The vast majority of these deaths for 15 to 19 year olds involve murders involving gangs, primarily drug gangs.   Linking children and guns is done to connote guns in the home for law-abiding households, but the causes and cures for drug gang violence are dramatically different children getting a hold of gun in law-abiding homes.  The notion that you are going to be able to pass laws to stop drug gangs from getting guns is about as easy as stopping those drug gangs from getting drugs to sell.  For a related discussion see here.  This is an additional reason to not include 15 to 19 year olds.

As an aside, during the three years that they studied the number of accidental gun deaths have declined from 59 in 2013 to 44 in 2014 to 42 in 2015.

Importantly disarming law-abiding citizens or locking up people's guns makes them more vulnerable to criminals

The laws that Congresswoman Speier and the Brady Campaign are pushing lead to more deaths.  Regulations, such as "Safe Storage Laws," disarm law-abiding citizens, thus encouraging criminals to attack and making them more likely to succeed in committing their crimes.

Do we really want Politifact serving as the fact checker for Facebook?

As the CPRC has previously written, fact checkers, such Politifact, have their own biases — usually the same liberal biases that we see in the rest of the mainstream media.  This latest example from Politifact just provides additional evidence for those concerns.



Some recent radio interviews that I have done

with John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur on Seattle's big KVI about the Social Security rules banning gun ownership for some -- available here.

on the Vicki McKenna Show to discuss Obama's new rules banning some Social Security Recipients from having guns -- available here.

on the Larry Elder Show: On Politifact's Claim that it is "Mostly True" that 7 "children" die a day from gun violence --  available here.

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Michael Bloomberg wasted $20 million on Nevada's Background Checks on Private Transfers

This year, Bloomberg got a background check initiative onto the ballots of Maine and Nevada. He lost in Maine by 4 percent, and won in Nevada by just 0.8 percent. Bloomberg’s initiative only eked out the win in Nevada because of the $20 million spent to support it, amounting to an incredible $35.30 per vote. He outspent his opponents by a factor of three – in Maine, by a factor of six. Bloomberg was responsible for more than 90 percent of the money going to support these ballot measures.

Now it turns out that an error in how the initiative was written will prevent it from taking effect.  This error was just one example of how poorly word this complicated initiative was.   From the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A new Nevada law requiring background checks for private party gun sales was deemed unenforceable Wednesday, days before it was to take effect because the FBI refuses to conduct them and the state lacks authority to do so. 
The opinion issued by the office of Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt left gun enthusiasts elated and proponents of background checks reeling from the blow of another setback — the second since 2013 when a bill requiring universal screenings was passed by the Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. 
Backers are now turning their sights to the 2017 Legislature, while others expressed hope that the state and FBI can work out a compromise. 
Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, said the Senate “will consider legislative solutions this session to ensure that Nevada law is enforced.” The Legislature convenes Feb. 6. . . .
Thus $28 million was spent by Bloomberg on two initiatives this year and neither gets enacted.


Are public libraries obsolete?

Philadelphia spends about $50 million per year on public libraries (much more if you count the rental value of the land that they are on).  Lake County Florida (discussed below) apparently spends about $1.1 million on their public library system.  From the Orlando Sentinel:
Chuck Finley appears to be a voracious reader, having checked out 2,361 books at the East Lake County Library in a nine-month period this year. 
But Finley didn't read a single one of the books, ranging from "Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck to a kids book called "Why Do My Ears Pop?" by Ann Fullick. That's because Finley isn't real. 
The fictional character was concocted by two employees at the library, complete with a false address and drivers license number. . . . 
The goal behind the creation of "Chuck Finley" was to make sure certain books stayed on the shelves — books that aren't used for a long period can be discarded and removed from the library system. 
 George Dore, the library's branch supervisor who was put on administrative leave for his part in the episode, said he wanted to avoid having to later repurchase books purged from the shelf. He said the same thing is being done at other libraries, too. . . . 
the Lake County library system receive a percentage of their funding based on circulation levels. . . .
It will be interesting to see what the true usage rate is for books at public libraries.  Only then could we determine if public libraries in their current form make sense.  Possibly public libraries might just end up being some computers set up for people to look at.



