Last year, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut was “awarded” the highest number of “Pinocchios” from the Washington Post’s Fact Checker column for comments about gun violence in America. Murphy claimed that “Since Sandy Hook, there has been a school shooting, on average, every week,” and Fact Checker ranked the statement “as one of the biggest Pinocchios of 2015,” giving him 4 out of 4 long noses. The article noted, “The number came from Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun violence prevention group. But its methodology was deeply flawed, including suicides, accidental discharges and so forth.”
The fact-challenged senator continues to manipulate and conflate figures to suit his gun-control agenda. Last week on the Senate floor he said there was an “epidemic of young children being killed accidently by guns” and then goes on to discuss the “somewhere between 2,000 to 3,000 children and teens who die from guns in the United States,” conveniently moving from accidental fatalities to intentional misuses of firearms such as homicides and suicides, and from young children to the inclusion of teenagers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 69 unintentional (accidental) firearm fatalities among youth 14 and under in 2013, a decrease of 66 percent in the last two decades.
Murphy’s motivation was to advocate for so-called smart-gun technology as a solution to the misuse of firearms. He did mention in passing that 70 percent of firearm-related child deaths could have been prevented if a gun was stored and locked or unloaded. Such a solution—to securely store firearms when not in use with a lockable device to help prevent firearm accidents, theft and misuse—exists right now and is used by millions of responsible gun owners. Instead, the senator (and, recently, President Obama) touted an unproven, unreliable technology that the majority of consumers as well as law enforcement have indicated they do not want. To be clear, NSSF does not oppose the development of user-authorized technology, but it does oppose mandating the use of this technology to prohibit the sale of conventional firearms, which is the end-game that many supporters of this technology want to see.
Fifteen or so years in development and many millions of dollars later, smart-gun technology remains a technology that practically no one we know wants to entrust his or her life. In a similar time frame, NSSF’s own Project ChildSafe program has been providing free gun locks and safety education literature to any community in the country that requests them via their law enforcement agency at www.projectchildsafe.org. Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 37 million firearm safety kits that include a lock through partnerships with more than 15,000 law enforcement departments.
Such efforts by Project ChildSafe and other firearm safety initiatives have helped reduce fatal firearms accidents to historic low levels. It’s important to note that homicides have been declining over the past two decades as well, yet Murphy wants the public and lawmakers to believe the U.S. is seeing an epidemic of gun violence. A few facts you will not hear cited by Senator Murphy on the Senate floor or elsewhere are that 29 states, including Murphy’s home state of Connecticut, had ZERO fatal firearms accidents in 2013. And out of 3,997 fatal accidents involving children age 0-14 that year, firearms were involved in 69 of them—about 1 percent of the total—just about the lowest form of accidental death of children.
Such numbers don’t fit the narrative the senator or gun control lobbying groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, which also has major problems with facts, want to promote.
The public should know by now that when Sen. Murphy speaks about guns, the facts are not with him.