Since many Americans get their news from the so-called “mainstream” media, they’ll likely never hear this story about how misreporting of important data by a federally funded anti-gun organization created an uproar in Tennessee.
Earlier this year, federal data revealed that accidental gun deaths jumped sharply in Tennessee. In fact, numbers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed 105 accidental gun deaths, compared to only 19 the year before.
The revelation prompted gun-ban advocates—who often like to call themselves “gun safety proponents”—to go into a feeding frenzy. They believed that they finally had the “facts” they needed to convince state legislators that more restrictive gun laws are absolutely necessary—and right now.
“The dramatic jump in unintentional shootings deaths in our state is a cause for alarm and a call to action,” Jonathan Metzl, research director of the Safe Tennessee Project, said at the time. “This data truly should be a wake-up call for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”
The only catch: It simply wasn’t true.Lott looked into the situation and learned that the number of deaths hadn’t risen exponentially, as the CDC numbers indicated, but had actually fallen from 19 to five.
And nobody would have ever known if it weren’t for John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. Lott looked into the situation and learned that the number of deaths hadn’t risen exponentially, as the CDC numbers indicated, but had actually fallen from 19 to five.
And according to Lott, the misreported number also drastically changed this critical statistic on a national level, giving those who push for more federal gun control an opportunity to try to capitalize on the increase.
“It raised total accidental deaths to 586 when they should have been 486, the lowest number on record despite the explosion in gun sales and concealed-carry permits,” Lott told FoxNews.com last week.
According to Lott, “It was just a big mistake.”
After Lott pointed out the problem, however, it took months for the CDC to even acknowledge the error. The CDC still hasn’t corrected the data on its website, raising the question of why, exactly, it would keep the inaccurate number rather than posting the correct one. Instead, the agency 'fessed up to an extent, while hedging on actually telling the truth.
“There was a coding error in the 2014 file that increases the number of unintentional firearm deaths (W32-W34: Accidental discharge of firearms) substantially in some states,” the CDC recently posted. “The error was not technically isolated to any particular state, but because of the nature of the error, data from some states (TN, NC) were affected more than others in 2014.
“Results for 2014 unintentional firearm deaths should be interpreted with caution.”
No problem there, CDC. We always read your reports and results with more than just a measure of caution, combined with a healthy does of skepticism!