Dear Michael Bloomberg:
Don’t let your people let the truth get in the way of a good media talking point…
by John Lott
(National Review Online) – Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group Moms Demand Action couldn’t let the tragedy in Santa Barbara pass without interjecting more false information into the gun-control debate.
Given the Santa Barbara killer’s hatred of women (though four of the six victims were men), it is quite understandable that the topic of violence against women has been raised. Moms Demand Action tried fueling the fire with the claim that “84% of female firearm homicides in 25 countries are in US.”
It is hard to see how Moms Demand Action could even make this comparison across all countries. Data from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) allows you to break down murders either by the sex of the victim or by whether firearms are used, but it doesn’t allow users to identify both these categories simultaneously.
Moms Demand Action’s claim doesn’t make much sense anyway; they shouldn’t compare the raw number of homicides, since that doesn’t account for differences between countries in population size. Comparing homicide rates makes a lot more sense. Map 1.6 from the UNODC shows that in 2012 the U.S. had one of the world’s lower rates of homicide against females.
While 22.2 percent of U.S. homicides have female victims, the median for all countries is 23.7 percent and the mean is 24.4 percent. Even if one makes a comparison between the U.S. and Europe, the U.S. share of its homicides committed against females is relatively low. Ten of the 42 European countries (including four microstates) have a lower share than the U.S. and 32 have a higher rate.