Prominent Republicans defended gun rights at the National Rifle Association convention on Friday with some misleading claims about the effectiveness of gun restrictions, gun ownership trends and school shootings.
Here’s a fact check.
what was said
“A gun ban doesn’t work. Look at Chicago. If they worked, Chicago wouldn’t be the murderous hell it has been for far too long.” — Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz
This is misleading. Opponents of gun restrictions often cite Chicago as a case study of why strict gun laws do little to prevent homicides. However, this argument is based on incorrect assumptions about the city’s gun laws and gun violence.
There were more gun homicides in Chicago in 2020 than any other U.S. city, fueling the perception that it is the nation’s capital for gun violence. But Chicago is also the third largest city in the country. Adjusted for population, the firearms homicide rate was 25.2 per 100,000, the 26th highest in the country in 2020, according to data collected by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
The Three Cities with the Highest Murder Rates by Firearms – Jackson, Miss.; Gary, Ind.; and St. Louis – had rates twice that of Chicago or more. They are all in states with more tolerant gun laws than Illinois.
Chicago’s reputation for the strictest gun control measures in the country is outdated. Cruz cited the city’s small arms ban — not noting that the Supreme Court overturned the ban in 2010. part of the court decision.
Today, Illinois has stricter restrictions than most states, but it doesn’t top the list, ranking No. 6 in Everytown’s assessment of the strength of state gun control laws, and No. 8 in a report released by the Giffords Law Center, another gun control group. . Conversely, the state was ranked number 41 in a gun rights assessment by the libertarian Cato Institute.
Gun control proponents have also argued that the patchwork of gun laws in the country makes it difficult for a state like Illinois with strict book limits to enforce them in practice. For example, a 2017 study commissioned by the City of Chicago found that 60 percent of the weapons used in crimes recovered in Chicago came from outside the state, with neighboring Indiana as the primary source.
what was said
“As for so-called assault rifles, which the left and the media like to demonize, these weapons were banned for 10 years from 1994 to 2004. And the Department of Justice examined the effect of the ban and concluded that it had no statistically significant effect. to violent crime.” — Mr Cruz
This is exaggerated. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 banned the possession, transfer or domestic production of some semiautomatic assault weapons for 10 years. In 2004, the Department of Justice commissioned a study into the impact of the 1994 assault weapons ban.
The study found that, if renewed, “the effects of the gun violence ban will likely be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurements,” given that assault weapons were rarely used in the crimes.
But Christopher Koper, a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virginia, and the lead author of that study, has repeatedly said the ban had mixed effects overall.
“My work is often quoted in misleading ways that don’t give the full picture,” Mr. Koper previously told DailyExpertNews. “These laws may modestly reduce the number of shootings in general” and reduce the number and severity of mass shootings.
what was said
“We know that there are no more guns per capita in this country today than there were 50 or 100 years ago. That is worth underlining. In 1972, gun ownership per capita in the United States was 43 percent. In 2021 the rate will be 42 percent. The rate of gun ownership has not changed† And yet the evil deeds as we have seen this week are increasing.” — Mr Cruz
This is misleading. By arguing that cultural issues, rather than gun prevalence, are responsible for mass shootings, Mr. Cruz has confused and distorted gun ownership statistics.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the number of guns per capita in the United States roughly doubled between 1968 and 2012, from one gun per two people to one gun per person. And it has continued to rise since then, reaching about 1.2 guns for every person in 2018, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey.
Mr. Cruz most likely referred to a Gallup gun ownership investigation. It’s not a per capita measure, but participants were more likely to ask if they had a gun in their home, with 43 percent answering yes in 1972 and 42 percent in 2021. Historical surveys from the University of Chicago’s NORC research center, however, show that the percentage of US households that own guns has fallen from about half in the 1970s to about a third in recent years.
what was said
“Inner city schools rarely have this kind of mass shooting. I didn’t know that until recently. Think about that. They rarely have this problem, despite being in very difficult neighborhoods, in many cases with a huge amount of crime and violence. Outside the school they are much more dangerous than inside. The reason is that inner-city schools have had much stricter security measures in place for decades in the school itself, including metal detectors and, yes, armed guards.” – Former President Donald J. Trump
This is misleading. Mr. Trump makes a point that high-fatality shootings committed by a single person have mostly occurred in suburban and rural schools, but the idea that urban schools have been spared gun violence is false. In addition, Mr Trump’s suggestion that the presence of armed guards deter mass shootings is not supported by the evidence.
A 2020 report from the Government Accountability Office examined 318 shootings from the 2009-10 school year to the 2018-19 school year. Nearly half, 47 percent, of the shootings took place in urban areas, and the report noted that “urban, poorer and high minority schools in general had more shootings.”
There is little evidence that the presence of police or armed security prevents or discourages school shootings. A 2019 review by the New York State School Boards Association found that research on the topic was “inconclusive.” Investigators examined 133 school shootings from 1980 to 2019 in a newspaper last year and found “no association between having an armed officer and deterring violence in these cases.”
what was said
“It has even been reported that the Biden administration is considering putting UN bureaucrats in charge of your Second Amendment rights.” — Mr Trump
false. This was in reference to reports that the Biden administration was considering re-entering an international arms treaty. But Mr. Trump is grossly exaggerating what that treaty would do.
The Arms Trade Treaty of 2014 regulates the international sale of conventional weapons (such as tanks, combat vehicles, warships, missiles and firearms). It does not appoint officials at the United Nations responsible for gun laws in the United States.
The United States has signed the treaty, but has not ratified it as more than 100 other countries have done. Mr Trump announced that he was withdrawing the United States signature during a speech to the NRA in 2019.
The treaty aims to establish international standards for regulating arms sales between countries and tackling illegal arms sales. It prohibits the sale of weapons to countries that are subject to or will use arms embargoes to commit genocide, terrorism, war crimes or attacks on civilians.
In its preamble, the treaty explicitly affirms “the sovereign right of any state to regulate and control conventional weapons within its territory only, in accordance with its own legal or constitutional system.” The Congressional Research Service noted that the treaty “does not affect the sale or trade of arms between private individuals in any country” and, even if ratified, “would not likely require significant changes in policy, regulation, or law.” since “the United States already has strict export control laws.”