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Fact-Checking Trump and Cruz on the N.R.A. Convention


Outstanding Republicans defended gun rights on the National Rifle Association convention on Friday with some misleading claims concerning the efficacy of gun restrictions, gun ownership trends and faculty shootings.

Here’s a fact check.

What Was Said

“Gun bans don’t work. Have a look at Chicago. In the event that they worked, Chicago wouldn’t be the murder hellhole that it has been for a lot too long.” — Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas

That is misleading. Opponents of firearm restrictions incessantly cite Chicago as a case study of why tough gun laws do little to stop homicides. This argument, nonetheless, relies on faulty assumptions concerning the city’s gun laws and gun violence.

There have been more gun murders in Chicago than in another U.S. city in 2020, fueling the perception that it’s the gun violence capital of the country. But Chicago can also be the third-largest city within the country. Adjusted by population, the gun homicide rate was 25.2 per 100,000, the twenty sixth highest within the country in 2020, in line with data compiled by the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

The three cities with the very best gun homicide rates — Jackson, Miss.; Gary, Ind.; and St. Louis — had rates double that of Chicago’s or more. All are in states with more permissive gun laws than Illinois.

Chicago’s popularity for having the strictest gun control measures within the country is outdated. Mr. Cruz cited town’s handgun ban — without noting that the Supreme Court nullified the ban in 2010. An appeals court also struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois in 2012, and the state began allowing possession of concealed guns in 2013 as a part of the court decision.

Today, Illinois has tougher restrictions than most states, however it doesn’t lead the pack, rating No. 6 in Everytown’s assessment of the strength of state gun control laws, and No. 8 in a report card released by the Giffords Law Center, one other gun control group. Conversely, the state ranked No. 41 in an assessment on gun rights from the libertarian Cato Institute.

Gun control proponents have also argued that the patchwork nature of gun laws within the country makes it difficult for a state like Illinois with tough restrictions on the books to implement them in practice. A 2017 study commissioned by town of Chicago found, for instance, that 60 percent of guns utilized in crimes and recovered in Chicago got here from out of state, with neighboring Indiana as the first source.

What Was Said

“As for so-called assault rifles, which the left and the media like to demonize, these guns were banned for 10 years from 1994 to 2004. And the Department of Justice examined the effect of the ban and concluded it had zero statistically significant effect on violent crime.” — Mr. Cruz

That is exaggerated. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 banned the possession, transfer or domestic manufacturing of some semiautomatic assault weapons for 10 years. The Justice Department commissioned a 2004 study on the effect of the 1994 assault weapons ban.

The study found that, if renewed, “the ban’s effects on gun violence are more likely to be small at best and maybe too small for reliable measurement” as assault weapons were rarely utilized in the crimes.

But Christopher Koper, a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax County, Va., and the lead creator of that study., has repeatedly said that the ban had mixed effects overall.

“My work is commonly cited in misleading ways in which don’t give the complete picture,” Mr. Koper previously told The Recent York Times. “These laws can modestly reduce shootings overall” and reduce the number and severity of mass shootings.

What Was Said

“We all know that there aren’t any more guns per capita on this nation today than there have been 50 or 100 years ago. That’s value underscoring. In 1972, the speed of per capita gun ownership in the USA was 43 percent. In 2021, the speed is 42 percent. The speed of gun ownership hasn’t modified. And yet acts of evil like we saw this week are on the rise.” — Mr. Cruz

That is misleading. In arguing that cultural issues, somewhat than the prevalence of guns, are in charge for mass shootings, Mr. Cruz conflated and distorted metrics of gun ownership.

The per capita variety of guns in the USA roughly doubled from 1968 to 2012, in line with the Congressional Research Service, from one gun for each two people to at least one gun per person. And it has continued to rise since, to about 1.2 guns for every one by 2018, in line with the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey.

Mr. Cruz was most definitely referring to a Gallup survey of gun ownership. It isn’t a per capita measure but somewhat asked participants in the event that they had a gun of their home, with 43 percent responding yes in 1972 and 42 percent in 2021. Historical surveys from the University of Chicago research center NORC show, nonetheless, that the proportion of American households that own guns has decreased from about half within the Nineteen Seventies to a couple of third in recent times.

What Was Said

“Inner city schools rarely have these sorts of mass shootings. I didn’t know that until only recently. Consider that. They rarely have this problem despite being positioned in very tough neighborhoods, in lots of cases where there’s tremendous levels of high crime and violence. They’re way more dangerous outside the varsity than inside. The explanation is that for a long time inner city schools have had much stronger security measures in place in the varsity itself, including metal detectors and, yes, armed guards.” — former President Donald J. Trump

That is misleading. Mr. Trump has a degree that high-fatality shootings perpetrated by a single person have mostly occurred in suburban and rural schools, however the notion that schools in cities have been spared from gun violence is inaccurate. Furthermore, Mr. Trump’s suggestion that the presence of armed guards deters mass shootings isn’t borne out by the evidence.

A 2020 report from the Government Accountability Office examined 318 shootings from the 2009-10 school yr to the 2018-19 school yr. Almost half, 47 percent, of shootings occurred in urban areas, and the report noted that “urban, poorer and high minority schools had more shootings overall.”

There may be little evidence that the presence of police or armed security prevents or deters shootings in schools. A 2019 review by the Recent York State School Boards Association found that research on the subject has been “inconclusive.” Researchers examined 133 school shootings from 1980 to 2019 in a paper last yr and located “no association between having an armed officer and deterrence of violence in these cases.”

What Was Said

“It’s even reported that the Biden administration is considering putting U.N. bureaucrats in command of your Second Amendment rights.” — Mr. Trump

False. This was a reference to reports that the Biden administration was considering re-entering a world arms treaty. But Mr. Trump is grossly exaggerating what that treaty would do.

The 2014 Arms Trade Treaty regulates international sales of conventional weapons (like tanks, combat vehicles, warships, missiles and firearms). It doesn’t put officials on the United Nations in command of gun laws in the USA.

The US was a signatory to the treaty but didn’t ratify it as greater than 100 other nations have. Mr. Trump announced he was withdrawing the USA’ signature during a speech to the N.R.A. in 2019.

The treaty goals to ascertain international norms for regulating arms sales between countries and addressing illegal arms sales. It prohibits selling weapons to nations which are under arms embargoes or will use them to commit genocide, terrorism, war crimes or attacks against civilians.

Within the preamble, the treaty explicitly reaffirms “the sovereign right of any state to manage and control conventional arms exclusively inside its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system.” The Congressional Research Service noted that the treaty “doesn’t affect sales or trade in weapons amongst private residents inside a rustic” and, even when ratified, “would likely require no significant changes to policy, regulations or law” since “the USA already has strong export control laws in place.”

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