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July 16, 2014

For Gun Control Advocates, Exaggeration is Standard Practice

Recently, we wrote a letter to the editor of USA Today to correct inaccuracies in an article about a new Everytown for Gun Safety “study”.  In that study, the team at the Bloomberg-funded Everytown was following in the footsteps of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in willfully misconstruing key facts.

At a June Brady Campaign Washington state rally, complete with props for television coverage intended to tug at heartstrings, the organization asserted that nine children die every day across the U.S. from gunshot wounds. While we agree that any accidental death is a genuine tragedy, the figure seemed high – and not just to us. And so our tale begins.

When asked about the number, the Brady Campaign said it was sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) database, 2007-2011, at the same time revising the number downward by one.

It turns out, however, that an even more telling attempt to mislead was in play.

image credit: Politifact

As Politifact reported, what the Brady Campaign neglected to mention is that the CDC’s data includes “children” aged 0-19. Important, but unnoted by the campaign, over half the accidental deaths were among 18 and 19 year olds. Additionally, approximately half the cases of unintentional injuries were also from 18 and 19 year olds. Politifact found that if this age group is removed from the calculation, the number of accidental deaths drops by 50 percent to 4 and the number of intentional injuries decreases to 5.

This discrepancy is significant. After all, those who are 18 can vote and join the military, which is hardly the province of “children” as most people define the term.

However, if one had attended the Brady Campaign rally, one would have no idea that the bulk of the data it was touting relied on including “children” who are legally young adults. And this is beside the fact that the CDC acknowledges its own data is inconsistent because the sample sizes are so small.

This misrepresentation is not a new development.  The Clinton Administration made a habit of skewing the figures in the 1990s when it was campaigning to pass the Brady law, which mandated background checks and waiting periods for gun buyers.  Celebrating the six-year anniversary of the law’s passage in 1999, President Clinton said ”over 32,000 Americans still lose their lives in gunfire every year, including 12 children every day,” a number unsupported by the CDC’s database.

The Brady Campaign’s recent rally is but one of the latest examples of an anti-gun organization misinterpreting the truth and misleading the public to advance its agenda. It marked the third time in a month that a gun control group has been caught doing this. The NSSF and the industry we represent are accustomed to witnessing such misleading exaggeration. It’s standard practice.

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Tags: CDC data Media Inaccuracies statistics

Categories: Government Relations, Media Inaccuracies, Top Stories, WTS