That gun control advocates lie and mislead is no real surprise to anyone, and in my opinion one of the worst offenders is the Giffords Law Center.
Blaming a lack of attention to “gun deaths” on COVID-19, the Giffords Center put out their annual A-F “score card” of state gun laws, and predictably, the freest states fare the worst in their authoritarian estimation.
Kansas, for instance, earns an “F” rating, presumably because our gun laws are among the loosest in the nation; open carry has been legal for decades and constitutional carry for several years now, for example.
Giffords points out that Kansas has a “gun death rate” of 13.69 per 100,000 residents, slightly higher than the national average of 11.9.
But that number is misleading, the Giffords Center lumps all deaths into their statistic — to include homicide, suicide and deaths caused by an unintentional discharge.
Not only that, but they attempt to link “gun deaths” to the pandemic, as reported in U.S. News and World Report:
“There is a sad truth here, which is that even when there’s a new crisis to deal with, like COVID, other life-threatening emergencies don’t just go away,” says Laura Cutilletta, managing director of Giffords Law Center. “In fact, they tend to amplify each other. And that’s what has happened with the COVID epidemic and the gun violence epidemic.”
Notice what’s lacking when you read the linked article — anything resembling objectivity or countervailing facts. No, the Giffords report is treated as Established Fact, naturally.
Note as well that they’re pushing the narrative that the lockdowns are what is leading to a spike in crime, but clearly it has nothing to do with the constant demonization of police making them reluctant to do their jobs, or the release of violent offenders from jails in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus.
As ABC news reported back in June:
In New York, NYPD Chief of Department Terrance Monahan told PERF that “in the last week, we’ve had 53 shooting incidents and 72 people shot. We have to go back to the week of July 4th in 2012 for a week like that.”
Monahan said that 20% of those released from Rikers Island due to COVID-19 have been rearrested. The NYPD can’t make any connections between the releases and the rise in violent crime, “but we’re seeing a large uptick of parolees involved on either end of the gun, as either the shooter or the victim,” he added.
Not that that fact has any bearing on the Giffords Center:
Stronger gun laws in states continue to be linked to less gun violence, and 2020 is no different, according to Gifford Law Center’s annual Gun Law Scorecard, released Wednesday. But in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic stalled many aspects of life, states passed 43 significant gun laws, according to the report, down from 70 in 2019.
In fact, nationwide roughly 60% of “gun deaths” are suicides. While tragic, and not to be ignored, suicide needs to be addressed differently than homicide.
Moreover, on the suicide issue, the Giffords Center is not comparing apples to apples.
Suicide rates in largely rural states such as Kansas, Wyoming and Alaska are traditionally higher — for a variety of reasons — than in more urban areas such as California.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019 — the last year for which data is available — California had the lowest suicide rate at 10.7 per 100,000 residents.
According to the Giffords Center that is a direct result of the highly restrictive gun laws in the state. But the real data tells a different tale.
Texas, which rates an “F” for “lax” gun laws (note still more restrictive than Kansas) has a suicide rate of 13.4 per 100,000 and Florida, which rates a “C-“, sits at 14.5 per 100,000.
Meanwhile Hawaii, with an “A-” and some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, has a suicide rate of 15.5 per 100,000.
Another “small” detail is that while suicide is the No. 10 cause of death in the United States, that accounts for a grand total of 48,344 deaths in 2018, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health, out of 1.4 million attempts.
And in fact, Japan, with some of the most restrictive firearms laws in the world, leads the US considerably with a suicide rate of 18.5 per 100,000, which also makes it clear that those who really want to kill themselves will just find another way to do so.
But of course, addressing suicide as a mental health issue, is far more difficult than simply blaming an inanimate object and attempting to get it banned.
Back in May, NPR of all places, noted the deleterious effects of the lockdowns on mental health for children, as this reporter noted in an article for the non-profit Kansas Sentinel:
In a May 14 story, NPR says children may be facing major mental health challenges as well.
“Nightmares. Tantrums. Regressions. Grief. Violent outbursts. Exaggerated fear of strangers. Even suicidal thoughts,” the story reads. “In response to a call on social media, parents across the country shared with NPR that the mental health of their young children appears to be suffering as the weeks of lockdown drag on.”
As this reporter also wrote:
Dr. Dimitri Christakis is one of the nation’s most prominent pediatricians and suggests that keeping schools closed will cause harm to vulnerable children.
Christakis, who directs the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital, is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics and argues in a recent editorial that the mental health impacts may be far worse than the nearly one-third slide in educational progress expected by educators.
“The social-emotional needs of children to connect with other children in real time and space, whether it’s for physical activity, unstructured play or structured play, this is immensely important for young children in particular,” Christakis told NPR.
Additionally, a JAMA Pediatrics study, he said, documents elevated depression and anxiety among children under lockdown in China.
These are real, root causes of suicide. It’s not the gun, no matter what the Giffords Center would have you believe.
That they are not pushing to address these issues, rather than some imagined boogeyman of “lax gun laws,” tells you their intentions are not honest. They have no real desire to address the suicide issue in a meaningful way, because the victims of homicide, suicides and their families are not their real concern.
It’s all about the gun.