U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The Washington Post is reporting that the Giffords gun control group has launched a $300,000 advertising campaign blasting Virginia Republican lawmakers for opposing more restrictions on law-abiding citizens, but what the newspaper isn’t saying is that the message may be misleading.
According to one of the ads financed by Giffords, “Guns kill more than 1,000 Virginians every year.” That number appears to combine homicides, suicides and perhaps even accidents because the recently-released FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2018 tells a far different story.
According to the FBI data, last year saw 391 murders, of which 297 involved firearms. Handguns are linked to 141 of those slayings, rifles accounted for eight and shotguns were used in five more. There were 143 murders in which the firearm was not identified. That’s down from the 453 murders reported by the FBI in 2017. Of those, 338 involved firearms, with 156 committed with handguns, and 11 each with rifles or shotguns. There were 160 slayings in which the firearm was “unknown.”
A Washington Post-Schar School survey released several days ago says “gun policy is the top issue for Virginia voters,” the newspaper reported. Results of that poll, conducted by telephone Sept. 25-30, may be viewed here.
As reported by the Washington Post, a spokesman for Virginia Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox said the GOP majority in Richmond “knew Virginia Democrats would be well funded by out-of-state liberal PACs.”
Spokesman Parker Slaybaugh told the newspaper, “The outside gun control groups have meddled in our elections for years, so this is nothing new and doesn’t change our strategy.”
According to the American Society for Suicide Prevention, using 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Virginia.
Combining firearm-related suicide and homicide numbers has been a strategy of the gun prohibition lobby for many years. When anti-gunners talk about 30,000 to 33,000 deaths annually from so-called “gun violence,” they are mixing the numbers to produce a more dramatic figure.
That’s what Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said in a recent news release about the latest FBI crime report.
“In order to create the impression that this country is awash in violent crime,” he asserted, “gun grabbers routinely combine the number of homicides and suicides, plus accidental deaths and call them all acts of so-called ‘gun violence.’ It is deliberately misleading and downright dishonest.”
Virginia voters head to the polls Nov. 5 for the off-year legislative elections. Democrats are hoping to take control, and gun control appears to be one of their priorities after Republicans earlier this year shut down a special session aimed at passing more gun restrictions. Anti-gun Gov. Ralph Northam had called that session in reaction to a mass shooting that occurred in Virginia Beach May 31. A dozen people were killed in that incident, which primarily occurred in a government building where employees are not allowed to have defensive firearms. One person was killed in the parking lot outside.
A link on the Giffords website takes visitors to the list of “gun safety champions” the group has endorsed in an effort to help Democrats take the majority next month. Virginia Second Amendment activists may be using that list to determine who they should vote against.
At the website, Giffords political director Joanna Belanger makes the following statement: “Voters in Virginia are primed to turn out this year on gun safety. With current state leadership paying lip service to the issue, this year Virginia voters will say ‘enough is enough.’ The status quo of thoughts and prayers is no longer acceptable, and these ads show just what’s at stake if elected leaders in the Commonwealth continue to block progress. This is an important moment for Virginia. Carrying gun safety champions to victory in November will be the first step in creating a safer Virginia free from the dangers of gun violence.”
This is what many activists call an example of “camo-speak,” substituting the term “gun safety” for the less acceptable term “gun control.”
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.