By: Teresa Mull
USA Today fact-checked presidential-hopeful Joe Biden’s claim that “150 million Americans had died since 2007 from gun violence.”
Here’s exactly what Biden said during a February debate:
“In addition to that, I passed the Brady bill with waiting periods. I led that fight. But my friend [Sen. Bernie Sanders] and others have in fact also gave in to the gun manufacturers' absolute immunity. Imagine if I stood here and said we give immunity to drug companies. We give immunity to tobacco companies. That has caused carnage on our streets; 150 million people have been killed since 2007, when Bernie voted to exempt gun manufacturers from liability. More than all the wars, including Vietnam, from that point on.”
Now, USA Today reports:
On the gun violence claim, a member of Biden’s campaign said Biden meant to say 150,000 people. Biden has previously referenced that stat correctly.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that from 2007-2018, there were 148,182 firearm homicides.
Though, of course, any death from a gun is tragic, the Heritage Foundation reminds us:
According to the Pew Research Center, almost two-thirds of America’s annual gun deaths are suicides. Since 1981, when the Centers for Disease Control began publishing data, gun suicides have outnumbered gun homicides. In 2010 alone, 19,392 Americans used guns to kill themselves.
What’s more, Heritage reports:
1. Violent crime is down and has been on the decline for decades.
2. The principal public safety concerns with respect to guns are suicides and illegally owned handguns, not mass shootings.
3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.
4. Gun-related murders are carried out by a predictable pool of people.
5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.
6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.
7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.
8. Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.