Thursday, January 22, 2015

Facebook Gun "Facts" Fact Checked

Facebook can be a wonderful thing. I have connected with family members I've never met, and found old friends. It is also a microcosm of our culture.
 Memes about every thing popular and every political issue flood the pages daily. With the frequency of mass murders rising the "facts" about guns have been flooding my page. I decided to do a little fact checking on some of the most common Facebook posts.
 For the record, I am a gun owner in favor of sensible gun laws.
Autor: Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd
Which group of children, rural or urban, are more likely to die from gunshots?

  • According to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, children (defined as ages 0-19) in rural and urban areas are equally as likely to die by gunshot, with rates of 4 per 100,000 deaths and 4.6 deaths per 100,000, respectively.

Do the majority of Americans own guns?

  • No, in fact most studies (here and here) are showing fewer Americans own guns than in the past. It is true that there are many more guns, but they are concentrated in the minority of Americans who own guns.

Chart compiled by

Did Hitler ban guns in Germany?

  • Hitler actually liberalized gun laws when he came to power, allowing more citizens to own guns. In 1919, after World War I, guns were banned by the German government. In 1928 the "Law on Firearms and Ammunition" was passed. Germans were now allowed to own, transport, sell and manufacture guns if they had a permit, but this was strictly regulated. Hitler and the Nazi party took complete control of the German government in 1933.
  • The 1938  German gun law supported by Hitler actually expanded ownership to more German citizens by erasing the restrictions on all shotguns and rifles. Handguns still needed a permit to be bought or carried. The law allowed many more citizens to own guns than in the previous 19 years. If a citizen had a hunting permit, they were now allowed to carry a handgun. It lowered the gun ownership age from 20 to 18, and it expanded the life of a permit from one year to three years. In 1938, Hitler banned firearm ownership or manufacturing by Jews and other "undesirables". When Germany invaded a country, the citizens were ordered to turn over all weapons, as would be expected by an occupying army.

Does President Obama's gun control plan mandate registration of all guns or confiscation of them?

  • No. The president's plan calls for a mandatory background check on gun purchases. All information obtained by this check is required by law to be destroyed.
Does Chicago have the strictest gun laws in the country?

  • Chicago's laws are similar to other major cities. The Chicago gun ban was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2010. 

Is crime down in states with conceal-carry or open carry laws?

  • Yes. It is also down in states without conceal-carry laws.

Do states with that allow conceal-carry have lower crime rates then states that don't?

  • No. One study that found a positive correlation between the two, the John Lott study, has been widely discredited. No other study has been able to replicate the results and in fact show no correlation between carrying guns and lower crime rates..

Is the U.K. violent crime rate 4 times higher than the U.S. crime rate?

  •  Since the U.K. includes simple assault, all sexual offenses and other crimes in its tabulation of violent crime that the U.S. doesn't include, it is not possible to compare the two.

Do gun sales pay the NRA leaders' salaries?

  •  No.The NRA does has a program with participating stores which lets a gun owner decide if he/she wants to "round up" the final price of a gun. This money goes to the NRA as a fundraiser. It is strictly voluntary.

Did a virulent anti-gun senator shoot an intruder?

  • Yes and no. The senator in question, Senator Soles of NC, did shoot an intruder. He was not anti-gun, though. He had previously received grades of A's and B's from the NRA.

Remember - just because it's on the internet doesn't make it true.

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