The New York Times yet again as a Fake News Site: Citing false information from the Violence Policy Center

18 Jan , 2017  

Once again the New York Times is citing bogus data from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) (January 12, 2017).

The grim truth is that concealed-carry permit holders are rarely involved in stopping crime. But people with permits have been responsible for more than 900 deaths that did not involve self-defense over the last decade, according to the Violence Policy Center. Among these were more than 29 mass shootings, bringing carnage and tragedy like that which Fort Lauderdale witnessed last week. . . .

Doesn’t the New York Times ever get tired repeating these false claims ever few months?  (See December 1, 2016 (Letter we submitted); October 26, 2015 (Our Letter and article we wrote when the letter wasn’t accepted); February 11, 2015 (Our article and another letter)).   Here is the Letter to the Editor that the CPRC sent to the New York Times:

Dear Editor:

The Times erroneously asserts that over nine years and eight months there were over 900 non-self-defense gun deaths nationwide by concealed handgun permit holders (“The Shootout Myth at the Airport,” 1/12).

Suppose for the sake of argument that the Violence Policy Center has accurately identified the cases you refer to, with over 14.5 million permit holders at the beginning of last year, the 19 pending homicide charges in 2016 implies an annual rate of 0.14 homicides per 100,000 permit holders.  And the vast majority of these will be found to be in self-defense.

Yet, the 900 number is wildly inaccurate.  Take Michigan, with supposedly 72 homicides and 286 suicides.  For homicides, many non-cases are tripled or quadrupled counted.  “Pending” and “conviction” numbers from the Michigan State Police reports are counted separately, though cases can be listed as pending for years before going to court and most never result in a conviction.  News stories of these same events are also counted separately.  The correct number of homicides is actually 14 over almost 10 years.

For suicides, Michigan doesn’t collect information on how suicides were committed — just that permit holders committed suicide.  Yet, permit holders committed suicide at just 38% the rate of the adult Michigan population.

Sincerely,

John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.
President
Crime Prevention Research Center

Data sources are available here:
Data from the Michigan State Police reports is available here: http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1878_1591_3503_4654-77621–,00.html
Information on the number of permits is available here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2814691
Information on the suicide rate for Michigan state adults is available here: http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/dataRestriction_inj.html
A copy of the Violence Policy Center report is available here: Total People Killed by Concealed Carry Killers May 2007 to Jan 15 2016

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