Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry argued that the 2016 presidential race provides “the perfect backdrop to talk about the economy” and asked, “Why are people getting pulled into other issues like gun control right now in the wake” of the June 17 gun attack on a Charleston church “and not talking about the economy, which is what matters most to people?” But the Charleston attack is just the latest mass shooting to shock Americans, and with more presidential candidates stepping forward every day, it appears Henry is unaware a national conversation about gun laws is already underway.
Henry questioned the need to talk about gun laws during a discussion about national economic issues with Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) during the June 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
HENRY: But senator, here we have the perfect backdrop to talk about the economy, a presidential campaign that everybody is really starting to pay attention with. A lot of candidates on the Republican side, less on the Democratic side, but perhaps some competition now with Bernie Sanders gaining at least a little bit on Hillary Clinton. Bottom line question for you, if this is so important, why are people getting pulled into other issues like gun control right now in the wake of this tragedy and not talking about the economy, which is what matters most to people?
But there are innumerable reasons why Americans are talking about national gun laws:
- The shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church that claimed nine lives is just the latest in a long line of horrific mass shootings that have stunned the nation. Just since 2012, scores of Americans have been gunned down in a Colorado movie theater, inside a Connecticut elementary school, on the streets of a California college town, at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard, and at a Washington state high school. Using the FBI's definition of a mass shooting, there have been at least 110 mass shootings in the United States since 2009, at least 33 of which took place in a public place.
- On an average day in the United States, there are 86 gun-related deaths, including 32 murders, 51 suicides and two accidental deaths. More than 100,000 people are shot each year. Between 1968 and 2011, 1,384,171 Americans died gun-related deaths -- more than the total number of Americans killed in all U.S. wars. The gun death rate in the United States far outpaces gun death rates in other advanced nations.
- Gun deaths in the U.S. are on the rise and expected to exceed the number of traffic fatalities this year. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of serious gunshot wounds requiring hospitalization increased by nearly half -- although medical advances and other factors allowed more people to survive their injuries.
- Gun violence disproportionally affects African-Americans, who are murdered with guns at a rate nearly seven times higher than whites.
- Young people, like Hadiya Pendleton, are murdered with guns at a disproportionate rate; 54 percent of gun murder victims are under the age of 30.
- Guns play a large role in domestic violence and the mere presence of a firearm in the home makes it three times more likely that a woman will become a murder victim.
- In the year following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, at least 194 children aged 12 or under were shot to death in incidents that included 84 fatal gun accidents.
- In the wake of the June 17 Charleston killings, Americans have said they are ready to talk about “stricter” gun laws and still overwhelmingly support requiring a criminal background check for all gun sales.