PolitiFact Catches Brady Campaign Lying About Child Gun Death Numbers

June 29 2014
by GSL Staff
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bradThe Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, one of the older anti-gun groups in the country, is apparently taking their cues from Everytown for Gun Safety (a newer anti-gun group) and is now just resorting to making up statistics.

The group claimed that nine children die in the USA everyday due to gunshot wounds (both accidental and intentional). The group even made a big display of the stat recently placing 9 pairs of toddler shoes in a row to drum up the appropriate level of emotion.

However, there is one small problem with that number – it’s completely false. According to PolitiFact (a political fact checking website), that number is actually below 8. The other issue, the Brady campaign considers anyone aged 0-19 to be a “child” for the purposes of their stat.

Eighteen and nineteen year olds are not children by the legal definition of the word, and I personally don’t consider most teenagers to be “children” anymore. At that point they are young men and women who take on certain responsibilities such as driving and part time employment.

PolitiFact agrees that the Brady Campaign’s attempt at emotional spin doctoring is less than honorable and the organization found the claim to be “Mostly False” in their findings. Here is the summary,

At a rally in Vancouver, Brady Campaign representatives claimed that, on average, nine children across the U.S. die every day from gunshot wounds. The group set up a display showing nine pairs of children’s shoes and a chalkboard that read: “9 kids every day will never have another birthday.”

PolitiFact Oregon checked that claim against government data using the Brady Campaign’s age range of 0-19, and found that about 7.81 children and teens die each day from gun violence, based on the most recent five-year average available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heidi Yewman, who organized the rally in Vancouver, said the incorrect number was a volunteer’s mistake.

We found the difference between eight and nine not hugely significant. It’s horrible that children are dying of gunshot wounds, of course, but the difference in the two numbers is unlikely to materially change the debate about gun control.

But including 18- and 19-year-olds, who are not “children” under legal and other definitions, significantly skews the numbers, making the problem seem much worse than it is. Because the group’s claim contained an element of truth but ignored critical facts that would give a different impression, we rate it Mostly False.

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