Gun Laws & Legislation
Signs are pictured in the Sandy Hook area of Newtown, Connecticut December 13, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri Signs are pictured in the Sandy Hook area of Newtown, Connecticut December 13, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri  

Media Promotes Bloomberg Propaganda

A free press is a good thing for America to have. A free press that doesn’t parrot and exaggerate anti-gun propaganda would be even better.

For example, take Natalie DiBlasio’s article for USA Today on Wednesday, titled More kids die in shootings than statistics show.  For starters, the title doesn’t even accurately reflect the article’s content. The article concerns the claim by Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control group “Everytown” that some firearm accident deaths among children are mistakenly classified as homicides by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Contrary to the article’s title, Everytown doesn’t claim that the CDC undercounts firearm-related deaths among children in general.

The article’s title is wrong for another reason. As the tables below show, firearm-related deaths among children, which include ages 0-14, decreased dramatically between 1981 and 2011, the earliest and most recent years of data reported by the CDC.

 

Firearm-Related Deaths Among Children

Homicides and

Year

Suicides

Homicides

Accidents

Accidents

Other

Total

1981

93

266

298

564

20

677

2011

92

217

74

291

14

397

Trend

-1.1%

-18.4%

-75.2%

-48.4%

-30.0%

-41.4%

Firearm-Related Deaths per 100,000 Children

Homicide and

Year

Suicide

Homicide

Accident

Accident

Other

Total

1981

0.18

0.52

0.58

1.10

0.04

1.32

2011

0.15

0.35

0.12

0.48

0.02

0.65

Trend

-17.1%

-31.7%

-79.2%

-56.8%

-41.4%

-50.9%

* Note:  The trends for the per capita rates are greater than those for the numbers of deaths because the children’s population increased 19 percent between 1981 and 2011. Rates are presented to the nearest hundredth of a point, but their trends are calculated without regard for rounding.

The corollary to Everytown’s accusation that the CDC misclassifies some firearm accident deaths as homicides and thus undercounts accidents, is that CDC over-counts homicides. Setting aside Everytown’s accusations, the table above shows that when homicides and fatal accidents among children are combined, the per capita rate decreased 57 percent between 1981 and 2011. Clearly, both homicides and fatal accidents have decreased, the question remaining being “by how much, exactly?”

Statistical accuracy is not Everytown’s motivation, however. The reason that Everytown claims that accidents are more common than previously thought is to promote several initiatives that it claims would reduce firearm accidents.  The real goal of these measures, however, is to reduce firearm ownership by restricting the manufacture of firearms and by frightening people into not wanting to have guns within their homes in the first place. In Everytown’s vision, the latter goal would be achieved largely by congressional funding of “research” purporting to validate by scientific methods, the benefits of gun control and the dangers of gun ownership. This would be accompanied by a public relations campaign designed to convince people that, all things considered, guns cause more problems than they could ever possibly prevent.

Restricting firearms manufacture: Everytown’s report recommends, “Congress should earmark funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to evaluate and set standards for emerging technologies that promote gun safety. . . .” Whatever may be said for technology, however, there’s nothing “emerging” about what Everytown has in mind with this recommendation. Gun control supporters have long wanted the Consumer Products Safety Commission empowered to set standards for the manufacturing of firearms. The goal, of course, is to set standards so high that no manufacturer could achieve them, certainly not at a price that many Americans could afford.

Frightening people into not having guns at home: Everytown continues, “States should adopt stronger laws to prevent children from accessing unsecured guns,” even though states generally already have laws against reckless endangerment and negligence. As NRA-ILA has noted (bottom paragraph), training — not stronger “access” laws — has contributed to the dramatic reduction in firearm accidents over the last generation. Everytown also claims, “Doctors should be allowed and encouraged to promote gun safety,” knowing that gun control supporters in the public health field encourage doctors to pressure their patients not to keep firearms at home.

Anti-gun research: Everytown says “Congress should increase funding for public health research on children injured and killed in unintentional shootings.” But such research would likely be conducted by the same anti-gun researchers whose gun control-promoting “studies” caused Congress to prohibit the CDC from using taxpayer funds for such purposes in the 1990s. Last year, President Obama urged Congress to provide $10 million for “gun violence” research, and the Institute of Medicine held a conference to identify topics to be studied.  The researchers attending the conference were mostly the same people whose work Congress previously deemed a waste of the public’s money.

Had DiBlasio done her homework, she would have learned that Everytown didn’t even come up with its self-described “analysis” of firearm-related deaths among children. In September 2013, the New York Times claimed that its “review of hundreds of child firearm deaths found that accidental shootings occurred roughly twice as often as the records indicate, because of idiosyncrasies in how such deaths are classified by the authorities.”

DiBlasio also would have discovered that Everytown spokesman John Feinblatt was wrong in claiming, “The NRA has successfully lobbied against any funding for the Centers for Disease Control to decide how they categorize deaths.” The CDC classifies deaths of any and all sorts according to the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases.

Bloomberg is currently in the process of rebranding his anti-gun operations. “Everytown” now refers to his original anti-gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, combined with his more recent group, Moms Demand Action (which began as One Million Moms for Gun Control).

But no amount of shape-shifting can change the statistics to show anything other than a dramatic reduction in firearm-related deaths among children over the last 20 years.