Is Hillary Clinton so scared of losing the Democratic nomination fight to Bernie Sanders that she has to point to Vermont, a state that is by any measure among the safest in the country, and blame that state’s residents for New York City’s murder rate?
It’s clear why Vermont frightens Hillary. Not only is Sanders, who has beaten her in a lot of races lately, a U.S. congressman representing Vermont, but the state is also proof that freedom works.
Vermont is one of the original states to have “permitless” carry (what is often called “constitutional carry”), meaning a resident doesn’t need to ask state or county officials for a permit to carry a concealed handgun. A person still needs to pass a background check when they buy a gun from a gun dealer. By law, they also can’t buy, carry or own a gun if they’ve been convicted of a crime that forfeits this right or if there is some other legal reason barring them from owning a firearm.
Darin Goens, the NRA state liaison in Vermont, explained Vermont’s experience this way: “If anything, Vermont should serve as the model for the rest of the country’s gun laws. Remember, as the country started passing concealed-carry laws in the 1980s, Vermont was cited as an anomaly, and a successful one at that. While most states didn’t have concealed-carry, Vermont not only allowed it, but you didn’t need a permit to exercise your constitutional right. Vermont was essentially the first state with a constitutional-carry policy. For years, things have gone very well in the Green Mountain State as it consistently ranks as one of the safest states in the country.”
Nevertheless, Clinton claimed that Vermont was the source of the “highest per capita” number of crime guns coming to New York state to be “used in crimes and violence and killings in New York.”
Clinton said this on April 11 during a discussion on gun violence in Port Washington, N.Y. She said, “When challenged on his gun stances, [Sanders] frequently says, ‘Well, you know, I represent Vermont. It’s a small, rural state. We have no gun laws.’ Here’s what I want you to know. Most of the guns that are used in crimes and violence and killings in New York come from out of state. And the state that has the highest per capita number of those guns that end up committing crimes in New York come from Vermont. So this is not, ‘Oh, you know, I live in a rural state; we don’t have any of these problems.’ This is, you know what, it’s easy to cross borders. Criminals, domestic abusers, traffickers, people who are dangerously mentally ill, they cross borders too. And sometimes they do it to get the guns they use.”
Ok, she is technically right that the highest “per capita” (by population) place in 2014 where guns were traced from in New York, other than New York state itself, is Vermont. But there are so many problems with this statistic that, to be kind, it is extremely misleading.
Here are the facts:
- When it comes to the number of guns traced in New York state, Vermont actually ranks 13th among the states (other than New York).
- Not all the guns traced by the authorities were used in crimes. Many weren’t. Police trace guns for many reasons, including when they stop a law-abiding person.
- Just 55 guns out of the 4,585 guns that were traced by the authorities in 2014 in New York state came from Vermont (1,397 were first sold in New York state). FactCheck.org looked into this and found that Vermont’s portion of the traces in 2014 was just 1.2 percent of the guns recovered and traced.
- Per capita, Vermont shoots to the top of the list because it is so small. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2014 Vermont was the 49th smallest state.
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) compiles data from many law-enforcement agencies and publishes the number of guns traced on its website. The ATF also cautions us not to read too much into its compiled trace data. It says: “Not all firearms used in crime are traces and not all firearms traces are used in crime.”
So we don’t even know how many of the 55 gun traces that led to Vermont were actually used in crimes. But we do know that Hillary is once again loaded with deceit when she talks about guns.
In fact, even the Washington Post, not exactly a bastion of Second Amendment support, finds fault with Clinton’s latest claim. The Post awarded Clinton three Pinocchios for her strangled stat, which means it has “significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions” and “gets into the realm of ‘mostly false.’”