Myths vs Reality

As deaths by firearms mount, there’s a lot of talk about what can be done to reduce gun violence, including misinformation.

Let’s separate fact from fiction, reality from myth, and have productive conversations about saving lives.

MYTH - Gun laws aren’t effective because criminals don’t follow the law.

Fact – Strong gun laws have been proven to reduce gun violence. Laws like background checks stop gun sales to criminals every day. Since 1994, these laws have blocked more than 4-million gun sales to people who could not legally own guns.

MYTH - The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Fact –  If more guns everywhere made us safer, America would be the safest country on earth. Instead, we have a gun homicide rate 26x that of other high-income countries.

MYTH - Under federal law, all domestic abusers are prohibited from having guns.

Fact – The so-called “boyfriend loophole” does not prohibit abusive dating partners or convicted stalkers from possessing guns.

MYTH - A small child cannot pull a trigger.

Fact – Every year, hundreds of children aged 17 and under gain access to a gun at home or in other’s homes and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else—sometimes fatally.

MYTH - Arming teachers and school officials will keep our kids safer in schools.

Fact –  Arming teachers ignores research that shows the presence of a gun increases the risks posed to children and teachers. Armed civilians are almost never successful at stopping shootings and they can interfere with law enforcement’s ability to respond to an active shooter situation.

MYTH - Everyone already has to get a background check when buying a gun.

Fact – Federal law only requires licensed dealers to perform background checks. That means that millions of guns are bought and sold by unlicensed sellers each year without one—often online or at gun shows. Only 80% of guns sold are subject to background checks

MYTH - Red Flag laws take guns from people without due process.

Fact – Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) (aka “Red Flag” orders) are issued by judges following a hearing providing evidence that meets certain standards of proof. Judges can only issue an order after the person has an opportunity to be heard; the individual can petition to terminate an existing order.

Myth- Active shooter drills make students and school staff safer in the case of an active shooter.

Fact – There is no evidence showing active shooter drills save lives; data shows they do cause trauma and anxiety.

Myth - Arming victims with a gun will protect them from domestic violence.

Fact – There is no evidence suggesting that gun ownership increases victim safety. Instead, research suggests that the presence of any gun increases the risk of homicide.

Myth - Mass shooters target gun-free zones.

Fact There is no evidence that mass shooters seek out places where guns are prohibited. In fact, most mass shootings occur in private homes or public locations where guns are permitted.

Myth - Gun violence is a mental health issue.

Fact Individuals with mental health challenges are far more likely to be the victim of gun violence than the perpetrator. Other industrialized countries experience similar levels of mental illness but significantly lower levels of gun violence. In the U.S. studies show that mental illness contributes to only about 4% of all violence, and the contribution to gun violence is even lower.

Myth - High-capacity magazines are not that prevalent, so prohibiting them will not reduce gun violence.

Fact – Guns equipped with high-capacity magazines account for a large share of firearms recovered by police.

Myth - Gun violence prevention is controversial.

Fact – Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans support stronger gun laws. A whopping 90% of voters support expanding background checks to all gun sales.

Myth - Restrictions on guns are unconstitutional.

Fact – Time and again, courts across the nation, including the Supreme Court, have ruled that gun safety laws are constitutional and not in conflict with the Second Amendment.

Myth - Owning a gun is the best way to keep my family safe.

Fact – Having a gun in the home significantly increases the risk of homicide, suicide, and unintentional shootings, which is why safely storing firearms is so important.

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