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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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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