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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

PolitiFact Rates Lori Haas/Everytown Statement on Background Checks Half True

About a month ago when the General Assembly was considering McAuliffe backed gun control legislation, the gun ban lobby held a press conference in the hope of swaying legislators ahead of committee votes.  During that event, gun ban activist Lori Haas sited an Everytown for Gun Safety statistic that in states where there are background checks on private firearm sales, "49% fewer women are shot and killed." PolitiFact decided to put the statement to the test and found, once again, Everytown plays fast and loose with their numbers:
We should note, however, that Haas’ statement focused on a broader definition of victims.  She cited "women" without any reference to whether they were domestic violence victims.

So to examine her exact statement, we needed to find figures on gun murders deaths of all women, which are not in Everytown’s report.
After researching the numbers, PolitiFact found, the number while still significant, was 11% lower than Everytown's number that Haas used.  They also found there were states that did not require background checks on all purchases and had lower deaths of women than states that require them on all purchases:
Minnesota, which has no requirement for background checks on private handgun sales, had a rate of 0.6 firearms homicides for every 100,000 women. That was one-third the rate of North Carolina, which requires a background check of anyone seeking to buy a handgun.
Then there is the issue of cause and effect.  PolitiFact spoke with experts such as Gary Kleck who noted states may be taking other steps beyond gun control to reduce domestic violence (though Everytown did not specifically say they were comparing domestic violence deaths).

In the end, Haas got a half true rating for Everytown's claim, which is about what we have come to expect from the group.

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