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MSNBC Guest's Bizarre Claim: Climate Change 'Driving' Chicago's Gun Violence


"We are having this climate change effect that is driving that."


The Center for American Progress' Christie Hefner on Wednesday said climate change is partially responsible for Chicago's spike in gun murders.

Hefner, the former chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Chicago had a record number of gun murders last year and was already outpacing those numbers in 2013.

"Now there are contributing factors that are not under anybody's control and may seem odd, but it is factually true. One of them is actually the weather -- there is a dramatic increase in gun violence when it is warmer and we are having this climate change effect that is driving that," she said.

Co-host Joe Scarborough jumped in to mock-thank Hefner on behalf of "conservative bloggers across America."

"Can I just say conservative bloggers across America thank you for saying that climate change is responsible for the rising murder rates in America," Scarborough said. "You've just made a lot of people in the basements of their mother's homes very happy."

Hefner noted that she said there were a "number of contributing factors" and that there was only a "high correlation" -- as opposed to a direct cause -- between heat waves and gun violence.

Wired magazine last year took a look at some of the literature about the correlation between warm weather and violence. One study, conducted by psychologists at Florida State University, concluded that violence did indeed go up with the temperature -- but only to a point, around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, before starting to fall.

An Iowa State University psychologist contested those findings, saying they didn't account for the time of day, and instead produced a linear relationship between heat and violence that had assault rates peaking at the hottest temperatures.

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