Will Media Fact Check Misleading Claims From NRA's Question-Free Press Conference?

Discussion in 'Media' started by TruthOut10, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. TruthOut10

    TruthOut10 Active Member

    Dec 3, 2012
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    One week after a mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead, the National Rifle Association broke its silence with a question-free "press conference" that featured a number of inaccurate claims about school safety and the role of entertainment in violence.

    The media has a responsibility to evaluate the truthfulness of the claims made the NRA and should not merely pass along statements made in the press conference as fact.

    During the press conference, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre claimed that gun free school policies make students less safe, misled about the Obama administration's position on school safety funding, and suggested that increasing armed security at schools is a comprehensive policy to stop violent attacks. LaPierre also falsely suggested there exists a link between violent video games and actual acts of violence while ignoring the documented link between gun availability and violence.

    Gun Free Areas Do Not Lead To Increased Gun Violence

    In his remarks, LaPierre suggested that politicians who favor gun free schools were responsible for telling "every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk."

    How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?

    The only way to answer that question is to face the truth. Politicians pass laws for gun free school zones, they issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And, in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

    In fact, primary and secondary schools -- where firearms are typically prohibited -- are much safer environments for young people than the surrounding communities, even taking into account horrific school shootings. Since the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics began recording homicides at schools in the 1992-3 school year, the proportion of youth homicides that occurred at school has never exceeded 2 percent of total youth homicides. Suicide was also much more likely to occur away from school:

    Even gun advocate Gary Kleck noted in his 1997 book Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control that "Both gun carrying and gun violence are thus phenomena almost entirely confined to the world outside schools."

    School Shootings Occur In Spite Of Armed Security Presence

    On December 18, the NRA announced that the pro-gun organization would offer "meaningful contributions to help make sure this [the Newtown mass shooting] never happens again" during its press conference. The primary policy advocated by LaPierre in his statement was the placement of armed guards in schools; a proposal that he claimed "we know works." LaPierre did not mention that a significant proportion of schools already have an armed security presence.

    However, research suggests it is unclear whether armed guards in schools actually stop shootings. Notably, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech demonstrate that LaPierre's proposal cannot be the end-all solution to school violence.

    An armed police officer present at Columbine attempted to fire on one of the shooters, but was quickly pinned down by the greater firepower of the shooter's assault weapon. At the time of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, the school had an accredited police force with an emergency response team that was described in a report on the mass shooting as "like a SWAT team."

    In his remarks, LaPierre focused only on solutions that would address the moment that a gunman arrives at a school prepared to kill. In doing so, he carefully ignored all discussion of any policy changes that could prevent dangerous individuals from easily obtaining high-powered firearms.

    Will Media Fact Check Misleading Claims From NRA's Question-Free Press Conference? | Blog | Media Matters for America

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