7 Myths About Gun Violence in America, Debunked

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-68520118/stock-photo-close-up-of-pistol-on-black-background.html?src=tEF_lXa-QlLLFGfh5ETV5g-2-72">Kai Keisuke</a>/Shutterstock

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On live television Thursday evening, President Barack Obama will hold a town hall meeting about gun violence. He will take questions from participants who support tighter gun laws and from others who want fewer restrictions on guns. It’s a prime-time moment for separating fact from fiction—so here’s a shortlist, with the data to back it up. Review it, tack it to your wall, and feel free to share it with anyone who thinks the gun debate is just a matter of defending constitutional freedom:

No, keeping a gun in your home does not make your family safer.

No, there were not hundreds of mass shootings last year.

No, mental illness is not the main cause of mass shootings, and no, mass shooters do not “snap.”

No, mass shooters do not deliberately target “gun-free zones.”

No, ordinary citizens with guns do not stop mass shooters.

No, criminal shootings by black people are not the leading cause of gun deaths—suicides by white people are.

No, there are not “millions of defensive gun uses” by Americans.

Yes, mass shootings are occurring more often.

Yes, gun violence is a public health crisis, with profound costs for the whole country.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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