Fox Business host Stuart Varney was visibly stunned as Washington Times senior opinion editor Emily Miller dismissed concerns about 700 people dying in firearms accidents in the United States annually.
After Varney said that "There's an enormous number of problems with guns in homes, people getting shot and killed," Miller, who writes regularly on guns, replied, "No there's not." She added that it's "very rare" for people to be killed in homes with guns, stating that 700 people are killed annually in gun accidents. Referencing Miller's 700 deaths figure several times and stating "that poses a danger to 700 people," Varney appeared incredulous that such a death toll was so easily set aside.
From the March 13 edition of Varney & Co. on Fox Business:
During her appearance, Miller made a number of misleading claims to downplay the problem of firearm-related death in the United States:
- Miller argued that doctors should not ask patients about gun safety because "three times as many people die from car crashes, from drunk drivers and text messages and you don't have doctors asking patients if they own a car." This would be roughly true if gun homicides were compared to vehicular accidents. However when all gun deaths are compared to all traffic fatalities, the numbers are much closer. In fact, as traffic fatalities go down and gun deaths rise, the number of gun deaths is projected to eclipse traffic deaths in 2015. (Doctors are also well known for asking about seat-belt use.)
- Turning to children who die in gun accidents, Miller said it's "very rare for children to get killed by parents who left their guns unlocked." Defining "very rare" is subjective but it's worth pointing out that in the year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Mother Jones identified 84 children aged 12 and under who died in gun accidents, 49 inside homes. Child gun accidents are also underreported. According to The New York Times, "a review of hundreds of child firearm deaths found that accidental shootings occurred roughly twice as often as the records indicate, because of idiosyncrasies in how such deaths are classified by the authorities." Children are far more likely to die in gun accidents in the United States compared to other high-income nations.
- Miller also dismissed doctors discussing gun safety with parents, claiming "people know to lock their guns if there are children in the home." If the cases compiled by Mother Jones are not enough to disprove this notion, research has shown that more than 20 percent of gun owning parents acknowledge keeping a loaded gun in the home and 8 percent of parents said they stored a firearm unlocked and loaded.