7 Myths About Gun Violence in America, Debunked

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On live television Thursday evening, President Barack Obama will hold a town hall meeting about gun violence. He will take questions from participants who support tighter gun laws and from others who want fewer restrictions on guns. It’s a prime-time moment for separating fact from fiction—so here’s a shortlist, with the data to back it up. Review it, tack it to your wall, and feel free to share it with anyone who thinks the gun debate is just a matter of defending constitutional freedom:

No, keeping a gun in your home does not make your family safer.

No, there were not hundreds of mass shootings last year.

No, mental illness is not the main cause of mass shootings, and no, mass shooters do not “snap.”

No, mass shooters do not deliberately target “gun-free zones.”

No, ordinary citizens with guns do not stop mass shooters.

No, criminal shootings by black people are not the leading cause of gun deaths—suicides by white people are.

No, there are not “millions of defensive gun uses” by Americans.

Yes, mass shootings are occurring more often.

Yes, gun violence is a public health crisis, with profound costs for the whole country.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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