At Fox News: The New York Times publishes a politically biased and inaccurate ‘fact check’ of Trump’s gun remarks

1 Mar , 2018  

After President Trump met with members of Congress this past Wednesday to discuss gun control, Linda Qui at the New York Times wrote a “fact check” explaining why what he said was wrong.  Dr. John Lott has a new piece at Fox News that illustrates how poorly done and inaccurate Ms. Qui’s piece was. (Partial transcript of the event included below.) Lott’s piece starts this way:

Fact checks by the media ought to be factual. The New York Times failed to do this with an error-filled piece that incorrectly claims President Trump “peppered his remarks with inaccurate facts about mass shootings and gun policy” Wednesday in a meeting with members of Congress.

I have a bit of a personal stake in this, as President Trump was using arguments that I have been making for many years in my earlier academic research at universities on gun control laws and public safety and in my role as founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.

By any objective standard, truth in labeling would show that the Times article by Linda Qui is not a fact check at all, but simply a political attack on President Trump, with no attempt to understand the arguments he is making.

At his televised meeting with lawmakers, the president stated: “You take Pulse nightclub, if you had one person in that room that could carry a gun and knew how to use it, it wouldn’t have happened, or certainly to the extent that it did.”

Qui rates this statement by the president as “false.” “There was, in fact, an off-duty police officer working in the nightclub at the time of the shooting,” she writes.

But in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando – when a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 58 others – the police officer on guard was the first person who was shot at. An officer’s uniform is like a neon sign saying “shoot me first.”

The same targeting of uniformed officers happened at the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in 2015, when two brothers shot and killed 12 people and injured 11 others. And it happened again last year when a gunman shot and killed 39 people and wounded at least 70 others in Istanbul in Turkey.

Attackers are not stupid. They want to eliminate anyone who poses an immediate threat at the outset of their attack. If a police officer or security guard in uniform is the only person with a gun, shooting him will give shooters free reign to kill others. Florida is one of only 10 states that ban civilians from carrying guns at nightclubs.

What President Trump had in mind was concealed carrying of a handgun. If one or more people who aren’t obvious guards are armed, attackers won’t be able to identify them, and so won’t know who they need to attack first. This is a critical distinction that Qui ignores.

Concealed handgun permit holders make a guard’s job much safer, because an attacker won’t be able to attack the guard without worrying that someone behind him or to his side might be able to stop him with a bullet. It is the concealed handgun permit holder who can’t be identified as having a weapon who takes away the attacker’s strategic advantage.

President Trump also stated in his meeting Wednesday: “98 percent of all mass shootings in the United States since 1950 have taken place in gun-free zones.”

Qui claims that this is “disputed” because gun-free zone prohibitions don’t “account for weapons being carried by law enforcement officers, military troops or licensed professional security personnel.”

Criticizing my research, Qui writes that “Lott’s data set included military bases like Fort Hood and the Washington Navy Yard.” But my point is valid. Whether the person guarding the place is a uniformed police officer or a security guard, they are the first target for these attackers.

Regular military members are banned from carrying guns at military bases in the United States, making the bases surprisingly soft targets. The only people who can carry guns on domestic bases are military police, so the situation is much the same as at the Pulse nightclub. . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.

The relevant part of the transcript of event that contained the above quotes is here.  Some more is also included.

President Trump

We have to do something about it. We have to act.

We can’t wait and play games and nothing gets done. And I really believe that the people — this is bipartisan. It’s a bipartisan meeting. We’re going to discuss safe schools and we can really get there. But we have to do it.

We don’t want to wait two weeks, three weeks, four weeks and people sort of forget and we go on and then have another problem. We want to stop the problems from happening. As we continue to mourn the loss of so many precious young lives in Parkland, Florida, we’re determined to turn our grief into action. I really believe that. I think that the people at this table want it. I mean, I see some folks that don’t say nice things about me, and that’s okay. Because if you turn that into this energy, I’ll love you. I don’t care. We’ll be able to do it. Sadly, these horrible mass shootings are nothing new.

Look at Columbine, Colorado. Bill Clinton was president. Virginia Tech, George Bush. Ft. Hood, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Pulse Nightclub and so many more. It’s ridiculous.

So today we’re here on a bipartisan fashion to show leadership in an effort to end the senseless violence. It can be ended. And it will be ended. First, we must harden our schools against attack. These include allowing people with a certified training, very talented people, to carry firearms.

Some people are going to disagree with that, and I understand that. I fully understand that. If you do, I want you to speak up today and we’ll listen. But 98% of all mass shootings in the United States, since 1950, have taken place in gun-free zones, where guns were not inside the school.

Or, as an example, you take the Pulse Nightclub. You had one person in that room that could carry a gun and knew how to use it, it wouldn’t have happened. Certainly not to the extent it did, where he was just in there shooting and shooting and shooting. And they were defenseless. Just remember that.

