The gun control debate is often highly-emotional, with both sides throwing out statistics in an effort to sway Americans to either side of the aisle. Since the Sandy Hook shooting last month, CNN’s Piers Morgan has emerged as a vocal proponent for increased gun control laws. This week, after Morgan’s very public, on-air spat with radio host Alex Jones, Ben Swann, a local Fox anchor for WXIX-TV in Cincinnati, offered up a fascinating fact-check of some of the stats that the British CNN host has been using. Morgan will surely find the results unpalatable.
Swann tackled a litany of statistics, but took particular aim at one number that Morgan has repeatedly mentioned in recent days. During his exchange with Jones, the CNN host alleged that Great Britain only had 35 gun-related murders in 2011 compared to 11,000 that unfolded in the U.S. during that same timeframe. Swann, though, debunked this claim, delving deeply into crime statistics to make better sense of the numbers.
“There were 12,664 homicides in the U.S. Of those 8,583 were caused by firearms,” he explained in a video posted on WXIX-TV’s web site. “But of those, 400 are listed as justifiable homicide by law enforcement — 260 justifiable homicide by private citizens.”
Based on this analysis, Morgan’s claim that 11,000 people died needlessly in the U.S. as a result of poor gun control measures seems to fall flat (the number is lower, however it is still higher than Great Britain’s — so, on that point, Morgan has some standing). Swann continued, noting that the CNN host is also wrong about his claim that only 35 firearm deaths unfolded in Great Britain — a figure which is actually closer to 59, the reporter alleged.
Swann noted that those like Morgan who seek greater gun control measures lose their argument when they claim that “fewer guns equals less crime.” To make this point, he explored the crime rates in Great Britain, the U.S. and other nations around the globe.
“The U.S. has the highest gun ownership in the world…[making it] first in the world for gun ownership,” said Swann. “[The] U.S., despite being number one in gun ownership, is number 28 in gun homicide, with a rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people.”
In exploring the United Kingdom’s numbers (Great Britain is part of the UK), some of Morgan’s arguments again seem to falter, as Swann notes that the UK has the second-highest overall crime rate in the European Union (EU); the EU has also named Britain the most violent country in the union.
“In the UK, there are 2,034 violent crimes per 100,000 people,” Swann noted, showcasing that fewer guns is certainly not indicative of a lower crime rate (the rate in the U.S. is 466 per 100,000 residents).
The stat-driven segment ended with Swann delivering a message that gun control advocates will undoubtedly dislike. Rather than blaming weapons, the anchor said that individuals are accountable for violent actions.
“While people like Morgan insist that the U.S. can learn from Great Britain — well maybe we can,” Swann concluded. “What we might learn is that violent crime is not the result of a gun or any tool — it is the result of the heart of men and women.”
Watch the video, below:
Will Morgan respond to this pointed rebuke? We’ll have to wait and see, but considering how fervently Swann relied upon actual statistics and not mere emotion, arguing against the anchor’s points with legitimacy could prove a highly-difficult task for the CNN host.
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