A bill to allow campus carry in Florida is winding its way through the legislature. As part of his testimony in support of the bill, Florida Students for Concealed Carry president Erek Culbreath, president made the following claim: “According to the state of Florida, you are almost twice as likely to be attacked by an alligator than by someone who happens to carry a conceal-and-carry permit.” That got the attention of PolitiFact Florida’s Amy Sherman who decided to vet the claim . . .
I think she did a pretty good job. In doing the legwork, she found that there are no good figures for the number of “attacks” by people with concealed carry permits. There is, however, plenty of data regarding alligator bites and for revocations of concealed carry permits based on misuse of firearms. The results: gator bites were more common than revocations of concealed carry permits.
As “attacks” by a concealed carry holder would likely be some subset of “misuse” it appears that she discovered that the fact was mostly true. Making the assumption that revocations are at least a reasonable proxy for “attacks, by licensed concealed carriers, she writes:
…overall, alligator bites happen more often than the revocation of gun permits for misuse of firearms.
So despite a less than apples-to-apples data comparison, good claim, right? No, Amy wasn’t willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Culbreath.
We find the statement has an element of truth but ignores other information that would give a different impression. So we rate it Mostly False.
Factoids such as the above are used by all political groups to give flavor and context to their arguments. I would think that a website that is supposed to check facts would be concerned with, well, facts rather than determining that a fact does not agree with their overall impressions.
Maybe PolitiFact really isn’t all that interested in facts, but rather in pushing a particular political agenda. PolitiFact Florida.com is owned and operated by the Tampa Bay Times. Three days before Amy Sherman reached for her “mostly false” opinion, the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herals. The Times’ editorial position is decidedly against the campus carry bill:
The effort to replace the freshman beanie with a Beretta is the handiwork of the National Rifle Association, which apparently won’t be content until every Floridian is allowed to drive to the convenience store in a Toyota pickup truck fitted with a .50-caliber machine gun.
Observers might be excused for wondering if the editorial stance of the papers that pay her might influence Ms. Sherman’s evaluation of the facts.
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