Fox News host downplays mass shootings with comparison to car fatalities

Greg Gutfeld last year described himself as ‘pro-disinformation’

Martha McHardy
Tuesday 12 September 2023 17:34 BST
Greg Gutfeld
Greg Gutfeld (Fox News)

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld has downplayed mass shootings, arguing that they are “rare” compared to car fatalities.

Mr Gutfeld, who last year described himself as “pro-disinformation”, made the claim on his panel talk show The Five.

The Fox News host opted to “go Alex Jones”, invoking the bankrupt conspiracy theorist who falsely claimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was staged in order to undermine the Second Amendment, to make what he described as a “conspiratorial” argument against new anti-gun legislation in New Mexico.

New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham instituted a 30-day ban this week on carrying firearms in public in certain parts of the state.

The ban followed the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy on his way home from a minor league baseball game last week in New Mexico, as well as the killing of a four-year-old girl in her bedroom last month.

“I’ve had enough of people declaring emergencies in order to take control of our lives,” Mr Gutfeld said.

“I know that mass shootings are bad, but if we are going to do the numbers, then let’s do the numbers. It’s exceedingly rare compared to car fatalities.

“Why don’t we declare emergencies on that? We can declare emergencies on anything. This is part of a bigger problem we are seeing unfold.”

There have been more than 470 mass shootings across the US so far in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are injured or killed. Their figures include shootings that happen in homes and in public places.

CDC data also shows 80 per cent of homicides in the US were gun-related in the year from June 2020, the latest year for which final numbers are available, compared to just four per cent in England and Wales and 11 per cent in Australia.

Data also shows that more 18- to 19-year-olds died due to guns than motor vehicles in 2020. However, motor vehicle deaths remain the leading cause of death for children aged one to 17.

New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (AP)

Mr Gutfeld later went on to claim that Ms Lujan Grisham’s temporary firearms ban is a “trial balloon” for eroding the Second Amendment.

He asked “Permission to go Alex Jones?” and alleged: “This 30-day suspension of a constitutional right is meant to be a trial balloon, right? A test for something that might happen in the next year, in the run-up to the election. Saying that the Second Amendment is not absolute and having a few gun-control fanatics say, ‘Hold on’ – that’s theater.”

The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), filed a lawsuit against the governor’s order, claiming it is unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, both New Mexico Senate and House Republicans on Saturday vowed to file lawsuits of their own challenging the order.

The Gun Owners of America and the Gun Owners Foundation have also filed a lawsuit.

The Albuquerque Police Department said they will not actively enforce the governor’s order because the responsibility lies with state law enforcement, police chief Harold Medina said.

Bernalillo County sheriff John Allen also said he has “reservations” about the order in a public statement, and said the temporary ban “challenges the foundation of our Constitution.”

When questioned about her order violating the Constitution on X, formerly known as Twitter, Ms Lujan Grisham said conceal and open carry are state laws that she has jurisdiction over.

The 30-day order directs a state agency to conduct monthly inspections on licensed firearm dealers and orders the state health department to assemble a report on gunshot victims at hospitals across the state, among other measures.

The ban prohibits firearms on state property, including parks, state buildings and schools. It makes exceptions for law enforcement officers and licensed security guards. Residents with permits to carry firearms can possess those weapons on private property as long as they are transported in a lock box or have a trigger lock or other mechanism that prevents the weapon from being fired.

Fox News has been contacted for comment.

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