Yale Professor Challenges Clinton on Gun Violence Claim

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - President Clinton this week claimed once again that "13 of our kids get shot every day, killed every day," but a Yale University law professor said the president's rhetoric is "extremely misleading."

In the aftermath of two consecutive public shootings, Clinton was asked during a Rose Garden appearance this week if such incidents have "become something fundamental and inevitable in American life, or is there something that can be done to alter the dynamic?"

"Well, I think there are a lot of things that can be done," Clinton answered. "But let me say, if you go back over the last 20 years, we have had periodic outbursts of shootings where more than one person was killed. But let's not forget, 13 of our kids get shot every day, killed every day."

Depending on what the meaning of the word "kid" is.

"This is something the Clinton Administration has been saying for years," said Yale University Law Professor John R. Lott, Jr. "It's pretty outrageous. I don't know that I'd call it an outright lie, but I would say it's extremely misleading."

"The number (Clinton) is using refers to all guns, not just handguns, and they're injuries relating to all individuals under 20 years of age," Lott said in a telephone interview with CNSNews.com. "This includes murders, accidental gun deaths, suicides and justifiable homicides. It includes any gun deaths."

Lott said Clinton often makes the claim about 13 kids being shot every day and uses the claim to justify mandatory trigger locks. "What gun locks are going to stop gang members from using guns?" Lott asks.

If we're going to get national news coverage bombarded for two people who died (Wednesday) in the horrible incident in Seattle, I can give you several cases where the uses of guns have saved two people," Lott said.

But the defensive use of guns gets no national media coverage, Lott lamented, pointing to three incidents in Atlanta where victims used guns to successfully defend themselves against their attackers.

Those incidents went uncovered in the national media, Lott said, while the tragedy of a gunman opening fire in a day-trading office took center stage and captured the nation's attention for days.