Bill Clinton decided to exploit a captive audience at the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas to hammer home his message on gun control. Unfortunately, the Former President, who has a proclivity for warping the truth that almost resulted in his impeachment, was caught telling a whopper at the CES on January 9, 2013.
After making a slightly inarticulate and badly informed speech claiming that Americans have no need for 100 bullet clips (which do not exist to anyone’s knowledge), the President upped the ante and made the following claim:
“Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005, half of all of them in the history of the country.”
Americans are used to a certain amount of exaggeration and hyperbole from our elder statesmen and ex-Presidents, but we are sorry to inform you that Mr. Clinton’s statement is an outright lie. The debate over gun control and Second Amendment rights is contentious enough without gun control advocates resorting to dishonesty to sell their message and it is especially offensive when a former leader of the free world is uttering these untruths.
Now you may be wondering what exactly is untrue about Mr. Clinton’s claim that “Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005, half of all of them in the history of the country?” The data is quite straight forward and the lack of truthfullness in the President’s statement is easy to prove using the former President’s favorite tool: Math.
Let us begin with a chart of all the mass killings in the United States since 1900:
Mass Public Shootings per Decade:
Anyone with a calculator can tell you that since 1900 there have been 157 mass shootings in the United States, 32 of which have taken place since the assault weapon ban expired in 2005. Divide 32 by 157 and you will find that accounts for only 20 percent of the mass shootings, not 50 percent. That is a raw percentage and does not take into account the massive increase in the population of the country in recent years or the many other factors that may have led to the increase in violence in general.
The figures provide no breakdown on how many mass shootings were committed by licensed gun owners using legally purchased, registered weapons and how many of the mass shootings were committed by criminals using unregistered or stolen weapons.
Clinton’s percentages do not reflect another important FBI statistic: cities where guns are restricted and concealed carry is banned have a higher murder than cities which allow gun ownership and concealed carry. Chicago, which has the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, has one of America’s highest rates of gun violence.
Even the notoriously Liberal Washington Post called the President out on his lie and awarded him three Pinocchios. They decided to spare him the four Pinocchio treatment in deference to what the Post called “fuzzy Data.” Frankly, Mr. Clinton earned a full four Pinocchios for the audacity of his lie and the way in which it was presented.
“Ordinarily, this might have been a Four Pinocchio claim. Given the fuzziness of the data and questions about definitions, we are going to cut Clinton a bit of slack in the final ruling. But such uncertainty in the data means politicians need to be very careful in making claims about gun violence.”
We completely concur with the judgement of the Washington Post on this crucial and highly emotional issue. Every American “needs to be very careful in making claims about gun violence.” We need a rational debate that will allow our society to combat the insane violence in our nation, without resorting to lying, name calling, and vilification. We need sane and workable policies that respect our nation’s laws and do not lead to a destructive and divisive Constitutional crisis.
Ending violence in America is a noble ambition and a duty of each and every citizen. Lying to the public, especially when you are a former President of the United Sates, is simply unacceptable.