BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is applauding Monday’s exposure by the Washington Post of questionable data about school shootings used by the gun prohibition lobby to stoke public emotion against Second Amendment rights.
The newspaper’s fact checker confirmed what was first suggested last year following an Oregon incident: Anti-gunners use an overly broad definition of “school shooting” to pad the data. This followed a claim by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) that since Sandy Hook there has been, on average, one school shooting a week. By the newspaper’s math, that would put the total around 128 incidents. The newspaper said the source for the claim is a report by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.
“Anti-gunners have essentially been cooking the books,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “This isn’t the first time a newspaper has called Everytown on this claim and it should cause the press, and the public, to wonder what other misleading claims the gun ban crowd has been making.”
The Washington Post gave Murphy’s claim a whopping “Four Pinocchios,” an allusion to how the famous cartoon character’s nose grew when he told a fib. It is “tantamount to calling something a bald-faced lie,” Gottlieb said.
The newspaper criticized lawmakers for using data from an advocacy group without checking more credible sources. It said the Everytown group “uses a broad definition of school shooting: when a firearm is discharged on school or campus grounds at K-12 schools and colleges.” Last year, PolitiFact Oregon noted that while Everytown does not include “incidents in which guns were brought into schools, but not fired there, or were fired off school grounds after having been possessed in schools,” its data at the time did include a homicide that happened during summer vacation in Tennessee, and a Georgia incident in which a college student was killed off campus.
“When this question was first raised last year,” Gottlieb recalled, “the estimate should have been dismissed forever as bogus. But instead, this canard has assumed the status of urban myth.
“All it takes is some basic math skills and a little research,” he concluded. “Our hats are off to the Washington Post fact checker for doing its homework. One school shooting is a tragedy, but to broadly define such incidents in order to pad the numbers is simply dishonest.”