Dr. John Lott has a new op-ed at The Hill newspaper on the continued false claims put out by Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. The piece starts this way:
Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety “is most famous for its running tally of school shootings,” according to the Washington Post. When Everytown tweeted out the claim that there had been 18 school shootings so far this year as of Feb. 14 — immediately after the Florida high school attack — the claim spread like wildfire. News organizations — including ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, NPR, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Politico, Time, MSN, the BBC, the New York Daily News and HuffPost — noted the statistic in their news reports or hosted experts who cited the number.
Bloomberg’s gun control groups should have lost all credibility by now. But it hardly seems that there would be much of a gun control debate these days without the many hundreds of millions of dollars that Bloomberg has spent fighting this issue.
The Wall Street Journal published a detailed expose before the Florida shooting, when it debunked Everytown’s claim that there had been 11 school shootings just in the first 25 days of the year. Among these “school shootings”: “A school-bus window was broken by a pellet gun in Forest City, Iowa,” and “A gun was accidentally discharged in a weapons class at a Denison, Texas, community college.”
Another shooting involved a military veteran with no connection to the school killing himself in his car while in the school parking lot. The list later included more suicides and a police officer who accidentally discharged his gun.The Washington Post blastedEverytown’s “18 school shootings” claim in a Feb. 15 review: “That number is flat wrong.” The liberal-leaning Politifact concluded: “Only three of those incidents, including Florida, involved multiple gunshots inside of a school that caused deaths or an injury.” Only two of the three cases involved fatalities. Politifact also noted that Everytown included cases of guns being fired “near a school.” this includes cases not even on the school campus?
Still, even after all of these fact checks, the New York Times could only bring itself to write: “As other outlets, including The Washington Post, have pointed out, that statistic included a suicide at a closed school and an incident when gunshots were fired in a high school parking lot but no one was injured.” Thus, the Times made it appear that Everytown had made only two mistakes, one of them appeared minor.
But this is hardly the first time that Bloomberg’s counts have been labeled as false, and it doesn’t seem to matter. When Everytown reported that there had been 74 school shootings between Sandy Hook (Dec. 14, 2012) and June 2014, Politifact found the claim to be “mostly false.” CNN re-did the numbers and found that a the more correct total was 15, but that was still generous.
A Fox News piece that we wrote early in 2014 was the first to point out the errors. It showed that Bloomberg’s two predecessor organizations to Everytown — Moms Demand Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns — included such cases as a college student using a gun stop himself from being beaten as a school shooting.
Bloomberg’s various gun control groups release one report after another that are at least as untruthful as their numbers on school shootings.
His perennial favorite gun control measure is background checks on private gun transfers. Everytown purports to have evidence showing that these background checks reduce domestic violence against women by 47 percent, suicides by 47 percent, and shootings of police by 53 percent. But Everytown has never actually examined how crime rates change before and after the measure is adopted. Instead, Bloomberg’s group compares states, with no attempt to account for anything other than their differing background check laws. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.