On the floor of the Senate on June 24, 2015, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) gave a speech in which he made the following statement:
“Since Sandy Hook there has been a school shooting, on average, every week. How on earth can we live with ourselves if we do nothing?”
On its face, if that were true, it would, indeed, be horrific. However, it is important to review the facts before forming an opinion, especially if you are a U.S. Senator with the power to legislate.
It would appear that Sen. Murphy was relying upon a report by an anti-gun advocacy group, Everytown for Gun Safety, that describes itself as “a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.” In its report, which covered the time from December 2012 (Sandy Hook shooting) up to June 8, 2015, Everytown claims 126 school shootings in which a firearm was discharged on school grounds or campus. It counted attempted and committed suicides, gang fights, armed robberies, accidental discharges, as well as rampages similar to Sandy Hook.
Several news organizations and the FBI analyzed the report and found it to not accurately reflect crime data and the FBI’s own statistics. Analyzing its own data, the FBI found the number of active shooter incidents, where one or more shooters “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area” of a school or campus to be 39 from 2000 – 2013.
While all would agree that school shootings are horrendous and efforts to curb school violence is a laudable goal, it is important that our legislators recognize their duty to perform due diligence on statistics they throw out there to support their particular agenda.
Do politicians rely too much on fear-mongering to promote their political aims?
This information was compiled from various news sources and the Washington Post Fact Checker.