Journalists’ Attack on Trump’s References to Florida Gun Owners Misses the Target

The fact-checking website, PolitiFact, in partnership with the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald, was quick to jump on statements made by Donald Trump at the NRA convention on May 20, 2016.

In his speech to the group (video link below), Trump said attempts to restrict gun ownership or abolish the Second Amendment are misguided because gun permit holders follow the law — and that includes Florida, where he says only a tiny speck have lost the right to a gun permit.

Trump said, “In Florida, for example, they have issued more than 3 million conceal carry permits in the past 30 years. Only 168 have been revoked. That’s 0.006 percent.”

PolitiFact was quick to attack Trump’s statement as being wrong and to point out that there have been 10,841 licenses revoked since the state began issuing licenses in 1987, according to a summary provided by the state’s division of licensing within the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In 2011, the state stopped tracking reasons for the revocations.

But up until then, Trump’s figure of 168 actually represents the total number of revocations of licenses of people who misused a firearm. All the other revocations were for non-gun related reasons, such as from those convicted of disorderly intoxication or certain felonies, domestic violence injunctions, those committed to a mental institution, or those who due to physical problems can no longer safely use a gun.

Gun control advocates have long been espousing that putting more guns on the street is making citizens less safe.

Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy & Research, said, “Are Florida and the other states who have made it so easy for nearly anyone to legally carry a loaded gun in public safer as a result? The research indicates that they are not.” Webster went on to add, “The best-case scenario is that these laws don’t affect violent crime, but the most rigorous research on the subject indicates that when states expand concealed carry of firearms, assaults with guns increase.”

So let’s just take a look at that in relation to Florida.

In the 24 years that reasons for revocations were tracked, just 168 were for misusing a firearm. Just 168. That’s an average of 7 a year. Out of over 3 million licenses.

So consider if you were to take the ten most populous cities in Florida, with a combined population of just under 3 million people, and armed every one of them. According to the anti-gunners, you would have blood in the streets. In reality, far from it.

And if you have only 7 people a year committing a single offense involving a firearm spread out among the ten cities (3 cities would have no incidents), the point can (and should) be made that license holders are not the problem.

Regarding gun permit holders, “These are among the most law-abiding folks statistically in the entire country,” Trump said. And he’s right.

But such logic does not support the gun-control advocates’ agenda.

His full speech at the 2016 NRA Annual Meetings is linked below. It runs just under 33 minutes.

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