Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Sorting out claims on gun statistics

Guns, including an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, for sale at a shop in Pasadena, Maryland, Jan. 14, 2013.
Guns, including an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, for sale at a shop in Pasadena, Maryland, Jan. 14, 2013.

The debate over guns shows no signs of quieting down anytime soon. Recently, we looked at two different claims, one on whether gun deaths have declined and another on whether school shootings have increased.

Everytown for Gun Safety promoted a report of their own that they there were 74 school shootings in the United States since Sandy Hook. The report sparked debate online, so we decided to drill down into the numbers. We found their count included incidents that people would likely not count as a school shooting. (To the group's credit, it was transparent about its methodology.) Experts warned against putting all those incidents into one category. We rated the claim Mostly False.

On the other side of the debate, an anonymous post on Facebook claimed that gun deaths are down. "Gun homicide is down 49 percent in the past 12 years. Only 12 percent of Americans know that. Tell us again how unbiased our media is," the Facebook post said. We found those numbers applied to 17 years, not 12, and stemmed mostly from the end of the crack epidemic in the 1980s. We rated the claim False.