Following an attack in Manchester, England, that left 22 dead and 59 injured, a commentator for the National Rifle Association’s news outlet nonsensically claimed England “has had this coming for a long time” in part because of the country’s gun laws.
During the May 23 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield, commentator Chuck Holton claimed England “has had this coming,” due to the country’s firearms regulations, open borders for refugees,“multiculturalism” and “gender-bending.” (The attacker was reportedly U.K. born.) Host Grant Stinchfield echoed Holton’s claims at the end of the segment, stating that European countries have “disarmed their citizens, so … terrorists operate with impunity”:
GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): You bring up this whole point of putting the English flag as a silhouette over your profile on your Facebook page. I’m all for supporting them -- they need our thoughts and prayers right now -- but listen, if the only time they do something like that is when we have a heinous attack, and then we’ll go for a week and they’ll forget all about it. And they take down their little flag and they put their pictures up on the beach and they’re having fun doing whatever, going to the movies, and they forget that there are people that want to kill us. And so I’m a little tired of the hypocrisy from the left and it's almost always the liberal that goes and puts this up on the day of an attack, and then it quickly comes down, and then it just eradicates from their mind like it never happened.
CHUCK HOLTON: Because they think that that actually counts as doing something. It doesn't. And you know in reality, England has had this coming for a long time in that they have -- look, they have opened their borders to so many refugees, they have done away with the personal protections, of their own people being able to protect their families with firearms. And so what we’re seeing is, you know what? Terrorists don’t need firearms to perpetrate their heinous crimes. They are weaponizing the European culture. That’s what they’re doing. They are taking advantage of this multiculturalism and the, you know, gender-bending -- we could go on and on about this. The European male is disappearing in Europe -- the actual men who will stand up and fight for their country. You could also talk about the fact that the Europeans need these people to come in to help support their massive social welfare program. Do you know that, I was reading the other day, nine European -- major European leaders now are absolutely childless, and that reflects the broader culture in Europe, that places like Germany, 30 percent of German women have no children and will never have children. In England it’s something like 20 percent, but that’s rising. And so when you’re not making babies, you need people to come in and work and pay taxes to support your massive social welfare programs. So this is, in some ways, this wave of violence that we’re seeing across Europe is a symptom of the broader problem of multiculturalism and socialism.
STINCHFIELD: And we are seriously considering sending Chuck Holton over to England to get the real scoop for you, because I can tell you right now, you’re not going to get the real scoop on the mainstream media channels. They’re not going to talk about the immigration problems that Europe experiences. They’re not going to talk about the problem that Europe, all countries, have basically disarmed their communities, disarmed their citizens, so what happens that terrorists operate with impunity.
Stinchfield made the same ridiculous claim after four people were killed in the March 22 London attack, suggesting that Europeans are “unprepared for an attack” because “the government has all but disarmed” its citizens. While the U.K. did enact highly restrictive measures on gun ownership after a school shooting in 1996, the European nation also has drastically lower rates of gun deaths, gun homicides, and homicides by all methods compare to America does.
Firearms are used in more than two-thirds of homicides in the United States. High gun availability has been linked to increased gun homicide rates, with one review of academic research finding that “case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the U.S., where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” (The same trend is seen in comparisons between high-income countries.)
Academic research has also found that guns are used in the U.S. far more often to commit crimes than to stop crimes. A 2000 study by Harvard Injury Research Control Center found that as a ratio, “guns are used to threaten and intimidate far more often than they are used in self defense. Most self reported self defense gun uses may well be illegal and against the interests of society.”
In fact, the odds of needing a gun to protect yourself are so low that it’s difficult to accurately measure the total number of defensive gun uses each year. Meanwhile, gun violence is so frequent in the United States that more than 100,000 gunshot injuries are recorded every year (a figure that does not include crimes committed with guns where no one is shot).
In contrast to a lack of evidence that civilians can effectively use guns to stop mass shootings -- a frequent claim of the NRA -- terror attacks involving firearms in the United States, which often involve AR-15-style assault weapons, have been incredibly deadly over the years. A December 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, CA, involved a gunman shooting and killing 14 and wounding 22 with an assault rifle at an office holiday party, and the perpetrator of a June 2016 terror attack in a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, shot and killed 49 and wounded at least 53, also with an assault rifle.