Michael Bloomberg is spending tens of millions of dollars trying to convince state legislatures to support restrictive gun control laws. From television and newspaper ads, to blanketing communities with flyers, to bringing in people from out of state to testify, no effort seems too great. Then again, he is worth of over $36 billion.
But Bloombeg’s newest campaign has become so extreme that even gun control advocates may wonder that he is becoming a liability to their cause. And he has already earned a reputation for fabricating numbers, with even liberal-leaning PolitiFact slamming Bloomberg for exaggerating the number of school shootings by a factor of five. Other inaccuracies include that deaths from school shootings are increasing, that attacks with “assault weapons” are the most deadly, that firearms research fell dramatically after the restrictions on federal funding, and absurdly that “84% of female firearm homicides in 25 countries are in US.”
Bloomberg is now running advertisements attacking state legislators who are sponsoring legislation to eliminate gun-free zones. Thus in Nevada, his campaign is targeting state Assemblywoman Michele Fiore who is sponsoring a bill to eliminate gun-free zones in schools and government buildings. The 30-second ad announces that Fiore wants legislation "allowing criminals to carry hidden, loaded guns in our schools and college campuses. Anywhere we go, criminals and the dangerously mentally ill could be carrying loaded handguns, putting us at risk.”
But this is an outrageous falsehood. Eliminating gun-free zones doesn’t mean that just anyone can pack heat. You still need to have a concealed handgun permit, which requires a criminal background check.
Besides, permit holders are incredibly law-abiding. In 2014, there were over 90,000 permit holders in Nevada. But only 128 people had their permits revoked for any reason. The state of Nevada doesn’t provide detailed precise numbers, but violent crimes are in the single digits, and it is possible that even these few crimes didn’t involve guns. The data from other states is very similar.
Ironically, at the same time that Bloomberg is spending millions pushing expanded background checks, he claims here that the background check system is letting criminals get concealed handgun permits.
Bloomberg simply has all this backwards. People intent on committing crimes don’t bother going through the process of getting concealed handgun permits.
In addition, allowing concealed carry is anything but an invitation to criminals. Criminals and terrorists target locations where people are disarmed and defenseless. One need only look at mass public shootings over the last year in Santa Barbara, California or New Brunswick in Canada. In both cases, the killers explicitly discussed the attractiveness of attacking gun-free zones. Killers keep on picking the movie theater or the mall where concealed handguns are banned. Similar targets that don’t ban guns are left ignored.
Clearly, “facts” are merely a means to an end for Bloomberg. Every one of his reports suffers from serious errors. But he appears to be willing to make ever more inaccurate claims to try to make his case.
John R. Lott, Jr. is a columnist for FoxNews.com. He is an economist and was formerly chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission. Lott is also a leading expert on guns and op-eds on that issue are done in conjunction with the Crime Prevention Research Center. He is the author of eight books including "More Guns, Less Crime." His latest book is "Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench" Bascom Hill Publishing Group (September 17, 2013). Follow him on Twitter@johnrlottjr.