At Real Clear Policy: "Chicago's Bloody Mess"

My  new piece on Chicago disastrous policing policies at Real Clear Policy starts this way:
Chicago is a bloody mess. Last year, Chicago had 762 homicides — more than New York and Los Angeles combined. This represents an astounding 57 percent increase from the 2015 murder rate. 
On Sunday night, CBS’s 60 Minutes rightfully expressed concern about the fall in stops and arrests by police over the last year. Criminals have seemingly become emboldened as a result of the decrease in arrests. The 60 Minutes piece quotes Garry McCarthy — Chicago’s Police Superintendent up until a year ago — as saying that “officers are under attack, that is how they feel.” 
This isn’t a new trend. The quality of Chicago’s policing has been deteriorating for decades. Back in 1991, 67 percent of murderers were arrested. When Mayor Richard M. Daley left office twenty years later, in 2011, the arrest rate was down to 30 percent. This troubling drop only continued after Rahm Emanuel became mayor, hitting a new low of 20 percent in 2016. (See graph below.) 
Unfortunately, the true number is even worse, because Chicago has been intentionally misclassifying murders, instead labeling them as subject to non-criminal “death investigations.” 
Nationally, police solve 61.5 percent of murders — almost two out of every three. And, unlike Chicago’s arrest rate, the national rate has been fairly constant over the decades. 
Donald Trump’s tweeted hope to Chicago on Monday: “If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!” But for politicians who can’t help making decisions based on politics, what really matters is what they can’t do, not what they won’t do. 
Chicago’s problem is the result of bad political decisions. For example, after his election, Emanuel did three unfortunate things that hampered the Chicago police force. The mayor: closed down detective bureaus in Chicago's highest crime districts, relocating them to often distant locations; disbanded many gang task forces; and, in cooperation with the ACLU, instituted new, voluminous forms that have to be filled out by police each time they stop someone to investigate a crime. All this time filling out forms is time that can’t be spent policing neighborhoods. When you don’t catch criminals, the obvious result is more crime. . . .
The rest of the piece and the graph are available here.


On the One America News Network to discuss racial discrimination problems caused by the gun background check system

The One America News Network, which is the fourth largest cable news network and has greater viewership than Fox Business News and Bloomberg TV, interviewed me about the problems with the gun background check system.
To many Americans, gun background checks may sound like a good idea, but some conservatives are raising new criticisms of them because they don’t always work as they are supposed to. 
“The background check system we have is a mess in many ways. But one of the big problems is that it is racist in terms of who is stopped. Has a disproportionate impact on blacks and Hispanics from being able to own and buy guns,” states John Lott, President, Crime Prevention Research Center. 
Lott points out that the impact of background checks results because of mistakes based on similar names within racial groups. 
“About thirty percent of black males in the United States are legally forbidden from owning a gun, because of past criminal behavior. Well, what that means is a lot of good, black males who may want to buy a gun to protect him and his family may be more likely to have a name similar to the 30 percent of black males who are legally prohibited from buying a gun,” Lott explains. 
Of course being prohibited from buying a gun can be corrected through an appeals process, but that’s become more difficult in the Obama Administration, says Lott. 
“But what’s happened under President Obama is that they have removed the government employees who used to check to see where the mistakes were made. Nobody’s doing that now. Now you can appeal, but most people are gonna find it’s necessary to hire a lawyer for the appeals process…. Middle income and poor blacks and Hispanics are unlikely to spend the thousands of dollars necessary to fix the mistakes that the government has made,” Lott notes. . . .
The entire article is available here.



On the Dave Elswick Show to talk about the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Dr. John Lott talked to Dave Elswick on the giant 50,000 Watt KARN-FM about the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the fact that the airport was yet another mass public shooting at another gun-free zone.
(January 6, 2016 from 4:06 to 4:21 PM)


