PolitiFact Calls Out Bloomberg Group for False Statistics on School Shootings

June 14 2014
by GSL Staff
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Earlier this week we reported that CNN had called into question the claim that there had been 74 school shootings in the time since the Sandy Hook mass murder.

Now, political fact checking website, PolitiFact has declared the statistic as “Mostly False”,

The main reason for the criticism of Everytown’s count is that its definition of “school shooting” is relatively broad. The group’s criteria goes beyond what many people would consider “school shootings” — incidents in which a student or an intruder enters a school and fires at innocent students and staff. For many people, this is the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the phrase “school shooting” — an incident such as Sandy Hook or, before it, the 1999 Columbine shooting in Colorado that left 15 dead, including the shooters.

A statistic calculated by Everytown for Gun Safety, and shared widely on social media, said that there have been 74 “school shootings in America since Sandy Hook.”

The group’s figure is accurate only if you use a broad definition of “school shooting” that includes such incidents as suicides, accidents and spillover from adjacent criminal activity. The figure has some value in quantifying the proximity of guns to school campuses, but the group makes a significant stretch by tying the statistic so closely to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook. By doing this, the group closely associates the statistic with planned mass shootings targeting students and school staff — a category that, using a more strict definition, accounts for only 10 of the 74 incidents.

The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

According to CNN,

Everytown says on its web site that it gleans its information from media reports and that its list includes school shootings involving a firearm discharged inside or on school grounds, including assaults, homicides, suicides and accidental shootings.

CNN determined that 15 of the incidents Everytown included were situations similar to the violence in Oregon — a minor or adult actively shooting inside or near a school. That works out to about one shooting every five weeks.

Some of the other incidents on Everytown’s list included personal arguments, accidents and alleged gang activities and drug deals.

Of those 15 instances only ONE would be classified as a mass shooting with 4 or more victims. In some of the instances listed by Everytown, school wasn’t even in session.

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