Ninety-eight percent of all mass public shootings in the United States since 1950 have taken place in gun-free zones. It’s terrible. You’ve got to have defense, too. You can’t just be sitting ducks. That’s exactly what we’ve allowed people in these buildings and schools to be. Second, we have to confront mental health. There’s never been a case that I’ve ever seen — I’m sure everybody would feel the same — where mental health was so obviously — 39 different red flags. Everybody was seeing it. The local police, the state police, the FBI. Everybody was seeing that this guy was sick and nothing happened.

Third, we have to ensure that when students, educators, family, neighbors, when they warn authorities that the authorities act quickly and decisively, unlike police in Florida, which was horrible.

Fourth, we have to pursue common-sense measures that protect the rights of law-abiding Americans while keeping guns and — we have to keep the guns out of the hands that pose the threat. And this really includes background checks.

I know, Senator, you’re working on things. Joe, I know you’re working. I mean, I’m looking at a number of folks around the table. You’re working on different bills. We have to get them done. We have to get them done. And they have to be strong. Background checks — hey, look, I’m the biggest fan of the second amendment. Many of you are. I’m a big fan of the NRA. I had lunch with them, with Wayne, Chris and David, on Sunday and said, it’s time.

We’re going to stop this nonsense. It’s time. So, we made suggestions to many of you. And I think you’re going to put a lot of those suggestions in place. You’re going to have your own ideas. Certain ideas sound good but they’re not good. You can harden the sight to a level nobody could get in. Problem is if the shooter is inside and he gets in the door and closes the door, we can’t get people in. It’s going to cost hundred of millions of dollars all over the country and we’ll have nice hard sites.

The door closes and now we can’t get in, have to send the tractor through the walls. So we have to be careful of that. We have to create a culture that cherishes life and human dignity. We’re all going to sit around and come up with some ideas. Hopefully, we can put those ideas in a very bipartisan bill. It would be so beautiful to have one bill that everybody could support as opposed to, you know, 15 bills.

Everybody has their own bill. If we could have one terrific bill that everybody — started by the people around this take. Special people. These are the people that seem to be most interested, very interested in this problem. It’s a big problem. So, with that, I think I would like to start. Maybe you can ask John, you can start off and we’ll go back and forth. We’ll leave the media for a while and they can leave us with some thought. There’s something that can be done.

There’s no reason for this. I really believe that those people, it’s idealistic, wonderful, a beautiful thing. If you think that somebody is going to be able to walk into a school, if they feel that they’re not going to have bullets coming at them from the other direction, you’re never going to solve the problem. I feel that. I feel that. But I’m certainly open to suggestions. So, John, why don’t you start? You’ve put in your Fix NICS. Let’s see how it is and we’ll go ahead.

Senator John Cornyn

Thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you for getting us together and expressing your sincere concern about this and trying to get us to a solution. And going home empty handed is unacceptable. It’s hard to get people together on a bipartisan basis. Sutherland Springs, we lost 26 people when a guy, convicted felon, convicted of domestic violence, less than honorable discharge from the military, none of which was uploaded into the background check system maintained by the FBI. That’s only as good as the data put into it.

So 46 Senate colleagues on the bipartisan basis have what we think is a start. It’s not the end all be all. Other things that people want to add to it. We talked about the bump stock issue that I know Sen. Feinstein cares passionately about.

President Trump

I’m going to essentially write that out. We can do that with an executive order. I’m essentially going to write it out. You won’t have to worry about bump stock. Shortly, that will be gone. We can focus on other things. Frankly, I don’t know that it would be good to have it be in this bill. We’ll have that done. They’re working on it quickly. Go ahead.

Senator John Cornyn

We need to get started on things only we could do, this background check system. People have other ideas, they ought to offer those ideas. I’m not sure all of them will pass but in the past we’ve acquiesced to failure and have not done things that we know were within our power to accomplish, like the Fix NICS Bill. So I would like to recommend to you and to my colleagues that we get that done and build on it. We don’t stop there. We build on it. None of us want to look these families in the face in the wake of another mass shooting and say we failed to do everything within our power to stop it.

President Trump

And, John, Fix NICS has some really good things in it. It would be nice if we could add everything on to it and maybe change the title, all right? The U.S. Background check bill or whatever. Your bill is really good and really important, having to do with a certain aspect. Maybe we could make it much more comprehensive and have one bill instead of 15 different bills and nobody knows what’s happening.

If we can get 60 votes for it, Mr. President, I’m all for it.

I think you can. I think this is one of the things you can actually get the 60 votes and maybe easily. Dianne, do you have something?

Senator Dianne Feinstein

I do, Mr. President. You probably know this, but I became mayor of San Francisco as a product of the assassination. I’ve been the victim of terrorist groups. The department gave me a weapon.

They taught me how to shoot it and we proceeded through the 1970s that way. What I’ve watched and seen is the development of weapons that I never thought would leave the battlefield, that are out on our streets. And the latest and newest, Mr. Chairman, is the ar-15. It’s got a lot of assets to it and it’s misused. And it tears apart a human body with a velocity. And I watched the school shootings, in particular, which you pointed out. And I thought Sandy Hook — and I’m delighted that Sen. Murphy is here today.

