By: Teresa Mull
Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic Congressman challenging Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in Texas, says the Lonestar State should take the national initiative on gun control.
During a CNN townhall last week, O’Rourke smiled smugly as the host of the event noted he has an “F” rating from the NRA (next to Cruz’s “A” rating). O’Rourke then went on to say:
"I strongly support the Second Amendment. I don’t want to take yours, or anybody else’s guns. I want to make sure that we, the people of Texas, who have this extraordinary, proud, long tradition of responsible and safe gun ownership, for hunting, for sport, for collection, for self-defense, that we use this pride of place–and our knowledge and experience–to lead the national conversation that this country has been waiting for.
"We lose 30,000 of our fellow Americans every year to gun violence. No developed country even comes close. So, there’s either something wrong with us, something bad, something evil about the United States of America, or there is a human solution to a human-caused problem. I think that’s something that we, the people of Texas, believe. And we can start with areas where there is extraordinary common ground amongst gun owners and non-gun owners alike. Things like universal background checks. In those states that have adopted them, we’ve seen a near 50 percent reduction on serious gun crimes."
O’Rourke’s talking points, though passionately delivered, are full of misinformation and straight-up lies:
Inflating the Numbers
In its account of O’Rourke’s comments about 30,000 gun deaths each year, Breitbart.com reported, “Hillary Clinton made a similar claim during the 2016 presidential election, and Breitbart News noted then that the claim actually swells the number of deaths due to ‘gun violence’ by 66 percent.
“The way Clinton, O’Rourke, and other gun controllers do this is by combining actual firearm-related homicides–i.e., ‘gun violence’ deaths–with suicides and accidental gun deaths.”
Gun, Knife, and Acid Attacks
O’Rourke’s claim that “no developed country even comes close” to the “gun violence problem” America has is also short-sighted.
As GPM reported earlier this year, “During February and March, the murder rate in London exceeded that of New York City. And because the U.K. has such tight restrictions on firearm ownership, most of the 50 homicides the city has recorded year-to-date have been stabbings.”
Following the surge of knife attacks, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan called for a ban on knives. And after a Muslim immigrant drove through a street full of pedestrians and rammed into barriers of the House of Parliament, Khan proposed banning cars in certain areas of the city.
And last month, the British Sun reported the UK has experienced “an alarming spike in corrosive liquids being used to maim victims in muggings or punishment attacks … with London being the worst hit.”
Similarly, in Canada, where gun control laws are extremely restrictive, the BBC reports, “…Gun-related homicides and gun violence have increased. Firearm offences have also been on the rise in Canada in recent years. In 2016, there were 2,465 criminal violations involving firearms, an increase of 30 percent since 2013, according to figures released by the federal government.”
Background Checks Don’t Work
O’Rourke’s claim that background checks reduce crime is a myth, too. Dr. John Lott, Ph.D., President of the Crime Prevention Research Center, reported in a 2016 paper:
“States with these background checks experienced an increase of 15 percent in per capita rates of mass public shooting fatalities. They also saw a 38 percent increase in the rate of injury. Nor is there evidence that expanded background checks reduce rates of any type of violent crime, including mass public shootings, suicide, murder of police officers and domestic violence against women. Other academic research by economists and criminologists consistently confirms this.”
Something tells me Texan gun owners are not going to be fooled by O’Rourke’s political prattle.
Beto O'Rourke says he "strongly" supports the Second Amendment: "We need someone who could not care less about what the NRA or the gun lobby, or another political action committee thinks. We need somebody, who will stand up for human beings, for people" #TexasTownHall pic.twitter.com/S6gpqktqKp— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 19, 2018
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.