Ted Nugent Gets The Facts Wrong

When National Rifle Association (NRA) board member Ted Nugent wasn't telling CNN host Piers Morgan to “kiss my ass” during an interview last week he decided to make his point with numbers. The problem with Nugent's numbers is that they are wrong.

Discussing gun violence in America Nugent sought to blame the vast majority of gun violence on the criminal justice system for letting murderers, “out of their cages.”

MORGAN: You write this down. Eighty people a day die in America from gunshots.

NUGENT: And 75 of them to 78 of them -- statistics by the Uniform Crime Report by the FBI and the U.N. study on violent crime -- 78 of those 80 are let out of their cages by corrupt judges and prosecutors who know the recidivism is out of control, know that they'll commit the crimes again, and they let them walk through plea bargaining, early release, and programs.

MORGAN: [unintelligible]

NUGENT: Kiss my ass. Where you have the most armed citizens in America, you have the lowest violent crime rate. Where you have the worst gun control, you have the highest crime rate.

At Andrew Breitbart's BigHollywood website AWR Hawkins suggested Nugent stuck to "fact-based arguments," but a quick look at the facts show that both Nugent's statements are wrong.

The WISQARS Injury Mortality Report shows that in 2007 31,244 people died from firearm deaths. That comes out to 85.6 per day, slightly more then the 80 per day Morgan mentions. The same report shows that 55 percent were suicides. There aren't 75-78 murders per day to attribute to predators being let loose to commit further crimes.

UCR homicide and persons arrested data doesn't include information on offender recidivism and doesn't back up Nugent's screed against judges, prosecutors and insufficient sentencing.

As documented by Factcheck.org Nugent's next statement, “Where you have the most armed citizens in America, you have the lowest violent crime rate” is also not supported by the data:

A causal relationship between prevalence of gun ownership and crime hasn't been established by researchers. We looked into this subject in 2008 and found that the statistical relationship is the opposite of what Lee [Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who had similarly suggested more guns reduced murder rates] said for murder, a crime that often involves a gun -- some studies comparing urban areas to urban areas have found that there are more murders and more murders with guns in areas with more guns. Social scientists have been quick to say this does not indicate a cause and effect. It's not known if a higher prevalence of guns leads to more violence; it could be that a higher level of violence leads to more guns.

A major study on this issue in 2004 by the National Research Council of the National Academies concluded that research reports “do not credibly demonstrate a causal relationship between the ownership of firearms and the causes or prevention of criminal violence or suicide.”

Ted Nugent is one of the most visible spokespeople for the NRA and even has a song called "I Am The NRA". It's not surprising to see Nugent using the same debunked talking points as the NRA's Wayne LaPierre.