Yet more mass public killings using cars

Jerusalem, January 8th, 2016: 
A Palestinian has rammed a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers visiting a popular tourist spot in Jerusalem, killing four and wounding at least 15 people, in a shocking copycat of the Berlin and Nice terror massacres. 
Shocking video from the scene shows the driver reversing back over the soldiers, trapping ten under his wheels, during the sickening attack on Sunday.  
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alleged the attacker 'supported' the Islamic State group, though he provided no details on what led to the finding. . . .
Nice, France, July 14, 2016
Dozens of people were killed, including children, when a lorry ploughed into a large crowd watching a fireworks display in Nice to mark the Bastille Day holiday. . . . 
Eighty-six people were killed, all but three of them at the time of the attack. The dead included 10 children and teenagers. 
A total of 303 people were taken to hospital for medical treatment. A man who was badly injured in the assault died on 4 August, taking the total number of those killed to 85.  . . .
Berlin, Germany, December 19, 2016 
12 dead and 48 injured, some severely, at Berlin market . . . 
Anis Amri has been identified by Tunisian officials as the man being sought by German police across the country and the wider border-free area of the European Union, and a 100,000 euro (£84,000) reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest. 
It emerged the 24-year-old was put under covert surveillance by German authorities for more than six months after they received a tip in March that he may have been planning a break-in to finance buying automatic weapons for an attack. . . .


Newest piece in the Daily Caller: "Another Gun-Free Zone, Another Mass Shooting"

I have a new piece at the Daily Caller on today's shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Yet another shooting at yet another gun-free zone occurred today.  At this moment 5 people were murdered and another 8 injured. The tragedy today at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is all the more disappointing because just this last year legislators tried to change Florida’s ban on concealed carry at airports to avoid today’s type of event. 
Florida Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby warned last year the legislation was needed because airport terminals “could become more of a target” for terrorists and criminals. 
Florida is one of only six states that ban people being able to carry guns at airports.  While the Federal government bans guns at airports past security, Florida has gone much farther and bans licensed carry inside the entire terminal.  Airports are often crowded places and have frequently been attractive targets to terrorists around the world. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.


Newest piece in Investor's Business Daily: "Gun Control Advocates Really Just Want To Ban Guns"

I have a new piece at Investor's Business Daily.  The piece starts this way:
Gun control advocates keep claiming that they don't want to ban guns — they only want reasonable regulations.  But their actions keep saying otherwise.
  • Gun control advocates expressed "concern" after Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz bought each of his offensive linemen a very expensive personalized Beretta shotgun for Christmas this year.  If they believe in gun ownership, why should it bother them that law-abiding adults have shotguns?
  • Right before Christmas, President Obama finalized new rules requiring 4.2 million Social Security recipients who have trouble managing their finances to undergo background checks before buying guns.  But just because someone can't manage their finances doesn't mean that he's a danger to others.
  • An article in December in the New Republic was clear: "Ban guns. All guns. Get rid of guns in homes, and on the streets, and, as much as possible, on police."
Of course, during the presidential campaign Hillary Clinton repeatedly called for appointing Supreme Court Justices who would overturn the 2008 Heller decision, which struck down Washington, D.C.'s complete ban on handguns.  
Such a change would have again made it possible for governments to ban guns.
It is hard to find any gun control rule that gets proposed that gun control advocates don't support. 
To gun control advocates it seems obvious: Restrict gun access and people will be safer.  But theory and practice don't always match. Too often, gun bans or background checks don't stop criminals and disarm law-abiding citizens, particularly poor minorities. This only makes life easier for criminals. 
To start, it would be almost impossible at this point to ban all guns in the U.S., where there are already 300 million guns in circulation, and more than 12 million enter the market each year. With 3D metal printers, more people will be able to make weapons that are indistinguishable from those purchased in stores. Getting rid of these weapons would require a door-to-door campaign by law enforcement officials, and even that would be of only limited effectiveness. 
But their goal is ultimately a fool's errand.  Every country in the world (that we have crime data for) that has banned all guns or all handguns has seen a subsequent increase in murder rates.  Even island nations such as Ireland and Jamaica — which have easily monitored and defendable borders, relatively speaking — have faced five- or six-fold increases in murder rates after guns were banned.  Some of the biggest spikes in murder rates corresponded with increases in drug gang violence. 
Another example of gun bans is the continual push for gun-free zones, where general citizens are banned from being able to defend themselves.  But these bans only create defenseless targets for mass shooters. One need only listen to the wiretapped recording of an Islamic State supporter who was planning an attack last year. His target was one of the biggest churches in Detroit.  . . .
The rest of the piece is available here

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