Nancy Pelosi: Assault Weapon Ban will be law with ‘two more Senators’ in midterms
Plus, John Lott fact checks her gun violence statistics
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is campaigning on the promise that if Democrats get just two more like-minded senators elected in the midterms, a federal assault weapon ban will be signed into law.
Pelosi’s math skills and accuracy seem questionable, so I asked gun statistics researcher John R. Lott Jr and the National Shooting Sports (NSSF) to help me fact check her.
Assault Weapon Ban in the Senate
Pelosi said at a press conference (video below) in her hometown of San Francisco on Wednesday for so-called Gun Violence Prevention Day:
If we just win two more Senators who share our view in this next election… two months from today…. We'll be able to pull back that filibuster and pass the background check legislation and again the Assault Weapons Ban and make the world safer.
FACT: There are currently 48 Democrats in the Senate and two Independents who vote with them, plus Vice President Kamala Harris to get a majority 51 votes on most matters. There’s no indication that any current Republican senators support the ban.
It takes 60 votes to break a filibuster.
Pelosi exaggerates gun violence
Pelosi, per usual, was spinning statistics on gun violence.
PELOSI: “One hundred people a day die of gun violence”
FACTS: According to the FBI statistics, there were 20,957 homicides by firearm in 2021, which comes to 57 people a day.
Pelosi’s staff likely added in suicides to increase her numbers for political reasons. But suicide is a mental health issue, not “gun violence”, as she said.
Children and firearms
PELOSI: Of the 100 people a day, “five of them— little children, little children” die from “gun violence.”
Pelosi is claiming that 1,825 little children die every year from gun violence.
John R. Lott, Jr. is the president of Crime Prevention Research Center.
If you define “young children” as this under 10 years of age, there were 257 children who died from any type of gun fire in 2020, the latest year the data is available.
If you define “young children” as under 15 years of age, there were 751 children who died from any type of gun fire.
Pelosi’s stats had to originate from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which tracks cause of death and age. I asked a CDC spokesman on Wednesday for the number of children killed by firearm by each year of age to get an exact figure for “little children.” He responded on Thursday to ask my deadline. It passed six hours ago. I’ll update if the CDC responds.
FACT: You can see in the CDC statistics on deaths from guns in America –which includes homicide and non violent causes, such as accidents and suicides by firearm – that if you define “little children” as under 5 years old, the yearly total for 2020 was 163.
Pelosi exaggerated by two to ten times the actual number.
Reality check: Every single child’s death is a tragedy and unbearable grief to a family, so exaggerating this for political purposes is unnecessary, but the Speaker didn’t stop there.
PELOSI: “More children die of anything else combined in the country than gun violence.”
Her other claim that more children die from firearms than any other cause is equally absurd. For example, 1,397 children under 15 died from drowning. 1,322 died in motor vehicle accidents.
Pelosi can make her claim if she includes 17, 18, and 19 year olds in her numbers, but those are overwhelmingly murders involving gangs.
If you think that you are going to stop drug gangs from fighting over turf with stricter gun control, good luck with that. You don’t need to look farther than Mexico, where private gun ownership is almost completely banned, to see how that works.
I say to the Republicans – because we have the Democratic votes – ‘Your political survival is nothing compared to the survival of our children as we try to protect them from gun violence.’
FACT: A new Pew poll shows that only 20% of Republican voters think gun control laws should be more strict.
Mark Oliva is the head of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the the powerful gun lobbying organization which does the vote counting on Capitol Hill.
Speaker Pelosi’s Congressional math ignores all projections that her party appears to be on the cusp of losing the U.S. House of Representatives in the midterm elections.
Supreme Court ruled
We just passed the Assault Weapons Ban in the House of Representatives. People thought we wouldn't do it, we didn't have the courage to bring it up, nobody – people would run and hide. But they didn’t. They voted for the bill.
FACT: The Supreme Court ruled in June in the Bruen case that all gun control laws had to have an analogous restriction during the founding of the country. On the outside change the House bill becomes law, it will be quickly challenged in court and unlikely to stand.
She also – again – ignores the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court’s Heller decision made it clear that private possession commonly-owned firearms is protected by the Second Amendment when the justices affirmed the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.
Oliva also stated that there are more than 24.4 million of what Pelosi calls “assault weapons” but the NSSF calls semiautomatic Modern Sporting Rifles in circulation today. “These are clearly commonly-owned by any definition,” he said.
Biden, Schumer gun violence spin
Democrat leaders like Pres. Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have frequently been saying recently that children are dying more from gun violence than car accidents or anything else.
They got this talking point from a report in the New England Medical Journal which cited CDC statistics.
But the reason for this statistic is:
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