Scott, you really have to take the news with a grain of salt. The media companies are driven by the need to generate views and clicks, not to report the news.*

According to the CDC, there were 13,958 firearm homicides in the U.S. in 2018. The CDC figure is higher than the FBI numbers because the FBI only reports murders while the CDC reports include murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicide.

However, people like to point at the numbers without providing context. But here's some context for you. The average homicide rate in the ten years after the Assault Weapons Ban expired was 17% lower than the average rate the ten years the ban was in effect. The use of rifles, including those covered by the AWB, declined 20%, despite a huge surge in sales of AR and AK style rifles.

In early February 2019, a public opinion survey was conducted by Marist. It covered the usual popular gun control laws and got the usual responses.

The last question on the survey asked participants based on what they had read or heard, had the per-capita gun murder rate in the U.S. gone up, gone down or stayed about the same.

59% of the people said it had gone up; 23% said it was about the same.

According to fatal injury reports from the CDC, the per-capita rate had plunged nearly 36%.

Most murders in the United States occur in larger cities and a large percentage of them are the result of gang activity or the illegal drug trade.

Here's a fun fact: If the state of Maryland exiled Baltimore, its homicide rate would plunge 59%. If Illinois dumped Chicago, the state's homicide rate would drop 54%. If Pennsylvania cut off Philadelphia, its rate would fall 37%. The homicide rate in all three states would then be well below the national average.

And now to schools:

In 2019, 12 students died in incidents involving guns. That includes an adult night school student who was murdered by her estranged husband. There were five suicides, four in incidents involving gangs including a young woman who got caught in a crossfire between two rival groups. Three students were killed in two random shooting incidents. There were another two potential random shooting incidents that were prevented by interventions without any injuries.

There were no mass shooting (3+ killed, not including the shooter) incidents in 2019.

There were an estimated 50.7 million students enrolled in more than 98,000 K-12 public schools in the 2019 calendar year.

Those big school shooting numbers? They include things like a shooting at a fast-food place across the street from a school that was included because a teacher and a student were eating there at the time (the escaped without injury), a motorist who was shot elsewhere and crashed into a school building, an incident where police chased an armed robber onto a high school football field in the middle of a Vermont winter when no students were outside, and a couple of incidents where a body of a shooting victim was discovered on school grounds.

Folks made a big deal about the Parkland shooting and some states rushed to enact laws barring sales of rifles and shotguns to persons under 21. So about 12.8 million young adults aged 18, 19, and 20 could not purchase a firearm.

How many people in that age group have legally purchased a firearm and used in to commit a mass shooting? Three in the past 60 years: Dean Mellberg in 1994, Nikolas Cruz in 2018, and Santino Legan in 2019.

The Colt AR-15 Sporter went on sale in 1964. The first AK-style rifle, the Finnish Valmet, was first offered in the U.S. in 1976. How many of these rifles have been used in mass shootings? 76, including the 22 stockpiled by the Las Vegas killer, 2 used in the shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, and a couple of incidents where the killers had the rifles but didn't use them.

The gun industry estimates that Americans own about 17 million of these rifles.

This is what we call "context."

Guns in schools are a problem. But it's not a problem that's going to be solved by the snake oil remedies championed by the fear-mongers and click addicts in the media.

Incidentally, the only group doing something about proper securing of firearms in the home is the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry's trade and lobbying association. Its nonprofit Project ChildSafe has distributed 38 million free gun safety kits, including a gun lock, through law enforcement agencies nationwide since 1999.

You won't hear about that on the news, either.

*That’s not entirely a jab at our modern, less-than-impartial journalists. For a lot of broadcasters, news used to be considered more of a service, useful for complying with the public service requirements of their FCC broadcast licenses. With the rise of cable news networks, which didn’t have to worry about such constraints, broadcasters were fighting for viewers and for advertising. Practices that used to be reserved for the tabloids became part of news reporting and companies began regarding news as another revenue stream that needed to pay its way and make a profit.

Journalists and editors are people and they have their opinions and views. Any town with more than one newspaper were accustomed to one being more liberal, the other being more conservative. But those views weren’t supposed to make it on to the news pages, that’s what editorial and op-ed pages were for.

Today’s activist reporters and editors are the result of a long process. By long, I am talking probably two entire generations.

Today, it’s often difficult to find out what actually happened in terms of unvarnished facts. I actually maintain subscriptions to both liberal and conservative sources but since two views often don’t provide decent synthesis, I still find myself having do some independent research.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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