In the days and weeks following the deadly shootings in South Carolina, the political world has touched on the issue of gun violence and gun deaths in the United States. While some groups feel that stricter gun regulations would be the way to go, other groups say that relaxing the rules regarding legally carrying concealed weapons could be a way to keep these tragedies from happening.
Three days after the shootings, President Barack Obama took to Twitter to offer up some statistics regarding gun deaths in the United States as compared to the rest of the world. Here's what he tweeted:
"Here are the stats: Per population, we kill each other with guns at a rate 297x (times) more than Japan, 49x more than France, 33x more than Israel."
We asked our partners at PolitiFact Florida to take a look at this claim. PolitiFact reporter Joshua Gillin says that Obama's claim rates MOSTLY TRUE on the Truth-O-Meter. Gillin says that, for the most part, the statistics are accurate.
"The President was drawing from statistics from the United Nations that measured gun deaths in different countries," said Gillin. "Sure enough, the United States topped the list in gun deaths per 100,000 people, and it was by a wide margin. However, the data is from 2007 and 2008, so it's kind of old."
Gillin also notes that the United Nations data wasn't the only data available. "There are other studies out there," said Gillin. "While they do have slightly different numbers, the data is accurately used, and it does show the same sort of result."
The data backs up the President's claim, but it is seven to eight years old, which leads PolitiFact to rate the claim MOSTLY TRUE on the Truth-O-Meter.
SOURCES: U.S. leads the world in gun deaths?
- PolitiFact ruling
- Barack Obama, tweet, June 20, 2015
- The Guardian, "Gun homicides and gun ownership listed by country," July 22, 2012
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, "Homicides by firearm," 2014
- University of Sydney, GunPolicy.org, accessed June 22, 2015
- Email interview with David Hemenway, professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, June 22, 2015
- Email interview with Jaclyn Schildkraut, assistant professor of public justice education at the State University of New York in Oswego, June 22, 2015