We thought Sandy Hook would be the end. And he and I introduced another assault weapons bill after the first one. We didn’t succeed with it. But the killings have gone on. The number of incidents have gone up. I put my case in writing, which I will give you, if I may, in letter form.

President Trump

Good. Thank you.

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Secondly the assault weapons legislation, this is the number of incidents before. And of incidents and of deaths. This is when the ten-year assault weapon ban was in how incidents and deaths dropped. When it ended, you see it going up. So, Sen. Murphy —

President Trump

I’ll take a look at it.

Senator Dianne Feinstein

And 26 of us have co-sponsored a new bill. I would be most honored if you would take a look at it.

President Trump

I will.

Senator Dianne Feinstein

We will get it to you and let us know what you think of it.

President Trump

I will.

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Thank you.

President Trump

Thank you very much. Chris? Go ahead.

Senator Chris Murphy

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, thank you very much. Thank you for taking this seriously. Our hearts go out to Parkland. We know, having gone through this in Sandy Hook that that community will never, ever be the same. I want to bring this issue to background checks if I could. I think there’s real opportunity.

President Trump

I agree.

Senator Chris Murphy

There’s no other issue like background checks. 97% of Americans want universal background checks in states that have universal background checks, there are 35% less gun murders than in states that don’t have them. And yet we can’t get it done. Nothing else like that, where it works, people want it. And we can’t do it.

President Trump

You have a different president now. You went through a lot of presidents and didn’t get it done. You have a different president. I think maybe you have a different attitude, too. I think people want to get it done. Go ahead.

Senator Chris Murphy

In the end, Mr. President, the reason nothing has gotten down here is because the gun lobby has a veto power over any legislation on guns before Congress. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is. If all we end up doing is the stuff that the gun industry supports this isn’t worth it. We are not going to make a difference.

I’m glad that you sat down with the NRA, but we will get 60 votes on a bill that looks like the compromise on background checks if you support it, if you come to Congress, if you come to Republicans and say we are going to do a Manchin-Toomey-like bill to get background checks it will pass. If this meeting ends up with vague notions of future compromise, then nothing will happen.

President Trump

We don’t want that.

Senator Chris Murphy

So I think we have a unique opportunity to get comprehensive background checks, make sure that nobody buys a gun in this country that’s a criminal, that’s seriously mentally ill, that’s on the terrorist watch list. Mr. President, it’s going to have to be you that brings the Republicans to the table on this.

President Trump

Sure.

Senator Chris Murphy

Right now the gun lobby would stop it in its tracks.

President Trump

I like that responsibility, Chris. I really do. I think it’s time that a president stepped up. I’m talking Democrat and Republican presidents, they’ve not stepped up. And maybe before I call on Marco, I would like to have Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, can you sort of detail your bill? I haven’t heard a lot about it, actually.

Senator Pat Toomey

Thank you very much. Absolutely, Mr. President. And I do think our bill is the best chance of moving forward. We got 54 votes in 2013, the most that any bill in this space got. It has several components. First title is very similar to what Jon Cornyn and Chris Murphy’s bill does. It strengthens the reporting of information into the background check system.

President Trump

Having one bill is nicer than having seven bills.

Senator Pat Toomey

Right. The second part has a provision that would require background checks on all commercial sales. One of the big gaps in our background check system today is sales at gun shows and sales over the internet are not necessarily subject to a background check and we think they should be. These are commercial in nature and they’re on a scale that really matters. Our bill would require those background checks. We also have a number of provisions which we’ll —

President Trump

Do you have support for that, bipartisan support for what you’re saying?

Senator Pat Toomey

We had 54 votes in 2013. Most of those 54 voters are still in the Senate.

President Trump

And not a lot of presidential backup?

Senator Pat Toomey

President Obama did support it.

President Trump

But that was your problem.

Senator Pat Toomey

There was a worry he wanted to go further, frankly, and that was a concern for some of our guys. Two other items. One is a list of ways in which a law-abiding citizen could have greater freedom to exercise the second amendment, for instance, allowing an active duty military person to buy a gun in his home state. It’s against the law. That shouldn’t be. And then secondly, to create a commission that looks at the sources and causes of these terrible mass shootings.

President Trump

What are you doing in the schools?

Senator Joe Manchin

We have a school safety provision in this bill also. When I was governor we remodeled a lot of schools and built a lot of schools. “Gov. Manchin, you’ve got to make sure you have the first floor windows all bulletproof.” We never knew that. No one ever came to me with that concern. With Sandy Hook, that’s how he got his way in. We made sure we addressed all that. There’s not a person in West Virginia who believes you’re not going to defend their second amendment rights, not a person.

, ,


One Response

  1. Steve says:

    Top 5 Facts That Gun Control Advocates Hate… spread the word!

    http://commoncts.blogspot.com/2018/03/top-5-facts-that-gun-control-advocates.html

    ps. would you consider adding CC to your blogroll?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *