Republican and Democratic lawmakers get gun policy wrong
President Trump on Wednesday discussed potential solutions to address gun violence in a televised meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
The president strayed from the facts during his remarks, as The New York Times previously reported. Here’s a look at claims made during the session by other lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike — that may have strayed from the facts or need additional context.
“That’s when the 10-year assault weapons ban was in effect – how incidents and deaths dropped. When it’s finished, you see it go up. — Senator Dianne Feinstein
This requires context.
In the past, Ms Feinstein has referred to a To analyse by Louis Klarevas, a senior lecturer at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, who found that banning assault weapons significantly reduced gun killings.
But it’s hard to tie the drop in crime or gun violence directly to a specific law, given the limited scope and shortcomings of each, according to most experts and research.
As The Times previously reported:
The 1994 ban on assault weapons has become a particular and recent topic of intense debate. The NRA cited a 2004 analysis funded by the Department of Justice pretend that thethe ban could not be credited with any reduction in crime.”
On the other hand, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, claimed in a post on Twitter that “the number of massacres by firearms fell by 37%” while the ban was in place.
Christopher Koper, a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and lead author of the study cited by the NRA, said said several times that the ban had mixed effects and that the end results would not be immediately obvious.
“My work is often cited in misleading ways that don’t paint the full picture,” Koper said in an email Thursday. “These laws can modestly reduce overall shootings” and reduce the number and severity of mass shootings.
“These shooters are usually men. They are white and they are suicidal. — Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana
A database maintained by Mother Jones, a progressive magazine, shows that 95 of 97 mass shootings from 1982 to 2018 involved gunmen. Fifty-five were committed by white men.
“States that do these background checks have a 38% lower domestic homicide rate – that’s domestic violence.” — Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota
Causality is unclear.
Mrs. Klobuchar is probably referring to a report of Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group, which claims that “38% fewer women” are “shot by intimate partners” in states that require background checks for all gun sales handguns.
This analysis, however, fails to account for other factors that contribute to domestic violence, leading other researchers to question the sweeping conclusion about background checks.
April Zeoli, a Michigan State University professor who studies intimate partner violence, called Everytown’s estimate a “back of the napkin” calculation.
Ms. Zeoli’s research found that state laws limiting access to firearms for those convicted of domestic violence lead to a decline in intimate partner homicides; specifically, 11% of laws that require buyers to obtain a permit, whether they buy from licensed or private dealers, she said. (Other research also shows it.)
Unlike Everytown, Ms. Zeoli also looked at state laws on domestic violence, poverty and divorce rates, average amounts of public assistance, education gaps between men and women, homicides not related to domestic violence, the percentage of firearm suicides as a proxy for the firearm. ownership rates and law enforcement availability.
“These are gun-free areas. The reason I carry a concealed firearm everywhere I go is because I don’t know where these gun-free areas are, that I can cross at the mall, or the donut shop, or wherever I am.—Representative John Rutherford, Florida Republican
This requires context.
As Mr. Rutherford and Mr. Trump discussed concealed carry laws, Mr. Trump said, “You’re not allowed to hide in a gun-free zone.” The exchange highlights how amorphous the term “weapons-free zone” has become.
Federal Law prohibits firearms in primary schools, but provides explicit exceptions for security personnel and for educational purposes (e.g. hunting lessons). Thus, Mr. Rutherford is wrong to state that there are never guns in “gun-free zones”.
Additionally, at least eight states allow concealed carry for elementary school teachers, and two more have eased restrictions, according to the Giffords Law Centera gun control advocacy group.
Private companies can also prohibit the civilian use of firearms on their premises, but state laws vary as to how and to what extent a company can opt out.
Texas has very specific requirements for signs set by companies to indicate that they do not allow firearms on their properties. (For example, they must be in English and Spanish.) North Carolina requires signs to be “visible” while Florida has no explicit rules. Florida is one of 23 states that require business owners to allow firearms in cars parked on business property.
“People just want to reject concealed carry permits. In fact, they increase security. — Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana
This is disputed.
When asked what data Mr Scalise was referring to, a spokesperson told The Times: ‘Since the early 1990s, the significant increase in the issuance of concealed carry permits by states has accompanied by a significant drop in violent crime rates – and that includes millions of new permits issued over the last decade or so.
The spokesperson cited the work of John R. Lott Jr., an economist and gun rights advocate whose book “More Guns, Less Crime” argues that “passing concealed handgun laws deters violent crime”. But Mr Lott’s conclusions have been questioned by other scholars.
In 2005, a jury from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that “no link between right-to-wear laws and trends in crime is apparent in the raw data, even in the original sample”.
Other researchers have come to the opposite conclusion. In a 2017 study, John Donohue, a professor at Stanford Law School, found that states that passed right-to-wear laws saw an increase in violent crimes.