**Written by Doug Powers
“What the American people have got to decide is whether they believe people like me.” – Bill Clinton, October 2012
Former president, Golden Globe Award presenter and newest Father of the Year honoree Bill Clinton was up to his old tricks the other day — this time concerning data surrounding the assault weapons ban.
At a speech before the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 9, Bill Clinton stated: “Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapon ban expired in 2005, half in the history of the country.” But that statement is untrue, as Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post demonstrates.
Asked by Kessler about his statement, Clinton’s spokesman declined to comment or to say where Clinton got his numbers. As Kessler, a professional fact-checker, says, “this always makes us suspicious.”
From Kessler’s fact check:
According to his research, he has identified 156 mass public shootings in the United States in the past 100 years. Duwe defines a mass public shooting as an incident in which four or more victims are killed publicly with guns within 24 hours — in the workplace, schools, restaurants and other public places — excluding shootings in connection with crimes such as robbery, drugs or gangs. (Note that this would exclude a number of “mass murders” that sometimes get lumped into the data, such as the Beltway sniper who killed 10 people over a three-week period in 2002. [Which took place during the assault weapons ban -- DP])
Since 2005, when the assault ban expired, there have been 32 such mass public shootings, including seven in 2012, Duwe said. So that’s just over 20 percent of all mass public shootings, which is much less than Clinton’s 50 percent.
Kessler gave Clinton’s statement three Pinocchios instead of four — the latter would have labeled the claim an all-out whopper. However, it’s possible the fourth Pinocchio was still hospitalized due to exhaustion after previous Bill Clinton fact checks, so we’ll cut some slack for its absence from this one.
**Written by Doug Powers
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