Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Tennessee Gun Control Group Spreads Bad Data to Push Anti-gun Agenda

Friday, September 30, 2016

Tennessee Gun Control Group Spreads Bad Data to Push Anti-gun Agenda

In mid-September, Tennessee gun control group Safe Tennessee Project trumpeted a disturbing new statistic gleaned from the Centers for Disease Control’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) in order to bolster their anti-gun agenda. The group contended that in 2014, 105 Tennesseans were killed in unintentional shootings, a more than five-fold increase from 2013. As expected, the press dutifully parroted the group’s claims. However, the incredible statistic touted by Safe Tennessee Project turned out to be just that, not credible. Following a review of their data, the Tennessee Department of Health, who provided the unintentional shooting data to the CDC, determined that the 105 figure was inaccurate and that the correct number of unintentional shooting deaths in Tennessee in 2014 was five.

On September 13, Safe Tennessee Project published an item on their website titled, “Tennessee Now Leads Nation in Fatal Unintentional Shootings.” The article reported that CDC data showed that there were 105 unintentional firearm fatalities in Tennessee in 2015, and noted that this was a marked increase from the previous five years, in which the total number of unintentional firearms deaths ranged from 19-32. As the article’s headline suggests, Safe Tennessee Project claimed that this drastic increase made Tennessee the national leader in unintentional firearm fatalities.

Safe Tennessee Project was quick to blame the Volunteer State’s gun laws for the alleged increase in unintentional firearm fatalities. The item quoted Safe Tennessee Project Research Director Jonathan M. Metzl, who stated, “The dramatic jump in unintentional shootings deaths in our state is a cause for alarm and a call to action… Legislation could make such effective strategies as gun-safety locks, smart guns, or gun safes as common as seat belts are in cars. This data truly should be a wake-up call for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”

Uncritical news outlets were quick to repeat Safe Tennessee Project’s claims about unintentional firearm fatalities. The Associated Press distinguished itself with a particularly careless piece that was little more than a rewrite of Safe Tennessee Project’s article.

In their article reporting the increase, Safe Tennessee Project, seemed to acknowledge their own skepticism concerning the accuracy of the initial 2014 unintentional firearm fatalities number. Safe Tennessee Project Policy Director Beth Joslin Roth noted, “We’ve actually been aware of the new numbers for several months, but the increase was so dramatic that we wanted to confirm the numbers before reporting them.” The group claims that it contacted the CDC and the Tennessee Department of Public Health to confirm the suspect 2014 unintentional firearm fatality figure before using it.

Whatever steps Safe Tennessee Project may or may not have taken to confirm the ridiculous Tennessee unintentional firearms fatality number, their efforts proved woefully inadequate. On September 22, The Tennessee Department of Public Health issued a press release which announced that “Incorrect data provided earlier indicated the number of accidental gunshot deaths had dramatically escalated from 19 in 2013 to 105 in 2014.” Further, the release noted, “After manually reviewing death certificates, TDH reports five people died from accidental gunshot wounds in the state in 2014.” The release also contained a listing of Tennessee unintentional firearm fatality totals for each year since 1999; 2014’s total was the lowest listed.

The Tennessee Department of Public Health’s determination of five unintended firearm fatalities in the state in 2014 significantly undermines the anti-gun narrative that Safe Tennessee Project sought to create using the erroneous statistic. For instance, to illustrate Tennessee’s supposed problem with fatal unintentional shooting deaths, Safe Tennessee Project constructed a graph showing the state’s rate of unintentional firearms fatalities per 100,000 in 2014 versus those of the next four highest states. Using the corrected data, Tennessee’s rate of unintentional firearm fatalities is far below these other states, which include Massachusetts, a state with the type of severe firearms storage requirements that Safe Tennessee Project seeks to impose.

Moreover, the Safe Tennessee Project article quotes Metzl as stating, “Nationally, unintended shooting rates tend to rise most dramatically in states that allow the easiest access to firearms, and in instances where safe-storage practices are not observed.” Back in reality, the unintentional firearm fatality rate does not tend to rise at all, but rather to decrease. Since 1903, there has been a 94 percent decrease in the rate of fatal firearm accidents. From 1994 to 2014 the rate of unintentional firearm fatalities dropped by more than half. During this time period NRA has worked to educate millions of Americans in the safe use of firearms.

Following the Tennessee Department of Public Health’s correction of the unintentional firearm fatality data, Safe Tennessee Project acknowledged the inaccuracy of their article. However, the group’s eagerness to use plainly suspect data to push their political agenda should inform the public and legislators as to the legitimacy of their work. Further, this episode should stand as yet one more reminder of much of the media’s willingness to indiscriminately report on the contentions of any group that shares their anti-gun prejudice.

BY NRA-ILA Staff

TRENDING NOW
Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

The Illinois state Senate could vote on legislation to allow localities to infringe upon Second Amendment rights as early as today.  Senate Bill 2314 was moved to third reading after it had passed the Senate ...

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, murders, there has been an unusual amount of anti-gun and anti-NRA commentary by private corporations with plenty of problems of their own.   In February, Delta announced it was ending a ...

Pennsylvania: Semi-Auto Ban Legislation to be Introduced

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pennsylvania: Semi-Auto Ban Legislation to be Introduced

This week, Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) started circulating a co-sponsorship memorandum soliciting members of the Pennsylvania state Senate to support a proposal to ban commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines in Pennsylvania.  Please ...

UK Officials Continue to Push Knife/Gun/Cleaning Products Control

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

UK Officials Continue to Push Knife/Gun/Cleaning Products Control

The UK’s descent into absurdity continued this week as officials announced new efforts to crack down on knives and other potentially dangerous objects. The renewed interest in banning sharp objects stems from a recent spate of killings in London. ...

Illinois: Committees to Hear Gun Control

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Illinois: Committees to Hear Gun Control

Today, the Illinois state House Judiciary-Criminal Committee will be considering a floor amendment that was added to House Bill 1470 to ration the exercise of Second Amendment rights. In addition, the state Senate Judiciary Committee will consider bills that would ...

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

On Monday, the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee approved several gun control bills during a hearing that stretched over five hours. 

Washington: Seattle to Consider Legislation to Make Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Washington: Seattle to Consider Legislation to Make Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilmember M. Lorena González have announced their intention to introduce legislation to impose a one-size-fits-all method of storing firearms as well as punishing victims of theft by requiring reporting of lost or ...

NRA backs Challenge to Vermont Magazine Ban

News  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

NRA backs Challenge to Vermont Magazine Ban

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced support for a lawsuit brought by Vermont citizens, sporting-goods stores, and shooting clubs to challenge the state¹s recent ban on many of the most ...

Trial Judge Mocks the Late Justice Scalia While Upholding Expansive Gun Ban

Second Amendment  

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Trial Judge Mocks the Late Justice Scalia While Upholding Expansive Gun Ban

Gun owners have seen many outrageous instances of courts dismissing the importance, if not the very existence, of the individual right to keep and bear arms. But Judge William G. Young of the U.S. District ...

NRA Applauds Law Protecting Privacy of Firearms Records

News  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

NRA Applauds Law Protecting Privacy of Firearms Records

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action applauds Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts for signing into law legislation that protects the confidentiality of personal information associated with many firearm records.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.