By Lee Williams
In a story published Sunday, CNN was forced to prop up the long debunked Gun Violence Archive, the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that provides the cable network and other anti-gun groups with sensational, misleading and inaccurate mass-shooting data.
The CNN story states that the Supreme Court Justices who dissented in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, INC. vs Bruen, cited data from the Gun Violence Archive, or GVA, which falsely claimed there have been 277 mass shootings since the beginning of 2022…an average of one mass shooting per day.
“The dissent was just the latest example of the growing influence of the Gun Violence Archive, a tiny nonprofit that has for less than a decade attempted to log every single incident of gun violence in the US in real time,” CNN wrote. “The organization has been cited by the Supreme Court, policymakers and media outlets like CNN primarily for its ongoing tally of mass shootings, which it defines as any incident in which four people are shot, excluding the shooter.”
Mark Bryant, the GVA’s executive director, told CNN he is noticing the phrase “according to Gun Violence Archive” cited more frequently in news stories, which Bryant sees as an affirmation of his group’s efforts.
It is not until later in the story — much later — that CNN mentions the misleading definition the GVA uses to define a mass shooting, which the Second Amendment Foundation first exposed.
“When most Americans hear the term ‘mass shooting,’ they picture a crazed gunman stalking the halls of a school or a shopping mall, coldly and randomly executing innocent young victims,” CNN wrote, quoting from the Second Amendment Foundation’s July 2021 story. “What does not come to mind are rival drug crews shooting it out in Chicago or Detroit, or a madman murdering his entire family.”
Bryant told the cable network that he views the Second Amendment Foundation’s criticisms as “irrelevant.”
“My answer on that is, the same number of people are shot whether you call it a ‘mass shooting’ or whether you call it a ‘shooting that four people or more were shot,’” Bryant told CNN. “But they just don’t like when the (term) ‘mass shooting’ is used, some don’t like that.”
Not included in the CNN story was a full explanation of the vast differences between the GVA’s definition of a mass shooting and how the FBI categorizes the crime, or the massive discrepancies the two definitions produce.
For example, according to Bryant’s all-inclusive definition, there were 417 mass shootings in 2019. The FBI says there were 30, because it uses a much narrower and more realistic definition.
According to their report titled: “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2020,” the FBI defines active shootings as:
- Shootings in public places
- Shootings occurring at more than one location
- Shootings where the shooter’s actions were not the result of another criminal act
- Shootings resulting in a mass killing
- Shootings indicating apparent spontaneity by the shooter
- Shootings where the shooter appeared to methodically search for potential victims
- Shootings that appeared focused on injury to people, not buildings or objects
Shootings were excluded from the FBI’s list if they were the result of:
- Gang violence
- Drug violence
- Contained residential or domestic disputes
- Controlled barricade/hostage situations
- Crossfire as a byproduct of another ongoing criminal act
- An action that appeared not to have put other people in peril
By comparison, the Gun Violence Archive excludes nothing, even if the shooting is gang- or drug-related, the two main causes of most violent crime in the country today.
Last year, when we asked Bryant if he believed that the average news consumer even considers domestic violence or gang warfare when they hear the term mass shooting, Bryant said:
I don’t know. I know what we want to do is provide numbers and let the journalists, advocates and ‘congress critters’ look at the data, glean details and drill down on it.
CNN’s story says the GVA is looking for a “permanent funding source” since their lone donor is in his 80s. They’re also seeking a potential replacement should Bryant, who is 67, decide to retire.
That’s the real reason for CNN’s story. The network can’t afford to lose the sensational, clickbait headlines GVA-sourced stories produce. Besides, the GVA is also used by anti-gun politicians, gun prohibitionists and other media outlets to infringe upon our rights. Keep in mind they cite GVA’s fake data as proof our rights need more infringing. That’s the real danger of GVA’s misleading data.
Now, when ill-informed Supreme Court Justices parrot GVA’s gibberish, that danger grows exponentially.
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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.