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F is for False: Washington Post Fact Check Refutes Leading Gun Control Talking Point

Monday, February 12, 2024

F is for False: Washington Post Fact Check Refutes Leading Gun Control Talking Point

It has become practically mandatory for any firearm prohibitionist to preface gun control rhetoric with the assertion: “Gun violence is the leading cause of death of children.” It’s a favorite of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, the White House Briefing Room, and just about every gun control advocate and anti-gun media outlet you could name (for example: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, to cite merely a few examples). As we have pointed out time and time and time again, however, it’s simply not true. Now, the Washington Post’s own fact checker has weighed in on the matter and has grudgingly admitted that the statement is only true if “children” include adults. “When you focus only on children – 17 years and younger –,” the Post article states, “motor vehicle deaths (broadly defined) still rank No. 1.”

To paraphrase Bill Clinton, the veracity of the statement depends on the meaning of what a “child” is. Gun control proponents arrive at their statement about “children” by including young adults aged 18 and 19 (and sometimes even older) in their datasets. As the Post article also notes, researchers additionally use different definitions of “motor vehicle death” to examine the issue of child mortality. Some count only crashes involving moving vehicles, while others count all vehicle-involved deaths, including those involving stationary vehicles and vehicles colliding with pedestrians. Only by using a narrow definition of “motor vehicle death,” a definition of “child” that includes young adults, and a broad definition of “gun violence” does the number of “children’s” firearm-related deaths exceed those of vehicle-related deaths.

The Post makes much of the fact that the gap between the two sources of mortality is closing and that the United States is an outlier in the number of young people who die in firearm-related incidents. It also refuses to assign its traditional “Pinocchio” rating to the gun controllers’ claim. But it is unambiguous on the basic point: “When all motor vehicle accidents are counted, then motor vehicle deaths continue to exceed firearm deaths for children — defined as people under age 18 — whether or not infants are included.”

What the Post does not mention, but what bears emphasis, is that firearm prohibitionists do not make declarative statements to educate or enlighten people on the facts but to elicit an emotional response that the prohibitionists hope will increase support for gun control. In the case of “gun deaths” involving “children,” people will naturally think of accidents involving readily accessible guns stored in homes or vehicles or even kids killed in school shootings (thankfully the rarest version of this phenomenon by far). Indeed, the “child gun death” talking point is often used as a justification for so-called “safe storage laws” that seek to impose criminal penalties for storing guns loaded and ready for immediate use. 

People may not, however, immediately associate this phrasing with young adult gang members battling over drug turf or using guns to resolve escalating “beefs” that originate on online social media platforms. These events, by contrast, are among the most common scenarios in which one person kills another with a gun in the U.S.

Of course, no decent person wants young people of any age dying by gunfire, no matter what the scenario. But broadly lumping all these incidents together into one category obscures the obvious fact that different approaches are necessary to effectively address each one. We have repeatedly made the same point about gun controllers’ insistence on inflating the number of “mass shootings” by applying that term to highly dissimilar events. Mainstream fact-checkers have called out this tactic, as well.

Needless to say, the Washington Post is not about to relent from its own habitual anti-gun advocacy, a point that is clear even from this fact check (and, ironically, from the paper’s own prior use of the claim its fact check now discredits). But the Post article at least illustrates how manipulating data and recharacterizing common terms to include uncommon meanings creates heat, rather than light, in the gun control debate.

In any case, we expect firearm prohibitionists to continue misleading about “child gun deaths” with abandon.

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Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, NRA backed constitutional carry legislation, on a 28-10 vote. The bill will next be considered in the House. Please contact your state representative and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Bill 1.

Ontario Latest Province to Snub Trudeau’s Gun Grab – “Ontario Should Not Be Spending Taxpayers’ Money Towards the Program”

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ontario Latest Province to Snub Trudeau’s Gun Grab – “Ontario Should Not Be Spending Taxpayers’ Money Towards the Program”

The wheels are coming off the mandatory “assault weapon” gun ban and confiscation scheme that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched four years ago.

Hawaii Justices “Declare War” on U.S. Supreme Court, to the Cheers of Anti-Gun Media

News  

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Hawaii Justices “Declare War” on U.S. Supreme Court, to the Cheers of Anti-Gun Media

In Hawaii, a man who was peacefully carrying a pistol for his own self-protection while on a nature hike was arrested and subject to felony prosecution under state laws that generally confine the possession of ...

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

On Monday, House File 3570 was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy and would ban so called “assault weapons” by expanding upon an existing statute used to define these firearms. The bill ...

Colorado: Semi-Auto Ban Introduced in General Assembly

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Colorado: Semi-Auto Ban Introduced in General Assembly

Anti-Gun extremist State Reps. Tim Hernandez (D-04) and Elisabeth Epps (D-06) introduced House Bill 24-1292, a bill banning the manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, offering to sell, or transferring ownership of so called “assault weapons”. 

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Last week, South Carolina moved one step closer to becoming the 28th state to enact Permitless/Constitutional Carry! This effort has been years in the making, clearing a major hurdle by passing the Senate, which has been ...

Virginia: Mandatory Waiting Period and Other Anti-Gun Bills Headed to the Governor's Desk

Friday, February 23, 2024

Virginia: Mandatory Waiting Period and Other Anti-Gun Bills Headed to the Governor's Desk

Contact Governor Youngkin today and urge his veto!  Anti-gun extremists in the Virginia General Assembly have made diminishing your Second Amendment Rights a top priority this legislative session. This week a slew of gun control ...

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Monday, February 26, at 10:00 AM, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee will hear Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation. SB 1 was passed by the Senate earlier this week with overwhelming support. Please contact committee members ...

New Hampshire: House Advances Critical Gun Owner Privacy Legislation

Friday, February 23, 2024

New Hampshire: House Advances Critical Gun Owner Privacy Legislation

On Thursday, February 22nd, the New Hampshire House of Representatives held floor votes on gun related bills.

Colorado: Legislation Requiring the Use of Firearm/Ammunition Merchant Category Codes Passes State Senate

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Colorado: Legislation Requiring the Use of Firearm/Ammunition Merchant Category Codes Passes State Senate

SB24-066 legislation requiring the use of merchant category codes by payment processors to identify firearm, firearm accessories, and ammunition purchases passes the State Senate. 

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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.