WASHINGTON (WJLA) — Thursday morning's mass shooting at a community college in Oregon shocked and saddened America. It also frustrated President Barack Obama.
"Each time we see one of these shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough," said the President, just hours after the shooting. "It cannot be this easy for someone who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun."
The President then said this. "We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths."
But is that true? The I-Team learned it depends on how you analyze the data. In our area, D.C. and Maryland have stricter gun laws than Virginia. But 2014 FBI crime statistics show Virginia has the lowest rate of gun murders at 2.7 per 100,000 residents. Maryland and D.C., despite tougher gun laws, have higher gun murder rates - 3.5 and 11.1 respectively.
But when analyzing President Obama's preferred metric of gun deaths, which includes suicide and accidents, Virginia has the highest rate. According to 2013 data from the Centers for Disease Control, Virginia's gun death rate stands at 10.2 per 100,000, Maryland and DC are lower at 9.7 and 8.9 respectively.
"Instead of focusing on the tool the bad person uses to commit an atrocity, we should be focusing on the individual," said Jim Snyder of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
President Obama was right.
States with stricter gun laws tend to have lower rates of gun deaths. But they also tend to have higher rates of gun murders.