In January of this year, More Guns, Less Crime author John Lott [not shown] notified the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that they’d made a mistake. The CDC had reported that there’d been 105 accidental firearms-related deaths in Tennessee during the year 2014. The actual number? Five. That was down from 2013’s total of 19 accidental firearms-related deaths.
In September, safetennesseeproject.org put out a news release based the erroneous CDC numbers, calling for harsh new infringments on residents’ Second Amendment rights. Members of the mainstream media took the artificially inflated ball and ran with it.
In a news release, The Safe Tennessee Project, a grassroots gun-violence prevention organization, said that 105 people died in the state from accidental gunshots in 2014, media outlet reported.
The year before that, there were 19 such deaths in Tennessee, and the state had ranked ninth in accidental shootings.
“We’ve actually been aware of the new numbers for several months, but the increase was so dramatic that we wanted to confirm the numbers before reporting them,” said Beth Joslin Roth, Policy Director for The Safe Tennessee Project.
According to Roth, the group first asked the CDC and state health officials to check the numbers for accuracy. Those figures were then verified.
Wrong. While the CDC has not yet corrected the incorrect data, they fully and publicly admit the error. From CDC:
Note Regarding Unintentional Firearm Deaths in 2014
There was a coding error in the 2014 file that increases the number of unintentional firearm deaths (W32-W34: Accidental discharge of firearms) substantially in some states. The error was not technically isolated to any particular state, but because of the nature of the error, data from some states (TN, NC) were affected more than others in 2014. Results for 2014 unintentional firearm deaths should be interpreted with caution.
An error of that size is enormous in this data set. It represents 20 percent of all the fatal firearms accidents in the United States. The corrected number for 2014 is 486, not 586, for the entire nation. That would make 2014 the lowest number of fatal firearms accidents in a year on record.
Confronted with the bad data, the gun control group eventually removed the press release from their page, without any correction. While I don’t expect safetennesseeproject.org to publicly address the fact that accidental firearms deaths have actually decreased while gun sales have increased, I look forward to the corrected data being published by the CDC.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.