Statistics about gun violence are fake news

Sunday , April 08, 2018 - 6:00 AM3 comments

John Reynolds just made my head explode again. I not only suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, I am someone who relies on “shibboleths” — fake news (“Guns haven’t killed anyone. They aren’t the problem,” March 27).

Reynolds claims knives kill five times more people than rifles. Breitbart (probably his source, as it is widely trusted by the alt-right) claims knives kill four times as many people as rifles. Breitbart says those figures come from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. Those statistics do contain an estimation of the number of annual rifle-related deaths, but a careful read shows they are based on forms submitted to the FBI from across the country and in thousands of cases, the form identifies the weapon as a generic “gun.” The portion of deaths caused by rifles, therefore, cannot be accurately determined.

Reynolds also claims Norway has a higher death rate from guns than the U.S. A quick check of the most recent figures shows Norway had a death rate from guns of 1.75 per 100,000 persons, while the U.S. had a death rate of 10.45 per 100,000.

I say enough of fake news.

As an old man, I am buoyed by the appearance of young people marching nationwide to see that changes are made to our gun laws. Like a majority of people in the U.S., I support the need for more common-sense gun laws. I own a gun but see nothing wrong with more stringent background checks. I support an assault weapons ban and restrictions against certain individuals being allowed to own guns. (I would make an exception in deference to the Second Amendment, which was ratified in 1791, because I believe anyone should be allowed to own all the flintlock and black powder weapons they can openly carry.)

I salute Reynolds’ wife and daughters, who realized 18 years ago that change was needed. I love that today’s young people realize change comes at the ballot box. Hopefully, they will not have to fight Russian influence while attempting to cast their ballots. But that’s another story.

Hap Stephens


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