December 6, 2015

Forget about the fact that the United States has more gun violence and that we lead other developed countries by far in gun-related homicides per year, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace decided to cherry-pick some statistics given by discredited so-called "gun researcher" John Lott in order to claim that we're in better shape than Norway and Belgium when it comes to gun violence.

WALLACE: You know, Brit, some would argue that this wasn’t another mass shooting, this was a terrorist attack and so, therefore, you shouldn't just judge it as the president seemed to initially, like another Newtown or another, you know, shooting at a movie theater.

Having said that, there was a fascinating debate over mass shootings that we saw this week. According to one definition, we have more than one mass shooting a day. There were 355 in San Bernardino in 337 days.

On the other hand, there’s other analysis that says, if you look at it different, that we are eighth in the world when it comes to just being behind lawless countries like Norway and Belgium. So, there seems, and in fact, by all measures, gun violence has gone down dramatically in this country.

HUME: That's the critical point here. As gun ownership has blossomed and the Second Amendment seems to have collected more and more adherence, gun violence -- overall gun violence is down. And not only is that the case, it is also the case that the prescriptions for, quote, "sensible gun control" that are being advanced now in the wake of these shootings, do not include anything that would have, as far as I know, would have stopped this attack.

So, people are coming forward with unpopular solution that is have proved a dead end politically for the Democratic Party repeatedly that wouldn't solve the problem.

WILLIAMS: But don't you think that's the case, most states that have stricter gun control have lower incidences of death homicide by guns? There's some relationship there, and, Chris, isn't it a relationship that the United States among all Western industrialized countries has this outstanding rate of murder by gun?

WALLACE: Well, actually, it turns out in terms of mass shootings, which is what we're specifically talking about here, it doesn't. If you look at it per capita and you take out gang violence, which is -- well, it's a different deal.

WILLIAMS: I’m just saying.


WALLACE: It's a different deal. We're behind Norway and Belgium. So it’s not at all clear that there's a pattern here of such rampant gun violence.

WILLIAMS: I think if I’m dead I don't care, if it's a terrorist or the kid on the corner, I don't want to be dead.

WALLACE: All right, panel. I think I -- we all agree, we don't want to be dead.

Here's a dose of sanity from Vox on President Obama's claims about the United States and gun violence: Obama is right: gun violence is much worse in the US than other advanced countries:

In response to the Wednesday night shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, President Barack Obama highlighted a troubling fact: America has far more gun violence than its developed peers around the world.

"This type of mass violence doesn't happen in other advanced countries," Obama said on Thursday. "It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is within our power to do something about it. I say this recognizing that the politics of this town foreclose a lot of those avenues. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it." [...]

Obama is right: gun violence is way more common in the US than in its developed peers — and it's not even close. This chart, compiled using United Nations data collected by the Guardian's Simon Rogers, shows that America far and away leads Canada, Japan, and several European counterparts in gun homicides:


But why does the US have so many more gun homicides than other advanced countries? One possible explanation: Americans are much more likely to own guns than their peers around the world. And the empirical research shows places with more guns have more homicides.

According to survey data compiled by Rogers, the US had 88.8 guns per 100 people in 2007 — compared with 54.8 in the second-closest country, Yemen. Reddit user Phillybdizzle mapped Rogers's data, showing just how much the US stands out compared to the rest of the world:

Read on...

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