Former President Bill Clinton spoke at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday of last week. During his speech, he took time to assault guns and gun owners. But the facts he put forth were less than truthful, as we’ve come to expect from “Slick Willy.”
“I grew up in this hunting culture, but this is nuts,” the Arkansas native said. “Why does anybody need a 30 round clip for a gun? Why does anybody need one of those things that carries 100 bullets?”
While Clinton appealed to emotion, he is known for his keen ability to lie. Remember, “I did not have sex with that woman, not one time?”
Well here comes his whopper. He demonstrated that he supports another “assault weapons ban” as he said,
“Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005. Half of all of them in the history of the country.”
Clinton also took on the issue of the National Rifle Association’s big government solution of putting armed police officers at schools saying, “Do there need to be some armed guards in some schools where there is a high crime rate and kids themselves may take weapons to school? Absolutely. But it is not an excuse not to deal with this issue.” Remember he was the one who originally proposed such an idea when he first came to office.
But the question is, was Bill Clinton being honest when he stated the “fact” that half of all mass shootings in the US have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005?” Actually he’s wrong.
In a 2007 book titled Mass Murder in the United States: A History, author Grant Duwe, director of research and evaluation at the Minnesota Department of Corrections enlightens the public to the data regarding mass public shootings.
Duwe identified 156 mass public shootings in the past 100 years of the United States’ history. He defines such shootings as those where at least four people or more are killed publicly with a firearm in less than twenty-four hours. These events occur at schools, restaurants, places of employment and they exclude any other connection with crimes such as robbery, drugs or gangs.
The data he shows indicates that 32 mass public shootings have occurred since the weapons ban expired on September 13, 2004, including seven this past year, 2012. That is only about twenty percent, not 50 percent as Clinton declared.
When we look at Mass Public Shootings By the Decade, Duwe lists them as follows:
1900s : zero
2010s (three years): 14
While defining “mass shooting” differently might bring about different results, according to the Washington Post, a Clinton spokesperson was unwilling to comment or give the source of the data that Clinton cited. So we are unable to verify exactly where he is getting his numbers.
One thing to note in all of this is that the majority of these mass shootings were not even committed with a semi-automatic rifle. The Washington Post gave Clinton three out of four pinnochios for his claim saying, “Ordinarily, this might have been a Four Pinocchio claim. Given the fuzziness of the data and questions about definitions, we are going to cut Clinton a bit of slack in the final ruling. But such uncertainty in the data means politicians need to be very careful in making claims about gun violence.”
Interestingly enough, Brad Plumer points out the difference in criteria of data compiled by Mother Jones and data compiled by James Allan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern and concluded that mass shootings “by either criteria, there does seem to be a surge in mass shootings in 2012. But it’s unclear whether that’s a one-year blip or not.”
He also writes, “So, duly noted. One final point, though: Even if mass shootings are simply staying constant, and not actually increasing, that might still be of interest given that the overall rate of gun violence and homicide in the United States appears to be on the downswing.”
As you look at the numbers take into consideration that this is the number of times in a decade that mass public shootings have taken place. That’s ten years! These numbers are not part of data everyday or even every year. They are for a ten year period of time. Does it really amount to such a serious issue that we need to start banning hundreds of types of guns, high capacity magazines and other “arms” that the Second Amendment clearly allows us? I think not, especially when more than a million law abiding gun owners will never and have never used their firearms to assault one person, let alone commit a mass public shooting. But the Left are going to play on people’s emotions and rest assured that they are relentless in their pursuit of our firearms.